These are some watercolour brushes that I've used over the years. They have worn out but I still keep them because they remind me of the time when I first started using watercolour.
These three are the Da Vinci Maestro pocket brushes. They are my first sable and pocket brushes. I use them so much that they can no longer keep a point.
Whether a brush has frayed hair when dry is not important as long as it can retain a sharp point when wet because that is all that matters.
After my good experience with the Maestro brushes, and after they got worn out, I bought a Maestro Voyage pocket brush. This brush comes only in size 6. I don't really like this brush because the shiny plated body surface is easy to scratch.
Here's how the Da Vinci Maestro brushes look when wet. Some may look sharp but when you paint with them, the strokes are thick. It's difficult paint details with them.
The brush at the top is an Escoda Perla which uses synthetic bristles.
Whether the hair is synthetic or natural, when you take good care of the brushes, they can last for a long time.
One simple brush care tip is to load your paint from the side of the brush.
Digging your brush into a watercolour pan can damage the brush tip and cause it to be blunt. Even if you wet your pan, there will still be parts of the paint that is still hard, such as those beneath the surface.
The second brush care tip is to keep your watercolour pan filled up. That way, you can load the paint from the side of the brush easily.
This is a brush that I use to wash my watercolour boxes. It has been with me for years. You can always reuse old brushes as cleaning brushes.
Having a sharp brush is important because it can paint details. When you paint shapes with watercolour, you want shapes to be recognisable. For example in the sketch we have a coconut tree. With a sharp brush, you can paint the leaves easily. With a blunt worn out brush, when you paint the leaves, they look like cucumbers.
It is incredibly frustrating to paint details with worn out brushes. A sharp brush can do what a blunt brush can do, but a blunt brush cannot do what a sharp brush can do.
For more of my watercolour brush reviews, check out https://www.parkablogs.com/tags/watercolour-brush-review