Best Aftershave For Men

Updated December 2020
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
12 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
79 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best men’s aftershaves

Aftershave is a liquid or balm that gives your skin a fresh, clean feeling and gives your face a pleasing fragrance. While aftershave originally served to disinfect the skin after using razors that could harbor bacteria, most aftershaves also help rejuvenate and moisturize facial skin.

Modern men’s aftershaves come in the form of splashes, balms, and lotions, all of which vary in ingredients and alcohol content. While alcohol provides the classic invigorating tingle, it can be painful for those with sensitive skin and may cause the skin to become dry. The purpose of a good aftershave is threefold: to prevent infection, to soothe the skin, and to provide a pleasant scent.

Your aftershave should be chosen for your skin type and scent preference. A wide variety of products exist, but our buying guide will help you find the right aftershave for your needs.

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Shaving can irritate your skin, as it involves the removal of dead skin. Aftershave can help to soothe small cuts and repair skin.

Types of aftershave

Alcohol based vs. non-alcoholic

For many years, aftershaves used alcohol as their primary ingredient. It is efficient at killing bacteria (which was important at the barbershop since blades were used on many customers), and it gives your skin a tingling feeling that can leave you feeling alert and refreshed.

While there are benefits to alcohol-based aftershaves, there are also drawbacks. Alcohol can dry out your skin and may even cause painful ingrown hairs by closing up pores. In colder months, using alcohol-based aftershave can be quite uncomfortable when you step out into the winter air.

While many products have an extremely low alcohol content, some have no alcohol at all. These are the best options for sensitive skin or skin that is prone to dryness.

Splashes, lotions, and balms

Finding the right aftershave is all about your skin type and what experience you’re looking for. Do you want a soothing balm that leaves your skin moisturized and soft, or do you want an intense lotion that tingles and gives you that slightly taut feeling? Some products are suited to oily skin, while others can help dry or flaky skin regain necessary moisture. The three common types of aftershaves — splashes, balms, and lotions — tend to vary in their ingredients and soothing qualities. This is probably what comes to mind for most men when they think of aftershave — a highly alcoholic splash that wakes you up and maybe stings a bit.

  • Splashes: Splashes tend to be a bit harsh on the skin. They do an excellent job of disinfecting (you can almost feel the bacteria dying) and closing pores, but they will also let you know if you nicked yourself and can lead to ingrown hairs. Most splashes are scented, and some low-alcohol varieties are available.
     

  • Lotions: Aftershave lotions are slightly thicker than splashes. While they can be more soothing than splashes, they still often have fairly high alcohol contents, resulting in the same issues of stinging and the potential for ingrown hairs.

    Some lotions contain synthetic ingredients that may irritate or dehydrate the skin. As with splashes, many lotions are scented.
     

  • Balms: Balms are the most popular option for their soothing quality, beneficial ingredients, and pleasant feeling. If you have always been perplexed by the appeal of aftershaves, a balm may convince you.

    Balms are typically extremely low in alcohol or may even be alcohol-free. However, they still use antiseptic ingredients, so there’s no need to worry about bacteria. Balms serve to moisturize the skin and clean the pores, leaving them open for healthy hair growth.

    Some balms contain synthetic ingredients, but there are many all-natural options that may include essential oils. Most balms are fragranced, but unscented varieties are available.

A note about application

While you apply all aftershaves at the same time, a lotion, splash, and balm all feel slightly different on your skin. Splashes feel thin and watery, while lotion has a bit more texture to it. Balms are thicker and must be spread over your skin and rubbed in gently.

Scent

While a fragrance doesn’t affect the performance of an aftershave, it may be an important consideration since others — and probably you — may be able to smell your aftershave throughout the day. Just as with colognes, aftershaves come in a wide variety of natural and synthetic scents.

Common aftershave ingredients

Here are a few ingredients often found in aftershaves that you should look for — or avoid — for specific effects.

  • Aloe vera is commonly used to soothe and repair skin.

  • Witch hazel is a popular natural ingredient often found in non-alcoholic products that reduces irritation and prevents dryness.

  • Mineral oils and extracts can provide a variety of effects without causing rashes or reactions, and they may also provide a natural fragrance.

  • Glycerine helps your skin retain moisture and may be natural.

  • Natural oils may be used to help add moisture to your skin.

  • Chemicals and artificial fragrances are more likely to cause a reaction in some people.

  • Alcohol is an ingredient we have already covered. It’s effective as an antiseptic but can sometimes be harsh on the skin.

Men’s aftershave prices

Inexpensive: Inexpensive aftershaves for $5 to $15 often include chemical ingredients and a high alcohol content. While they do come in balm, lotion, and splash form, it can be difficult to find all-natural and alcohol-free products in this price range.

Mid-range: Most aftershaves fall in the $15 to $30 range. These come with a variety of ingredients that may or may not be natural.

Expensive: High-end aftershaves for $30 to $75 may be organic or manufactured by popular brands. If you enjoy the fragrance of a particular brand, you may have to look for an aftershave in this price range.

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Did you know?
Aftershave can treat a variety of skin issues, including razor burn, dry skin, and oily skin.
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How to use aftershave

You probably already know when to use aftershave, but it’s important to know the rest of the steps as well.

  • After shaving, thoroughly rinse your face with cold water.

  • Dry your face with a clean towel.

  • Put a small amount of aftershave in your hand.

  • Spread the aftershave evenly between your hands so that both palms are completely coated.

  • Evenly coat your face in aftershave, rubbing gently.

  • Then, the most important step — leave the aftershave on your face so it can work to moisturize your skin and kill bacteria.

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Aftershave serves as a skin treatment and a cologne, helping to rejuvenate your skin while leaving an enjoyable fragrance on your skin.

FAQ

Q. Can aftershave be used if I shave with an electric shaver?
A.
Absolutely. Since many people find electric shavers irritating, an aftershave can be the perfect product to soothe irritated skin and follicles.

Q. If I have some facial hair, should I apply aftershave to my mustache or beard?
A.
Aftershave is mostly designed to soothe skin that has just had a blade dragged over it. Some aftershaves may have chemicals or ingredients that can damage facial hair, so it’s best to only apply it to areas that have just been shaved.

Q. Can aftershaves help heal scars?
A.
Most aftershaves do not include ingredients to heal scars, but if aloe vera is included, it is possible to repair past damage.

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