If you are looking for the best aftershaves on the market today, you have come to the right place.
There are dozens of aftershaves out there and I believe we have practically tested them all.
At least any worth considering to make our coveted list 😉
After countless hours of research and testing, we have compiled this list of the best aftershave balms, lotions, and splashes for every skin type and preference.
With our comprehensive reviews and detailed instructions on what you need to consider when selecting an aftershave, you will be sure to find the optimal aftershave for YOU.
QUICK OVERVIEW: Best Aftershaves
Proraso Aftershave Lotion
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Art of Shaving Aftershave Balm
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Bay Rum Aftershave by Barbary Coast Shave Co.
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Baxter of California Aftershave Balm
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Proraso Aftershave Balm (Protective and Moisturizing)
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Truefitt & Hill Trafalgar Aftershave Balm
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Lucky Tiger Aftershave and Face Tonic
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Clubman Pinaud Aftershave Lotion
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Geo F. Trumper’s West Indian Lime Skin Food
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Nivea Men Q10 Energy Double Action Balm
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Use the table of contents below to jump to the sections most important to you.
Table of Contents
What to Look for in an Aftershave (According to Your Skin Type)
Going to be characterized by rough, sometimes flaky, skin. It can be prone to peeling and may feel and look a little dull.
1. Contains Moisturizing Agents
Obviously, you’re going to need a moisturizing aftershave, full of natural oils to try and restore hydration into the skin cells.
2. Avoid Alcohol
But also, avoiding aftershaves with alcohol is key.
Why is alcohol a problem for dry skin? Well, it’s a diuretic. Which means it makes the body expel more water than it takes in.
Just think back to the last time you had a few beers and you couldn’t wait for the cab ride home to be over so that you can run indoors and have a pee.
And what happens the next day? Your pee is a deep, golden brown color because you’re so dehydrated and your head is pounding from the lack of fluid in your body.
So if you know you have dry skin, keep an eye on the alcohol content of your aftershave. Ideally, you’ll be using one which is entirely free of it!
We have labeled each of the aftershaves on our list whether they contain alcohol so you can quickly identify the right aftershave for your dry skin.
3. Be Wary of Astringents
You also need to be aware of astringents. These contain skin healing properties and will help skin cells to repair (the word derives from the Latin name adstringere which means ‘bind together’).
They appear naturally and are utilized in many aftershaves to heal cuts and nicks.
Sound good eh? Well, generally they are. But that can inflame the dry skin. So while they may help repair cuts, they will irritate dry skin and that benefit is negated.
You’ll know if you have oily skin as you’ll be able to see the sheen shortly after washing. You may also even be able to feel the oils on your skin too.
You’ll likely have visible pores and be prone to blackheads.
Oily skin isn’t an affliction! It just needs to be managed slightly differently.
1. Alcohol Based Aftershave
In contrast to dry skin, you should favor an aftershave with alcohol. This will dry out the oils and take away some of that glossy finish. A toning splash or tonic with alcohol should be your go-to choice.
2. Moisturizing Properties
It’s essential you also use an aftershave that contains moisturizers. This may seem counterproductive, but if you have effectively stripped layers of moisture with alcohols (to eliminate oils) you will need to rehydrate.
Glycerine is an ingredient you should pay particular attention to. It derives from plant oils and repairs and replenishes dehydrated skin cells.
If your skin is often itchy, particularly after washing, it is more than likely sensitive.
Other indicators will be bumps and rashes, and stinging sensation when you apply products that aren’t suitable.
1. Limited Alcohol
You’re going to want to be using a mild aftershave, with limited alcohol content, as that will be an irritant.
2. Avoid Parabens
Parabens are also something to avoid. These are synthesized preservatives used in a lot of cosmetics, designed to prevent the development of bacteria.
The problem is they kill ALL bacteria, even the ones that are good for your skin. They are also very aggressive, which for your sensitive skin is bad news.
