Do Synthetic Shaving Brushes Break In? How To Soften Your Brush?

Synthetic brushes are durable, affordable, and good at lathering. But due to the nature of the bristle material, new brushes of this type are stiff. That’s why many ask: do synthetic shaving brushes break in?

The good news is that synthetic shaving brushes do become softer with time. However, there are things you need to do to achieve this. The article will help you answer your question and show you what to do to make the brush ready for use. 

Synthetic shaving brushes are different from badger brushes, so do they break in?
Synthetic shaving brushes are different from badger brushes, so do they break in?

Do Synthetic Shaving Brushes Break-In?

No, they don’t.

Synthetic shaving brushes are made of nylon bristles and are stiff when they are still new. These nylon bristles are man-made synthetic fibers to ensure better drying ability, softness, and longevity.

Unlike badger brushes and boar brushes, synthetic shaving brushes won’t change their properties much over time. However, they will get smoother and more comfortable to use. 

The exact amount of time varies among different brushes, which can be from a few weeks to a few months. 

How Do You Soften Synthetic Brushes?

While synthetic shaving brushes cannot break in like badger brushes, there are things you can do to make them softer for more comfort in future uses. 

The fastest way is to expose your brush to hot water and lather for a longer time than usual. Here’s how to do it correctly.

Clean The Shaving Brush

By cleaning your new synthetic shaving brush, you can get rid of any odor remaining on the brush after it comes out of the production line. 

Also, whenever you clean your shaving brush, it is conditioned and keeps intensifying, which enhances its ability to hold water. As a result, the brush generates a more comfy and concentrated lather.

When doing this, you should use a small cup or mug in which the brush can stand straight upside down. Dilute a little dish detergent in hot water, then pour the mix into the cup so that the bristles are completely soaked in. 

Remember to place the brush upside down. You don’t want to soak the handle. Any type of handle will degrade when submerged in hot water repeatedly, and this is especially true for certain materials, such as wood. 

Soak The Bristles For 10 To 20 Minutes

After pouring the water-dish detergent into the cup, leave it for a full 10 minutes to 20 minutes for the bristles to have enough time to soak.

Make sure the handle is not soaked
Make sure the handle is not soaked

Rinse With Hot Water

After soaking the bristles, take the brush out of the cup and rinse the bristles in hot water. Make sure all the soapy water is completely rinsed off the bristles, even the residue close to the handle part.

Lather Up 

Now, your brush should be clean and have no fragrances. The next thing to do is recreate the shaving routine with this brush, except that you don’t actually shave. 

This step also packs all the uses that may spread over weeks into one night. 

It’s simple. Use your shaving cream or shaving soap and lather up the brush as if you were preparing to shave. You should lather from top to bottom of the bristles and form as much lather as possible. 

Let It Sit Overnight

Once you have got the nice, thick lather typical for synthetic brushes, leave it in your bathroom overnight. During this time, the alkali in the shaving cream will soften the bristles. 

Rinse The Bristles And Let Them Air Dry

The next morning, rinse the bristles to get rid of all the lather and leave it for air drying. 

It’s worth noting that this process won’t make your synthetic shaving brush immediately soft overnight, but it will surely make the tool much more comfortable to use on your face. The texture, smell, and the ability to lather will definitely improve. 

Air-dry the brush by letting it sit or hanging it upside down
Air-dry the brush by letting it sit or hanging it upside down

How To Maintain A Synthetic Shaving Brush 

Cleaning The Brush Properly

Cleaning your synthetic shaving brush not only removes residue but also makes the bristles even softer. 

Regular Cleaning

Spend a few minutes after shaving on cleaning your synthetic shaving brush with the following simple steps: 

  1. You need first to rinse it in warm water. Be careful and rinse it thoroughly to remove any shaving cream or shaving soap residue. 
  2. Squeeze the bristles gently to drain the excess water from the knots. 
  3. Let it sit in a well-ventilated area to air dry the bristles. 

Deep Cleaning

Even if you clean your shaving brush daily, there are build-ups over time and you need to deep clean the brush to make it new again. 

When there is residue built up around the bristle base or at the top of the handle, it’s time to give your shaving brush a deep clean. Another sign is when the bristles lose their suppleness and resiliency.

  1. Rinse the shaving brush, and make sure it’s completely soaked with warm water.
  2. Use a detergent to clean the brush gently. 
  3. Soak the brush in a water-vinegar solution for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse it under running water. 
  5. Clean the brush again with detergent and water to clear the vinegar residue and fragrance.
  6. Rinse the brush one last time.
  7. Let the brush sit and air dry.

Dry The Brush Properly

After cleaning your brush, you need to let it dry fully. The best way to do this is to suspend it in a shaving brush stand. It allows all the water to run off the bristles easily and prevents water from getting to the handle.

If you don’t have a brush stand, you can leave your tool standing upright for air-drying. 

Either way, let your brush dry properly and completely in a well-ventilated location, not in a cabinet or shower stall.

Store Your Brush Correctly

Similar to drying, you need to store your brush in a place with good ventilation, away from heat and direct sunlight. You should also avoid high humidity as it makes your brush dry slower, not good for maintaining its quality.


Do you need to soak synthetic brushes?

No, you don’t have to soak a synthetic brush before use. You just need to wet it thoroughly and shake out any excess water, then you can use it to lather.

When should I get a new synthetic shaving brush?

Synthetic shaving brushes last longer than badger hair brushes, over 15 years. To determine when it’s time to replace your shaving brush, you need to pay attention to certain signs. 

The first obvious sign is when it has mold. Secondly, if you notice a considerable amount of bristles falling off the brush when lathering, it’s time to buy a new one. Thirdly, when using the brush, if it loses strength or feels flimsy, you should think about shopping. 

How often should you clean a shaving brush?

Apart from the regular cleaning that you do after each use, you should deep clean your shaving brush once every three to twelve months.

Final Thoughts

In short, do synthetic shaving brushes break in? No, they don’t really break in. That said, with a thorough treatment, you can make it significantly softer before use. 

More importantly, your synthetic shaving brush will continue to soften after each wash. So, don’t be lazy, and remember to clean your brush carefully once you’ve finished your shave. 

Lee Cantor

Provide the best shaving product reviews and shaving advices to the wetshaving community and friends.

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