Post-shave care plays a pivotal role in the ongoing quest for a close, comfortable shave.
As any man who’s nicked himself while shaving knows, getting a good clean shave isn’t just about gliding the razor on the surface of your skin, but also how you care for your skin post-shave.
Enter the world of aftershave products: a myriad of potions designed to ensure your shaving routine doesn’t end with skin irritation or razor burn.
To help you understand what type of aftershave is best for you, in this post we’ll break down all the differences between aftershave lotion and balm, and explain which types of products tend to produce the best results for specific skin types.
After Shave Balm vs Lotion
Breaking Down the Best Ways to Avoid Razor Burn
What is Aftershave?
(And what does it actually do?)
Aftershave is an umbrella term for the various types of skincare products whose purpose is to promote the recovery process of your skin after the sometimes traumatic experience of dragging a razor across it.
Think of aftershave products as the final step in your shaving ritual.
Not only do they tackle minor cuts and soothe razor bumps, but they also moisturize and often come with antiseptic properties, ensuring the freshly shaved skin doesn’t get infected.
Traditional Aftershaves: Splashes and Lotions
Remember that scene in Home Alone where Macaulay Culkin’s character screams after applying aftershave?
That’s the power of traditional aftershaves or aftershave splashes.
Often alcohol-heavy, these aftershave lotions can give a burning sensation, especially on sensitive skin.
However, they’re also known for their antiseptic ingredients, like witch hazel, which help disinfect those pesky minor cuts.
Aftershave lotions often have a stronger fragrance compared to other aftershave products, which can make them a good idea for those who prefer their post-shave product to double as an eau de toilette.
On the downside, the alcohol content can be drying, especially for dry skin, which may lead to skin irritation.
Modern Marvels: Balm and Gel
A post-shave balm or after-shave balm offers a thicker consistency than lotions or splashes.
Made with sensitive and dry skin in mind, these products often contain less alcohol and focus on a range of common ingredients that are soothing for the skin.
Common Aftershave Balm Ingredients
A good balm will usually include natural ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, and essential oils.
Natural oils, such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil, are also often added for their moisturizing benefits. Additionally, vitamin E is a common ingredient for its skin-healing properties.
Most balms will provide a subtle scent, which is great for those who might be sensitive to synthetic fragrances.
Another variant, the aftershave gel, tends to be cooling and lightweight. With soothing ingredients such as aloe vera, these are ideal for oily skin.
How to Choose the Best After Shave for Your Skin Type
As explained above, different types of aftershave cater to different skin types.
While some might swear by the refreshing feel of old school aftershave splashes from brands like Taylor of Old Bond Street, others might lean towards a more modern and natural aftershave balm for its soothing effects.
Since your skin type is the main factor in determining what kind of aftershave will work best for you, there’s good reason to to understand your skin condition and needs.
Here’s a breakdown of which types of aftershave work best for specific skin types.
For Sensitive Skin
A post-shave balm with soothing ingredients like aloe vera and less alcohol is a better way to go.
Synthetic fragrances might aggravate your skin, so a balm with natural oils can be the best solution.
For Dry Skin
Look for products rich in moisturizing agents like shea butter and jojoba oil. An aftershave balm might be the best aftershave balm for this skin type.
For Oily Skin
Aftershave lotions or gels might be more up your alley. They’re lightweight and often contain ingredients like tea tree oil known for its antiseptic properties.
Tips for a Perfect Post-Shave Care Routine
Buying the right type of after shave is the first step to a great post-shave routine, but the next one is making sure you use it properly.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the pre- and post-shave steps that will leave your skin smooth, clean, comfortable and (perhaps most importantly) handsome.
Preparation: Start by washing your face with warm water. It softens the skin and hair, making for a close shave.
Shave Right: Using a good-quality razor and shaving cream/gel can reduce the chances of razor burn and ingrown hairs.
Cool Down: After shaving, rinse your face with cold water. It helps close the pores and reduce skin irritation.
Apply Aftershave: Choose the right product based on your preference and skin type by referring to the guidance above. (And remember – a little goes a long way.)
Moisturize: If your chosen aftershave doesn’t moisturize enough, follow up with a good face cream or similar moisturizing skincare product.
The world of aftershaves, from traditional aftershaves to different types of aftershave balms and gels, is vast.
The main difference lies in their ingredients, consistency, and alcohol content.
Remember, your shaving routine doesn’t end once the razor is put down; the next step is equally crucial.
Choose your post-shave products wisely, and you’ll be on your way to a refreshing, comfortable shave.
Of course, before you ever get to the post-shave you’ll need to actually, you know, shave.
And for that, you need a good razor. If you’ve never tried a straight razor before, it’s worth checking out our roundup of the best straight razors for beginners.
We’ve broken down the best straight razors for guys who’ve never tried one before, each of which combines the close-shave benefits of wet shaving with the ease-of-use needed for newbies.
More Resources ↓
More Men’s Shaving Tips and Recommendations from Irreverent Gent:
- The Best Shaving Soaps for Men
- The 11 Best Electric Shavers & Razors for Sensitive Skin
- The 15 Best Foil Shavers on the Market
- Foil vs Rotary Shavers: The Key Differences, Explained
- The 10 Best Rotary Shavers for a Close, Clean Shave
- The Biggest Benefits to Shaving with a Straight Razor
- The Best Straight Razors for Beginners
- The 13 Best Stubble Trimmers for Ruggedly Refined Facial Hair
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- The 25 Best Men’s Skin Care Brands & Products
- Taper vs Fade vs Taper Fade – The Ultimate Guide
- In-Depth Lumin Skincare Review
- The Best Face Wash for Men
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