If an aftershave is paraben free, they are likely to boast about it so keep an eye out for those all-important two words.
Alternatively, you can check the ingredients. Anything that ends in ‘paraben’ is, well, a paraben. For example, Butylparaben. But they also can also be listed under the name Alkyl parahydroxybenzoates
We have labeled each of the aftershaves on our list whether they are paraben free so you can easily identify which ones you should consider.
3. Consider Unscented
Additionally, you might want to be looking at using an unscented aftershave. This is because a lot of what is used to create fragrances are going to be irritants.
Top 10 Best Aftershaves of 2019 Reviewed
Made in Italy from a company founded in 1908, this is a product that falls into that category of a true classic aftershave.
Proraso Aftershave Lotion has been the go-to product for men all around the world for countless years.
Still, don’t be fooled by the name of ‘lotion’, as we explained in the types of aftershave section above, aftershave lotions are more like splashes vs. a creamy balm.
So, if you’re one of those guys that enjoy the burning, tingling sensation you get from a high-quality aftershave, you’ll love this one.
Proraso puts a hint of menthol in their aftershave, which both provides a refreshing cool to the face.
You will also benefit from the purifying properties of the eucalyptus, and astringent properties of the witch hazel.
It’s 100% free from parabens, artificial colors, silicones, mineral oils and other undesirables and it is sure to leave you feeling like a million bucks.
The manufacturers state that this is for ‘all skin types’. I would question that.
While there’s no doubt this is laced with wonderful natural moisturizers, it does contain alcohol. And quite a lot of it.
So if you have dry skin, this is not an aftershave to choose. Simply because the skin cells that already lack hydration will be dehydrated further by the alcohol content, and your acid mantle will be stripped away which would have acted as a natural moisturizer.
That same alcohol content does, however, make it a good selection if you know you have oily skin. The alcohol will cut through the fats secreted onto the surface of your skin.
There’s no doubt that this has a classic, but the menthol scent does give it something different from the more traditional aftershaves.
That menthol fragrance isn’t subtle though. So it is destined to clash with any cologne that doesn’t also register on the ‘minty’ scale.
With a fade time of about two hours, you either need to have the luxury of a very relaxed morning routine or not be concerned about wanting also to wear a cologne.
We rate virtually all of the shaving products from Proraso quite highly, as we’ve yet to come across a bad one.
They even made our list of the best pre-shave oils.
If you have normal to oily skin want to enjoy the anti-bacterial benefits of an alcohol-based aftershave, Proraso Aftershave has the low price and high quality you’ve been searching for.
This is the best traditional aftershave out there on the market.
They also have another aftershave lotion with shea butter and sandalwood oil instead of the eucalyptus and menthol.
See the consensus of over 1,000 customer reviews here on Amazon.
The Art of Shaving is hands-down one of our favorite male grooming companies, producing an extensive line of excellent shaving creams, pre-shave oils and other related products.
They even made our list of the best shaving creams for men.
These guys truly know what they’re doing when it comes to getting a high-quality shave and their aftershave balms continue this pattern of excellence.
It comes in a nice compact 3.4oz glass bottle which has a great aesthetic but you may have some difficulties getting the last bit of balm out of the bottle.
If you have extremely sensitive skin I recommend you go with the unscented version as even the essential oils that provide the various scents can be irritating to the most sensitive of skin.
These balms are alcohol-free so they won’t dry your skin out and is non-comedogenic so it won’t block pores and cause any acne or other skin problems.
The shea butter and glycerin does a great job at moisturizing your skin throughout the day while the addition of vitamin C helps to revitalize and nourish your skin, repairing the damage from shaving.
It also has a variety of other oils and extracts that improve the elasticity of your skin helping to alleviate the signs of aging.
This balm has been created with dry skin in mind, although it is undoubtedly an excellent choice for sensitive skin also.
