The Shaving Brush: Bulb or Fan

So you have decided to join the world of traditional shaving.  You have your razor picked out, or shaving soap, and maybe even some pre-shave oil.  But when it comes to the shaving brush your choices are varied – and you may be wondering what difference could one brush make from the next.  If you haven’t already decided on a grade of brush you may want to read over this quick guide.  Once you have decided grade of brush you are left with two options:  The Bulb Brush or the Fan.

The Bulb Brush

Bulb-shaped brushes are traditionally German in origin and are often referred to as the European Style Brushes.  The Bulb shape is achieved by trimming or knotting the hairs of the brush to create a dome or bulb shape to the brush.

Bulb-shaped brushes are more directed and allow greater control of the application of the lather.  The smaller sized brush also allows you greater control in your lathering bowl because you can focus on the center of your bowl rather than being pushed out to the perimeter. However, the bulb-shaped brush does prove to be somewhat more difficult when attempting to build lather directly on the face.

Fan Shaped Brush

The fan shaped brush is traditionally a British style brush but by no means should suggest that it is the only type of brush the British produce.

Because of it’s design, the fan shaped brush allows for more coverage in less time.  The fan shape puts more brush in contact with your face allowing a greater ease in lathering.  The fan shaped also allow for more lather to be picked up when you first charge the brush in your shaving bowl.

Unlike the bulb-shaped brush, which should be used with back and forth motion – as if your were painting.  The fan shaped brush should be used in a circular motion starting from the cheek and working out from there.  Generally resulting a messier application than the bulb-shaped brush.

So which one is right for you?

Like most things, not only in shaving, but in life it comes down to personal preference.  Some may prefer the precision of the bulb-shape, others the free wheeling nature of the fan brush application.  The one option that would satisfy all would be to purchase one of each and alternate between the two.


One thought on “The Shaving Brush: Bulb or Fan

Leave a Reply