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Mixing Arko

This is an inspiring thread!

That’s it. My next shave will be with Arko mixed with Col. Conk Lime shave soap. If it works out, I’ll mix a big batch and call it Cranky James’ Lemon-Lime Soda Supreme. 😉
While Arko needs to be grated you can melt the Col. Conk, per other B&Bers, to mix it in more easily. I do the same thing with Van Der Hagen when blending it with Williams or other tallow soaps.
 
Hi Coops, As both soaps work well by themselves I suspect your blend is excellent.

It's interesting. In the states, where soaps like Mitchell's Wool Fat (MWF) or Tabac are typically priced at a more premium $15+ price point (for the refills) we tend not to think about mixing them with other soaps as at that price point they should stand on their own (as MWF does!). The tendency in the U.S. (realize there are exceptions to this) is to focus on mixing budget soaps such as Arko, Van Der Hagen or the recently discontinued Williams Shave Soap (99 cents a puck). For example B&Bers from the U.S. have done something similar with a 50/50 Arko/Williams mix. Many B&Bers, including myself, have done a lot of Van Der Williams blends.

Across the pond where MWF is priced at 6-7 british pounds (GBP), a more mass market price though not quite budget, my sense is from other posts/videos that there is a greater tendency to consider blending it as noted here or in videos/posts regarding "Tafat" blends of MWF and Tabac. If current exchange rates hold, that allow us to purchase it from the U.K. for 5-6 GBP ($6-7 U.S.), I bet we could see more blending experiments with MWF or other soaps like Tabac on this side of the pond.
I think that you have a very good point. Part of the reason that I like to mix soaps is to understand how things work and how each ingredient contributes to specific traits of the product. There is always a chance that the mixture does not work out, so I try to minimize the cost. Both the perception of value and actual value influence my behavior. Williams Mug Soap was available for $1 a puck just a few years ago. No one would think twice about grinding it up in 2018; few would be willing to do so today :)
 
Hi Coops, As both soaps work well by themselves I suspect your blend is excellent.

It's interesting. In the states, where soaps like Mitchell's Wool Fat (MWF) or Tabac are typically priced at a more premium $15+ price point (for the refills) we tend not to think about mixing them with other soaps as at that price point they should stand on their own (as MWF does!).

I'm mixing them as I prefer using a shaving stick and you can get a good combination of the best parts of each soap.

Arko! is great, of course - but adding MWF adds the lanolin goodness.
Another one I recommend is Cella & MWF - Cella is fabulous on its own, but again it adds the lanolin - and Cella is way too soft to use a stick on its own.

Hard soaps like Saponoficio Varesino & Pre De Provence may be better mixed with Stirling Sheep, as Stirling is softer (i think/hope) than MWF with all its Striling good points and lanolin. I've got a tub of Stirling Sheep waiting for me in the States (and PdeP 63) so will be giving it a go...
 
I think that you have a very good point. Part of the reason that I like to mix soaps is to understand how things work and how each ingredient contributes to specific traits of the product. There is always a chance that the mixture does not work out, so I try to minimize the cost. Both the perception of value and actual value influence my behavior. Williams Mug Soap was available for $1 a puck just a few years ago. No one would think twice about grinding it up in 2018; few would be willing to do so today :)
My blending journey was based on exactly the same premise. Well worth the journey as I can now blend soap pucks that perform better than those costing 5 to 10 times what I paid.

Actually I just sacrificed a couple of pucks of Williams to a new batch. Benefit of having a large reserve from picking up one or two on many grocery shopping trips when they were 99 cents. Similar to my last batch with the addition of some Arko (Coops will like this) to get the tallow based soap portion close to 50/50. Ingredients included:

  • 2 pucks Williams
  • 2 pucks Van Der Hagen Deluxe
  • 1 oz Ivory Soap
  • 1 oz Zote Soap (In place of half the Ivory so I can tell this apart from my prior batch - at this low level any scent quickly dissipates in an open mug)
  • 2 oz of Arko (most of one stick)
  • 1 oz Proraso soap
  • 2 oz Dove Men + Care
Yield of 5 roughly 3 oz. pucks for under $2 per puck. Blend without the Arko works as well an anything else I have. Would position this blend as at least equal to my MWF and Razorock What the puck in performance though those soaps have a slight advantage on aroma. Have been impressed with the What the Puck Black label as even though I have it in an open mug it has maintained a noticeable portion of its fougere aroma. MWF is covered a day after use so its mild scent is maintained.

Will be interested to see if the Arko takes the slickness and lathering ease up a notch. Will try it out once I 3017 what is currently in one of my mugs. Will also want to see how everything I have compares to a recently acquired puck of D.R. Harris soap and an inbound puck of Tabac.

Of course what I should do is sell all my Williams on Ebay for $10+ per puck and buy lots of MWF or other higher end soaps🙂
 
Hi Keyvan, Glad you enjoyed the experiment. It does take some time. Not surprised that the lather is a bit less dense since you don't have as much of the VDH and did not add Proraso. Both of these are superlathering elements of the mix. Two things may enhance the lather quality if you want:

  • Build the lather directly on the puck in your bowl (I do the same in an apothecary mug) to load more soap into the mix.
  • Take a half to full ounce chunk of Dove Men+Care and push it into the center of the mix in your bowl (keep it under 20% of the soap loading area) to offset that your mix does not have Proroso and has less VDH superlathering ingredients. It works well. Before I added Dove to my latest mix I did this to an earlier blend (same mix just without the Dove) to quickly see how it would work.
Happy to see that you were successful in infusing a more pleasant scent into your blend. Will consider trying something like that with my next batch though I need to 3017 a few existing pucks of soap first.

P.S. Have you used your blend a second or third time? The VDH tends to coat the grated soaps with the result that it can make up a large part of what is loaded for a first shave. Typically get the full benefits of the blend by the second or third use.
I just wanted to let you know that I supplemented the formulation with the additional VDH and Proraso. As you predicted, the lather is now thicker.
 
I just wanted to let you know that I supplemented the formulation with the additional VDH and Proraso. As you predicted, the lather is now thicker.
Glad to hear. Per my blend posts it took a number of experiments to arrive at the ideal mix.
 
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