Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scrubby or scrubbing brushes

Brush aficionados mention often the scrubbiness, backbone and density of a brush. Usually in a sense that more is better, less is inferior. Sometimes it is acknowledged that excessive density can lead to problems with the release of lather but otherwise little is mentioned about the disadvantages of stiff dense brushes.

There's irony here. There is no doubt that enthusiasts tend to favour more backbone and density because there is a preference for soaps and face lathering. They like to scrub their face and swirl around with an exfoliating lather. Yet the major shaving brush manufacturers emphasise that a brush should be used gently using long to and fro motions to apply lather with just the tips of the brush head. The very opposite of what enthusiasts like to do.

The other irony is that when you visit a shop which stocks good quality brushes for the general shaver or possible gifts, most brushes on offer are what enthusiasts would write off as soft and floppy. Even in Jermyn Street and St James there are virtually no two bands to be seen.

Personally, I don't like extremes yet I enjoy variety. So occasionally I paint and sometimes I scrub, some days I prefer soap, others, it's cream. So I'm pleased to have a variety of brushes. There's joy in each.

What't the point here? Don't be too swift to follow the herd. Try different things and find out for yourself what you prefer.

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