From the eager sixteen years old excitedly trying to get rid of a patchy beard to the seasoned beardsman receiving a top-notch trim in a high-class barber shop, every man understands that shaving is a sacred ritual.
A clean, close shave demands a high caliber razor. From start to finish, a quality shave requires quality tools and products.
What some men don’t realize is that the shaving process isn’t over when the razor leaves your face.
The signature element of a top-notch shave is what follows – the aftershave.
Aftershave saves you from razor burn, hydrates skin, reduces itching, and leaves behind an irresistible fragrance.
Here’s a quick guide on aftershave products, what to look for, how to use them, and what to expect.
Table Of Contents
What is an Aftershave
Generally fragranced with subtle yet pleasant tones, a good aftershave is a cherry on the top of a good trim.
Selecting an aftershave is also picking a scent that suits you.
Are you a gym-dwelling athlete who prefers an athletic, musky scent? Or an outdoorsy woodsman who leans more towards pine and earth-based notes?
Aftershaves are essential to preventing razor burn, disinfecting minor nicks and hydrating the skin and can be used not only on the face but are also a staple for men looking for the best razor for head shaving.
However, because the fragrance is such a key element in selecting an aftershave, it’s important to note that the perfect aftershave isn’t just another beard and shaving product.
It’s actually a unique and pronounced expression of your personality.
Benefits of Using an Aftershave
You might be wondering if an aftershave is truly necessary for your shaving routine. Here are some of the many benefits of finding and using the perfect aftershave:
Reduces razor burn
Along with the use of high-quality, professional shaving cream, using an aftershave is proven to reduce or eliminate razor burn even for those with sensitive skin who are especially prone to irritation.
Aftershave isn’t just for men who want a clean shave, it’s also a necessary product for all facial hair styles.
From men looking a beard shaping tip or help to finally achieve one of the awesome facial hair styles from the list of best beard styles to those who are simply looking the best stubble trimmer, aftershave is going to massively improve the quality of your shave.
Essential Last Step
Aftershave is a part of every full shaving routine.
Much like an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence, your aftershave allows you not only to improve the quality of your shave by lessening razor burn, tightening the pores and hydrating the skin, it also leaves behind your signature fragrance.
Types of an Aftershave
From splashes and gels to lotions and balms, aftershaves come in all styles, fragrances, and consistencies.
Here’s the skinny on what separates a splash from a balm or a lotion, and how to decide which is best suited for your shaving needs.
Splashes are the classic, go-to option in the aftershave world.
Lightly scented much like cologne, they also frequently include a “cooling” agent which leaves a fresh, minty feeling buzzing pleasantly on the skin surface.
Especially good for those clumsy shavers prone to nicks and scratches and those who are perfecting the art of using a durable straight razor, splashes usually include some type of antiseptic which works to disinfect any minor mess-ups that have left behind small cuts.
Normally jam-packed with hydrating qualities, aftershave balms are especially a lifesaver for men with dry skin.
The moisturizer in balms also helps fight against the fierce dryness of harsh climates, so balms and shaving cream warmer are especially popular for men living in cold regions.
Usually, alcohol-free balm allows your skin to retain more moisture than other aftershaves.
Additionally, because it’s straightforward and easy to apply, it’s a good entry-level aftershave and a popular choice for young bucks who are new to shaving.
Just don’t be alarmed if you sense a little tingle when you first apply it because those are just balm’s pore-tightening properties that often leave the face tingling.
Great for men with naturally oily skin, lotion aftershaves are similar to balms but have a creamier texture and are ideal for men prone to ingrown hairs.
Along with considering switching to a safety razor, using a lotion will significantly reduce your chances of falling victim to ingrown hairs.
Much like balm but thinner in texture, a lotion is also fairly easy to apply and is usually lighter in fragrance than a splash.
Lotion’s cooler cousin is a gel, which usually contains ingredients that work to leave a cold, fresh sensation on the skin.
This not only feels nice but can also reduce the chances of developing razor burn or other skin rashes caused by shaving.
It also absorbs quicker than lotion, making it ideal for athletes and men living in hotter climates.
If your early morning gym routine has you sweating off other aftershaves, or if you live in a hot climate and you don’t want to wait for your product to soak in, a gel is a more practical morning time saver than best sleeping clothes for men.
