Too many people that are simply ignorant, immediately discount a higher priced soap because it is more expensive. They may look at the price per oz or the sticker price and go with the cheap stuff. As an example, consider these two creams: Bluebeards Revenge at ~$10 for 100ml and Castle Forbes at ~$27. BR claims to last 50 shaves while CF claims to last 5-6 months. I don't doubt CF lasts that long in daily use; as CF is the consistency of Catie's Bubbles (a soft soap) and CB at 8oz, lasted 133 shaves in my testing. CF requires less loading time than CB and hence less product.
If you do the math, BR will come out to the cost of $.20 per use, while CF will come out to $.14 per use. If you use the American market version of Bluebeard's Revenge, you will be paying a whopping $.36 per use. That is more than Martin de Candre! By being a cheapskate, you will be paying more for an inferior product that smells like hairspray.
This observation is spot on. In my experience, Proraso is one of the least efficient products in the market, and will definitely cost a user more down the road than even the most expensive soaps or creams.
Also, I think most people will use soaps more conservatively than creams because they are harder to load. Actually, that is a good thing, because you can load a brush more precisely.
Last, brush sizes play an important role. With a 21-24mm brush, I typically end up with very little excess lather (ie wasted product) than with a larger brush. I have a 36mm one, and in order to lather properly with it, I need to create at least three times more lather than actually needed, because inevitably, a lot of it will end up inside the knot instead of near the tips only.
You would think it would be common sense that a soap like Proraso wouldn't last anywhere near as long as a smaller harder soap, since they are selling you mostly water, but apparently it is still very common.
Another point to make is that boar brushes are just horrible in the amount of product they use-- you will pay for them in the long run.I have not done any formal calculations but would not be surprised if they used twice the amount to produce the same lather as a comparable badger or synthetic. Thus a cheapskate, wanting to save money on a brush, will also get screwed in the end.
A small (22mm max) synthetic brush and a high powered, highly efficient soap seem to be the secret to success. I've been using a .99€ Frank Shaving synthetic brushlet for several weeks now, along with Meißner Tremonia soaps. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say the soap will last until the end of the year.
There are important ideas here. I would tend to agree with both the bang for your buck analysis of soap quality and the tendency of boar to require more soap. There are limits to quality also however, and there may be a point where you begin buying prestige over practicality.
Well, Wayne, there is a time and place for everything. In my opinion, everyone who posts on the internet has an exhibitionist streak to some degree. There are contributing factors, such as inferiority complexes, or simple greed. But that's OK, because deep in our hearts, we all know that.
When I started with cut-throat shaving, I was in it for three factors: novelty, efficiency, and coolness. I spent years buying stuff. Not quite blindly, but borderline OCD. I never calculated what I spent exactly, but I am sure I could have paid a barber and butler for the rest of my life, easily.
So, each foray into a different area of cut-throat shaving resulted in a heap (literally, I'm afraid) of excess kit. I kept most of the razors, which was pretty damn clever, because each of them has seen a 100-800% price increase since (except for one Puma which shall not be named). In the ensuing years, I sold almost everything else. Now, greed has never been a driver for me, so I picked the people to whom I sold stuff carefully, and they almost always ended up paying what I paid, not the marked up price.
There are, by now, few items I actually kept. The razors, yes, but their numbers are dwindling, too. Of the SEs I bought, I only kept the lather catchers in very good or excellent condition (five), and the usual GEM suspects (OCMM, FW, CP). I kept a few dozen SE blades from Sweden because they're hard to get as NOS, and I like giving them away to people I feel will cherish them.
Where was I? Ah, yes, brushes. See, I am German (mostly), and we happen to have a few rather nice brush makers in this country. Make as in "make", not "glue a $2 Chinese import knot into a piece of wood or worse". And we have (one of) Europe's best stocked shaving shop in Berlin, near which I lived for several years. Splendid, really. I did what, in my not so humble opinion, more people should do, I actually spoke to the manufacturers and retailers, getting a feel for their take on brushes. It quickly became apparent that there are very few, yet distinct, types of brushes. So we had grey badger, silvertip badger, fanboy badger, and third world nonsense nobody in their right mind wanted to use (horse, boar, plastic). Since then, synthetics have become quite usable, but that was then, ie 10 years ago.
So, I overspent (a little) on brushes. Including, of course, fanboy badgers. I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Anyone who buys a badger brush with more than one adjective is an idiot (and I am speaking from first hand experience). Super duper Manchrurian ACRONYM RARE!!!!! badger is *drumroll* a silvertip badger. End of story. Well not quite the end, because you pay for every single letter of these marketing terms.
