Insights are a new type of article on Anthronicle.com which feature a more in-depth look at the user experience of a specific shaving product. The first installment of Insights features a relatively new player in the synthetic shaving brush field, the Omega S-Brush. In this article, I’ll provide a brief overview of the Omega S-Brush line, then detail my personal experience with four different Omega S-Brush models.
The Omega S-Brush line features the new Omega synthetic boar fiber knot on classic, established Omega handle offerings. In general, the synthetic boar S-Brush fiber knot mimics the characteristics of a broken-in, natural boar bristle brush but with the benefits of other synthetic fiber knots including no break-in period, no soaking necessary prior to the shave, quick drying properties, and somewhat increased durability. The knot is available in a few different sizes from 21mm x ~50mm all the way up to the Omega Pro size, each with their own performance characteristics.
Omega S-Brush #S-10077:
The Omega S-Brush model #S-10077 is the smallest brush from the line that I have experience with measuring approximately 21-22mm in knot width at the base. Similar to the other brushes in the S-Brush line, the #S-10077 performed quite well in loading and lathering both soaps and creams. I found that less product and time was necessary to whip-up adequate, shave-ready lathers. The face feel of the fiber is on the softer side with a bit of a pokey feel. I would best describe this as a light needle prick. Nothing painful, but a bit of a poke that can be pushed through easily. All of the S-Brush knots exhibit what some call “backbone.” I prefer to clarify this characteristic by describing it as a stiffness to the fiber. I found that, compared with the other Omega S-Brush models, the #S-10077 had the least amount of fiber stiffness and required the least amount of pressure to splay on the face. Consequently, this brush also exhibited the least amount of spring in the knot. The hollow handle is made of molded plastic with the bottom piece available in three different colors. During my initial use of this model, the clear bottom piece of the handle came loose and separated from the rest of the handle. Nothing a dab of superglue could not fix.
Omega S-Brush #S-10065 and #S-10019:
The Omega S-Brush #S-10065 (blue) and #S10019 (black/clear) differ only in handle type as they use the same ~23-24mm knot. The loft is similar in length to the slightly smaller #S-10077. These brushes exhibited the same quick lathering with less product capability as the #S-10077 model, but with a bit more stiffness to the knot. With the approximate 23mm width of the knot at the base, the brush has a fuller feel and requires a slightly greater amount of pressure to splay. The needle-like poke of the tips remained present but is easily pushed through similar to the smaller #S-10077. I appreciated the slightly greater amount of spring to the knot while utilizing paintbrush-style strokes. The size of these models seemed to have a “just right” feel to them as I enjoyed both face and bowl lathering with each. The hollow two piece handle of the #S-10019 is slightly longer then the one piece #S-10065. Additionally, the clear plastic bottom handle piece spins freely in the handle and will separate with a little force. Alternatively, the one piece handle on the #S-10065 seemed to have a somewhat sturdier feel, and I appreciated the flared bulb design of the handle towards the knot while splaying the brush.
Omega S-Brush #S-10108:
The Omega S-Brush #S-10108 is the largest brush in the line with the Omega Pro size knot. The knot is significantly longer in loft and wider at the base compared with the other offerings above. As a result, this brush has the stiffest fiber of the lot and is noticeably more springy. Splaying the brush requires a fair amount of pressure. I found loading from puck containers to be somewhat more difficult with this brush as the knot simply bends at the mid-point of the fiber, then springs into the side of the container. Loading from a puck container required an alternative approach using only the very tips of the brush. Face feel of the S-10108 is quite different from the smaller sized S-Brush variants. It is the only S-Brush that I would describe as having a scrubby feel to it. Additionally, the needle-like pokey feel of the tips is greater in this Pro-sized brush likely due to the stiffer knot. While splaying the brush is not difficult, it does require far more pressure than the smaller knots and the size of the brush once splayed took up nearly half my face. This resulted in some messy experiences as lather ended up all over the place. The splay seemed to be all or nothing in that the fiber is so springy that you can either fully splay it or just use the needle tips, no in between or sweet spot in the splay. After using this brush several times to gain experience to write this article, I don’t see myself going back to it again. Perhaps it would be best used for lathering other body parts with more surface area and less sensitivity compared to the face.
Competitive Options and Value:
I’m not aware of any other synthetic brushes currently on the market that are designed specifically to mimic natural boar bristle. Most other synthetics seem to be marketed as having badger-like properties. If you know of other synthetic boar brushes on the market, please leave a comment below. Value is a fairly subjective quality that will vary for each individual. That said, I think all of the Omega S-Brushes above are high-value brushes that offer great performance for the price as they can be had for between $7 -$10 each.
I really enjoy using the non-Pro versions of the Omega S-Brush. I find that they are capable of producing consistent quality lathers with relatively less amounts of product. I like the face feel of the fiber in the smaller S-Brush variants and often reach for an S-Brush when I am seeking a bit of exfoliation. I also recently traveled with an S-Brush and appreciated the quick drying quality of the fiber. For a minimal cost, I think the Omega S-Brush is great option for a high-value synthetic brush.
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