Just like a good lather is alpha and omega for an enjoyable shave, a good brush is alpha and omega for building a good lather. Luckily good brushes are easy to come by, both cheap and less cheap. If you’re just starting out, a synthetic brush from Body Shop or a similar place is more than good enough. Modern synthetic is – apparently – a decent match for boar bristles, but with the added benefit of drying quickly. This also make them excellent brushes for travelling.
Choosing between boar and badger is a subject that is often discussed at great length in various online forums. Personally I have developed a liking for the third option; horse hair brushes. Not only are they cruelty free, being made from mane trimmings, but they also combines a solid backbone, springiness and the ability to hold plenty of water – all qualities that makes them excellent in my opinion when it comes to building a good lather. I also like my boar brush, especially when it comes to building lather from a soft cream, but I’ve yet to try a badger brush… good badger brushes are not cheap.
Much like finding the perfect blade, the perfect brush is a matter of personal preference. At the same time you don’t need to have to perfect brush to get a really good shave, so don’t worry too much about finding it right away.