Congratulations! You just bought a new shave brush. Now what do you do with it? Stupid question you say. Just lather up and go for it!
Well...ya can...but before you do, there are a couple things you might want to know about: like how to build that rich creamy lather everyone talks about and how to take care of that fancy new brush so it doesn't fall apart after a month or two.
In Part 2, we'll talk about building that great, picture perfect lather, but for now let's get the "how to take care of it" stuff out of the way.
First of all, given proper care a well made shaving brush should last at least 10-12 years and probably longer.
So what’s “Proper Care?” It's really common sense. To start, before you use your brush for the first time, you want to shampoo it with warm water and any good quality shampoo with conditioner. Work up a good lather by gently “brushing” back and forth against the palm of your hand. After a minute or so, rinse your brush thoroughly–again with warm water—until the water runs clear. Squeeze out the excess water and shake out the remainder. Then set your brush on its base or in a stand and allow it to dry completely in a well-ventilated area. Drying in a well-ventilated area prevents mildew, which will ruin your brush in very short order.
Initially Badger, Boar & Horse brushes will exhibit an “animal smell.” Some brushes, especially large, dense ones, might also shed a few hairs during the first 8 - 12 shaves (what's called the "break-in period.") Both are normal. Don’t worry, any smell and/or hair loss should gradually disappear.
All shave brushes—particularly those with wooden handles—benefit from an occasional waxing with a Microcrystalline wax like Renaissance Wax®. This extremely hard wax not only cleans and protects your brush handle, but keeps it looking great! Renaissance Wax is available on-line through Amazon and other sources.
Beyond that, here are some very simple "keys" to building a long-lasting relationship with your shave brush....
The “keys” to long brush life…
- Don’t subject your brush to water hotter than your hand can tolerate! Be nice to it. After all, the business end of your brush is made from hair which will break and fall out if you mistreat it.
- When lathering, compress your brush only about ¼ of the way down. Pressing harder not only slows lather formation, but ruins the tips eventually leaving the dreaded “donut hole” in the center of the knot.
- After every use, rinse your brush thoroughly under warm water until the water runs clear. Then dry as described above.
- If your brush ever becomes sticky or “gummy,” simply shampoo with a good “clarifying” shampoo and dry.
And that’s about it! Care for your brush and it will care for you!
Until next time....