Ingredients to Look for
While there are a lot of variations from product to product, the two ingredients that most aftershaves have are witch hazel and alcohol.
The word witch may have you thinking of terrible green monsters with big, bumpy noses, but this kind of witch is the best kind.
Witch hazel is a highly natural ingredient which serves as an astringent.
This means it prompts your pores to shrink, which helps keep dirt, grease and bacteria out of your pores so they can’t turn into infections or breakouts.
It also helps improve the overall look and feel of the skin without damaging or drying it out.
Additionally, witch hazel serves to soothe the skin using its natural anti-inflammatory properties (which is the reason it’s also frequently used as a natural treatment for mosquito bites and other similar ailments).
One of the aftershave’s biggest functions is to guard any cuts or scrapes against becoming infected.
For this reason, all aftershaves should include some type of disinfectant.
The most popular choice is alcohol because it’s effective in cleaning cuts and removing any bacteria.
However, those with sensitive or dry skin may seek out an alternative disinfectant as alcohol can suck out what little moisture you have and cause irritation or burning.
While aftershaves that contain alcohol will be highly effective in disinfecting, be sure to test them on a small area of your skin before committing to using it on the whole face.
That way, any potential breakouts are isolated and minimal.
Additionally, if you’ve selected a scented product which contains alcohol, keep in mind that the alcohol’s quick evaporation rate will prevent the fragrance from long-term quality.
It will fade quickly during the day.
Tea Tree Oil
All aftershaves should include some type of astringent. One popular, natural choice is tea tree oil.
Also frequently an ingredient in the best oils for beard care, tea tree oil serves to soothe irritated skin and close pores, which locks out bacteria and dirt that may otherwise cause blemishes or irritation.
Aloe vera is what lends some aftershaves their minty, tingling finish.
If you see that aloe vera is included on the ingredients list, you can bet that it leaves a soothing, refreshing finish.
Vitamins E and B5
As an added bonus, some aftershaves will include an enriching vitamin supplement.
These are not that necessary as they are simply bonuses. Some of the vitamins most frequently included are vitamins E and B5, which work to create healthier skin.
Ingredients To Avoid
Parabens are synthetic preservatives that are used in tons of products on today’s market. Sometimes, they’re unavoidable.
However, when possible, it’s best to go with more natural options.
Truthfully, even if you don’t have sensitive skin, it’s probably best to stay away from products loaded with parabens, but for those who are prone to breakouts or rashes, staying away from parabens is even more essential.
Propylene glycol is a common alcohol-based ingredient that makes an appearance in many cosmetic products, including some aftershaves.
However, it’s known to be harsh and can irritate men with sensitive skin.
The scent is the sense most closely tied to memory. The right fragrance can trigger immediate, vivid memories or feelings.
The scent of pine may make you think immediately of Christmas, a whiff of your mother’s lotion may take you straight back to childhood.
Woodsy fragrances are the manly scents that often have titles like oak or maple in their names.
Often combined with other Earth fragrances or spices, woodsy scents are a popular choice for traditional men.
Musky fragrances are often combined with more spicy, acidic notes.
They’re popular fragrances for athletic colognes and appeal to men trying to emulate a classy, sporty vibe.
Earth fragrances are a gentler fragrance that often contains floral hints.
Often subtler than other aftershave scents, Earth fragrances are a popular low-key option.
Citrus fragrances embody the aftershave scents that are full, natural and clean.
A good go-to for men who are undecided, citrus fragrances are going to leave you feeling extra fresh.
How to Apply an Aftershave
First, of course, you have to complete your full shaving routine.
After you’ve applied the shaving cream and completed the shaving process, follow these steps to apply the aftershave:
Step 1 – Splash your face with cold water
This initial step allows a rush of cold, fresh water to tighten your pores, encouraging them to contract and close.
This essential step locks out dirt and grease while the face is still fresh and clean.
Step 2 – Dry your face
Never use a harsh, wiping motion when drying your face. Instead, practice a gentle, patting motion using a soft towel or washcloth.
Dab away any excess water, so that your aftershave isn’t diluted or rinsed away after you apply it.
Step 3 – Place the product in the palm
Whether it’s a balm, gel, splash, or any other type of aftershave, simply place a small amount in your palm.
