In the past, we already discussed various parts of wet shaving including, razors, soaps, cremes and brushes. Today, I am going to focus on aftershaves because it is the final step in a smooth shaving routine and choosing the right one will help you to maintain your skin. Of course, we offer you a list of recommended aftershaves at the end of the article.
Make sure to check out the other parts of the series:
- Double Edge Razor Guide
- Straight Razor Guide
- Shaving Brush Guide
- Shaving Cream Guide
- Shaving Soap Guide
Aftershaves were first introduced in barbershops. Barbers used the high-alcohol splash as antiseptics (they contain as much as 90 percent alcohol) to kill off bacteria and to minimize the transmission of disease from one client to another through shaving instruments; they would also reduce the risk of infection on the client’s face; and they smelled nice.
Splashing on aftershave soon evolved beyond its practical purpose and became a tradition, one that our fathers and grandfathers readily picked up. They liked the seemingly revitalizing sensation caused by the alcohol, and the tingling effect. The high alcohol content of the aftershaves, however, left the skin very dry and irritated. In some cases, the tightness and dryness of the skin created a barrier-like surface that was difficult for hair to pierce through, causing ingrown hairs to develop. Additionally, the irritated skin often didn´t have time to regenerate. It was not until the late 1980s that men started to become more aware of the importance of skin care and its daily maintenance; so a new wave of aftershave products with more beneficial properties were launched.
Aftershaves come in three forms –balms (sometimes called creams), gels, and lotions. They’re all really more about skin care and maintenance than anything else. In addition to having antiseptic properties, their purpose is to soothe, moisturize, and regenerate the skin after shaving. Unlike other products used during the actual shave, aftershaves have a longer-lasting effect because they’re not immediately wiped off (as shaving cream is).
Some aftershaves are scented; some contain herbal extracts and essential oils, some have high alcohol content; and some have oil. Others don’t have any of these ingredients.
Although aftershave balms might be marketed as shaving products, they are really skincare products. Many balms contain alcohol (2 to 5 percent), but the best ones contain none at all. Alcohol-free balms substitute alcohol with natural ingredients such as essential oils; they are equally antiseptic but don’t cause dryness. Because balms contain very little or no alcohol, they’re not as dehydrating as splashes and lotions. Balms are recommended for men with sensitive or dry skin, and for use during dry winter months, when there is less moisture in the air and when the skin is prone to dryness. Balms also contain water and oils to moisturize the skin without leaving an oily residue.
Like balms, aftershave gels have a fairly low alcohol content compared to lotions – some don’t contain any alcohol at all, which is preferred. Unlike balms, however, they don’t contain oil, which makes them less moisturizing. Gels can be very refreshing and soothing, and are usually good at protecting and maintaining healthy skin. A very popular aftershave gel in the wet shaving community is Skin Food by Geo. F. Trumpers.
Of all the aftershaves, lotions have the highest alcohol content (60 to 75 percent) and are very similar to the splashes barbers used in the old days. Remember, placing alcohol on sensitive skin that has just been shaved causes pain. While it is true that alcohol is an antiseptic, using lotions is not recommend at all because they dry out and irritate the skin and don’t have any beneficial properties. Also, the alcohol in them drastically tightens the pores. When pores are tight, hairs tend to get caught in them, which can lead to ingrown hairs. Lastly, all lotions contain synthetic fragrances and sometimes dyes.
So, stick to balms or gels for the best results.
How to Use Aftershaves
After shaving or before bedtime, pat the aftershave gently all over your face and neck, not just on the specific shaving area. Avoid the eye area. Allow to air-dry.
How to Choose
An aftershave should soothe, nourish, and moisturize the skin; stimulate cell regeneration; and help maintain clean, healthy skin.
Always check product labels carefully, look for all natural ingredients, and stay away from dyes and synthetic fragrances. They can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. On the other hand, natural ingredients such as plant and mineral extracts, nut and vegetable oils, wax and essential oils, are biodegradable and work in harmony with the body’s natural functions and cycles.
Look for aftershaves that contain shea butter (an anti inflammatory) or natural oils such as avocado, coconut, grape seed, macadamia, almond, olive, or jojoba, which all have healing and moisturizing properties.
Always test an aftershave, either on your skin or face, before purchasing to see how it feels. Make sure the aftershave penetrates your skin without leaving any oily residue.
