Natural soft hair is used to make watercolor brushes because natural soft hair absorbs water well. Kolinsky sable brushes are the finest available. Made from the tail of a type of mink found in remote parts of Russia and northern China, Kolinsky hair is unsurpassed in its spring.
Synthetic brushes are less expensive than natural soft hair brushes. Technology has given us many types of synthetic brushes, mostly nylon or polyester, which simulate the natural characteristics of hair. Synthetic brushes are easier to clean and less prone to breakage. Blends of natural and synthetic hairs are also available, combining the softness and absorbency of natural hairs with the point and spring of synthetics.