The Dreaded Shedding Shaving Brush

It happens to all of us, you lift your shaving brush off of your shave soap and there it is, a bristle, sitting on top of the soap. You are able to contain your rage because there are so many other hairs in your brush, that you can afford to lose one. But then that one turns into two or three and sometimes the tally just keeps on rising. The question is whether it is the fault of the brush or the fault of your own technique and brush care.

When you first use your new brush you will have to expect some shedding, at least a couple of months while the brush settles. As you continue to use your brush, the tips of the bristles will start to soften and open up, losing some hairs in the process. You must keep in mind that your shaving brush is, at least partially, is handmade, and with any handmade product you may run into some manufacturing errors. However, unless your brush is losing clumps of hair, it is probably safe to say that the initial hair loss is to be expected. If you are losing clumps of hair you may want to contact the company or where you purchased your brush.

There are things one can do to avoid excessive or unnecessary shedding. If you are using a shaving brush that is too dry, that is not soaked enough in water prior to use, you run the risk of bristles breaking off because they are much too rigid and the pressure of from lathering your soap will snap them off.

You can run into other water issues if you are using water that is too hot. Water that is excessively hot can damage the hair and make them weak and more likely to break away. On a side note, water that is too hot could also have adverse effects on the glue holding the knot to your handle.

Pressure is also a reason leading to shaving brush shedding. Too much pressure, whether you are lathering or applying the lather to your face can damage your brush and cause it to lose some of its bristles. When applying lather I prefer to use a back and forth motion, like I am painting the lather on rather than using a circular motion which I find requires a bit more force and seems to tangle the hairs of my brush.

Most important however is proper brush care. Properly cleaning your shaving brush after each use, ensuring that it is free from all lather and soap, along with allowing your brush to properly dry in a well ventilated area, will help prevent your brush from shedding. Shavers and brush manufacturers disagree as to whether a brush stand is needed for proper drying a shave brush. Personally I don’t see how it can hurt to have water drip away from the knot rather than drip towards the knot.