Fashion: Is it worth it?: Bare-faced chic

Made of silver and pig's hair, this brush shaves close. But at pounds 170, so it should, says Lucy Williams

FOR MEN, shaving is one of life's little agonies. Electric gadgetry is ever more sophisticated, yet modern man's adherence to the sadistic wet version, complete with assorted cuts, abrasions and small pieces of attached toilet paper for bodged operations, suggests that the quest for quality outweighs the need for speed. In which case, perhaps it's time to really slow it down and do it the old fashioned way with a silver pig's hair shaving brush from Links of London.

This piece of beauty kit may look like classic Victoriana but at pounds 170 its price is positively 21st century. Still, for your hard-earned cash you get an attractive, compact brush with a hollow handle which doubles as a natty storage space for your brush, and so much pig hair you expect the brush to squeal.

For those purists who balk at using pig instead of badger's hair, the word on the street is that pig's hair is actually stronger and more durable. Not that it matters since, according to Soho barbers Geo F. Trumper, 99 per cent of men don't know how to shave properly anyway. Shaving brushes - if you're not in the know - are brilliant for lifting stubble from the skin, thus allowing for the ultimate close shave. A proper shave should also clean the skin.

Close shaves and cleanliness aren't really of great priority to my boyfriend, but he willingly tested out the Links brush, even to the extent of allowing a couple of days stubble to accumulate. It gave a closer shave, and left him with smooth, cut-free skin. "But for pounds 170, who really cares?" Especially when a wooden-handled badger bristle at pounds 25 from Crabtree & Evelyn did just as good a job.

Pretensions to suaveness, leisure and that elusive perfect shave aside, this brush would be perfect for the man who has absolutely nothing to do. Go on, take your time! Preen to your heart's content! For the humble working man, on the other hand, it would appear that eight out of 10 owners would prefer whiskers. Stumbling into the bathroom, hair sticking up on end, bleary-eyed, hung over and late for work (again), the shaving brush, though lovely, is simply impractical. Pig's hair or not.

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