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After decades of relying on landfill-clogging disposable razors, more and more people are returning to the old school method of shaving with a double edge safety edge razor.

That’s great news for the environment, but one tool in the traditional shaving kit may pose a problem for a cruelty-free vegan: the badger bristle shaving brush.

Fortunately, there are vegan shaving brushes available that can offer an even better shaving experience than cruel, animal-based bristles.

Before we reveal the best synthetic shaving brush, let’s learn more about using and choosing shaving brushes.

What is a shaving brush?

man holding synthetic shaving brush

If you’ve been using disposable razors for your whole adult life, chances are you may have never even seen a shaving brush in person. It’s a short-handled brush with soft, domed bristles used to lather and apply shaving cream.

Although the shaving brush is a simple invention, the lingo used to describe it can be confusing. We’ll cover the basics so you can feel confident when choosing a synthetic shaving brush.

The anatomy of a shaving brush

Knot: The bristles of the brush. Qualities to consider in a brush’s knot are its density, softness, and height. Taller knots tend to be gentler on the face and are better suited for sensitive skin. Knots with larger diameters work more efficiently but are also generally more expensive than brushes with small knots.


Handle: Well, I don’t need to tell you which part the handle is. Handles come in all kinds of shapes, heights, textures, and materials. It goes without saying, but you’ll obviously want to avoid handles made from horn or ivory and opt for metal, wood, acrylic, glass, or another animal-free material instead.


Choose the length of the handle based on the size of your hands for a more comfortable grip. Heavier handles tend to perform better, so you’ll want to avoid lightweight, flimsy handles.


Loft: The height from the bottom of the handle to the top of the knot. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding what size loft to choose — it’s purely a matter of preference.


Brushes with a smaller loft are more compact and better for traveling, plus they tend to be cheaper. They’re also better suited for users with smaller hands. Brushes with larger lofts will typically be more expensive but are generally better balanced and may perform slightly better.


Backbone: How much the resistance the brush has when pressure is applied to it. Brushes with shorter knots tend to have more backbone, which helps them lather more quickly and efficiently. Brushes with less backbone may feel softer on the face but aren’t ideal for lathering a puck of shaving soap.

Why use a shaving brush?

It may seem redundant to use a shaving brush to apply shaving cream when your fingers work just fine, but a quality shaving brush does so much more than your hands can alone.

With its thousands of soft, pliable bristles, the brush aerates your shaving cream or soap, allowing for a lighter, fluffier application of shaving cream than you could achieve with just your hands.

The bristles also help to soften and lift your hair and gently exfoliate your skin, giving you a much more comfortable and luxurious shave.

The advantages of using a synthetic shaving brush

barber using shaving brush with synthetic bristles

Dedicated enthusiasts of old school shaving techniques will often insist that badger hair brushes are the creme de la creme of shaving brushes, but they shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss synthetic brushes. Aside from the obvious advantage of being cruelty-free, synthetic brushes are also more affordable than overpriced badger hair brushes, plus they’re easier to clean.

Unlike animal hair brushes, synthetic brushes don’t require soaking prior to use because they’re already so soft, and you don’t have to deal with the musky odor that’s found in even the most high-end badger brushes. Synthetic brushes are also far less likely to shed bristles, which helps extend the life of the brush.

While badger bristles tend to be slightly stiffer than synthetics and thus, more efficient at exfoliating your skin, I think we can all agree that we’d rather exfoliate with a plant-based scrub than the bristles of a dead animal!

How are badger bristle brushes made?

badger in natural habitat

Just like any other fur-based product, shaving brushes made from badgers, boars, and any other animal are products of animal cruelty. An investigation by PETA Asia revealed horrific cruelty on a badger hair farm in China, where illegally captured wild badgers were confined in cramped wire cages, often without food or water, and subjected to violent abuse.

Seeing as most badger hair is imported from China, where animal welfare laws are close to nonexistent, you can imagine that the findings of this investigation aren’t the exception, but the rule.

No amount of shaving brushes, hair brushes, or paint brushes could be worth the suffering and death of these intelligent, beautiful animals, which is why we advocate so wholeheartedly for cruelty-free, synthetic alternatives.

How to use a synthetic shaving brush

In order to reap the benefits of using a shaving brush, you’ll need to learn the proper techniques to mix and apply lather. The easiest way to learn is by watching, so here’s a helpful video demonstrating the different methods of mixing a rich lather and applying it to your face (or anywhere else that you choose to shave).

How to clean a synthetic shaving brush

How long a synthetic shaving brush lasts will depend largely on your ability to clean and maintain it. A thorough rinse with warm water will work for a daily clean, but you’ll want to deep clean your brush every week or so.

To deep clean a synthetic brush, you can use a makeup brush shampoo, or go the DIY route and make simple solutions of white vinegar or dish soap.

To clean with vinegar, mix a solution of nine parts hot water to one part distilled white vinegar in a cup or small bowl, filling just enough to submerge your brush’s bristles. The process is the same with dish soap, just swap out the vinegar with a few drops of soap.

Let your brush soak in your solution for ten minutes, occasionally swirling and pumping it to loosen stubborn residue. Rinse with warm water until the water runs clear, gently squeeze out as much water as possible, then use a clean, dry towel to wipe the bristles and fluff them outwards. This will help the brush retain its shape.

From there, all you have to do is let your brush air dry and it’ll be ready for your next shave.

The Best Badger-Free Shaving Brushes

Now that you know all there is to know about choosing, using, and caring for a synthetic shaving brush, you’re ready to be introduced to our favorite cruelty-free shaving brushes.

VIKINGS BLADE Luxury Shaving Brush

Starting off our list is the VIKINGS BLADE Luxury Shaving Brush, made with synthetic badger hair and an acrylic base, available in four different colors.

Users like that the handle on this brush is solid and heavy, lending balance and sturdiness to the brush. The bristles are just soft enough for most buyers and are able to lather quickly and efficiently, even with hard water. Most users enjoy excellent water retention and minimal bristle shedding with their VIKINGS BLADE Luxury Shaving Brush, but a few others felt the water retention was lacking and experienced severe bristle fallout.

Other dissatisfied users expressed that this Luxury Shaving Brush wasn’t quite soft enough for them and actually feels harsh on their face, while others felt that it took unusually long to “break in” this brush.

One thing buyers of this brush can agree on almost unanimously is that it’s simply beautiful and will make a stunning addition to any shaving kit or bathroom sink.


  • Heavy handle
  • Soft bristles
  • Lathers quickly
  • Excellent water retention
  • Minimal bristle shedding for most
  • Beautiful


  • Too stiff for some
  • Longer break-in period
  • Some experience excessive shedding

Parker Safety Razor Synthetic Bristle Shaving Brush

The Parker Safety Razor Synthetic Shaving Brush offers another cruelty-free alternative to badger brushes. This shaving brush pleases users with its super soft bristles, which lather quickly and rinse clean easily. This synthetic has little to no bristle shedding, and conveniently comes with its own stand.

While there is a lot to love about this brush by Parker Safety Razor, it’s not for everyone. Some users feel that this brush — and the stand it comes with — are far too lightweight. The knot and handle of the brush are too small for some, and the bristles aren’t great at retaining heat or water. This may be more suitable as a backup or travel brush rather than the main shaving brush in your kit.


  • Easy to clean
  • Super soft bristles
  • No shedding
  • Comes with stand


  • Too small for some
  • Too lightweight
  • Doesn’t retain heat or water well

RazoRock Plissoft Synthetic Shaving Brush

Next on our list is the RazoRock Plissoft Synthetic Shaving Brush, which has earned itself a loyal following in the wet shaving community. Users rave over the great value of this brush, which far outperforms most synthetic brushes in its price range.

The Plissoft lathers quite well with little product and dries quickly after cleaning. It has a comfortable, ergonomic handle and luxuriously soft bristles that will make you wonder why anyone would choose to use animal hair. It also has little to no shedding, according to users.

