Your aftershave is as critical as your shaving soap in securing a smooth and cool finish.
We've all experienced shaving rash, cuts or razor burn from shaving at one point or another. It's important to use a good, quality aftershave to sooth and rejuvenate your face, post shave.
Finding an aftershave that will work best on your skin is like finding a needle in a haystack. There are so many aftershave products on the market today.
To help you narrow down the selection, here’s my review on the best aftershave products that you can buy today.
Short on time, here's my top picks. Want to learn more? Keep on reading.
What is an aftershave?
As its name implies, an aftershave is a men’s shaving essential that is applied after you scrape off that extra hair on your face.
Aftershave is usually in liquid form (lotion, balm or splash) and is used primarily as an antiseptic and astringent.
Using an aftershave helps you eliminate that itchiness, mild bleeding from cuts, inflammation and feeling of dryness that you usually experience after shaving.
Did you know...?
Aftershave products can either be scented or unscented. Whether you choose a scented or unscented aftershave, its overall fragrance will change from one person to another, like any other fragrance. This means that the same aftershave may smell differently on different people.
Types of aftershave products
Basically, there are a lot of aftershave products to choose from and each type has its respective advantages and setbacks. Here’s a simple background of each type to help you choose the best aftershave for your skin.
An aftershave splash is more like water considering its physical attributes. It is an alcohol based liquid that often delivers a stinging sensation when applied on an open wound. The main role of an aftershave splash is to close your pores, cleanse your skin, and even out your skin tone. The main ingredients of an aftershave splash are Aloe Vera and Witch Hazel.
Basically, an aftershave balm is like a splash minus the sting. It is not alcohol based, which allows it to moisturize and condition the skin without that burning sensation. Most balms are made of all natural oils, which contribute to the product’s rejuvenating effects.
The least popular of the three is the lotion aftershave because of the impression that lotions leave a greasy texture on your skin. A lotion will contain less alcohol, but just enough to give a mild stinging sensation on the skin. I’d personally recommend the lotion type for those with dry and flaky skin because of its moisturizing and rejuvenating effects, while still having some antiseptic properties.
Using an aftershave can be quite expensive in the long run, especially if the product you choose requires using more to maximize its promised benefits. In aftershaves, proper storage is the best way to make sure that the product lasts longer. And the best place to store your aftershave is in your refrigerator.
Considering your skin type
When finding for the right aftershave, it’s essential to consider your skin type and sensitivity. Men have various types of skin that require different levels of treatment after every shave.
A common skin condition among people living in a cold climate is skin dryness. So if you happen to live in a country that enjoys cold winter months or sweltering hot and arid summers, it is best to go for an aftershave balm. It helps your skin lock in more moisture and even rejuvenates it without the sting.
Lotion is a nightmare among men with oily skin simply because that extra greasiness is definitely the last thing they need. I’d personally recommend an aftershave splash because it helps in keeping your skin feeling cool and refreshed while effectively taming your overactive sebum glands that produce excess oil on your face.
There will always be people whose skin will easily react on some active ingredients of a particular personal care product. In the case of an aftershave, I’d recommend choosing for one that is unscented and alcohol free.
You probably wouldn’t have any problem whatsoever trying out different types of aftershave products. You will only have to consider your lifestyle and some personal preferences on this one.
Watch this video on how to properly apply aftershave:
Important ingredients in an aftershave
As discussed earlier, the main role of an aftershave is to cleanse, moisturize, condition, rejuvenate, and even out the tone of the skin after scraping that unwanted beard off of your face. This is made possible by the main ingredients of the product – witch hazel, alcohol, aloe vera, and tea tree oil.
Alcohol’s main role is to disinfect the skin while leaving behind a cool and refreshed feeling. An aftershave splash contains high alcohol concentration, which explains the stinging result after every application. Alcohol, however, is not suitable for men with sensitive and dry skin and can only aggravate irritations and wounds.
Witch Hazel is a natural astringent which helps in closing the skin’s pores. Unlike alcohol, Witch Hazel doesn’t dry out the skin and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also performs as a gentle cleansing agent.
The soothing effects of an aftershave is mainly because of its Aloe vera ingredient. Aloe vera acts as a natural healing agent which is essential in helping your skin heal from those aftershave cuts and burns.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is often paired with Witch Hazel to deliver the best soothing effects of an aftershave. Tea Tree Oil works mainly as an antiseptic that helps the skin avoid infections.
Fragrance is basically the least important factor to consider and is more of a personal preference. Besides, you wouldn’t want to keep on using an aftershave that has a scent that you really dislike. Much like choosing a cologne or perfume, aftershaves have strings of scents to choose from. You should also consider your skin type because it can directly affect the duration of the aftershave’s fragrance. Scents wear out faster on dry skin faster and linger longer on oily skin.
My top 5 picks for an aftershave
Now that I've covered some of the basics, let's get into some of my favorite products.
Lather and Wood Shaving Co. has been in the business of manufacturing high quality men’s personal care products for many years now. The aftershave balm by Lather and Wood doesn’t have a single trace of alcohol so it’s perfect for men with sensitive skin. If you are constantly suffering from irritations and burns every after shave, this balm could be your perfect solution because it provides a soothing finish without the sting. It also acts as a moisturizer and doesn’t leave a greasy feeling.
A unique entry to this list is the aftershave lotion by Rugged and Dapper, which also works as an anti-aging cream. Whether or not you have been shaving, you can use it daily to help reduce those age marks on your face. As an aftershave lotion, it helps soothe any irritation caused by shaving through its shea butter content. This is also good for all skin types.
Proraso has been in the business of producing top quality men’s grooming products for more than a century. With long and prove track record, Proraso's Aftershave splash naturally makes this list. You can enjoy a cool and refreshed feeling after every use with a light and appealing scent. If you suffer from inflammation after shaving, you can use this aftershave splash because it will soothe burns thanks to its Witch Hazel ingredient.
This lotion acts as a skin toner and an effective preemptive solution to razor rash. The product is alcohol based so you can expect a burning sensation when applied on your face. The scent is a classic barbershop essence. Clubman Pinaud is also good at helping you get through those dolorous razor nicks.
Nivea is a very popular brand for personal care products for both men and women. Its product lines range from deodorants and sunscreens to face and body creams and lotions. Nivea for Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm is a good aftershave alternative for men with sensitive skin. It’s an effective solution for all those skin redness and irritations. The product is also specially formulated to lessen skin’s sensitivity through time if you use it regularly.
Of the five aftershaves I reviewed, I highly recommend the Rugged and Dapper Aftershave Lotion with Shea. It’s a versatile aftershave because all skin types can use it and it comes with shea butter that helps deliver a soothing relief from skin irritations. It is also a double purpose product which acts as an aftershave and an anti-aging cream at the same time.
Written by Robert Ordway
Raised in the small mill town of Lake Station, Indiana, Robert’s blue collar upbringing exposed him to little if any of the clothing industry. Robert has been following the menswear industry for over a decade and has been significantly influenced by the book, Dressing the Man by Alan Flusser. From 2009-2012, he worked in retail sales at both Brooks Brothers and JCrew. In 2015, Robert received the Custom Clothier certification from the Custom Tailor and Designers Association (CTDA), the oldest continuously operating trade organization in the United States. He is the former owner of Rusted Oak, a men’s retail clothing store in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Today, Robert's mission is to teach men of all shapes and sizes about grooming care, general life style tips, and of course male fashion stemming from his deep career in the fashion industry.