Thanks to its 0% alcohol content, there won’t we any further dehydration to your skin cells as a result of alcohols diuretic properties. It is also free of antiseptic and artificial dyes, making it great for sensitive skin.
A large selection of moisturizers (all natural) is a critical element of this aftershave’s success, but it is the large quantity of sandalwood oil that makes this aftershave so refreshing and hydrating.
Out of the three scents, we find the sandalwood to be the most pleasing and most manly.
If you’re looking for a particular fragrance, The Art of Shaving has got you covered, as its balms are available in 5 different scents, plus an unscented version that’s perfect for all you cologne wearers.
If you like to wear cologne and enjoy The Art of Shaving’s Sandalwood scent as much as we do, you can also pair this aftershave balm with The Art of Shaving’s Sandalwood & Cypress Cologne.
They really complement themselves nicely.
Still, despite lavender typically being considered a more feminine smell, we always know plenty of men who love this scent as well
No matter what scent you choose, you can feel comfortable in the fact that you’ll be getting one of the best aftershave balms on the market.
This is definitely in the higher end of the price range but as its backed up by The Art of Shaving’s reputation for shaving excellence, it’s more than worth the added price and is guaranteed to be one of the best aftershave balms you’ll ever try.
With its outstanding list of ingredients that provide so many benefits to your skin and the practically exhaustive list of available scent, this is hands down the best aftershave balm on the market today.
See the what hundreds of customers have to say about it per the Amazon customer reviews here.
Barberry Coast is one of the numerous different companies that produce the ever so popular ‘Bay Rum’ aftershaves but don’t dare group them all as the same as Barbary Coast’s aftershave ranks above the rest.
While you can expect a 4-ounce bottle to cost a couple of extra dollars than others, we find the price is well worth it for one of the finest, all natural handmade aftershaves on the market.
Suitable for vegans and with no GMOs, synthetic chemicals or artificial colors, this is truly about as natural as you can get.
As you may know, we are big proponents of natural products due to their superior performance, health benefits, and environmental friendliness.
Better still, it contains pure glycerin to help nourish the skin and eliminate the drying effects most alcohol-based aftershaves have.
Splashes lend themselves to the oily or normal skin.
That’s because their alcohol content can evaporate what little moisture there is in dry skin and can neutralize the precious protective oils needed to help sensitive skin.
So immediately this stands out as an aftershave for oily or normal skin.
But don’t rule it out immediately. It has a high glycerine content, which is a brilliant natural moisturizer, and is also paraben free and contains no synthetic dyes.
So it might not be total ‘no-go’ for dry or sensitive skin types.
This is probably the most classic smelling aftershave on our list, and in fact, the bay rum fragrance is the oldest of all aftershave scents.
But there is also a lot going on! It contains orange, rum, wood, cinnamon and many other notes which dominate and fade at different times of the day. So you may struggle to match it with an existing cologne.
It is also a strong scent, it’s not subtle. The world will know you are wearing an aftershave!
Which we love, but it does mean you may need to avoid this aftershave if you were hoping to wear your ‘special occasion’ cologne, as both will be impaired.
It is no wonder why it has been the most commonly searched aftershave scent online for many years.
If you are looking for a classic ‘splash’ aftershave, you cannot do any better than this one.
So, if you’re looking for something with a classically masculine scent that is all natural and won’t leave your skin dried out, look no further than Barbary Coast Shave’s Bay Rum Aftershave.
Check the hundreds of Amazon customer reviews here.
Practically all of Baxter of California’s products seem to be well-loved by a vast number of men.
One of the bestselling and best-reviewed aftershave products on Amazon, this incredible alcohol-free aftershave balm from Baxter of California is one of our favorites.
In fact, we’ve yet to find anything about it that we didn’t like.
It comes in a 4oz tube which I appreciate as the tube makes it easy to squeeze out every last drop of the balm, unlike the glass bottles that can be a little cumbersome.
