This balm uses several natural and organic ingredients for a mixture that is moisturizing and easy on the skin. The bottle design makes it easy to apply the right amount of balm, and most customers find that their skin feels softer and smoother afterward. Though there are cheaper options available, this is a reliable balm that uses mostly natural ingredients.
Some customers find the musky smell overpowering.
Very masculine "oriental" fragrance profile. Works well as moisturizer. Stylish packaging. Reduces razor burn, protects sensitive skin. Addresses skin flaking issues.
Fragrance may not mesh well with some users' body chemistry.
Minimal amount of product required. Does not sting skin like alcohol splashes. Mixes well with most users' body chemistry. Fragrance is not overpowering. Very soothing, without burn.
Some reports of fakes on the market. Minimal aroma, does not last long. Heavy musk component.
Very minimal amount of product required. Non-alcohol balm will not dry skin. Contains antibacterial ingredients for healing nicks and cuts. Certified cruelty-free and non-GMO. Formula contains skin nutrients and minerals.
Some complaints about a heavy perfume fragrance, not masculine. Some users may be allergic to ingredients.
Natural mint provides cooling effect, not alcohol. Very affordable entry-level price point. Salon-quality herbal and botanical formula. Fragrance is described as pleasant, but not overpowering.
Very thick, hair gel-like consistency that lingers on skin. Cooling effect can be minimal.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scent can play a big role in aftershave, so you should find a fragrance that suits you or complements your cologne.
Because one of the main functions of aftershave is preventing infection, you should always wash your hands before applying it. It’s also a good idea to use a clean towel for drying your face, hands, and razor, as bacteria can collect on towels.
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.
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.
Aftershave can treat a variety of skin issues, including razor burn, dry skin, and oily skin.
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.
There are a few aftershaves worth mentioning that didn’t quite make our top picks. They stand out for their natural and organic ingredients. One alcohol-free option is Fieldworks Supply Company Organic Aftershave Lotion, which uses bentonite clay for its natural cleansing properties. It has a nice but not overwhelming scent and is gentle on the skin. Another natural option is the American Shaving Co. Aftershave Balm for Men, which stands out for its popular scent. Though it does contain some alcohol, it’s still a good option for those with sensitive skin. For an alcohol-free balm with mostly organic ingredients, the Era Organics Aftershave Serum for Razor Bumps And Ingrown Hairs makes a significant difference for those who suffer from rashes, razor burn, or ingrown hairs.
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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