I ended up with six Thäter brushes, and I only use two of them, really. A 26mm two band fan, and a custom made two band 22m travel brush. I should sell the rest, but one is rarer than rare, and the others were gifts.
Then a friend came back from China where his entrepreneurial Chinese wife had done some research into Chinese shaving brushes. A few lessons to be learned. The average silvertip badger knot available from retailers outside China has a buying price of less than $5, more like $2 if you speak the language, like haggling, and buy bulk. Yes, I am talking about those fancily named knots "artisan" brush makers like to use and which typically retail for something like $30-60. If dealing drugs or guns seems too risky, badger knots have a similar profit margin.
Said friend came back with a truckload of indigenous brushes, including that tiny Frank Shaving synthetic. I must admit that I threw it into a box labeled "for people I don't particularly care about, but who are in financial need and need shaving equipment". About a year later, I got horrendously bored, and tried it.
It worked. It worked very well. Very well, indeed. Now, I know that some people wax lyrical about the alleged differences between high mountain whiter than the Aryan resistance badgers vs high mountain whiter than snow badgers. Bollocks. This little thing just works, and it produces lather more consistently and efficiently than any badger brush I have tried so far (hint: most). I borrowed one of the new Simpson synthetics, and it works just as well, only at 60 times the cost.
Lesson learned: If you used to dismiss synthetics a few years ago, you were quite right. But you might want to revisit them now. Especially the cheap ones from China. They can be had from Alibaba (and probably eBay) for something like $5-10, and they will give most, if not all, badger brushes a run for their money.
That said, they are soulless, classless, and styleless, which is why I still use my badger brushes. But that's mostly stubbornness.
I hope this helps clear things up a little.
Have a great weekend, gentlemen, Robin
PS I have not the slightest idea what my FS synthetic is called. It's small, black, incredibly ugly, has a cheap feel - maybe that will help narrow a search down.
Last Edit: Jul 24, 2015 2:21:57 GMT -6 by BeBerlin
wchnu: If I liked him more I might actually feel bad about that.
Sept 17, 2017 18:54:02 GMT -6
wchnu: Did I type...THAT... Outloud???? Oops
Sept 17, 2017 18:54:28 GMT -6
birdlives: I hear nothing....I see nothing.....Hospital Koodies.......Yeaagh!!!! A DE with a Derby!!! NOPE!!! I hear nothing...I see nothing...If I go under the anesthesia, I'm taking someone I can trust to WATCH all that business....I can trust you guys, RIGHT ?
Sept 17, 2017 19:18:03 GMT -6
wchnu: Why yessss you can...uhhuh,..sure can...most the time anyway.
Sept 17, 2017 19:35:00 GMT -6
birdlives: What about that Canadian Rocket Dood? Can I trust him too?
Sept 17, 2017 19:38:22 GMT -6
wchnu: Hard to say....but prolly so.
Sept 17, 2017 22:40:17 GMT -6
GarnerPW: I just read what you wrote there Fuzz or should I say Mr. Fuzz. And all this time I thought you liked me.
Sept 18, 2017 4:38:29 GMT -6
GarnerPW: Don't trust him there Bird. You know what they say, "You can't trust the Man/Fuzz". The Canuck, is alright though.
Sept 18, 2017 4:43:20 GMT -6
birdlives: I don't know......Have you seen what that crazy Canuck does in a bath tub?
Sept 18, 2017 13:31:26 GMT -6
GarnerPW: No what???
Sept 18, 2017 13:33:24 GMT -6
Alan: Boy, I thought I was going nuts, so I stared at it for a while and realized Riverruns avatar winks.
Sept 19, 2017 21:29:17 GMT -6
birdlives: ALAN!!.....Uh...Oh....you're right! That could be dangerous! This might be a case for the avatar police! I stretched his avatar as big as my i-Pad screen...Bam! It blinked and I jumped...lol!
Sept 20, 2017 2:04:25 GMT -6
wchnu: Garner..did I type That outloud..darn. the SE dude is a good guy though.
Sept 20, 2017 17:33:32 GMT -6
wchnu: Alan!!! Good to see you. I will check out that avatar. Sounds spooky.
Sept 20, 2017 17:34:08 GMT -6
wchnu: It really does wink!!
Sept 21, 2017 0:47:42 GMT -6