Alum blocks are old school. Like really old school. But in case you haven’t noticed, if it relates to shaving and it existed a hundred years ago, there’s a good chance that it has regained popularity. Why? Because the art of shaving.
But you don’t have to subscribe to the art of shaving to appreciate alum blocks. You should appreciate them because they are affordable, fantastic little tools that can help you shave better.
What is an alum block?
So, what is alum you ask? Alum is a colorless compound made up of aluminium and potassium. It’s a big deal mainly because of its astringent properties. Alum blocks are crystal-like stones or bricks that act as a soothing antiseptic for shaving men. When you rub an alum block over your freshly shaved mug, it acts as an antiseptic and helps prevent razor burn and irritation. It works by constricting blood vessels and tightening pores, and you can feel it work immediately.
Alum blocks are known as the original aftershave. It’s a compound that has been used for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egyptians who used it almost religiously for its healing and antiseptic properties. It still exists after all this time, and it hasn’t changed much. Signs of a quality product.
What are the uses of alum
We already mentioned the most well-known use for alum, but it can be used a few other places besides just your face. Egyptians and other cultures in the middle and far east used it as deodorant. Yup, good old pit stick. Because it’s able to tighten up pores, it gives excellent odor and sweat protection without the chance of any chemicals reacting negatively with your body. There are some men who still use alum block as deodorant and swear by it.
Just as they are effective at soothing an irritated face, alum blocks are also suitable for soothing more sensitive areas like the bikini area. That’s about as sensitive as an area you can get, and because they’re completely all-natural and unscented, they are perfect for anyone looking for relief down there.
However, we’re talking about shaving, here. And that’s where alum blocks shine. The men that will benefit the most from incorporating an alum block into their shaving routine are those with very full beards that need to be shaved often. You may not even realize it, but shaving your whole face every single day can do a number on your skin. The natural astringent in alum blocks will protect your face from most types of irritation, especially if used consistently.
Lots of men use the alum block as a diagnostic tool. If you run it over your face and there’s only a minor sting, then you know that you’ve had a good shave with minor irritation. If you have an especially clumsy or lazy shave, you’ll know. It’ll sting quite a bit as a lesson for you to slow down and take care of your face. Lesson learned.
How does it compare to a styptic pencil
You’ve probably heard of styptic pencils, and seen the styptic vs alum debates that are scattered online. Even though they’re similar and have many of the same properties, they don’t exactly have the same use.
While alum blocks are more of a general use, everyday product that tightens up your pores, styptic pencils are made specifically to stop bleeding nicks and cuts. A styptic pencil also works by constricting your blood vessels, but they are much more concentrated than alum block. They will stop bleeding faster, and they will sting a lot more. They’re fantastic for traveling in case you slip up and need a quick fix. You won’t find too many alum blocks in a man’s traveling kit.
An alum block can certainly seal razor cuts and stop bleeding, but for styptic pencils are better at closing a bleeder. Alum blocks can heal those minor razor scratches and cuts pretty darn well though.
So which one should I get?
Styptic pencils are great for spot treatment, but if you’re not prone to nicks and cuts and don’t need something as strong, go for an alum block, or a variation on one. It’s something that you can incorporate into your shaving routine very easily, and you will appreciate how it tightens up your skin after a shave. Try a Glyder – reinventing the old alum block with additions like Aloe and Vitamin E.