While most users are in love with this brush, a few, more selective wet shavers complain that this brush is lacking backbone, but that’s purely a matter of preference.

Overall, the RazoRock Plissoft is a solid choice for those looking for an economical, efficient synthetic shaving brush.


  • Outperforms its price point
  • Comfortable, weighted handle
  • Minimal shedding
  • Produces thick lather with little product
  • Dries quickly
  • Very soft


  • Not enough backbone for some

HAIRCUT AND SHAVE CO. Proven Synthetic Shaving Brush

The HAIRCUT AND SHAVE CO. Synthetic Shaving Brush will make a unique, attractive addition to any shaving kit, but rest assured that this brush doesn’t rest on looks alone.

Most users love the knot on this brush: super soft and dense, but with a solid backbone for efficient lathering. A few others feel that it’s too long, but to each their own!

This brush has excellent water retention for lathering purposes, but when it’s time to clean and rinse it, it dries surprisingly quickly, making it much more low-maintenance than a badger hair brush.

Despite this brush’s economical price point, it doesn’t feel light or cheaply made. With its variety of unique designs and colors, solid weight, superb lathering capacities, and easy maintenance, there isn’t much to dislike about the HAIRCUT AND SHAVE CO. brush. A few users did note, however, that they had trouble finding a stand that fits with this brush.


  • Unique colors and designs
  • Super soft, with just enough backbone
  • Great water retention
  • Dries quickly
  • Balanced weight
  • Produces thick lather easily


  • Knot too long for some
  • Doesn’t fit most standard size brush stands

Frank Shaving Pur-Tech Synthetic Hair Shaving Brush

Rounding out our list of cruelty-free brushes is the Frank Shaving Pur-Tech Synthetic Hair Shaving Brush.

Users of this brush like it because it doesn’t shed, and it lathers well with both solid shaving soaps and creams. It’s soft, yet has some oomph, and it dries quickly, as most synthetic brushes do.

Not everyone who uses this brush has the best experience, though: some find that its water and heat retention are sorely lacking, which is a pretty significant drawback for a shaving brush. While most don’t have an issue with its softness, others wish that it had just a bit more exfoliating properties.

The Frank Shaving Pur-Tech Synthetic Hair Shaving Brush is by no means a bad brush, but it isn’t not exactly the best.


  • Doesn’t shed
  • Dries quickly
  • Lathers well with both solid soaps and creams
  • Soft bristles


  • So-so heat retention
  • Poor water retention
  • Too soft for some users

The BEST Shaving Brush with Synthetic Fiber

The competition for our number one pick was fierce, but the winner by a (synthetic) hair is the RazoRock Plissoft Synthetic Shaving Brush. Whether you’re buying your very first shaving brush or making the compassionate switch from badger to synthetic, chances are you’ll enjoy the Plissoft just as much as so many other users already do.

best synthetic shaving brush Razorock Plissoft

We chose this brush as our favorite synthetic because of its no-nonsense, user-friendly design and wallet-friendly price point. Its bristles are luxuriously soft, cutting down on irritation and helping you achieve a closer, more comfortable shave. It lathers extremely well without having to use a lot of product, has minimal shedding, and dries quickly after cleaning. Most users find that its ergonomically contoured handle makes it comfortable to hold.

A faction of more selective users may wish that this brush had more backbone to it, but that’s truly a matter of personal preference and isn’t an issue for most users. This brush may be our favorite, but as long as you’re buying a vegan shaving brush, you can feel good knowing that no animals had to suffer for your shave.

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Cristina fulfills her passion for animals and writing by working as an attendant at a dog daycare by day, and writing for HappyHappyVegan by night.

Before joining HHV’s team, Cristina wrote and edited petitions that focused on animal rights and environmental issues. She’s traveled the US with PETA’s youth outreach division, peta2, and Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) to educate thousands of college students about veganism and animal agriculture. As a vegan for nine years, she’s extremely grateful to live in Southern California, where there is no shortage of amazing vegan eats and events. She shares a home with her boyfriend, their Australian Cattle Dog, Piper, and her beloved houseplants.