With natural ingredients like aloe vera and tea tree oil, this balm will help soothe, nourish and heal your skin.
The part we like best is the addition of menthol, which provides an incredibly pleasant cooling effect that almost immediately eliminates any feelings of irritation.
This balm has a unique formula that is a bit thicker than most, meaning one small tube should last you for many months.
There’s no doubt that this aftershave has been crafted for dry or sensitive skin.
If the old-fashioned image of aftershave makes you wince in pain, rethink what an aftershave should be; and you have this aftershave balm.
It is alcohol-free, paraben free and contains only mild natural ingredients. On top of that, it is loaded with glycerin, aloe vera and allantoin to calm sensitive skin and hydrate dry skin cells.
If you live in colder, more aggressive weather climates, this is a great aftershave.
You can feel the thick, moisturizing layer protect your skin and nourish it.
So where cold weather and the elements could damage your skin, here you will feel your skin maintain a healthy look and feel, thanks to the protection given to your acid mantle
The scent is subtle and relatively short lasting, so you will be clear to use this aftershave with a cologne.
But the fragrance is an enjoyable one, albeit not a ‘classic’ aftershave. Lime and menthol make this such a refreshing and uplifting aftershave to use.
You will feel cleansed and protected – ideal for anyone that has mentally created a barrier between shaving and healthy, pain-free skin.
As it received outstanding marks from our own personal testing and the stellar reviews it has received from numerous customers on Amazon, you can feel confident you’re getting a high-quality product, backed up by Baxter’s reputation for superior shaving products.
See the consensus of hundreds of Amazon reviews here.
Proraso has already made our list with their aftershave lotion but we had to put them on again as their aftershave balm is stellar as well.
Similar to the lotion, the balm comes in a 3.4oz glass bottle.
The balm contains aloe vera to help soothe the skin, plus vitamin E to help repair and protect.
Not only that, but the addition of licorice extract helps to calm the skin, reducing redness and irritation.
This alcohol-free balm has a very creamy texture but is guaranteed not to leave your skin feeling greasy like so many other balms.
The more gentle sibling of the lotion variety, this aftershave is designed with dry and sensitive skin types in mind.
It is free from alcohol and parabens, which will immediately mean anyone with dry or sensitive skin sits up and takes notice.
To have such a classic aftershave cater for more delicate skin is a brilliant thing, and you should take full advantage.
As well as being laced with glycerin and aloe vera, both of which the benefits have been discussed, there are mother ingredients which play a big part in this aftershave’s success.
Despite being an aftershave for dry and sensitive skin, there are no scents that suggest this is ‘medicinal’. The smell is an understated musk scent that offers a more ‘classic’ feel to this balm.
Musk isn’t a note that fades quickly though. So if you wanted to wear a cologne on top, you would be well advised to wear one which compliments it nicely.
Proraso Protective Aftershave Balm costs a bit more than the popular products from Nivea and other major brands, but is very reasonably priced for a top shelf aftershave balm.
For those who want to try out one of these Italian made products but want to avoid an alcohol-based aftershave lotion, the Proraso Aftershave Balm, Protective and Moisturizing is the perfect alternative.
All in all, it’s an outstanding way to provide a little facial pampering and ensure your post shave is as pleasant as possible.
See what so many others customers have to say per the Amazon reviews here.
Those in the know are usually aware that the Brits tend to dominate the world of high-quality shaving products.
From straight razors to shave soaps, preshave oils, etc., British shaving products remain a step ahead of most of the rest of the world.
Still, there’s only one British shaving company that can claim to be the Official Shaving Line of the British Royal Family—and that’s Truefitt & Hill.
So, if you want to experience what it feels like to be a king, there’s nowhere else to look.
In truth, we probably could have included several different Truefitt & Hill products on our list of best aftershave, but in the end, we decided to go with the aftershave balm that’s part of the company’s Trafalgar line of shaving products.
