Aftershave Balm And After Shave Lotion on the Table

What Is Their Purpose

After you shave, there will still be hundreds of tiny scrapes on the surface of your skin. This can happen even if you use a sharp razor. They can get irritated quickly and maybe even infected.

After a close shave, you can prevent these from happening by applying aftershave lotion or balm. Applying an aftershave on your skin disinfects the surface, preventing infections and skin irritation.

Some aftershave products contain alcohol, mainly used to disinfect the skin. However, it is also this alcohol content that causes the stinging sensation that you get almost immediately after application.


With or Without Alcohol

Aftershave balm typically doesn’t contain alcohol. Most aftershave lotions contain alcohol, which is the primary disinfectant ingredient. This is why your face usually stings when you apply aftershave lotion. Aftershave balms typically have a thicker consistency.


While aftershave lotions are typically loose and somewhat watery, aftershave balm feels more like a thick cream. Lotions are easier to apply on the skin. However, because of the thicker consistency, the soothing effects of a balm last much longer.


Aftershave balms usually don’t have artificial fragrances. The fragrance comes from their ingredients, while lotions usually use artificial scents.

Black Man Applying Aftershave Balm On His Face

Our take is that choice between aftershave balm and moisturizer depends on individual needs and skin types. Aftershave balms typically offer antiseptic properties to heal cuts and soothe skin post-shaving, while moisturizers are designed for general skin hydration. Personal preference, skin sensitivity, and the specific requirements of one’s shaving routine play a key role in deciding which product is more suitable.

Why Do You Need Them

As mentioned earlier, you are creating hundreds of tiny abrasions on your skin after shaving and these minor wounds can get infected if you don’t treat them immediately. Aftershave products contain ingredients that can disinfect and kill bacteria on the skin after shaving.

How to Choose

No Alcohol

Not only does alcohol cause a stinging sensation with every use, but it also dries the skin.

Check the ingredients list and keep your eyes open for the following:

  • Methanol
  • Ethanol
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • SD alcohol
  • Denatured alcohol

If you are looking for an aftershave with excellent antibacterial properties, look for one with witch hazel.


The problem with parfum is that it is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide variety of ingredients that can either be safe or may trigger an adverse reaction. To be safe, opt for a product that contains natural fragrances.

If you wish, you may also choose a fragrance-free product.

Black Man Applying After Shave Lotion On His Face


Now that you have an idea about which ingredients you need to avoid, here are some that you should look for:

  • Vitamin E. Vitamin E will help protect your shaved skin from damage due to the environment, like pollution and UV rays. This is also one of the main ingredients of different brands of face creams for men.
  • Aloe Vera. This ingredient helps moisturize the skin and keeps it from drying out too much.
  • Witch Hazel. This is one of the best natural alternatives you can use instead of alcohol. What makes it even better than alcohol is that it will not dry your skin and is much less painful. It also has excellent antiseptic properties.
  • Menthol. This will help soothe the shaved skin, immediately alleviating any redness and swelling.

Quick Tips

  • Should you shave before or after a shower? Ideally, you should shave after a hot shower and after you wash your face with a moisturizing wash. This will make your facial hair softer and easier to shave. This will also decrease the chances of ingrown hairs.
  • If you don’t have time for a proper shower, a hot towel shave will do. When applying aftershave lotion or oil, do it gently, from your cheeks to your neck. You can also exfoliate before or aftershave.


What is better, after-shave lotion or balm?

This will depend on your preferences. Aftershave balms are usually made from natural ingredients that are gentle on the skin. They also have better soothing properties.

On the other hand, aftershave lotions have a nicer and stronger fragrance, which means you can use them like perfumes.

Can you use after-shave balm as lotion?

You can use aftershave balms in the same manner that you would lotions and more. For instance, you should not use aftershave lotion on broken skin or beard rash, but you can use aftershave balm just fine.

Is after-shave balm necessary?

Not necessarily. You can opt not to use aftershave balms, but it does help a lot in soothing painful razor burns and accidental nicks and cuts. It also helps to use wet shaving products before you start shaving.

Michele Antunes

About the author: Michele Antunes

Michele Meesh Antunes is the lady of the Beardoholic writers team and a genius when it comes to hair and beard styles that suit any face shape. She’s been a barber for years now and, no matter your personal style, she knows exactly what beard, hairstyle and length suit you. She brings the women’s perspective on beards, beard care, haircuts and hairstyles and male grooming.

Pin It on Pinterest