Rather than spreading it directly onto the face, rub your hands together spreading the lotion before applying it to the face.
Step 4 – Massage
By massaging the aftershave into your skin rather than just letting it sit to absorb allows it to sink in quicker and deeper.
You want to be sure to cover every area, so use upward, circular motions, covering all areas multiple times.
Step 5 – Let it soak
Leave it to sit until it’s no longer visible. This can take a few minutes, so be patient.
If your aftershave takes too long to soak in, it’s possible you’ve applied too much.
Step 6 – Reapply
If you’ve missed a spot, this is the time to go back. Sometimes a second coat is necessary, just to be sure you’ve covered everything you need.
Afterward, you can apply face moisturizer for men to lock in moisture and add a finishing touch. You can apply lotion before and after.
How To Choose The Best Aftershave
Perhaps the most essential part of shaving is what takes place in the aftermath.
Aftershave allows you the smoothest, most comfortable shaving experience, and can save you from the horrors of razor cuts, burns, and ingrown hairs.
Whether your skin is dry and irritable or oily and prone to breakouts, there’s an aftershave that’s designed to leave your skin refreshed and reinvigorated.
While with some products it makes sense to shop around and go with a bargain brand, aftershave is one product where it usually pays out to invest a little more.
Think of it as a fine cologne or wine – you’re going to pay for quality, but that quality will pay off.
11 Best Aftershaves on the Market Reviewed
Carefully and well formulated with menthol and eucalyptus, Proraso Aftershave will make you want to shave every day because it feels amazing on the skin and has a great uplifting smell.
Infused with witch hazel, it helps minimize inflammation and enhances skin healing, therefore, it’s not very stingy or painful like the regular alcohol-based aftershaves in the market.
Menthol is added to help in cooling the skin for a great soothing and comfortable feeling. It also revitalizes the skin and makes it feel refreshed.
It further purifies the skin much better than any other similar item. This is because of the infusion of eucalyptus oil that works wonders in cleansing your skin and leaving it to feel strong.
In addition, this product lasts very long, gets rid of irritation and leaves the skin feeling soft.
- Reduces inflammation and promotes skin healing
- Purifies the skin
- Smells great and not too strong
- Scent doesn’t last for long
With a fantastic blend of seven natural oils, Lather & Wood is all you need to improve the quality of your shaving. Besides being affordable, this product smells and feels great on the skin with zero discomforts.
The infused natural oils give a pleasant shave with ultimate comfort and are ideal if you have ingrown hairs and razor burns prone, sensitive skin.
This pre-shave oil is also excellent in softening your beard, conditioning the skin underneath and generally offering exceptional comfort.
You can use it for a very long time since you only need to pump a few drops in your hand before massaging your beard gently.
Always leave the oil to penetrate your whiskers for about 30 seconds before shaving with your favorite shaving cream.
- Eliminates ingrown hairs and is ideal for sensitive skin
- Softens facial hair and conditions the skin beneath
- A little goes a long way
- Some men might find it too thick
If you need a product that’ll give you a seriously smooth and soft skin with light and neat cologne, look no further because Paul Sebastian Aftershave does all this and more.
Most men love it because it makes their skin feel very refreshed. The thing you’ll first notice is the uplifting smell that lasts for long because it contains between 8 and 14% volume of perfume oil.
The light, fresh and not overpowering scent will absolutely get more ladies asking what you’re wearing.
Another reason why this product is ideal for you is it prevents irritation to the skin much better than other regular aftershaves. It also helps in soothing skin that already has irritation problems.
- Smooths and softens skin
- Prevents skin irritation
- Smells refreshing and not overwhelming
- Can’t be combined with your regular cologne
Formulated with 14% volume of perfume oil and skin restoration properties, L’Eau De Issey is for all men who love looking stylish and smell great.
It’s designed to prevent skin inflammation better than most normal aftershaves found on the market. It also works like magic in restoring skin and leaving a fresh feeling.
Another important feature is that this product is extremely light, non-oily and entirely free from alcohol, therefore, it helps in soothing fragile skin.
If you have razor burn problems, this aftershave is designed for you. The great manly scent lasts longer because of the significant difference in the percentage of perfume oil.
- Prevents skin inflammation
- Soothes fragile skin and restores it
- Very lightweight, alcohol-free and non-oily
- Smell wears off fast
No. 63 Aftershave is especially great for men who have skin irritation problems from other shaving detergents and soaps.