This balm contains aloe vera and lanolin to provide hydrating, soothing and nourishing effects to the skin, guaranteeing it will leave your face feeling smooth and comfortable.
However, this is another product that does contain a small amount of alcohol, so it may not be the best choice for those who suffer from dry skin.
There are trace amounts of alcohol in this aftershave, meaning it doesn’t lend itself to be used by anyone with particularly dry skin.
Aloe vera, lanolin and the absence of parabens mean it’s an option for sensitive skin types thanks to their soothing and cooling properties.
As it is part of the Offical Line of Shaving Products to the Royal Family, it can’t be that aggressive – those folk need caring for.
This aftershave contains lanolin, which we’ll discuss soon.
But is has terrific waterproofing properties.
So if you do live in wet and cold climates, this is an aftershave which will help to slow the signs of aging.
No wonder the Brits put it in their aftershave, you barely get a dry day there.
We’ve already discussed the benefits of aloe vera and glycerin, which are part of the make-up of this balm. There is an additional ingredient which is of note though;
This line of skin products has been in production since 1805! And the scent hasn’t changed much in that time.
One reason we chose the Trafalgar over the other Truefitt & Hill products was due to its nice spicy and woody scent, which we feel stands head and shoulders above most of its competitors.
Nonetheless, Truefitt & Hill’s 1805, Ultimate Comfort, Grafton and other aftershave balms are all exceptional products and work just as well—we just weren’t as wild about their scents.
Overall, this is an outstanding aftershave balm, but it does come with a slightly higher price tag than most, as you can expect to pay around $50 for 3.4-ounce bottle.
In truth, it doesn’t provide any better nourishment or skin protection than many of the cheaper products on this list. Still, if you’ve got the extra cash to spend, you’ll likely find it well worth the price.
Check out how other customers have reviewed this product here on Amazon.
Lucky Tiger is a leading name in men’s shaving and grooming products, which produces several different varieties of aftershaves.
However, for our money, the original Lucky Tiger Aftershave & Face Tonic is the pick of the litter.
The labeling looks more like an ancient eastern medicine, but this aftershave is actually produced right here in the old USA, more specifically, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The 8oz bottle is made out of plastic so you can be rest assured if it happens to fall off the counter, it won’t break into a million shards of glass on your bathroom counter.
Containing witch hazel, it is an excellent astringent that will help tone and tighten the skin.
It also contains chamomile, aloe vera, calendula and a variety of other ingredients, this product is sure to leave your skin feeling relaxed and refreshed, while the added vitamin A helps to repair the skin following your shave.
It is alcohol-free which makes it suitable for those with dry or sensitive skin.
A man by the name of Benjamin Clarke began creating this aftershave as his trademark scent for his barbershop.
Ben was an amateur scientist who tried many recipes, before deciding on this one (the essentials of which still form the core of the aftershave).
As a scientist, Ben was keen to create an aftershave which would be suitable for all, and he did! This tonic can be used by anyone, although as it does have a hint of alcohol, the driest of skins should probably avoid it.
It has a quite light citrusy scent, with hints of orange, grapefruit, and tangerine, which is definitely not overpowering and quickly fades away after use.
This means it can be used as freely by cologne wearers and non-cologne guys alike.
In truth, this is a classic aftershave in virtually everything but the scent.
This is truly an exceptional splash aftershave at a very reasonable price.
Based on its ingredients, it is basically suitable for all skin types.
Obviously for various reasons, one may prefer an alcohol-based aftershave in which this would not be the aftershave for you.
See the consensus of hundreds of customer reviews on Amazon.
If low price is your ultimate deciding factor, look no further than Clubman Pinaud Aftershave Lotion—the best-selling and most well-reviewed aftershave on Amazon.
It comes in both 6oz and 12.5oz bottles.
This aftershave contains merely alcohol, water, some sort of mystery scenting agent, and chemical colorants.
