Aftershave has been around forever as part of a man’s daily lifestyle routine, but a lot of guys still have no idea how to use it, or even know if they should be using it at all. If you experience any type of redness or irritation after your shave, there’s a good chance that you could benefit from a good aftershave. Let’s take a look at what exactly aftershave is, and how to use it properly.
What Is Aftershave?
Ok, let’s start at the beginning. Aftershave is a liquid or lotion that helps soothe a man’s face after shaving. Historically, it’s been a necessity to fight infections from nicks and cuts from less than sanitary razors. It works by creating a thin barrier of protection for your skin. It locks in moisture while keeping all the bad stuff out.
What Is It Made Of?
As mentioned, aftershave usually comes in a liquid or a lotion. The lotions (or balms) are thicker, and feel heavier on your skin. They provide lots of irritation relief and will give your skin a nice, lasting layer of moisture. Balms may be a bit too thick for some, and that’s where the more traditional liquid (or splash) aftershave comes in.
Splash aftershaves feel much more watery. They’re packed with a combination of toners and astringents so when you apply it after your shave, you can really feel your skin tightening up. Some tighten more than others, so be aware, especially if you’re in a cold climate.
Good aftershaves include conditioning agents like natural oils for immediate moisture and substances called humectants (glycerin is one) that actually draw moisture from outside into your skin throughout the day. How sweet is that!? You also want to make sure your aftershave contains soothing vitamins and extracts like vitamin A and vitamin E to further protect, soothe, and repair your freshly shaved face.
Stay away from the alcohol! Cheaper aftershaves use alcohol as the primary ingredient, drying out your face and further irritating skin. Look for one whose primary ingredient is witch hazel, a much milder form of astringent.
How To Properly Use Aftershave
Before running to the store and buying the most expensive aftershave you see, know that the aftershave you use should depend on the type of skin you have. The best aftershave for men depends on you. Here are some quick guidelines:
- Dry skin Prone to peeling. Use a moisturizing balm after shaving and just before bed.
- Oily Skin Looks shiny, feels shiny. Lots of open pores and prone to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. A splash toner will help stabilize the moisture.
- Sensitive Skin Itchy, stingy, prone to break out in rash. Use either a mild splash or a light balm. Whichever you decide, make sure it is made specifically for sensitive skin.
- Combination Skin Greasy around the forehead, nose and chin, dry everywhere else. Prone to blackheads. Either find an aftershave made specifically for combination skin, or use different products for the different areas of your face.
If you’re applying multiple products, remember to apply the thinner stuff first, followed by the thicker stuff (like moisturizer). After a few weeks of consistent use, you should see far less irritation and redness after your shaves. Good luck!