Farewell to Mitchell's Wool Fat (MWF reformulation)

Discussion in 'Shave Soaps' started by PLANofMAN, May 24, 2023.

  1. Frijolero

    Frijolero Well-Known Member

    Skyrocketing beef prices probably don't help much either. And that only gets worse for the forseeable future.

    I might be more inclined to blame the ban on tetrasodium EDTA if it weren't still in the new formula...
  2. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Good point.
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  3. chevyguy

    chevyguy Well-Known Member

    It's in the rotation, I just have so many soaps and creams to use. I blame all you enabler's

    Sent from my SM-A526U using Tapatalk
  4. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Fifth and final shave with the New Fat and my final conclusions. (The remainder of the sample is now with my brother in law, who also uses the Fat, and wanted to evaluate it for himself).

    Bias Alert! I considered, and still consider the Old Fat to be one of the greatest shaving soaps ever made. It is against that standard that I judge the New Fat, and though I have attempted to judge it on it's own merits, the old formula is still very much 'the elephant in the room,' when any type of comparison to other shave soaps is involved.

    It's an unexpectedly good soap. They did a good job making it almost like the old MWF. When I read the ingredients list, I expected this soap to be hot garbage.

    Once dialed in, it performs well, perhaps even more consistently than the original. Usage rate seems to be about on par with the original, though I would expect the original to last longer as a harder soap.

    It's not as drying as I would expect. Probably due to the lanolin content. I would class it as somewhat drying, and a little less drying than most palm and coconut based soaps out there.

    The scent. After five uses, the scent has largely turned into a MWF dupe. To me, they smell near identical.


    The lather starts to break down by the second or third pass. Not necessarily by getting thinner, but by breaking down into an airy, foamy type of lather. It's easy to correct by adding a bit more soap and reworking the lather. Ironically, this same problem affects some users of the Old Fat, though in the initial stages of lather building, not after the lather is made. The same fix applies, add more soap. If the lather is dry and flaky, add more water.

    Slickness. The Old Fat (for me) was the king of slickness. Something about the combination of tallow and lanolin produced an über slick soap. Maybe the reduced amount of oleic acid has some effect here? The new Fat is not as slick.

    Post shave. The New Fat falls flat on it's face here. It retains the skin softening effect, attributed to the lanolin content. The skin moisturizing effect that also accompanied the Old Fat is completely gone. Along with it is that 'greasy' or 'glass-like feel' as it's described by haters and lovers of the old formula Fat. Again, this is probably related to the removal of a lot of oleic acid from the revised formula.

    Looking at the differences between the two ingredient lists, the stuff that was left out of the new formula seems to be tallow and some coconut oil, some synthetic scents, water softeners, emulsifiers, chelating agents, and pH balancers. Some of these have been replaced by alternatives. These are just the ingredients that didn't carry over to the new soap.


    I think the New Fat has a broader appeal to the average wet shaver. It's less likely to offend or otherwise distress the new user.

    Naturally, it does so at the cost of everything that made it unique and beloved by entire generations of wet shavers.

    Unfortunately, there is no soap waiting in the wings to replace this foundational pillar of a traditional shaving soap, in the price bracket it occupied. The original Fat wasn't so much an extraordinary soap in itself, as it was an extraordinarily well-balanced soap.

    In this respect, the New Fat is almost as well balanced as it's predecessor. (When measured against itself anyways). The ratio of cushion vs. slickness vs. scent vs. post-shave remains about the same, even if most of these have taken a step backwards from the original.

    Recommendation. I always used to recommend the Old Fat as a must try. One of the great traditional shaving soaps. Once dialed in, it had no equal.

    The New Fat is a good soap. You've got to spend in the $25 range or higher to find soaps that beat it. But in itself, it doesn't bring anything to the table that other soaps don't already do. I can't say as it's a better soap than any of the other $15 soaps out there. If it had been introduced as a shaving stick or an alternative option to the original, it would have probably gained a better acceptance among the wet shaving forumites.

    Dear Mitchell's, do us all a favor and strip the "original 1893 formula" off the packaging. It was never a fully accurate statement with regards to the shaving soap, but it at least gave us a touchstone to reassure ourselves that we were still getting the same product that was initially advertised. The new shaving soap is only the same in regards to scent and lanolin inclusion, and most rational people ought to be able to agree with me on this.

    A special thanks to Ariel for putting together this test-a-thon, and for inviting me to the party.

    I was biased against the new formula, and had a set of preconceived notions of how the new formula would stack up. It ended up being better than I expected, if not as good as I had hoped for.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2023
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  5. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    And just like that, it will be easier to spot the tallow. This should have been a no brainer to anyone at Mitchell's. If you completely change the soap base formula, you've got to remove "original formula" markings from your packaging.

