After a couple of weeks of rinsing, lathering, and rinsing, I was finally able to use the Vie-Long 12705 Horse Hair Shaving Brush without being bothered by the initial smell of the brush. It wasn’t that I didn’t expect it to smell, it is horse hair after all, but I didn’t expect to not be able to use it comfortably for as long as I did. With the smell of the brush diminished I was able to use it several times, with a couple different soap and creams.
My first impressions of the Vie-Long 12705 were positive (the smell wasn’t really evident until I wet the brush). I was most impressed by the handle which is more than a bit bulkier than my other brushes. It has more of a square shape to it rather than the typical circular design of most brushes, making it quite nice to hold, and as it turned out, a preferable feel for lathering and application. The hair was denser than I had expected – a positive – and the overall quality seemed to exceed the price that I had paid for it.
I used the brush with both a hard soap and a cream with my results discussed below, but just a quick word on the feel of the brush itself in relation to a boar or badger when wet. I found that the Vie-Long 12705 was stiffer than my badger brushes but less so than my boar brush. It did a nice job with water retention as well, no where near as absorbent as my badger, but I would say just as good as my boar brush.
I used the Vie-Long 12705 brush with a my puck of Col Conks Almond soap and, after a bit of work, more than I usually need with my boar brush, was able to produce a lovely lather. The lather applied nicely, with the hair being much softer than I thought it would be when I ordered it. As mentioned above not nearly as soft as my Edwin Jagger Best Badger, but much softer than my Omega Boar Brush. I’m still torn as to which I prefer, at least with my hard shaving soap; I prefer the speed at which I can build lather using my boar, but I will have to say I enjoy the softer feel of the horse hair.
For my second shave I broke out my Taylor of Old Bond Lemon & Lime tub and got to work with my Vie-Long Horse Hair brush and it performed fairly well – producing a nice lather and the application was just as good as with my hard soap. However, I don’t see abandoning my badger brush for my horse hair brush when it comes to using my soft shave cream. I prefer the way the softer badger hair picks up and interacts with the cream over the slightly more stiff horse hair.
I purchased the Vie-Long 12705 because I wanted to add a horse hair brush to my arsenal and I am happy that I did, if for no other reason than to ‘mix’ up my shaving routine. The Vie-Long 12705 is an excellent addition, or first purchase, if you are concerned about items being ‘animal friendly’ it is, the price is right, and it is a perfect middle of the road choice.