How to Use Aftershave

We agree that going to your very own barber and experiencing a fabulous shave is the best, but you can have the same experience at your home with the correct choice of aftershave.

Aftershave is basically a liquid or, to say, a lotion that you can apply after you are done shaving. It kills the bacteria that may cause an infection, plus they smell nice. When it was first introduced to barber shops, they were using very high alcohol splash type aftershaves. Some of them were going up to %90 alcohol.

They were used to minimize the infection rate transmitted from one client to another with razors. It soon became a tradition that every man had them at their homes. People liked the tight sensation given by the alcoholic lotion. Although sometimes, the alcohol content was so high that it was leaving the skin dry and irritated.

After the 1980s, men became more aware of skincare, which caused the new era in aftershave products with specific properties. 

Benefits of Using Aftershave

When we talk about the early times of aftershave, we can say that it was mostly used to provide sanitation. It kills the bacteria, cleans the skin and prevents any cuts from getting infected. It had a nice smell and people enjoyed the tight, fresh sensation it gave. Today aftershaves come with way more benefits than just that.

Today’s aftershaves contain moisturizing agents and special oils that help you maintain your skin. They also tend to have either no or lower alcohol content, so they don’t irritate your skin as much as in the old days. It can be definitely said that aftershaves help you maintain a healthy and effective shaving routine and every man needs to have them.  

How Does Aftershave Work

When people say “it’s the cherry on top,” they are talking about aftershave. They must be because an aftershave is literally necessary to complete a good, smooth shave. You shave however you like and apply aftershave.

The ingredients’ alcohol content or the natural antibacterial properties prevent any cuts from getting infected, while the moisturizing agents and special oils help you maintain your skin healthy. As aftershaves are not wiped off immediately, unlike the other products that are used  

Types of Aftershaves

Types of Aftershaves

Aftershave Balm

They are actually skincare products that are used specifically after shaving despite them being marketed as shaving products. Many of them contain alcohol but in very trace amounts (like 2-5 percent). Actually, the best ones are known to have no alcohol at all; the product replaces the alcohol content with another antiseptic essential oil.

They also provide sanitation but don’t cause dryness as alcohol does. Therefore they are marketed and recommended for men with dry or sensitive skin. 

Aftershave Splash

We can say at his point that splash became an old term for lotions today, which have very similar ingredients. Let’s call them lotions; they contain higher alcohol content than the blams (60-70 percent). Unfortunately, that is the biggest reason why people stopped using them gradually.

That high alcohol content irritates the skin and makes the pores so tight that hair can no longer penetrate the skin. Lotions still exist today mainly because people still enjoy the tight sensation and the freshness it brings. 

Signs That You Need to Use Aftershave


Shaving products, in general, can cause skin tightness, especially when they contain alcohol. Let alone shaving products; even water can cause skin tightness when used too much (like every day) in colder environments.

Aftershaves are being used a kin care products; therefore, they fight skin tightness thanks to the essential oils and moisturizing agents. 

Dry Skin

While even the water can make your skin dry in colder environments, it isn’t very smart to think that the products you use for shaving and the razor do not affect your skin’s moisture. If you are usually left with dry skin after shaving, you need to use aftershave. Most aftershaves contain moisturizing agents and essential oils to provide better moisture balance for your skin. 


Burning is the most common feeling that people experience after shaving. It’s basically caused by irritation of the skin. Generally called “razor burn,” it can be very painful and uncomfortable. Aftershave can fight razor burn because it contains ingredients that can calm your skin and fight the irritation caused by the razor. 


Itching can occur as a result of irritation, especially when the beard starts to grow back. Aftershaves contain ingredients that can soothe itching sensation, but if the itching is too intense, you should always seek medical advice. 


Irritation can be caused by anything from a razor burn or a cut and it can be very painful. Especially not treated irritation can cause scarring and acne. Most aftershaves contain antiseptic and calming ingredients to fight irritation. 

Signs That You Need to Use Aftershave


Just like itching, redness is also caused by irritation. A razor burn can also cause it. Regardless it’s not good looking at all. Redness really depends on your skin type, but aftershaves can help you get rid of it quickly or over time. 

How to Choose the Best Aftershave


Choosing the right ingredients is the first step you need to take. When we say right, we mean right for yourself. As a general rule, always stay away from synthetic ingredients and dyes. Try to get as all-natural as you can get.

Natural oils, waxes and plant extracts work together with the skin and don’t cause dryness or inflammation as the synthetic ingredients. Some oils such as Shea, avocado, coconut, almond, olive, jojoba and macadamia provide moisture to your skin and support natural healing. 

Skin Type

Your skin type is the most important parameter to consider while deciding what product you will use; since you will be applying it to your skin, it must suit you! Here below, we have listed some main skin types.

If you are experiencing previous problems from other skincare products, are allergic or have other skin issues, please don’t forget to get some advice from your dermatologist. 


For dry skin types, alcohol is your biggest enemy. Alcohol naturally makes your dry skin even drier. It is recommended to use products that contain natural oils such as almonds and hazelnut. You can also follow up your shaving routine with a moisturizer. 


