The shaving brush is an essential tool for traditional wet shaving. Its main purpose is to build and apply lather to prepare for a good shave. General care of your shave brush is important to ensure it lasts for many years. Here are six mistakes you might be making with your shave brush.
NOT CLEANING AFTER USE
There are some wet shavers that leave their brush full of soap until the next day’s shave, as some feel it is wasteful to just rinse it down the drain. While that is true, it’s always best to rise out your shave brush after each use to prevent major soap build-up in your shaving brush.
Enclosing your shave brush after use in a medicine cabinet or drawer will make it very difficult and almost impossible to dry, especially for daily shavers. This continual wetness is often the cause of premature breakdown of your shaving brush.
NOT TOWEL DRYING
Shaving brushes are designed to retain water, especially animal hair shaving brushes [Read Choosing a Shaving Brush Here]. This is why you should transfer as much water as you can out of it into a clean dry towel.
To do this, simply ring out the shave brush by chocking it on the neck at the base of the knot. Then lay a flat towel on your vanity or countertop and use a paintbrush motion back and forth several times which will help transfer any excess water out of the brush.
FLINGING TO DRY
This is one of the worst things you can do to your shave brush. Shaking or flinging it into your shower or sink to knock the water out of it is really tempting, but this can cause some major damage. This can cause hairs or bristles to fall out prematurely, or even your entire shaving brush knot to fly out. So remember to never shake your shaving brush to dry it.
NOT HANGING TO DRY
Not hanging your shaving brush to dry after each use is the most common culprit of premature breakdown. Hanging it to dry will ensure the water is kept away from the knot.
Animal hair is porous and will wick the water downwards into the knot if you leave it on the counter, bristles up. Doing this will cause the base of the knot to be wet for long periods of time which can cause it to fall out or lose hairs. If you have a wood handle brush, not hanging it to dry can also potentially cause it to crack or split.
A simple brush stand is the best way to do this. If you are on a budget or traveling try using a rubber band or a reusable twist tie and a towel bar.
NOT DEEP CLEANING
Like any tool, a good deep cleaning is needed from time to time. Soap residue gets clogged in the middle of your brush and doing a deep cleaning once and a while on your shaving brush will prevent deep contamination.
A clogged shaving brush won’t perform as optimally as it should. Another good indication of a contaminated shave brush is if you notice some of the bristles are clumping together.
There are many ways to do a deep cleaning including using regular or pet shampoo or specifically designed products like a shave brush cleaning soap. Many wet shavers use a solution containing 1 part regular strength white vinegar and 4 parts hot water [not boiling]. Let it soak for about 10 minutes and then rinse it with clean water, dry on a clean towel by using a paintbrush motion and hang to dry. Here is a great video by Shave the Man explaining how to clean a shaving brush.
Don’t get caught making these mistakes with your shaving brush. No matter what the quality or construction, taking care of your brush will ensure you get many years of good use out of it. As the experts say “Take care of your tools and they will take care of you!”