The modern shaving brush may be traced to France during the 1750s. The French call a shaving brush blaireau or “badger.” Quality of these brushes differed greatly, as materials used to fashion the handles varied from the common to the exotic. It was not uncommon for handles to be made of ivory, gold, silver, tortoise shell, crystal, or porcelain. The more expensive brushes used badger hair, with cheaper ones using boar’s or horse’s hair. In the 1800s when the folding-handle straight razor design made it practical for men to shave themselves rather than visit a barber, a shave brush became a status symbol, and an expensive or eccentric brush was a way of asserting one’s personality or even affluence. The recent rapid rise in the popularity of “wet shaving” has raised demand for high quality and custom shaving brushes.
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