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What makes Mitchell Wool Fat Soap so popular?

MWF is a near perfect shaving soap in all respects. I too had trouble lathering it after letting it dry out and I simply remilled it and soaked it with some water for a few hours.

The scent is unique and the lather is top notch. Yadda Yadda. It's all been said 100 times before and rightfully so :).
 
I think I've finally figured out what my "beef" is with MWF. It's not that it isn't a fantastic soap; I think it is. And it's not that I can't get it to lather; I definitely can. But I think when I face lather it, I am getting brush burn because of the extra effort it takes to lather. It may be user error, my water or the soap, but MWF definitely takes more time and effort to lather. And while it gives a great shave, I always have irritation after, which is something I rarely experience these days. (Note: not cuts, not breaking out, but razor burn-style irritation, even with a mild razor like a DE89 and a new Astra SP, which is my go-to). I don't think it's the brush since I've used both my standard FS two band which has very soft tips and a well-broken in semogue boar. To the best of my recollection, the few times I've palm or bowl lathered MWF (yep, I've bowl lathered this puppy a few times) I haven't experienced this.

Anyone else notice this? I'm going to have to pay more attention next time I bowl or palm lather.
 
MWF is on my list of soaps to try, so I haven't used it yet. Of those limited brands I have tried, I really like the Kiss My Face lotion soap. First, I like the lime scent. Second, it's the easiest soap I've lathered (I bowl lather in a Georgetown Pottery G20). The lather lasts through three passes, and the lubricity is fantastic. It's also a good soap to wash your face prior to shaving.
 
I think I've finally figured out what my "beef" is with MWF. It's not that it isn't a fantastic soap; I think it is. And it's not that I can't get it to lather; I definitely can. But I think when I face lather it, I am getting brush burn because of the extra effort it takes to lather. It may be user error, my water or the soap, but MWF definitely takes more time and effort to lather. And while it gives a great shave, I always have irritation after, which is something I rarely experience these days. (Note: not cuts, not breaking out, but razor burn-style irritation, even with a mild razor like a DE89 and a new Astra SP, which is my go-to). I don't think it's the brush since I've used both my standard FS two band which has very soft tips and a well-broken in semogue boar. To the best of my recollection, the few times I've palm or bowl lathered MWF (yep, I've bowl lathered this puppy a few times) I haven't experienced this.

Anyone else notice this? I'm going to have to pay more attention next time I bowl or palm lather.

I have some of the same issues.

I can face lather Tabac with my Silvertip and get along all right, because it lathers up so easily.

But for some reason my skin is sensitive to being scrubbed on by boar bristles, or even by Badger if I have to go at it for very long.

I have come to the conclusion that mug lathering or palm lathering works best for me most of the time.
 
I think I've finally figured out what my "beef" is with MWF. It's not that it isn't a fantastic soap; I think it is. And it's not that I can't get it to lather; I definitely can. But I think when I face lather it, I am getting brush burn because of the extra effort it takes to lather. It may be user error, my water or the soap, but MWF definitely takes more time and effort to lather. And while it gives a great shave, I always have irritation after, which is something I rarely experience these days. (Note: not cuts, not breaking out, but razor burn-style irritation, even with a mild razor like a DE89 and a new Astra SP, which is my go-to). I don't think it's the brush since I've used both my standard FS two band which has very soft tips and a well-broken in semogue boar. To the best of my recollection, the few times I've palm or bowl lathered MWF (yep, I've bowl lathered this puppy a few times) I haven't experienced this.

Anyone else notice this? I'm going to have to pay more attention next time I bowl or palm lather.
You might also just be sensitive to MWF.

I cannot use MWF for this very reason. I purchased MWF many, many moons ago when I began my journey into wet shaving. I was doing quite well with Proraso, and thought that MWF would result in shaving Nirvana given its fantastic reputation. The one issue that was raised about the soap was any allergy or sensitivity to lanolin. As I know that I was not allergic, once I got the hang of lathering MWF, I thought it would be smooth sailing.

