Posts Tagged ‘shaving’

Her Cup Runneth Over

Friday, 22 October 2010

One of the persisting confusions these days is that between a shaving mug and a mustache cup. In fact, they are quite different things.

A shaving mug is a mug in which soap, cream, or lotion is worked into a lather with a brush, which lather is then applied by brush to some area to be shaved.

A mustache cup is a drinking cup, with a guard to keep the drinker's mustache from being wet by and drawn into the drink.

Though, really, the guard of a mustache cup would simply be in the way if it were used as a shaving mug, none-the-less, in era in which relatively few people use shaving mugs, and almost no one uses a mustache cup, it's not a terrible surprise that the two should be confused. So I don't typically much reäct when seeing one listed as the other (or as both) on eBay.

However, I'm definitely amused when seeing a mustache cup listed as Antique Mustache Shaving Lavender Ladies Cup & Saucer (underscore mine). [images of mustache cup] There were and are women who've been unfortunate when it came to facial hair; and some have had enough of a mustache that they could have got use from a mustache cup as such; but I really doubt that anyone has manufactured mustache cups specifically for ladies.

Brushes with Dishonesty

Sunday, 22 March 2009

[Up-Date (2009:07/17): Some time after this entry was posted, removed its fraudulent claims, which had been up since at least 19 July 2006.]

At, they claim

Believe it or not, a young man actually thought we killed badgers to get these bristles for our shaving brushes. Nothing could be further from the truth. The manufacturer of these superior quality brushes maintains a flock of badgers that are more pampered and coddled than any badger in the wild, or any domestic animal for that matter.
The page on which they advertise the line of shave brushes doesn't identify the maker in text, but on the handles one can see that these brushes are branded Col. Ichabod Conk.

The Conk brushes are manufactured by Progress-Vulfix Ltd and by Dovo.

Progress-Vulfix Ltd makes no claims about a flock of badgers[1] nor of not using the bristles of killed badgers on the page where they describe their brushes at nor on that at Neither the string cruelty-free nor vegan are found at, nor at

The brush that Dovo supplies to Conk isn't listed on the page of brushes sold by But, for the record, the strings ohne Grausamkeit [without cruelty], Grausamkeit-frei, cruelty-free, and vegan do not appear at the Dovo site. is registered to Jim H. Hedgepath of 129 Minnie Fallaw Road, Lexington, SC 29073-8226.

[1] A company of badgers is called a cete /sit/.


Thursday, 12 March 2009

Previously, I wrote of how a Jack Black® Pure Performance Shave Brush, with synthetic bristles, proved to be far better than the Burma Shave™ boar-bristle brush that I had been using.

I said that I would probably try, for the sake of comparison, an Art of Shaving® badger-bristle brush that I had, and there was some interest in my doing so.

That badger-bristle brush is not of the highest grade. Above it would be the best badger, and better than the best would be the silvertip badger. I'm not going to be trying a best brush or a silvertip brush, because I'm not going to contribute to the the deaths of more badgers. (Again, I got my boar-bristle brush in a state of ignorance, and my badger bristle brush was likewise got by someone who didn't know that badgers were killed for the bristles.) FWIW, I've read that there isn't much difference between an ordinary badger-bristle shave brush and a best badger-bristle shave brush, but that there is a remarkable difference between a silvertip brush and a best badger-bristle shave brush.

In any event, I found the Art of Shaving® badger-bristle brush much better than the Burma Shave™ boar-bristle brush, but the Jack Black® synthetic-bristle brush significantly better than the Art of Shaving® brush.

The Art of Shaving® brush still irritated my skin somewhat. I don't know to what extent that was a result of the overt texture of the bristles and to what extent it was an allergic reäction or something like an allergic reäction. The Black brush has no such effect.

Both the badger brush and the the Black brush have a much greater tendency to hold water than does the boar brush.

I've only tried the badger brush and the Black brush with a hard cake shaving soap. (I once tried the boar brush with a thick shaving cream from Lush, but that the experiment suggested that that stuff shouldn't be applied with a brush at all.) I have other shaving soaps with which I can experiment later, but I don't mean to conductive extensive further comparisons of these brushes.

For those who are interested, here is a list of the synthetic shave brushes of which I am aware:

Many of them have been reviewed at Badger & Blade.

The Eco-Dupe's Shaving Kit

Sunday, 22 February 2009

In The Eco Gentleman's Shaving Kit: Back to Basics by Rob Knox at Greenopia, there is a reference to a shave brush made of cruelty-free badger hair, linked to a listing at for a shaving kit from Baxter of California, which listing describes the kit as Environmentally Friendly and Cruelty Free.

