Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The vanishing-lather conundrum

with 7 comments

SOTD 3 Mar 2014

I’ve decided to use my Barrister & Mann soaps this week, a different soap with a different sort of brush daily. Today’s brush is the superb R&B (Razor & Brush) limited edition unclipped-boar brush. I understand from comments that some prefer badger brushes to boar, but of those who enjoy boar brushes or simply enjoy variety in their brushes should, I think, give this brush serious consideration. (I was right about the bakelite slant, remember.) The softness of the brush tips is remarkable.

Obviously a brush with a long loft will feel different on the face than a brush with a short loft, and some have preferences of a narrow range: that is, they like only brushes with long, or medium, or short loft, and don’t like variation from that. My own idea is to approach the brush on its own terms and see what it can do, adapting my technique to the brush, whether a short-lofted dense silvertip (e.g., the Chubby 1, or the Duke 3, both of which I enjoy) or a brush of greater loft of whatever material. In any event, you must determine your own preferences, and the only way I know to do that is to try things: our expectations and assumptions regarding an experience we’ve yet to have are so often wrong that they must be assigned little weight. (Think of those who have not tried DE shaving and the expectations they have of the experience: “cut your face to ribbons,” “cannot get nearly so good a shave as from a Fusion cartridge,” and so on.)

At any rate, my experience with this brush has been excellent, except that today the lather in the brush totally died and was gone after the first pass. I suspect the soap, Hallowe’en by Barrister & Mann. I relathered with another soap and the lather easily persisted through the next two passes and was still going strong when I rinsed the brush. I’m not sure what happened: I certainly loaded the brush well—I was enjoying the action of the brush—and I’m wondering whether it could be some sort of reaction with the boar bristles. I’m going to try the soap again, using a synthetic brush.

My bakelite slant did a superb job on the two-day stubble: completely BBS finish with nary a nick. (So much for the supposed superiority of a Fusion shave.) A good splash of TOBS Shaving Shop aftershave, and the day belatedly begins.


Written by LeisureGuy

3 March 2014 at 10:25 am

Posted in Shaving

7 Responses

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  1. I really like the look of the brush. I currently use an Omega 31064 which has served me well. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any UK vendors stocking the R&B brush.

    Gavin Groom

    3 March 2014 at 11:13 am

  2. It’s a very limited edition and, so far as I know, a one-time effort. I think Shoebox Shaveshop might ship to the UK on request.


    3 March 2014 at 11:27 am

  3. Ah, good point; I may have to contact them and ask.

    Gavin Groom

    3 March 2014 at 11:29 am

  4. I just ordered this brush. Now that you have turned me on to boar and horse it’s not just razors that will “take” my money. I have also seen a sound recommendation for the Vulfix 404, a badger boar mix. Can you offer an opinion on this brush?

    By the way, I have had the same opinion of the Muhle R41 that you express. However, I picked it up by mistake (I need to be more careful) on Monday and actually had quite a nice shave with it. I think that it could “teach” me better razor technique (if it didn’t kill me first).


    3 March 2014 at 4:33 pm

  5. I don’t have much experience with Vulfix, but I do vaguely recall one badger-boar—the Grosvenor—that wasn’t much to my liking. I do like the Omega 11047, which is a badger-boar mix. I wet the knot well before I shower, just as I do with boar and horsehair, because of the boar content.

    I really enjoy *comfortable* razors that don’t make me have to be careful. 🙂

    Zach said that there’s no need to wet the knot of the R&B brush before the shower, but try it both ways. I find I prefer the wetted knot.


    3 March 2014 at 6:09 pm

  6. I will have to try a boar brush again. I got scared off by a cheap one that literally fell apart after a week or so of use. To the manufacturer’s credit, they replaced it (I gave the replacement away), and it did allow me to try out traditional wet shaving for a small initial investment. They told me in their letter that brushes should be stored bristles down. I think I remember reading in your book that you prefer bristles up. I suppose if you make really cheap brushes though, you’d want water to drain away from the cheap adhesive you use to hold the bristles in as quickly as possible.


    3 March 2014 at 7:36 pm

  7. I’ve never had a bad Omega brush yet, and I’ve had quite a few. They are reliable.

    Surface tension and capillary action completely override the feeble pull of gravity at the scale of a brush knot that’s been shaken dry. You can store it right side up, upside down, or on its side: it will dry if it’s in the open.


    3 March 2014 at 7:42 pm

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