I have often wondered how the first man decided to use badger fur for shaving. Who looked at a badger, didn’t mistake it for a skunk at first, and thought, “You know what? I’m going to rub soap on my face with that thing.”
However it came about, I’m glad it did. Badger hair has several unique properties which make it perfectly suited for shaving. Most importantly, it is the only kind of fur that retains water, and keeping hot water close to the skin is the secret to a great shave. It moistens and protects the skin and creates a richer, more luxuriant lather than fingers could alone. The richer the lather, the less cream is needed and the smoother the shave will be. And badger hair beats wannabes like boar hair or synthetic by being both softer and more resilient; a well-maintained badger brush will provide upwards of ten years of quality shaves, while boar or synthetic will fall apart and lose their softness after repeated use.
But the benefits don’t end there. Badger brushes exfoliate dead skin cells from the face. As a guy, I am always wary of traditionally feminine sounding skin-care terms, but exfoliation helps to leave skin feeling smoother and looking fresher. The brush restores a youthful glow, especially helpful for older users. Also, by removing dead skin, the brush exposes more of the hair follicle, allowing for a closer shave. Your girlfriend may be onto something with all her talk of exfoliation.
As if that wasn’t enough, to get the closest shave possible, the brushing motion raises whiskers, exposing more of the shaft to the razor’s edge. The thick lather helps to hold up the hairs while protecting the skin, meaning you only cut what you want to cut. It’s like the ‘Lectric Shave commercials, without the horrifying implication of decapitating thousands of little hair clones. On the contrary, applying shaving cream by hand tends to mat down hairs, meaning you have to use more pressure or—perish the thought—go against the grain with the razor to get the same closeness of shave. Raising the hairs is one of the secrets of the perfect shave, so for best results, go badger or go home.
The first thing that turns men off from traditional shaving brushes is the price: why pay extra for a badger brush when you can get a synthetic for less than five dollars? The badger may be more expensive initially, but if cared for correctly, it will save you loads of money in the long term. You can use it for years, and because it requires just a small amount of shaving cream each time, you will save money on that as well.
Who would have thought that the badger held the key to the perfect shave? Maybe I’ve been to harsh on those innocent little critters…