So from an ingredients perspective, I can’t say it offers much besides the anti-bacterial benefits of alcohol.
Like all other alcohol-based aftershaves, you’ll get that refreshing tingle as you apply it.
This isn’t the most sophisticated aftershave on the market.
Its blend is basic, to the point and no-frills.
So you will need an oily skin or normal skin to not be concerned by its lack of subtly.
This ‘no fuss’ aftershave splash also applies to the scent. You will know for sure you are wearing it, and so will the next 5 blocks down if you apply just a bit too much.
So while it does offer a classic ‘spit n sawdust’ fragrance, it does mean you can’t combine it with cologne.
Still, where this product excels is in terms of price.
Now we can’t say this is truly one of the best aftershaves on the market, but it’s undoubtedly the best you’ll get for such an extremely low cost.
With countless stellar reviews on Amazon, we’ve yet to come across an aftershave with so many dedicated fans.
I will also say they did make the honorable mention on our list of the best mustache waxes.
Check out the over 2,000 customer reviews here on Amazon.
While not technically an aftershave, we had to include this fantastic product on our list of the best aftershave due to the enormous number of men who swear by it for this purpose.
In truth, this is an all-around men’s facial moisturizer/protectant.
It can be used both before and after shaving or just as a general facial lotion.
Geo F. Trumper’s Skin Food is a unique gum and glycerin based balm that works to seal the skin after exfoliation (which happens as a result of shaving).
Its unique formula leaves the skin feeling smooth and dry, and it won’t make your face greasy or clog your pores like so many others do.
That being said, although it doesn’t dry out the skin, it does still contain a small amount of alcohol, so if you’re in the market for an alcohol-free product, we’d suggest looking elsewhere.
In truth, it’s not clear precisely what this ‘aftershave’ is. It can be a pre-shave, moisturizing lotion and tonic. For that reason, it is arguably the most universal ‘aftershave’ you could find when it comes to appropriate skin types.
The alcohol content is minor, meaning only the very driest skins will be offended by it. It isn’t greasy so won’t add to already oily skin, and it is free of parabens making it an option for sensitive skin too.
The light West Indian Lime scent is one of our favorite things about this product, as it makes it stand out from many of the overpowering or ultra-masculine scents you typically find in aftershaves.
Still, it’s also available in several other choices of fragrance if you’re not wild about the idea of smelling like a lime.
The scent doesn’t try too hard, that’s what you may love about it. A subtle, clean, fresh fragrance which will sit on you for about 2-3 hours but won’t dominate or ruin a cologne.
We found Geo F. Trumper’s Skin Food to be an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin or anyone looking for something that’s much more than just your basic aftershave balm.
This is another product that falls into that average price range for a 3.4oz bottle, making it not only affordable but also one of the best aftershave balms you’ll find considering the fact that it can actually offer so much more.
Check out other unbiased reviews here on Amazon.
When deciding which products would make our list of the best aftershave balms, we almost left Nivea off the list, as in truth there are probably hundreds of better products out there.
However, there’s a considerable number of men who swear by Nivea aftershave balms, and at just a few bucks per bottle, you really can’t beat it for the price.
This is a mainstream aftershave, certainly not artisan or cleverly crafted. It’s for that reason you shouldn’t go near it if you have sensitive or dry skin, it contains too many ingredients which won’t do you any favors (parabens and synthesized chemicals).
To call it the ‘McDonalds’ of aftershaves would be unfair, but as it is inexpensive and used by so many men, you can’t ignore that it clearly does what is asked of it for normal skin.
Some describe the scent as a classic aftershave fragrance. Others believe it to smell cheap and not too dissimilar to some bathroom cleaning products!
Either way, it isn’t a fragrance which lingers. So after the initial impact of the aftershave, you will be free to apply your more tried and trusted cologne.
All in all, Nivea Q10 Energy should leave your skin feeling healthy and refreshed.—just don’t expect it to work as well or smell as nice as the more expensive products.