However, when I lathered-up, I experienced a slight burning sensation that became progressively worse after each of my three passes. I did not experience any redness or swelling, but by the end of my shave, I felt raw as if I had aggressively shaved with too sharp a blade while slightly drunk. I nevertheless had a BBS shave. The burning, however, did not completely subside for some time. I was flummoxed and disheartened. I changed my technique, wet brush, drier brush, bowl lather, face lather, wetter lather, drier lather, etc. I next surmised that as I preferred to face lather, that maybe I, too, was experiencing a bad case of brush burn. I thought it was definitely time to retire the old Tweezerman. Later, with a new, soft silvertip in hand, the process began anew with similar results. In the interim, I tried other soaps and creams without ill effect, including Musgo Real, La Toja, Arko, Van Der Hagen and others. I therefore retired the MWF. Over the years, with significantly more experience and vastly better technique, I occasionally revisited MWF. Sadly, same result.

TL;DR: The moral of my story is that just because a soap is well-loved and widely-used, it simply may not be for you. Sometimes, persistence and good-will are not enough. If MWF burns you, put it aside and try the numerous other great soaps and creams available in recent years. There is simply no reason to needlessly suffer in order to futilely seek the results that others, with different skin types, are able to achieve.
 
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I had a similar issue with Cella. I noticed my skin would feel very irritated after my shaves with it and I chalked it up to an off shaving day. Not until I adapted a rotation of 3 consecutive days with each soap, keeping other variables static, that I came to the conclusion that it was the soap causing the problem. It's a shame because cella is fantastic and smells great. It just don't work for me.


Maybe try a better brush? A soft badger.
 
After using several well respected soaps in my rotation for a number of years, MWF still comes out on top for the following reasons:
-my skin feels better, soft and smooth, after the shave,
-I get a better shave, fewer nicks, less burn, closer shave,
-Any weepers stop bleeding faster,
-I get no skin irritation from MWF, some soaps, especially heavily scented products are mildly irritating on my skin,
-I like the low cost, about $ 10 - 15 per puck,
-mild baby powder like scent is OK,
-I hate the shrinkage and cracking of the MWF puck over time with use, and miss the ability to mold shaving soap to fit any mug shape like I can with Cella, but shaving performance trumps everything else.

There are many other good soaps. Some of them come close to MWF in performance, and may for some characteristic exceed MWF, but after using MWF for several years along with the other soaps, I am convinced that the overall better shaves are related to using MWF and not just to me having good shaving days.

HTH
 
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Branford, I don't think it's a soap issue. I use many other products with lanolin and love them... Stirling, musgo, real shaving co aftershave, etc.
 
Branford, I don't think it's a soap issue. I use many other products with lanolin and love them... Stirling, musgo, real shaving co aftershave, etc.
As I indicated, I, too, do NOT believe that lanolin is necessarily the issue as I also have no allergy or sensitivity and do not experience any burning with Musgo Real or other lanolin containing products. You (or we) can be sensitive to the particular fragrance oils or any of the multitude of other ingredients in MWF. Also, sometimes it's not just a particular ingredient, but its concentration in a particular product.

I also in no way want to discourage you from trying a softer brush or altering your technique to eliminate variables to see if you can eliminate the irritation you receive from MWF. I certainly tortured myself for weeks trying to get MWF to work for me.

I simply want you to benefit from my experience and not needless suffer as I unfortunately did.

However, if MWF still consistently irritates you after further experimentation, know that you are far from alone. The product just might not be good for you. Put it aside and try some of the many other wonderful soaps and creams. Wet shaving should be an enjoyable experience, not an opportunity to turn yourself into an abused lab rat.
 
john shea said it better than I can. MWF simply works, and works very well. I like both the shave and the way my face feels when I'm done.
 