    Update from the Men's Room Barber Shop:

    ...it seems Mitchell's is listening. New labeling is coming & the "Original 1893 Formula" is being removed from packaging. Here's my latest communication:

    “After spending so much time amending the Shaving Soap ingredients on all of our packaging, it has now been brought to our attention that the wording on the front of our packaging ‘Original 1893 Formula’ is quite misleading and we therefore feel it is appropriate that we have this amended. We have caused enough uproar with the re-formulation that we feel we have to make this change now so as not to aggravate the situation any further. As you can imagine we will need to amend the drawings with the packaging manufacturers and then have those printed out etc. so this is going to take some time to arrange.
    In the short term, we have decided that we will arrange for some labelling that will fit directly on top of the logo and wording on the front of the Dish and Refill boxes and will have the wording mentioned above deleted or replaced with a more fitting wording so as not to mislead people. Is this something that you would be happy for us to do with your order? We totally understand if you would prefer to wait until the packaging has been arranged but as you can imagine this is not going to be a quick fix and we were looking really so as to not waste any brand new packaging in the process which would then just be binned. This way we would be using perfectly fine and brand new packaging.
    We understand that this is not an ideal situation and we want to be open and honest with you. We are doing what we can to resolve all of these issues as efficiently as we can.”
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  6. brit

    brit in a box

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  7. SterFry

    SterFry Well-Known Member

    Can anyone with recent tallow purchases verify who still has tallow stock? Kent is now out of refill pucks and men's barber shop won't ship to Alaska
    brit and Frijolero like this.
  8. SterFry

    SterFry Well-Known Member

    Update- just called up TheRazorCompany. They visually checked to verify that they do indeed have tallow MWF. Men's Barber Shop still has tallow.

    Razor Emporium has no tallow remaining and neither does maggards. WCS hasn't gotten back to me yet, but people have, as of just a few days ago, been reporting getting some tallow and some veg, even within the same order.
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  9. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    Camwrap should still have some tallow.
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  10. ChrisB

    ChrisB Well-Known Member

    for any Ozzie/NZ readers: Paul from mensbiz com au in Royal Arcade Melbourne still has tallow

    He knows there will a demand for this soon enough...

    Hi, Chris.
    I can confirm our current stock, both the refills and the shave bowls, are the tallowate formula.
    I’m expecting a rush on them for the next while.

    don't know the cost of shipping to US, local shipping was free over a certain amount
    if anyone is keen enough a bulk purchase to save on shipping from Australia might be one way to go and then distribute to USA/Canadian members?
    can't hurt to ask?
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  11. chevyguy

    chevyguy Well-Known Member

    The bean counters at MWF should have had the labeling figured out way before the reformulation took place. Hopefully they weren't trying to trick people.

    Sent from my SM-A526U using Tapatalk
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  12. swarden43

    swarden43 "It's your shave. Enjoy it your way."©

    Along the lines of, "Easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission."
    ischiapp, SterFry, brit and 1 other person like this.
  13. PLANofMAN

    PLANofMAN Eccentric Razor Collector Staff Member

    Moderator Article Team
    On the one hand, we very much get the impression that this was a hasty and unplanned change, see SNAFU with Kent for example.

    On the other hand, the new soap is pretty good, and doesn't fall too short of the original formula, which seems to imply that they either spent some time developing it, or already had it developed as a plan 'B' option.

    As for the "original 1893 formula," I don't think they ever paid much mind to it. It's just marketing to MWF. The shaving soap was introduced in 1979-1980, and the 'original formula' never really applied to the shave soap at all, but to the hand soap.

    Now, after having been in production for 42 years, the shave soap base and 'original formula' wording have become synonymous... so they have no choice but to alter the packaging, including the dish and lid. I don't think it was a deliberate attempt to trick people, I think it just didn't occur to them that the packaging (and it's claims) were intrinsically linked to the soap at this point.

    I still don't know if the new formula pucks swell like the old formula MWF does, so hopefully if it doesn't, they take the time to resize the coffret to fit the new soaps at the same time as they fix the label.
  14. brit

    brit in a box

    didn't realize the shave soap started in '79.bummer..
    Paul Turner likes this.
  15. Michael_W

    Michael_W Well-Known Member

    Biofuel? Yeesh! You'd think the failure of ethanol-based fuel to take off had taught a lesson in why using up resources better used for food and care products is a bad idea, but it seems nobody in charge of anything cares to even admit fouling up, let alone correcting course. Then again, that's a discussion better left for political fora.
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  16. fhalden

    fhalden Member

    Problem is solved.[​IMG]

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  17. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Late to the party. Course 2012 was a big year-Stoylin and others came along.
    brit likes this.
  18. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    That looks like the large order I got from RiseInt, shortly after signing in here. 9 Shaving creams and zbout 6 Balms. I loved that cream!
    fhalden likes this.
  19. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Someone told me the soap was actually prepared in 1937, not 1893.
  20. Paul Turner

    Paul Turner outside the quote(s) now

    Now you know why I call the "new" Old Spices "New Spice".
    Michael_W, SterFry and brit like this.

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