However, a Google search for cruelty free at produces no hits, and Baxter's own description of their travel brush (in that kit), and that of their other shave brush simply don't report how the badger bristles are harvested. It is hardly plausible that Baxter of California would fail to mention that the badger were spared death or injury, as this would repel few-if-any customers, while attracting many of those who would otherwise purchase high-end synthetic brushes.

(Mr Knox also declares old [straight] razors from junk and antique shops are perfectly suitable once cleaned and sharpened, but this is only true in cases where the straight razors were of high quality before they got dirty and dull. There are plenty of new straight razors, such as those from Zeepk, which aren't suitable, because they are badly manufactured.)

Brush with Destiny

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

This morning, I tried a Jack Black® Pure Performance Shave Brush. Its bristles are synthetic (the badger lives to see another day) and anti-microbial, but designed to perform like a silver tip badger brush (which is generally held to be the best sort).

I have a Burma Shave™ boar-bristle brush that I got before I learned that boars were killed for the bristles, and an Art of Shaving® basic badger-bristle brush given to me as a gift before the giver learned that badgers were killed for the bristles. Jointly, these could last quite a few years. But I was quite interested to try a synthetic brush, partly so that I would know whether they were good gifts, and partly so that I could write and speak about them from experience.

The thing that I always read about most synthetics is that that they don't hold water as well as do natural bristle brushes. Well, I've not yet done a head-to-head comparison with anything but the boar-bristle brush, but the Black® brush definitely holds considerably more water than does a Burma Shave™ boar-bristle brush. (So much so, in fact, that I ended-up with far more dilute lather than I wanted. That's a problem that I can easily address, by just shaking out the brush before I put it in the soap.)

The Black® brush also feels much nicer against my skin than does the boar-bristle brush, and certainly nicer than did the boar-bristle brush when it was new. And the boar-bristle brush smelled like a musky animal when it was new, whereäs the Black® brush naturally didn't. (Jack Black in fact gave it some sort of pleasant scent which I presume will wash away with use.)

I will probably, at some future point, try the genuine badger brush that I was given. The badger whence the bristles came isn't going to get any more killed; and, while I wouldn't thus have tested the Black® brush against a high-end badger brush, I would at least have tested it against a badger brush of some sort.

While I am on the subject of shave brushes, I would like to mention the Burt's Bees® Natural Bristle Shaving Brush, found in their Bay Rum Men's Shaving Kit and sometimes sold separately. A little research confimed my suspicion that the bristles are boar bristles.

Burt's Bees proclaims

our goal is to help create a world where people have the information and tools they need to make the highest ethical choices
Now, reasonable people might argue over whether it's ethical to kill animals for shaving products, but one doesn't have the information needed to make the highest ethical choices if one isn't being told that these natural bristles were harvested from killed boars; plainly a significant share of Burt's Bees' customers would have concluded that the use of such bristles were unethical. And we may safely presume that the boars were killed (though there is a ranch in Spain that would happily sell them bristles sheared from boars who are not killed), because Burt's Bees, which makes a point of telling us that it doesn't engage in animal testing hasn't made a point of telling us that these bristles were sheared from live boars.

Possibly Burt's Bees just didn't know any better (much as I didn't know any better). I notice that the Bay Rum Men's Shaving Kit is presently listed as currently out of stock, and I can't find the brush itself listed separately at their site (though I can find it sold by Red Rain, a company that claims to offer the concientious consumer earth friendly, cruelty free products and services). But Burt's Bees has grossly failed its customers, either willfully or inadvertantly, and owes to them an explanation and an apology.

Brushes with Death

Thursday, 31 July 2008

As a result of contemplating eventual replacement of my shaving brush, I have been looking into how three sorts of animal hair are harvested — badger, boar, and horse.

A type of badger bristle is used for the finest sorts of shaving brushes, but these bristles are got from killed badgers. As much as I would like a high-quality shaving brush, I do not want to do anything to promote the killing of badgers. (Their populations could be controlled without slaughter.)

Other shaving brushes (like some hair brushes) are made with boar bristles. Most boar bristles seem to come from killed boars, but there is actually at least one firm that shears living boars to harvest their bristles. I'll look into brushes from such a source.

(I can also get a synthetic-bristle shaving brush, though by all accounts these are inferior to natural-bristle brushes.)

I was under the impression that some shave brushes were made with horse hair, but seem to have been mistaken on that score. [Up-Date (2 August): I have indeed found some horse-hair shaving brushes.] In any event, I learned that some horses are raised for the hair of their manes or tails, which is clipped, but that most horse hair comes from slaughtered horses.