Still, if you’re looking for a cheap aftershave balm that gets the job done, you could probably do a hell of a lot worse.
Check out the many customer reviews here on Amazon.
Video Review of the Best Aftershaves of 2019
Ingredients to Look for in Aftershaves
What is it?
Witch Hazels is a group of flowering woody plants known as Hamamelidaceae.
There are four species native to North America, one in Japan and one in China. You may have heard witch hazels referred to as ‘winter bloom’.
It has been used for medicinal reasons for centuries, although the ‘witch’ reference is not a nod towards any imagery of potions and witchcraft.
It is derived from the old-English word ‘wice’ meaning bendable.
Early American settlers were quick to identify the healing powers of Witch Hazels.
The leaves and bark were boiled to release the active ingredients and these extracts were used to heal wounds and inflammation.
Those early medics had been quick to harness the astringent properties of the plant. That is any chemical that shrinks or constricts body tissue.
The astringent properties of the Witch Hazels in this aftershave will help to bind damaged cells and speed the repair process of skin cells which have been inflamed or split by the shaving process.
A good ingredient for?…
Anyone who is prone to shaving rash or any inflammation post-shave.
What is it?
A large group of flowering trees and shrubs native to Australia.
Of all the vegetation that makes up Australia’s forests, 75% belongs to the Eucalyptus family.
The oils are extracted from the leaves and are popular globally in a variety of uses.
Eucalyptol, the active ingredient in Eucalyptus Oil, has a variety of benefits which means it is used in a variety of scenarios.
It is its antibacterial properties that make it useful as an ingredient in aftershave.
Any potential bacterial infections are neutralized by the toxicity of Eucalyptol, which is why it is also an ingredient in many types of mouthwash.
Any unwanted bacteria on your skin are killed, meaning you are less likely to spread acne or get infections in cuts.
A good ingredient for?…
This all means it is an excellent ingredient for anyone who has a history of spots or infections as a result of shaving.
What is it?
A compound made synthetically or extracted organically,
It is essentially the exact opposite of capsaicin.
That is the compound in chilies which stimulates heat sensors even though there is no actual change in temperature occurring.
Menthol cools the skin by blocking the calcium current in the nerve endings responsible for detecting temperature.
It gives an instant cooling sensation, which while not physically or chemically changing anything in your skin after a shave, will feel incredible.
This makes it a great ingredient for anyone who associated shaving with a burning sensation. Cooling and calming, it can reduce the discomfort often caused.
What is it?
It is wood from the family of trees known as the Santalum.
Sandalwood is the second most expensive wood on earth, behind only African Blackwood.
Santalum trees are prevalent across the globe in warm climates, and sandalwood has been used in medicine, aromatherapy, and religious services for hundreds of years.
Sandalwood oil is a cicatrizant meaning it can heal scar tissue, so is a great ingredient when treating spots, blemishes, and eczema (or in this case, shaving nicks and cuts)
It is an oil with incredible hydrating powers, as it can permeate into skin cells more than other natural oils.
This then encourages more water to pass from the blood plasma into the skin cells keeping them hydrated.
It’s for this reason sandalwood is useful in the fight against wrinkles!
It has brilliant anti-inflammatory capabilities as it helps repair injured skin cells and restores your skin’s natural acid mantle.
Sandalwood is also antibacterial and antiseptic; all in all, making it a great choice for sensitive skin.
What is it?
It is a colorless, viscous liquid typically sourced from soybeans or palm.
It’s sweet-tasting so is used as a sugar alternative in foods, but it is also a prominent ingredient in a lot of cosmetics because of its ability to hydrate skin.
It is an incredible moisturizer.
It does this by drawing water molecules up from the blood plasma while preventing the loss of water from evaporation at the surface of the skin.
For this reason, it is a great ingredient for anyone with dry skin but has previously been unable to entertain the idea of a splash aftershave.
