Aftershave is a mixture one applies to their face after shaving to soothe the skin. Traditionally it was an alcohol-based liquid, however, these days one can find aftershave in gel and lotion form as well.
None of these bases are an all-around “best” choice, in fact, it’s important to use the type that is best for your skin.
The ideal type of aftershave will vary from person-to-person. Some swear by the product and others have never used it in their life. Below we answer all your questions surrounding this classic and controversial toiletry.
What Is Aftershave?
Aftershave is a toiletry used to cleanse the face after shaving. It comes in different forms and each form has its unique benefits. All types have an antiseptic fluid mixed in them that prevents infection and inflammation from shaving.
What Does It Do?
Depending on your aftershave’s base it will have slightly different effects. However, all types are meant to alleviate irritation and prevent outbreaks. Aftershave is an antiseptic solution, meaning it can get rid of harmful microorganisms that may form on your razor during storage. Overall, it’s a good way to freshen up your face.
This toiletry is usually infused with a fresh scent that can act as a facial cologne.
If your razor is dull or pulls hair follicles on your face, the skin can be easily irritated — this can be painful. Although it stings at first, aftershave is a good way to mitigate harm and, in the long run, stop this pain.
How Do You Use Aftershave?
To use aftershave, first use a sharp and fresh razor to cut your facial hair. If a razor is dull, it will pull and scrape your skin, making aftershave burn more than usual.
Once you’re done shaving, apply your aftershave. If it is liquid-based you can use your hands or a cotton ball to apply the product. Regardless of the base, the application process is the same:
- Tip the bottle slightly so approximately 1/2 tablespoon of aftershave comes out onto your hand or cotton ball.
- Dab it on your face, making sure the points which you have shaved are soaking in the majority of the liquid.
- Be sure to rub the aftershave underneath your chin as well, as this area can be missed easily.
Feel free to splash a handful of water on your face afterward to remove any lingering liquid that doesn’t get soaked up by your skin.
How Much Do You Need?
As with cologne, too much aftershave can be problematic. First, wasting this toiletry can get expensive and is unnecessary — a little goes a long way.
Having an overpowering scent profile will do more harm than good. Excessive burning can also be a side effect of using too much aftershave.
So how much do you need?
The ideal amount of aftershave is “a couple of drops,” or about ½ teaspoon. You want to have enough to spread around your cheeks and neck without oversaturating your skin. After trimming a large beard or a full facial shave, it can be helpful to use more to mitigate any chances of swelling and infection — even then, don’t use more than one teaspoon.
What Are The Different Types of Aftershave?
The three most common types of aftershave are lotion-based, gel-based and liquid-based (this is the most popular type). In earlier decades, only liquid-based alcohol aftershave was used in barbershops. However, nowadays, options have expanded to accommodate different skin types.
All three types have unique benefits and can be used to achieve different effects. They all use some form of antiseptic to eliminate the chance of infection and inflammation after shaving.
Below are specific details associated with the three types of aftershave.
Lotion-based: Aftershave in lotion form is used to moisten the skin after shaving. The moisture in these products helps with dry skin and as a result, makes the face smoother after a shave. Ideally used in the winter months, lotion-based aftershave should be applied by those who get excessively dry skin — in the winter or year-round.
Gel-based: Depending on the type of gel used with aftershave there can be different benefits. Some gel aftershaves are used to add extra nutrients to the skin (like fish oil), while others are simply used to smell good. This type of product can be good for those with sensitive skin if the proper ingredients, like aloe, are present in the gel.
Liquid-based: This is the traditional type of aftershave. The alcohol in these aftershaves is used as an antiseptic and can cause a harsher burning than gel and lotion aftershaves. However, liquid-based types are typically strong antiseptics and can clean cuts from shaving very well.
Do You Need Aftershave?
It is not needed after every shave, however, it can help with certain aspects of health and beauty. First, if you cut yourself shaving you should use aftershave. The antiseptic treatment will help avert infection and can bring swelling down.
It’s also a good idea to use specific types of aftershave if you have sensitive skin. If you fall into this category look for lotion-based aftershaves meant to soothe and moisten your face. You can also look for natural aftershaves that can be less harsh on the skin.
Another reason why aftershave is a good idea post-shave is simply to smell good.
Aftershave is a classic way to boost one’s professional and social profile by making sure you look and smell amazing. While not always necessary, the toiletry is an ideal way to calm and heal your skin after shaving. Especially if your razor is dull or pulls on your facial hair, aftershave can be used to heal your skin before more harm is done.
The important thing to remember with aftershave is that it’s like a facial cologne — meaning it should complement your actual cologne’s scent. When mixed properly, aftershave and cologne can help create your signature scent. Find a fragrance that has the same tones as your aftershave for best results.