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  1. #1
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    Default Art of Shaving (palmolive) versus Mitchell's Wool Fat

    Hey guys, I thought I'd share my experiences and see if anyone had some input while I'm at it. Here goes:

    I bowl lather extensively.

    I started wet shaving with a AOS sample brush and AOS shave cream. I would use AOS preshave oil and seemed to get a decent lather (compared to my latest efforts). The oil greatly helped reduce irritation and it's effects remained consistent as my straight razor technique improved. Then I started reading about shave soaps, and tallow based soaps grabbed my attention.

    So after some preliminary research I went out and grabbed a puck of AOS sandlewood shave soap and started to work on my lather technique. I was getting similar results to the cream, though I could tell it was slicker. It was around this time I found out that AOS changed their soaps from a tallow to palmolive base, D'OH! I also picked up a two band brush from PC woodcrafters (GREAT!) and really concentrated on my lathering technique. In about two weeks time I started to get a thick cushy lather with a nice slickness to it. This soap has given me my best shaves so far. I switched to a homemade olive oil based shave oil, and while it helps a bit with my sharpest (harshest) blades, the soap provides most of the slickness. I'm very happy with this soap.

    I recently got a Mitchell's Wool Fat, Baker's St., and Bald Frog Sample from Larry at Whipped dog. I've milled the MWF into a bowl and I'm holding off on trying the other two until I have a real good feel for the MWF.

    The MWF is hard to lather up for me. The soap seems to really climb up into my brush and I find myself squeezing the hairs after one or two passes to work out that extra bit. I've tried MWF with and without a warm water soak. I've tried not using much water or giving it enough it's near frothy. The soap seems quite slick, but it fades quickly on my face and I experience more irritation with this soap than with the AOS. The other day I got a slightly thicker lather out of the MWF, enough that it could hold on for most of the shave, but I still found myself with some irritation. I will keep trying until I run out of the sample, but so far I'm not sold on the MWF.

    I'm looking forward to the Bald Frog (glycerin based) and Baker St. (possibly Tallow, not sure which one I got). I also want to grab some Mike's Natural soap in the near future.

    Anyways, just wanted to share my thoughts and experiences.

  2. #2
    Contains ingredients Tack's Avatar
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    Most of us are mystified by the occasional guy who cannot get MWF to lather as it's all but universally considered to be one of the very best soaps. You are, however, not alone. I suspect that you may not be loading the brush quite enough - in other words, not using enough product. On the other hand, MWF can absorb a surprising amount of water so you might try continuing to work your "near frothy" mixture a bit longer. Some soak it while prepping but since you've milled it I would think that it would be soft enough to load the brush easily.

    A search of the forum for tips on lathering MWF will give you links to quite a few threads about dealing with MWF.

    I mill mine into stick form and simply rub it on my wet face, applying a good amount, then face lather for two or three minutes, dipping the brush in hot water every so often. I get a thick lather with plenty of cushion and slickness. As said, it can take a lot of water. Good luck.

    rs,
    Tack
    I have great faith in fools - self confidence my friends call it.

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  4. #3
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    I've been looking at tips and tricks and think you're onto something working the lather a bit more. The last effort where I had a better lather I worked it longer than I thought I would need to and saw some improvement. I haven't given up yet, but so far the AOS is quicker/easier to use. Fingers crossed!

  5. #4
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    I worked the soap a little longer than usual and got to bowl lathering. I used the normal amount of water and got some lather, so I decided to add more water and got the lather to explode. After my second pass I decided to throw some more water in the bowl and I pumped and swirled. This produced the best lather I've made with MWF so far. I'm starting to think I am loading the brush a little too much for the amount of lather/water that I need.

  6. #5
    Senior Member RMarsh's Avatar
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    Honestly, I don't necessarily think that the base ingredients really make or break a soap. I started with creams, like many have, and since I made the switch to using primarily soaps and occasionally creams, I'm not sure I can really distinguish between top quality soaps. In my mind, my favorite tallow soaps (Cella, MWF, Mike's, Tabac) perform just as well as my favorite glycerin based ones (Mama Bear's, and SRD mostly). If I've prepared my face and chosen a sharp, stropped razor, The end result is not appreciably different because of the type of soap I used that day. So I say try the big names, choose what you like, and if it works for you, don't focus on the ingredient list...
    Last edited by RMarsh; 06-14-2013 at 08:37 AM.

  7. #6
    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    I've always found though the overall lathering effect might be equal the tallow based soaps produce a denser lather.
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

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