Who's afraid of Virginia Woolfat?

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9,593
Location
Halifax, Republic of Yorkshire
You know the soap: Mitchell's Wool Fat

It's the best soap in the world bar none producing a yogurt thick lather and unrivalled post-shave feel ... and equally the most unlatherable soap in existance.

Of late, there have been complaints (yeah, continued complaints) of the soap producing poor lather which dissipates quickly. Surely, just more folks who can't lather it. Case closed. Curiously, these complaints ("of late") have started to creep in from folks who can lather it. Can. Always could. Cannot any more.

So, what's going on?

Much thanks to a first contributor (who prefers to be unnamed) and to @NatJag who sent me pucks of questionable latherability ...

I have in my possession the following:

Perfectly latherable puck that I use daily - purchased from Face & Co (via eBay) in November 2019
Perfectly latherable puck that I will use next - purchased presumably January/February/March 2020 as that's when it was sent to me
Further puck for consideration from @NatJag - purchased ? (I'm sure he can fill us in) from Connaught

Over on the https://www.theshavingroom.co.uk/community/index.php?threads/mwf-conclusion.52504 thread, there is continued confusion as some folks are buying pucks that they find perfectly good. Some folks are buying pucks that they have an initial problem with and then it works for them. Some folks are buying alternative brandings like Kent and finding it perfectly good.

I was sent a questionable puck back in March 2020 which I lathered up and found perfectly good, which flumoxed me a little and didn't really help the questioning back then. I've set that aside for use after my present puck is finished.

So, what of the latest puck I've been sent?

As someone who has used MWF across more then 10 pucks going back to 2014, I'm someone who can. More than can, I can lather up a gorgeous yogurt thick, overpaintable lather every time, any brush, any water, hot, cold, hard, soft.

Come on, man ... spit it out!

Using my Yaqi Dandelion Cashmere brush, I did not other preparation to the soap than wet my brush in hot water and go in for 10 swirls in either direction as I usually do. Hmmm, okay let's do another 10 in either direction and onto the face ...

For crying out loud, man ... spit it out!

Lather, lather, lather ... Hmmm! HMMM! It's a LOT slippier than my usual soap (remember, one purchased November 2019) and the little lather that is starting to build seems to be moving around together. More water? Okay, it's starting to do something now. What lather is appearing is light and although I have about 10 days growth on me, I can see the lather on my neck just dissipating. Best I could do was a rather wet, slippy, light and airy foam which I think would have shaved me if I was quick.

But, let's not be too hasty and let's just lather up with my usual soap ... which immediately, from 10 swirls in either direction, pulled up a thick cream which I could work around as much as I liked without it dissipating.

Here's a thought ... I also have MWF bath soap, so quick wash off, load up from the bath soap and lather. That's funnily enough VERY similar to the puck from @NatJag, not absolutely the same as it has a different smell and taste (yeah, you always get a bit on your tongue) but the kind of lather is very similar.

Back to my regular puck versus the one from @NatJag ...

Upon use I immediately thought it different. I think it has a different smell, but the first thing I noticed was it was just a LOT slippier. It didn't quite feel like it was "biting" if that's the right word; just gliding around my face without catching or feeling able to build up. I would say it is different. Dare I say it (but do remember, I've just test lathered with two shaving soaps and a bath soap), I'm getting a little tingling which I have not had from previous pucks.

Two things that come to mind (well, three):

First, MWF does not appear (from the ingredients) to have had a reformulation, so ...
1. There could have been a supplier change of one of the ingredients
2. There's been a mix up at the factory and maybe a cross-contamination of product lines or even (probably unlikely) a batch of bath soap made it out as shaving pucks.
 
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OP
pjgh
Messages
9,593
Location
Halifax, Republic of Yorkshire
I guess, we could tally up brand (so, MWF or Kent), when purchased and from whom ... with results (although granted, there will be some skew in there as some folks "just can't") ...

