After shave is one of those things that guys are expected to automatically know how to apply because, well, we’re guys. No one expects us to need any more details. Just shave that hair off your face, slap your cheeks with some aftershave like in the movies, and set off on your day. Not a huge deal, right?
The truth is that aftershave should not be an afterthought in any man’s shaving routine. It’s one of the most important factors determining how well your skin holds up over time, and how many cracks and creases show up (read: we’re talking about wrinkles here, folks).
Why Use Aftershave in your Skin Care Routine
A lot of men don’t know even really know what aftershave is. Self-explanatory name, fairly vague purpose. As you can imagine, the definition of what it is and what it does has changed over the years.
Aftershave used to be purely an antiseptic. It almost always contained alcohol (ouch) or witch hazel to prevent those occasional nicks and cuts from getting infected. That’s where that burning sensation came from when men would slap their cheeks with it *cue classic scene from Home Alone*. Now that men’s grooming has made a comeback, most aftershave now contains some sort of lotion, cream, or gel that can not only prevent infection, but also moisturize that face to keep it healthy.
Shaving irritates your skin and opens your pores, exposing you to all the dirt and bacteria that exists in the air. Traditionally, we’ve always turned to the alcohol (or astringent) to close the pores and kills bacteria. Great. The problem is that these astringents don’t help with irritation. In fact, they add to it.
This is where things like aloe vera and essential oils come in to alleviate this irritation. Now it’s very common that your aftershave doubles as a moisturizing lotion to soften up that skin. They’ve also found a way to get the same antiseptic properties without the alcohol.
Now it’s well-documented that consistent use of a good aftershave/moisturizer will help reduce age lines, wrinkles, and ultimately make shaving easier. Not a bad deal, right?
Different Types of Aftershave
There are two types of aftershaves: balms and splashes. As you can imagine, balms are a bit heavier and they provide more moisture to your skin. It’s basically a dual-purpose face lotion. Most of the time they will contain natural oils, butters, and antioxidants like Vitamins A, C and E to help protect your face from the environment.
A splash is a more traditional aftershave. Completely focused on that antiseptic protection, splash aftershaves are made from an antiseptic agent like witch hazel or denatured alcohol, giving it that watery feeling. You can really feel it tighten your pores, but you don’t get any of the soft moisturizing like you do with a balm.
How to Apply Aftershave
How you use aftershave and which you choose depends on your skin. (You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?) Most guys fall into one of these categories, so take a look in the mirror and figure out which one applies to you.
Dry Skin – appears rough and sometimes cracked with lines and wrinkles. Men with dry skin want to go with a good moisturizing balm to feed your skin the nutrients it needs to soften up. Be gentle when washing your face, as dry skin is prone to peeling from excess irritation
Oily Skin – Oily skin is slick to the touch, and it’s most prone to pimples. Your aftershave should help control the moisture and tighten up the pores. Look for a splash that will tighten it up, and take care to wash your face more than normal, up to three times a day. Make sure nothing you put on your face has any oil in it.
Combination Skin – Oily in some parts, dry in others. Combination skin can seem like a hassle to take care of, but lots of guys have combination skin…so naturally there are plenty of products to use for it. If you don’t want a product designed specifically for combination skin, you can use a dry skin product for the dry areas, and oil-products for the oily areas. Listen to what your face is telling you.
When do You Apply Aftershave?
When it comes to applying aftershave, keep it simple. After you’ve splashed your face with cold water and dabbed it dry, you’re ready for your aftershave. Rub a few drops of your product in your hands and then massage your face for 10-15 seconds. If you’re using multiple products, use the thinnest products first.
Don’t Overlook What Goes on Your Face
The moral of the story is to think about what you’re putting on your face after you shave. If you continuously treat it badly by drying it out or making it even oilier, your skin will start to show the signs. It’s a simple part of your daily process that you can make better. So make it better.