A month or so ago, while looking for a nice mid-range synthetic shaving brush I happened to stumble upon the Every Man Jack Premium line of products. The Every Man Jack Premium shave line includes a cedarwood preshave oil, a cedarwood brush/brushless shaving cream, and a synthetic shave brush. The synthetic shave brush has a “woodgrain” handle and dyed synthetic bristles which are a step or two up from the first generation of synthetic shave brush fibres. After doing some exhaustive research I discovered that there is virtually no information available about this brush. Every Man Jack’s web site simply lists their advertising blurb without any technical data or reviews, and I could only find a single review of this brush on the various shaving forums (the brush is mentioned a handful of times, but only one of those mentions is an actual review). Normally I do not like to make purchases without at least some empirical and anecdotal data, but I like EMJ products and have already given the new cedarwood brush/brushless shaving cream a try. After doing some digging, I managed to find a discount coupon so that I could buy the brush for an amazingly low $13.49, so I shrugged my shoulders and took a leap.
The brush comes in a basic cardboard package with the same wood grain designed as the rest of the Premium shave line packaging. Unlike the rest of the Premium line, the brush also has a picture of its self on one side of the package. I assume this is to help sell the brush in store, but it still seems like a superfluous sort of design. Inside the package the brush is safely encased in plastic, without any other extras or junk. The knot is a fairly tall loft and is dyed to look similar to a silver tip badger knot and is completely scent free. The tips are quite soft, but the synthetic fibres have quite a bit of backbone. The handle is a fairly plain ergonomically designed woodgrain handle with a little bit of heft to it. I have seen a couple of comparisons of this brush to The Body Shop synthetic brush, but I absolutely disagree with this comparison. The EMJ synthetic shave brush is taller, has a larger loft, and a much nicer handle than The Body Shop synthetic brush. Overall the EMJ synthetic brush feels quite nice and looks pretty good, it left me with a pretty good first impression and a serious desire to see just how it would perform.
As I had already shaved when the brush arrived, I settled for a few test lathers. At first I was quite frustrated, the brush seemed completely unable to produce any sort of lather at all from any soap or cream. After a lot of frustration I discovered that the problem was the bowl. For whatever reason, the EMJ synthetic brush does an excellent job of producing lather when palm or face lathering, but does not agree with bowls at all. I don’t know if the synthetic fibres absorb product in such a way as to only work well on skin or if there is some other weird reason for this anomaly, but it’s worth noting. The brush does have one issue that may bug some folks, the breech opens up when lathering. Anyone who is familiar with the #6 Turkish Horsehair brush or some of the Vie-Long horsehair brushes will be familiar with this issue, but some wet shavers may find this annoying or unpleasant. The opening is not as extreme as it is with the #6, but it is noticeable.
I used this brush for this morning’s shave and found that the brush performed pretty well. I did a three pass with the grain/across the grain/against the grain shave using the EMJ synthetic shave brush, some Vitos Extra Super soap, my spiffy new RiMei razor, and a Croma Diamant blade on its second use. I followed the shave with a cold water rinse and an application of SAL Alum. I managed a baby butt smooth shave with no nicks and no irritation. The brush felt nice, but also a little more stiff than I normally like. The slight opening in the breech wasn’t too noticeable and actually helped me to properly lather up my chin. It was a good shave with a good mid-range synthetic shave brush. I enjoyed using the EMJ synthetic brush and look forward to using it again.
Product Aprox. Dimensions:
(There are no stated dimensions in any of the EMJ propaganda, so I had to take the measurements myself. Without calipers these dimensions are approximate rather than absolute.)
Handle Height: 57mm
Knot Diameter: 22mm
Every Man Jack Synthetic Shave Brush: