Do They Kill Badgers For Shaving Brushes: The Ultimate Answer

If you are a fan of traditional shaving, you must be familiar with shaving brushes. Having the highest quality shaving brush is one of the key factors to a perfect shave. 

However, when it comes to brushing bristles, many are raising one question: “Do they kill badgers for shaving brushes?” Read on to find the comprehensive answer and what action you can take. 

Are badgers killed for making shaving brushes?
Are badgers killed for making shaving brushes?

Do They Kill Badgers For Shaving Brushes?

To be short, yes. Unfortunately, badgers have been killed for shaving brushes for hundreds of years. 

A shaving brush is a small brush consisting of bristles parallel to the handle. This tool is used in traditional wet shaving to form a lather from shaving cream or soap, which lubricates the skin for easy shaving. 

It’s believed that badger shaving brushes were invented in France in the 1750s. While this information remains to be confirmed, it’s a fact that shaving brushes made with badger hair had already become popular in Western Europe by the early 1800s. 

Badgers have been captured from the wild and killed in places where they are considered pests. Originally, the Chinese have hunted badgers for food to tackle hunger in the past hundred years. 

Consequently, the badger hair demand resulted in an obvious side benefit for the country; and China has since become a primary source of badger hair for making brushing bristles. 

Lee's Razors
Lee's Razors

So, you have got the answer to your question, “are badgers killed to make shaving brushes?”.

Wild badgers are captured then killed for their fur
Wild badgers are captured then killed for their fur

Why Do They Use Badger Hair For Shaving Brushes?

There are several materials to make shaving brushes, but there are certain reasons why badger hair is still in use after hundreds of years of technology and scientific advancements. 

Badger Hair Offers The Highest Quality

A few different materials can be used to make shaving brush bristles, but badger hair is the most commonly used. 

By its nature, badger hair absorbs and holds water easily, which is an important property for lathering shaving soap. 

Badger hair is stiff but has finer tips. It means they can maintain the shape of the shaving brush while forming a thick lather for efficient wet shaving. 

Using badger hair, manufacturers can also create several grades of bristle brushes to produce various shaving experiences for different types of users. Overall, badger hair remains one of the best materials to make shaving bristles.

Different Types Of Badger Brushes

Badger hair taken from different parts of the animal’s body is not the same. Hence, there are a few types of brushes corresponding to the type of hair used.

  • Pure badger brushes: It’s the most common type, made with coarser leg, belly, and neck fur. These hair types are trimmed, making the resulting brushes more scratchy to the skin. They are a decent choice for beginners. 
  • Non-trimmed brushes: The best badger brushes are those whose hair is not trimmed, which keeps the soft tips of the hair, particularly belly hair. These are soft but still stiff enough to lather the shaving cream.
  • Silvertip brushes: This type of badger brush is made from top-tier bristles using neck fur. It offers the greatest softness and the highest quality fur, creates the creamiest lather, and has the gentlest feeling on the skin.
  • Two-band brushes: These cost a lot and come with a quality almost as good as silvertip ones. Fur used for two-band brushes is taken from the hind end of the badger. Such fur is darker in terms of color and is very scarce on the market. 
Each type of badger shaving brush uses fur from different sides of the animal
Each type of badger shaving brush uses fur from different sides of the animal

How Do They Get Badger Hair For Shaving Brushes?

Unlike sheep, suppliers do not domesticate badgers to harvest their fur. It means these wild animals are not used to human contact and fight back vigorously when their fur’s cut, which results in serious injuries for these poor animals. 

In addition to that, the fur obtained to make brushing bristles are taken from sensitive sides of the badger, causing a lot of pain and trauma to them. 

Otherwise, farmers straightforwardly kill badgers and then harvest their fur. 

With that in mind, if you are asking yourself, “are badger hair shaving brushes ethical”, the answer is no, unfortunately. On top of that, despite several alternatives available, the demand for badger fur in making shaving brushes remains high. 

Are badger shaving brushes cruel?

Yes, they are. 

Badger shaving brushes cause heartbreaking animal cruelty. To meet high demands, badgers are captured illegally using cruel methods like snares, causing these animals a lot of pain. 

Then, they are forced to breed in cages on badger farms. The farmers keep them in terrible conditions until they violently kill them to harvest hair for brushes. 

Alternatives To Badgers For Shaving Brushes

The best alternative to badger hair is synthetic hair. This is also the cheapest material to make brushes. 

Synthetic bristles can’t retain as much water or create as much foam as badger hair. However, synthetic hair offers a certain softness and elasticity similar to badger hair. On top of that, unlike pure badger hair, synthetic hair poses no irritation risks to sensitive skin.

Why Should You Care About Synthetic Knot Types?

Most synthetic knots share the same characteristics. That said, certain factors affect how they feel on your skin, including loft, shape, density, and bore size. 

  • Density: A denser knot feels tougher on the skin and requires more pressure from your hand to spread.
  • Height: A knot set higher on the brush gives a floppier feel while a knot set lower produces more backbone. 
  • Shape: A brush made in the bulb shape gives a more backbone feel and the fan shape means the brush splays better. 
  • Bore diameter:  There are two common bore diameters: 24-25 mm and 25-26 mm. The larger the diameter, the more room there is to splay out.

Different Types Of Synthetic Knots To Choose From

A shaving brush is made up of multiple knots, which are basically bundles of bristles. There are many types of knots for you to choose from when shopping for a synthetic shaving brush.

  • Plisson: This is the most popular type with comparable performance to badger hair. 
  • Ubisoft (1&2&3): This type of bristles has soft tips but strong backbones, equal to two-band badger brushes. Thanks to this structure, these knots excel at lathering.
  • Tuxedo – Black Wolf – Black Tie – Tuxedo: Popularity came to the Tuxedo knots because of how unusual they look. Bristles of this type come with soft tips and medium backbones, but they are not as springy as other synthetic knots.
  • Timber wolf: Timber wolf knots are super soft, offering a feeling similar to makeup brushes. They are gray and have black tips with low-mid backbones. 
  • Silk smoke – Hawk: These knots have white tips and a gray body with softer tips compared with Timber wolf knots. However, the backbone of these knots is much stronger than that of Timber wolf knots. 
  • Synbad – Mew: This type of knot comes with white cream tips and a brown body. Its fibers seem thicker than the typical synthetic knot.
  • Cashmere – Angel: These knots are not the best-looking ones, but they are extremely soft. They also offer the nicest flow among all types of synthetic knots these days.
  • Faux Horse: Faux horse bristles are dark brown with a low backbone and adequate springiness. 
  • Silver Synth: Featuring a medium backbone, silver synth knots resemble the original Uber soft ones. Their backbone offers a natural feel when wet, and brushes of this type do a great job at lathering. 
  • Motherlode: The fiber of this knot is the thinnest, and it has the plushest tips with dense bristles. 
Synthetic shaving brushes are the perfect alternative to badger brushes
Synthetic shaving brushes are the perfect alternative to badger brushes

Verdict

At this point, this article has answered the question, “Do they kill badgers for shaving brushes?”. Sadly, this is still the case these days. Suppliers obtain badger fur from their neck, belly, hind end, etc., to make bristles for shaving brushes.

However, if you don’t want to support this type of activity, you can always opt for “vegan” brushes made with synthetic knots. These are also good, soft, and especially have no adverse effects on sensitive skin.

Lee Cantor

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

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