November 2019 MWF from Face and Co. is good < @pjgh, experienced Fatist
January/February/March 2020? MWF from ? is good < @pjgh, experienced Fatist
Summer 2020? (from @NatJag) MWF from Connaught exhibits poor, dissipating lather < @pjgh, experienced Fatist

... what's your experience? Date, brand, supplier and an indication of whether you can normally lather MWF, perhaps an indication of last known good, maybe you're a first timer, just pop some notes in.
 
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Messages
2,834
Location
West Sussex, UK
Your description of the lather mirrors my experience with the sodium palmate first base manufactured by Soapworks for Trumpers, T&H, C&E & Floris etc. The soap is incredibly hard so difficult to adequately load, the lather produced is very slick (among the slickest I've experienced) but unfortunately it dissipates on the face... Most people end up using it as bath soap, which as you found, is its closest relative.
 
OP
pjgh
Messages
9,593
Location
Halifax, Republic of Yorkshire
Your description of the lather mirrors my experience with the sodium palmate first base manufactured by Soapworks for Trumpers, T&H, C&E & Floris etc. The soap is incredibly hard so difficult to adequately load, the lather produced is very slick (among the slickest I've experienced) but unfortunately it dissipates on the face... Most people end up using it as bath soap, which as you found, is its closest relative.
I struggled with a puck of GFT Eucris for a long time, eventually (ironically) cutting it 50/50 with MWF. The best I got from it was using is as I would a shaving stick and applying directly to the face rather than loading a brush. I did try that technique with this questionable puck of MWF as a second lather. Indeed! It certainly reminded me of GFT hard soap.

I am happy to confirm that another seasoned Fatist is finding problems with MWF. Let's see if we can nail down some dates to bracket off the good from the bad.
 
Messages
917
Location
North London
Further puck for consideration from @NatJag - purchased ? (I'm sure he can fill us in) from Connaught
My Puck was purchased 15th May 2020 from Connaught.

Appreciate your time and effort evaluating these pucks.
I did get slight tingling you mention, I thought it was from brush burn trying to get the puck to lather. It was only on one part of my face, the side I usually lather hardest probably.
 
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Messages
303
Location
Belfast
I guess, we could tally up brand (so, MWF or Kent), when purchased and from whom ... with results (although granted, there will be some skew in there as some folks "just can't") ...

November 2019 MWF from Face and Co. is good < @pjgh, experienced Fatist
January/February/March 2020? MWF from ? is good < @pjgh, experienced Fatist
Summer 2020? (from @NatJag) MWF from Connaught exhibits poor, dissipating lather < @pjgh, experienced Fatist

... what's your experience? Date, brand, supplier and an indication of whether you can normally lather MWF, perhaps an indication of last known good, maybe you're a first timer, just pop some notes in.
Mine was ordered from Shaving Shack on 24/6/2020 and coincidentally has been working very nicely... in the shower!! First use of MWF so can't comment on technique but its the only soap I've ever had an issue with.
 
Messages
140
April 2020, Connaught Shaving - slick but very unstable lather. First experience with MWF but previously had no problems with Vulfix and Kent which are the same/similar soaps.
 
Messages
2,053
Location
London
First, MWF does not appear (from the ingredients) to have had a reformulation, so ...
1. There could have been a supplier change of one of the ingredients
2. There's been a mix up at the factory and maybe a cross-contamination of product lines or even (probably unlikely) a batch of bath soap made it out as shaving pucks.
A fantastic write up and thanks for posting it.

I loved the title of the thread as well.

Has anyone tried contacting the company? Would they appreciate the feedback or not? I hope they can address consistency down the line.
 

jimmyc

Supporter
Supporter
Messages
778
Excellent review and I would think you are probably right with the view that hand soap has been batched as shave soap.
I never had a problem and could always paint my beard with thicker and thicker layers of soap without it disspating. (y)
 
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