Choosing an aftershave should also depend on what best suits your skin.
For normal to oily skin or for use in humid climates, balms are recommended. The traditional British shaving products suppliers like Truefitt & Hill, Taylor of Old Bond Street, Gentlemen’s Tonic, Edwin Jagger, and D.R. Harris all have great aftershave balms in the product range.
For dry skin, avoid anything that contains alcohol or is an astringent. Natural oils like hazelnut or almond can be very helpful. Use gels or follow up a shave directly with moisturizer every morning and at bedtime. The moisturizer of Triumph & Disaster called Gameface is a good option.
For sensitive skin, it is better to use an unscented aftershave balm or one that’s scented with natural essential oils such as lavender, rose, or orange, that don’t cause skin irritations. Try to avoid aloe vera. It will simply aggravate the problem. Castle Forbes has a great lavender scented aftershave balm with plenty of essential oils.
By far, the best skin-care products are those that will restore a balanced pH level and won’t destroy the acid mantle.
And last, but not least, you should really like the scent of the aftershave. If you want your favourite cologne scent and you are not convinced by the aftershave of the brand, don’t use it. After using your favourite aftershave, just dab your favourite cologne on your shoulders, lower neck, or back of neck.
Please find the following list of some aftershave products not well known to the public, but worth mentioning. If you know of any aftershave that is not on the list and should be, please let us know.
Average Price in $
Rating 0 -5
Where to Buy
Price per Ounce
|Antica Barbieria Colla||70||5||Shop Now||3.5||20||Almond, Sandalwood, Green Tobaco||Italy|
|Anthony Logistics (The Cool Fix)||25||4||Shop Now||5.3||4.7||Menthol||USA|
|The Art Of Shaving||40||4||Shop Now||3.5||11||Sandalwood, Lemon, Ocean Kelp, Unscented||USA|
|Baxter of California||18||4||Shop Now||4||4.5||Lemon & Menthol||USA|
|Boellis||65||3.5||Take a look||3.5||19||Panama 1924||Italy|
|Castle Forbes||50||5||Shop Now||3.5||14||Cedar & Sandalwood, Lavender, Lime||UK|
|D.R. Harris||50||4||Shop Now||3.5||14||Arlington, Unscented, Malborough, Almond, Windsor, Pink||UK|
|Edwin Jagger||40||4.5||Shop Now||3.5||11||Aloe, Limes & Pomegranate, Cooling Menthol, Sandalwood||UK|
|Geo F. Trumpers||27||5||Shop Now||3.5||7.7||Coral, Extract of Limes, Sandalwood||UK|
|Gentlemens Tonic||50||4.5||Shop Now||3.5||14||Babassu and Bergamot||UK|
|Institut Karite||33||2||Shop Now||8.45||4||Milk Cream||France|
|Lucky Tiger (After Shave and Face Tonic)||20||4.5||Shop Now||8||2.5||Bitter Orange||USA|
|Korres||23||4||Shop Now||5||11.5||Marigold & Ginseng,||Greece|
|Mühle||20||4||Shop Now||3.5||5.7||Aloe Vera, Sea Buckthorn, Sandelwood||Germany|
|Mühle Organic||34||5||Shop Now||3.5||9.7||Unscented||Germany|
|Musgo Real||32||4||Shop Now||3.5||9||Classic, Oranger Amber, Oak Moss, Spiced Citrus, Lanvender, Lime Basil||Portugal|
|Pankhurst||40||3.5||Shop Now||2.5||16||Bay Rum||UK|
|Proraso||16||3.5||Shop Now||3.5||4.6||Aloe Vera||Italy|
|Penhaligons||80||4||Shop Now||5||16||Blenheim Bouquet, Endymion, Opus 1870||UK|
|Scottish Fine Soaps||23||4||Shop Now||2.5||8.8||Classic||UK|
|Taylor of Old Bond Street||24||4||Shop Now||2.5||9.6||Sandalwood, Mr. Taylor, Shaving Soap||UK|
|Triumph & Disaster||55||4||Shop Now||3||18.3||Gameface Moisturiser||New Zealland|
|Truefitt & Hill||50||4||Shop Now||3.5||14||1805, Almond, Grafton, Lavender, No. 10, Rose, Sandalwood, Trafalgar, West Indian Limes, Ultimate Comfort||UK|