Material for horse hair shaving brushes are simply cut from the horse’s mane or tail: the animal is not harmed. On the other hand badgers are killed for their hair. Of course, in some areas the animals are considered pests so this is not necessarily a “bad” thing, but if you share my concern then your conscience should be clear by using horse.
“Middle Of The Road” Performance.
I have found horse hair shaving brushes to perform better than boar hair and less “scratchy” than many “pure” grade badger brushes. Although I don’t think they hold quite as much water as “super” or “silvertip” badger brushes, they are more than adequate for the job.
The price for horse hair shaving brushes are usually quite reasonable for their performance and build quality. The downside here is availability: they are not found as easily as other brushes. Vie-Long is perhaps the leading manufacturer, but most good shave brush brands do make a model or two.
I have two horse hair brushes, both Vie-Long. One was pretty inexpensive (Under $10.) I quite like the “pure” horse hair brush model VL-00159. It has great quality for the price.
It was my first experience with a horse hair brush and I found out a few things. It broke in quickly, makes a generous lather, works well with soap and cream, and is reasonably soft on the skin. It does have good backbone unlike a synthetic brush, but the bristles are softer. I loved its long hairs and wooden handle! An under $10 bargain.
After using the VL-00159 I decided to purchase a higher end horse hair brush to see if there was much of a difference. The model I chose was again Vie-Long, this time model VL-14830.
This has become my very favorite brush. Gidyup!
One Small Word Of Caution.
The only real downside to a horse hair brush is the smell. The first few times it gets wet the smell can only be described as ghastly.
Do yourself a favor and wash it thoroughly with a pet shampoo, rinse well with warm water, and allow to dry before its first use. In fact, you may want to do this a couple times before you start using it. Of course, over time the smell will disappear.
Do you have a horse hair shaving brush? What do you think of it?