MWF is a brilliant soap that I am yet to master. Despite having soft water I find it hard work to lather compared to other soaps and creams. Having said that... when I get it right... its simply an amazing shave. Unbeatable protection and slickness. The scent is mild and not exactly pleasant but its certainly worth buying.

On the other hand I just tried Arko soap for the first time and I have to say I think I have found my "go-to" soap! It lathered effortlessly and provided lots of protection and slickness.
 
John Shea and Aimless said it well. MWF works very, very well. When I travel this is my go to soap and when I am home I still get excited when it pops up in my soap rotation.

Cheers
 
Today was the first time in the month or so I have been using the Fat that I couldn't seem to get the lather right.
Not sure what was awry.
 
I converted from just using creams to now using both creams and soaps thanks to MWF and Cella. I have not had a problem getting MWF to lather for me and I found that by soaking my brush in warm (not hot) water and letting it rest on top the puck for a little while goes a long way to a good lather. I also lather "upside down" by holding my brush vertical and the puck dish over the top and loading my brush that way.

Don't ask me why, but it works.

Frank
 
Someone had a thread a while back about a method for lathering MWF in hard water. I liked the soap pretty well before that, but after starting to use that method it really was the best performing soap I have found.
 
Is it the ingredients? The scent? Both?

Is there anything remotely close to it's shaving properties? (slick, great performing soap for sensitive skin?)



Thinking about Mama's Bear (unscented and/or mentholated soaps) & Mikes as possible other options, but I'm just getting my feet wet with soaps, so-to-speak, and was simply curious what makes "The Fat" so popular, despite it's apparent short-coming (learning curve?)?


I have hard water, don't mind using bottled/filtered water, I have pretty sensitive skin, and my lather making ability is "ok", and getting better as I read more, watch more YT videos, and practice lathering every day.. :blushing:

I don't know if "The Fat" is for me, yet. For those who have, or do use it, is there ANYTHING that is comparable, and easier to lather? I'd like to get my hands on a "sample" before getting a larger puck.





Thanks! :thumbup:
I'm at a loss to say what makes it popular since I've tried it a few times and find it way too difficult to lather and the lather that exists is not as good as Mikes or Tabac IMO. The scent is kind lof light and fresh but otherwise meh, YMMV. Think I'll be trading mine soon.
 
Touché, Branford. Tried it again this morning, this time building the lather on my palm before taking the brush to my face and working the lather a bit more. Had a good, stable lather, although it might have been a touch dry on my first pass... It lacked some slickness.

In any event, it gave me a decent but not great shave... nothing like Stirling or Proraso, though, two of my favorites. Still got some irritation on my cheeks, which is very unusual for me. May give it a couple more tries before retiring the puck and converting the bowl into a change dish.

In all honesty, the only reason I haven't given up--aside from sheer stubbornness, of course--is that I actually love the scent. It smells like clean laundry which I guess I really like. But just for kicks I tried palm lathering Tabac (neither love nor hate the scent) after and got gobs of thick, slick, protective lather with half the soap and a quarter of the effort. Just can't justify using a soap that gives me a lesser shave solely for the scent.
 
In all honesty, the only reason I haven't given up--aside from sheer stubbornness, of course--is that I actually love the scent. It smells like clean laundry which I guess I really like. But just for kicks I tried palm lathering Tabac (neither love nor hate the scent) after and got gobs of thick, slick, protective lather with half the soap and a quarter of the effort. Just can't justify using a soap that gives me a lesser shave solely for the scent.
You will probably end up experimenting with MWF, and suffering, far, far less than I chose to endure!

I, too, liked the scent, and most certainly did not want to be one guy who couldn't enjoy such a renowned soap. I thought for the longest time that it just had to be my bad technique, a dull blade, the lanolin, poor lather, etc., etc., and not the soap, particularly after all I heard on the boards. Now, with far more experience (and little less patience), I only use products that a I truly enjoy.

Soldier on and good luck!
 
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