This product is enriched with grapeseed oil, shea butter and shea oil in order to leave your skin nicely hydrated and smooth.
It has effective healing properties that your skin needs the most and is infused with Allantoin and aloe vera which are popularly known for their great healing capabilities.
For usage, gently massage a small amount on your face after shaving and let this product do the rest for you, including to provide you with a warm, spicy and masculine fragrance.
- Soothes irritated skin
- Contains healing properties
- Has a pleasant, masculine smell
- Takes a bit long to lather well
Lucky Tiger Aftershave does an incredible job in soothing and leaving the skin feel pleasant.
It’s also ideal if you are looking for an aftershave in that will perfectly moisturize your skin.
The fragrance is fresh and represents the mix of sweet citrus and oranges that are extremely pleasant but not overbearing.
What most long terms users appreciate about this product is that it’s not very heavy compared to its competitors, hence it’s very easy to use.
- Soothes and moisturizes the skin
- Prevents skin burns
- Nice, pleasant smell
- Scent doesn’t last for long
Specifically designed for men with sensitive skin, Gillette Gel is formulated to instantly cool and refresh your fragile, shaved skin.
It has a non-greasy formulation that’s exclusively formulated for this type of skin. Most long terms users love it because unlike other aftershaves, it makes shaving less painful.
It’s therefore ideal for skin that feels hot or inflamed immediately after shaving. Furthermore, it has an amazing light scent.
You can use it not only after shaving, but also any other time you feel like you need some shot of a long-lasting cool on your skin.
- Cools and refreshes sensitive skin
- Makes shaving less painful
- Non-greasy at all
- Can be too drying
If you are looking for an aftershave that’s formulated to stand the test of time, Aramis is the best you can get.
What most men love about this product is that it gives a long-lasting, light musk smell that always appears irresistible to the ladies.
It’s also amazing in moisturizing your skin and leaving it to feel incredibly smooth and refreshed while conditioning it and giving it a healthier and smoother look.
Additionally, this item is very affordable to acquire, so you can always purchase it and see how it works for you.
- Smoothes and conditions skin
- Moisturizes skin and makes it healthier and smoother
- Very affordable price
- Smell might be too strong for some people
Perfectly formulated without any alcohol, Nivea Sensitive is the best choice for men who can no longer tolerate skin irritation caused by shaving.
It has a formula that’s dermatologically tested for effectiveness in protecting men’s sensitive skin from troublesome shaving irritations.
When using it, you’ll notice a great improvement in your skin condition and you’ll see that’s very gentle on the skin.
It’s enriched with soothing chamomile, vitamin E and extracts of witch hazel that help your skin feel comfortable and smooth.
Apart from making the skin look healthier, it has a light fragrance that smells incredible.
- Protects skin from irritation
- Improves skin condition and health
- Very gentle on the skin
- Smell wears off quickly
Packed with natural ingredients, Brickell Aftershave is popularly known for its effectiveness in calming, hydrating and protecting your skin.
This product is unique because it doesn’t clog the pores or cause skin irritation. It also gives a great and refreshing masculine smell.
If your skin is prone to after shaving irritations, this product will serve you best because it’s specially formulated for men of any age and skins type who have post-shaving irritation and dryness problems.
Made with hydrators that perform great in infusing skin with moisture, it has botanical extracts that help in repairing skin and clearing bacteria from the pores after shaving.
- Prevents post-shave irritation
- Removes bacteria from the skin
- Doesn’t clog pores
- Takes longer to absorb into the skin
Lubriderm is dermatologically tested and proved to be effective in improving and moisturizing the skin.
You can rely on it to nicely sooth your skin and reduce irritation after shaving. It has a high performing aloe-enriched formula with essential minerals and moisturizers that calm the skin leaving it to feel refreshed.
Being extremely lightweight is what lets it absorb fast into the skin. Additionally, this product isn’t greasy and always leaves the skin feeling moisturized for a long time.
Another great feature that comes with it is its manly fragrance that will earn you compliments wherever you show up.
- Effective in improving and moisturizing the skin
- Significantly reduces aftershave irritation
- Absorbs fast into the skin and isn’t greasy at all
- Fragrance isn’t strong enough
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