If you have oily skin, you should choose a splash (aka lotion) type aftershave. They tend to be more water rather than being thick. Thick aftershaves such as gels or balms clog up your pores, preventing your skin from producing its natural oils and causing acne. 


For sensitive skins, you need to avoid any products containing synthetic ingredients, especially fragrances. If you want to use a scented product, choose those with natural oils such as lavender, rose, menthol, mint or orange. Try to use balms and stay away from aloe vera.  


To be applied on normal skin types, aftershave balms are recommended, especially in humid climates. 

Shaving Cuts 

If you tend to have shaving cuts, breaks or razor burns, you should get a tonic type aftershave. They get soaked into your skin quickly and prevent good moisture for your skin to heal well. They are natural antiseptics. You also should stay away from any products that contain alcohol because simply alcohol will burn the cuts and irritated parts, causing you unwanted pain.   

How to Use Aftershave 

How to Use Aftershave Properly

Step 1 – Shave

Surely to use an after-shave, you first need a clean shave. To achieve the best shave, make sure to use a good razor and follow your hair natural way of growing. It sure takes some practice, but we are sure you will get the hang of it. 

Step 2 – Wash your face with cold water

That helps you close your pores and prepare your skin. 

Step 3 – Dry off the excess water 

Using a gentle towel would be the best option; it doesn’t need to be fully dried. 

Step 4 – Apply the aftershave

Get a couple of drops of your aftershave in your hands and rub your hands together before applying it to all your face and neck. To apply, gently tap the product. Apply it not only to the shaved areas but to your face and neck at all times. 

Step 5 – Let the product air-dry

Always make sure to keep the product away from your eyes regardless of it containing alcohol. If you are a bearded guy, remember that some aftershaves can be used to style your beard, too, but for the best results, it is always better to use premium beard softener and a high-quality mustache comb.

If you are using special oils to treat your beard, you can try a beard brush that helps distribute beard oil evenly. If you also want your mustache to sit a certain way at all times, you should try applying mustache wax

Aftershave vs Cologne

Aftershaves are designed to give you a nice scent after shaving; therefore, most of them are scented, but you shouldn’t expect them to be as strong as your favorite cologne. Your cologne is exactly designed to be like that. Imagine your aftershave to be a helping guide to your cologne.

It would be best if you chose an aftershave with a scent similar to your favorite cologne. It would make it so confusing if the scents of your aftershave and cologne are not complementing each other.

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

As we always say: Yes, but till some point.

The more money you spend on a product, the better quality of the ingredients you will get, but after some point, you will just be paying extra for the branding. That’s why it is important to give attention to the ingredients and always make sure you are getting quality products and not being hypnotized by the branding.

Of course, it is important to use beard care products from a reliable brand but make sure that you are not paying too much extra. 

Do’s and Don’ts With an Aftershave


  • Always test the aftershave in a smaller area before using it.
  • Look for natural ingredients.
  • Apply to relatively dry skin.
  • Be consistent with the application.
  • If you get any unwanted effects after using it for a while, stop using it immediately.
  • Use the world’s best beard shampoo for a fantastic-looking beard.
  • Using a traditional shaving bowl.
  • Use water-soluble hair pomade.


  • Choose aftershaves that contain very high alcohol.
  • Get the most expensive product on the market.
  • Decide before the proper search.

FAQ About Using an Aftershave

FAQ About Using an Aftershave

How often should you use aftershave?

If you don’t experience any negative effects caused by your aftershave, you can use it after every shave. If you are experiencing some negative effects, you should stop using immediately. If you have sensitive skin and/or using other skincare products or remedies, it is best to ask your doctor about the frequency. 

Can you use aftershave without shaving?

Yes! As we had already mentioned before, aftershaves are actually skincare products that you can use in your daily routine. You don’t only need to use them when you shave. 

Do you wash your face after aftershave?

No. Washing your face after an aftershave is a big no-no. Aftershaves are meant to be air-dried. They are the products that stay the longest on your face when you are shaving. When washed, they lose all of their effect on your face because the product is already washed off. 

Do you leave aftershave on?

Yes absolutely! They need to be left on your face after shaving. They are the most effective when they are left on your face and left to be air-dried. They are basically skincare products, so they need to be left on your skin to be effective. 

When should you put on aftershave?

As it is understandable from the name, you should apply it after shaving. It helps to fight the bacteria left after you shave from your hands or the shaving tools. It also sanitizes the skin, so any cuts and irritations caused by shaving will be shooted by the aftershave. 


To conclude, aftershaves should be an important part of your shaving routine regardless of you being a bearded person or not. If you ever shave, you need one. After shaving, aftershaves are first designed to be antiseptics, but today they are way more than just an antiseptic.

They contain many ingredients that help you maintain healthy skin. They are basically a skincare product that every guy should have in their daily routine. 

Jay - Barber

About the author: Jay – Barber

Jay is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team and NFL, celebrity barber. As a master barber with years of experience, Jay can make your beard look any way you envision. Jay’s specialty is black men’s hair and beard styles, but he also has deep knowledge on how to create a perfect neck and cheek line, short or long beard and virtually any beard and hair shape and style.

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