What Does Aftershave Do and Which aftershave should you use?

Shaving is the removing of hair, which is in itself deemed safe. However, it might sometimes lead to infection. After a shave, you may cut your skin or remove parts off the top of your skin. This makes it prone to irritation and creates a gateway for bacteria. So, aftershave comes into play. But what does aftershave do?

Let’s have a look.

What Does Aftershave Do?

You may ask, why use aftershave? The purpose of aftershave is to act as an antiseptic agent, help irritation in the skin, and create a fragrance. Let’s have a look one by one. 

# Antiseptic agent

Aftershaves act as antiseptic agents. They prevent infection from taking place by killing any bacteria that may have found their way through cuts. Believe it or not, you might not even realize you have cut yourself since some nicks are only visible through a microscope. If not killed, these bacteria can cause acne or whiteheads.

Normally, aftershave products contain either alcohol or hazel that serve as antiseptic agents.

# Help irritation in the skin

Shaving also has the possibility of causing irritation and inflammation. This has similar effects to a burning sensation.

Luckily aftershaves often contain astringents, like alcohol or witch hazel, about which we talked about earlier. These help to calm your skin by soothing the irritation and warding off the inflammation.

Create fragrance

Aftershaves contain fragrance that gives your skin a nice smell. Once you are done with shaving, you will smell great, and people will notice you. Many people love that cologne smell that some aftershaves have. 

How to use aftershave?

1. There are some steps that you can follow to get the optimum result from aftershaves. Aftershaves either come with spray nozzles or open mouth containers. Put a small amount into your hands by squeezing or pouring, and make sure you rub them together. The heat generated thus will make it easier to apply to your face.

2. Use a hot towel to open the pores of your skin. This will help in the healing and disinfecting process.

3.Now, apply it to your face gently. You can start from your cheekbones, coming all the way down to the base of your neck. Rub well while you are doing this. 

4. Close the pores with a cold towel. This will rehydrate your skin.

Portrait of a man drying his face with towel over gray background

men use towel for wash face

You might want to visit here to know about a brief history of aftershave.

Moisturizer-Based Aftershave vs. Alcohol-Based Aftershave

Usually, after shaving, people apply some alcohol-based aftershave on their skin. This will indeed kill the bacteria. However, what they do not realize is that the skin becomes damaged in the process.

Alcohol dries out the surface of the skin when applied. This may result in dry or oily skin, the latter caused by the body’s system of producing oil as an overcompensation. Furthermore, alcohol may worsen any razor bumps caused after shaving. 

Your skin needs moisture. According to Dr. Terrence Keaney, a dermatologist working with the Dove Men+ Care line, the alcohol-based astringent hiding in medicine cabinets the world over, can be harmful to your skin. “You’re putting it on the skin that’s just been shaved, so you’re removing all those barriers and slapping a very heavy alcohol solution so that could really irritate your skin,” Dr. Keaney said.

Moisture-based aftershaves serve to rehydrate your skin. The ones that contain essential oils also help in preventing bacteria. These will also soothe your skin, easing off any swelling. Moreover, any razor burns or acne after shave will also be reduced.

All in all, moisture-based aftershaves serve the same helpful purpose as the alcohol ones, minus the negative effects.

You’re putting it on the skin that’s just been shaved, so you’re removing all those barriers and slapping a very heavy alcohol solution so that could really irritate your skin

Dr. Keaney said


Which aftershave should you use?

Depending on your skin type, you can choose your aftershave. Not all types are suitable for everyone. Choosing the wrong one can sometimes lead to unwanted side effects. Here are some suggestions for aftershave for men.

Normal or oily skin

  • Use an aftershave lotion. This contains a good proportion of water that is good for oily skin, as it can quickly be absorbed into the skin
  • One can also apply aftershave creams with a thin consistency. These tend to take less time to penetrate the skin and leave it dry and healthy.

Dry Skin

  • Be careful to avoid anything that contains alcohol. Alcohol itself causes dryness, which is counterproductive if you already have dry skin. 
  • Use natural oils like hazelnut or almond. These are very beneficial to dry skin types.
  • It is recommended to use aftershave gels or any moisturizer containing aftershaves once you shave. These will soothe the skin.
  • Again, aftershave creams with a thicker consistency can be used for dry skin types, as they are great at soothing irritation.

Sensitive Skin

Experts say that if you have sensitive skin, it is best to use an unscented aftershave balm. This is to avoid any sort of irritation related to fragrance enriched aftershaves.

However, if you insist on fragrance, we advise you to use an aftershave that is scented with natural essential oils. These may include lavender, rose, or orange, and do not cause skin irritations. 

Use aftershave balms. These have a soft and creamy texture that is extremely soothing to sensitive skin after shaving.

Have a look at The Shave Barber Company for the best barber for shaving.

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To sum it up

Aftershaves help you. They are your friends, as long as you choose the right one. Without them, you will not achieve that fragrance induced, smooth, and natural aftershave feeling after a nice shave that many people desire.

Your skin demands attention. Treating your skin properly after you shave is an important step in the shaving routine. Now that you know the importance of aftershave and what does aftershave do, you will consider using the best option available for you. We hope to have provided all the necessary details to help you take that step. Say farewell to itchy and dry skin and say hello to perfection.