A good volume of foam can be whipped up only with the help of a professionally made shaving brush. But producing of foam isn’t the only function of the brush. The massage of the face is as important. By acting on the skin mechanically, the hair of the brush does an intensified softening of the keratin. In such a way the skin is getting prepared to the contact with the alien to it material, the metal, which is, besides, very sharp.
The shaving brush consists of the handle and the furry wisp, the form of which allows water drops to remain in its volume. The handles of cheap brushed are made usually of plastic or wood. The handles of more expensive brushes could be made of metal, buffalo horn or bone, precious kinds of wood, various polymers, rubber, or ivory (these ones for the most part illegally).
For the manufacturing of cheap brushes there used some special sorts of pig bristle. It is chemically cleansed, bleached and sometimes dyed, for a better look. Also, the wisps of cheap shaving brushes can be stuffed with synthetic fiber that resemble pig bristle both in appearance and mechanical characteristics. Such brushes are pretty tough and aren’t suitable to any skin, as the skin on the face, generally speaking, is delicate enough.
For a sensitive skin a brush made of badger fur would be more appropriate. Badger fur is more soft and elastic in comparison to pig bristle or synthetic fiber. A wet badger fur is still more flexible, and on condition of using a quality soap it allows to make a splendid foam.
It should be mentioned that the toughness of the badger’s hair isn’t the same on any part of the animal’s body.
With proper care, you can ensure a minimum 10-year lifespan of a badger shave brush, and an acrylate or wooden handle can serve virtually without any term. For that reason some shaving brush manufacturers offer their customers the service of stuffing their old and lovely brush with new hair.
Making the Foam
The foam is whipped up in a special cup (shaving bowl) with a shaving brush. First the brush should be dipped into a glass of boiling water for sterilizing, softening and absorbing water. It isn’t recommended to leave the brush in hot water for too long, as the glue keeping the hair of the brush together can be deteriorated with it and as a consequence the brush may start losing hair.
Then the cup should be rinsed with boiling water, and a certain amount of shaving cream is squeezed, or a piece of soap is put, into it. Taking the brush out of the water, you carefully shake off superfluous water or do it by pressing the brush hair against the cup’s edge. Then you put it into the cup with cream or soap. It is better to put the cup on the glass with boiling water, so that the cup’s bottom could receive additional heat and the foam wouldn’t cool too fast.
The foam should be hot, but bearable to skin. The high temperature allows to steam out the skin and hair, which facilitate cutting the bristle without irritations. Besides, with a good soaping the razor more easily strokes over the skin and dulls not so soon. That allows the hair to be cut more close to the skin. So it is better to take measures that the temperature of the soap solution stayed high enough during all the shaving process.
The foam is formed by rapid rotation of the brush clockwise. At the same time it is pressed to the bottom of the cup (the soap) with periodical strengthening and loosing the pressure. Such motion should be repeated till there is made enough foam. The face is foamed with the same brush.
The soap solution should be loose, plentiful and of medium thickness. Too thick and too liquid solutions are not suitable for soaping. Too liquid solution runs off the face and too thick one obstruct the gliding of the safety razor over the skin. The latter results in necessity to apply additional efforts, which leads to skin irritation and cuts.
Foaming the Facial Hair
It is better to foam the face with clockwise movements, starting with the middle of the chin, and then continue on the right cheek. After soaping it we draw the brush back to the middle of the face and finish on the left cheek. Should some places not intended for shaving happen to be foamed, we wipe them out with the end of a cloth. The mustache (if we are going to shave it too) we foam with the tip of the brush. If some places got dry during the shave, we foam them again. The hair on the chin could be of different thickness, and if your bristle is very stiff it is recommended to steam it off with hot compress without washing off the soap. After that foam the chin once again. That makes shaving much more easy.
It must be remembered that alkaline solutions affect skin adversely giving it red spots of irritation. That’s why it is better not to leave the shaving foam on the skin for long. If you have a skin prone to easy irritation, use a shaving cream containing special softening and soothing ingredients.
Shaving Recommendations & Tips
- A new shaving brush can have a slight specific smell. It is caused by natural hair, the brush is made of, is treated by special chemicals. The smell will disappear after rinsing the brush with warm water. Avoid using strong detergents containing caustic.
- Rinse the brush after using it. Don’t use boiling water.
- For drying hang the brush with the hair downwards, so that the water seeped down. There are special stands for that purpose. Remember that leaving a wet brush with the hair up for a long time you reduce the time of its service.
- Don’t keep a wet brush in a closed box.
Mister Shaver hopes this information will be useful for you. What do you think of shaving brushes? Do you already have one?