Embarking on the journey of wet shaving extends beyond the precision of your razor's edge. The longevity of your shaving products is equally crucial. Among these, a premium shaving brush stands as an invaluable investment for your wet shave routine. Whether your preference leans towards synthetic, badger, boar, or horse hair brushes, simple maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of your cherished grooming tool.
Unveiling the Historical Insights: Anthrax Outbreaks and Shaving Brushes
It's a lesser-known fact that during World War I, anthrax outbreaks were traced back to unclean shaving brushes.
The consistent interaction of shaving brushes with water, shaving soap, cream, and various shaving products creates an environment that can foster hidden issues and unwelcome substances beneath the brush's bristles.
Lather and residual debris, encompassing oil, hair, and dead skin cells, can gradually accumulate, posing hygiene concerns. Even tap water plays a role in degrading the brush's condition, as mineral deposits can solidify over time, complicating the cleaning process.
Modern times have evolved beyond the challenges of World War I, but understanding the intricacies of proper cleaning and storage remains pivotal. Cleaning and storing shaving brushes efficiently not only prolongs their life but also ensures hygienic usage. The notion of lathering with a soiled brush is unacceptable, and thus, we're here to guide you through the precise art of cleaning and storing a shaving brush.
Decoding the Essential Components of Shaving Brushes
The Core Components of Shaving Brushes
Shaving brushes boast a rich history and a multifaceted design that forms the foundation for a rich, luxurious lather using shaving soap or cream. This tool comprises two main sections—the handle and the bristles—alongside other essential parts:
Handle: The gripping segment and base for the knot, commonly crafted from wood, horn, resin, plastic, or metal.
Knot: The uppermost portion comprising hair, often sourced from animals or synthetic fibers.
Knot Size: Measured in millimeters, indicating the knot's diameter, with standard dimensions ranging from 20mm to 28mm.
Glue Bump: Concealed within the handle, this area secures the bristle knot.
Knot Loft: Refers to the height from the top of the knot to the point of contact with the handle.
Splay: Denotes the bristle coverage when the hair is pressed against a surface, such as your face, and fans out.
Back Bone: Signifies the brush's resistance when splayed
Scritch: Describes the texture or roughness of the bristles during lathering.
Determining Optimal Cleaning Frequency
The frequency of deep cleaning your shaving brush hinges on various factors, encompassing water hardness, shaving routine, schedule, and soap type. A visible matte build-up on bristles or near the knot serves as a sign that a thorough cleaning is in order.
It's worth noting that prompt attention to lather accumulation, compromised splay, and changes in bristle texture signifies the need for a deep cleanse.
While different factors may dictate cleaning intervals, a monthly deep clean is a practical guideline to avert persistent, challenging residues.
Methodology for Cleaning Natural and Synthetic Shaving Brushes
Cleaning your shaving brush is a delicate yet straightforward process. Handling with care is imperative to avoid damaging the glue bump or altering the bristle texture while effectively eliminating accumulated impurities.
Regardless of whether you're dealing with natural or synthetic bristles, similar cleaning solutions and methods apply. Here's a step-by-step guide to proper shaving brush cleaning:
1.Pre-rinse the brush under tap or lukewarm water, massaging gently until water runs clear.
2. Dispense one to two drops of dawn dish washing liquid into your palm of your hand.
Lather vigorously on your palm ensuring a pumping motion reaches the base of the bristles.
Shake off excess lather and immerse the brush in warm water for 1-2 minutes.
Wash and rinse the brush with clean water to eliminate any soap or vinegar residues, gently squeezing out excess water.
Allow the brush to air dry on a soft towel or stand, ensuring it's placed knot side down to promote thorough drying over 24-48 hours.
Vital Cleaning Materials for Shaving Brushes
For cleaning, lean towards mild cleaning agents and animal hair products. Regardless of the bristle type—animal or synthetic—the aim is to mimic animal hair's texture. Recommended cleaning materials and their application include:
Diluted Distilled White Vinegar: A diluted solution of one part distilled white vinegar and nine parts hot water serves as an excellent disinfectant. It eradicates soap scum and bacteria, requiring gentle soaking and occasional brushing.
Mild Liquid Dishwashing Soap or Borax: These agents excel at removing dirt, grease, and grime while disinfecting. Similar to vinegar, they necessitate diluted solutions and gentle brushing.
TIPS FOR CLEANING SPECIFIC SHAVING BRUSHES
Although you can use the same cleaning solutions and methods for both natural and synthetic shaving brushes, you will still need some precautions in handling specific grades of shaving brushes.
Synthetic fiber brush and silvertip badger brush are similar in texture. They provide less scritch and are softer and more delicate on the face. Meanwhile, pure and super badger brushes are on the coarser side, with better water retention properties.
Cleaning pure and super badger brush
Pure badger brush and super badger brush hold more water and have the stiffest bristles. They also have the funkiest smell. The best way to clean natural brushes is to lather and rinse them a few times until there is no distinct smell. Then, proceed with a deep clean with a vinegar solution and dry properly.
Cleaning silvertip badger brush and synthetic fiber brush
These brushes have softer bristles and need more care. Follow the proper brush cleaning process while mildly and gently handling the knots. Then, air dry it properly.
THE SHAVING BRUSH RITUAL POST SHAVE
There is no need to wait a month or half a year to wash your shave brush. You can do it every wet shave. Make it a habit as part of your post-shave process.
Use warm water to rinse excess lather after shaving.
Splay the brush in a clean, soft towel to remove excess water.
Prompt the brush in a shaving brush stand with the bristles pointing downwards to draw out moisture away from the base and glue bump.
Place your brush stand in an open space with excellent air circulation.
Clean your shaving scuttle or bowl thoroughly to remove the residual foam.
Remember not to pull or tug the bristles and use a hair dryer to dry a shaver’s brush.
PROPER STORAGE OF SHAVING BRUSH
Tidying up your shaving gear collection after a good shave is an empirical rule to maintain them in tip-top condition. Do not leave your shaving brush to dry in a scuttle or leave it base-side down on the countertop.
Properly store a shaver’s brush using a shaving brush stand and place it in an open and well-ventilated area.
Placing a wet brush or a seemingly dry brush inside the closet promotes mildew and mold growth and defeats the rigorous cleaning process.
Take these pointers to heart and give your brush its needed TLC. You will save on future expenses and headaches for the years to come.