What is it?
This is the oil extracted from the bay leaf.
The bay tree is native to the Caribbean, hence its use in this brand of aftershave, but it its use is not just for good marketing.
In the hot climates of the Caribbean, you could not afford for infections to be untreated.
Bay oil has excellent antiseptic and antibiotic properties so will help to heal and clean shaving cuts.
So this is a useful ingredient for anyone prone to cuts or nicks when shaving.
It is also a very strong astringent, which means it will encourage cells to bind and repair. Perfect for anyone prone to shaving rash or blemishes.
Tea Tree Oil
What is it?
The tea tree is native to Australia, and the oil from its leaves has been used for centuries to ‘cure’ a range of ailments from dandruff to cold sores.
The tree is believed to have got its name from the British explorer’s arrival in Australia, who were keen to have a cup of tea as they colonized this new land.
As the leaves bore a resemblance to tea leaves, they infused them in boiling water to try and recreate that taste of home.
As it turns out, tea tree oil is toxic if ingested and causes vomiting and nausea. Nice try though.
Although tee tree oil has been wrongly used for many medicinal purposes over the years, it is proven to be an effective wound healer.
The acidity of the oil kills bacteria that could cause infection, making this a great ingredient for anyone who is prone to shaving rash or acne.
Tea Tree Oil is also an anti-inflammatory, by encouraging the movement of water between skin cells and thus promoting a rapid reduction of inflamed regions.
This makes it an excellent ingredient for both dry and sensitive skin types.
What is it?
Vitamin E is well documented as being a wonderful vitamin for skin and hair strength and health.
It occurs naturally in oils and seeds and plant oils.
But it is harnessed for the cosmetic industry as it is as so many health benefits.
Vitamin will promote healthy skin and speed up healing of dry skin.
This is because it is an antioxidant so will neutralize free radicals which promote the growth of unwanted bacteria and cause skin cell damage.
Essentially, vitamin E will cleanse your skin of any unwanted foreign matter (making it a great friend to anyone who is prone to shaving spots), while also repairing skin cells that have been damaged by shaving (which means it soothes irritated skin).
What is it?
Licorice is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra plant, which is native to South Asia.
The extract from the root has been used as a sweetener and flavoring for many years.
Licorice contains the compound ‘glabridin’ which is a natural glycerin.
As discussed, glycerin is a natural moisturizer that promotes the hydration of skin cells, making this an excellent component for dry skin sufferers.
What is it?
It translates from Latin as ‘wool oil’, and that is exactly what it is.
Wool-bearing mammals secrete a thin wax from their sebaceous glands.
This is a natural and organic compound which is designed to protect the wool from absorbing excessive amounts of water.
A wet sheep would die from hypothermia.
As an ingredient in an aftershave, this helps boost your acid mantle and protects your skin from pollutants.
Making it an ingredient to look for if you are prone to infections and inflammation.
What is it?
It derives from some daisy-like flowers in the Asteraceae family.
The extracts are a subtle and pleasant floral flavor which you may be familiar with from the herbal tea.
Singers and public speakers promote the benefits of chamomile tea as a soothing ingredient for their vocal chords.
There is anecdotal evidence that chamomile relieves irritation by soothing the inflamed skin.
According to Lucky Tiger’s website, chamomile will also ‘promote a handsome and glowing look’.
What is it?
Borage Oil comes from the borage seed. The borage herb is also known as the ‘star flower’ thanks to the star shape created when it flowers.
Borage oil contains an unusually high level of GLA (a fatty acid found in vegetable oils).
There is clinical evidence that shows Borage Seed Oil promotes the repair, hydration, and protection of skin cells.
This is as a result of that high GLA content, meaning water is encouraged to flow from deep within the skin up to the surface. Those natural oils will also then help protect the skin, making this an excellent ingredient for anyone with sensitive skin.
What is it?
Oil found in roses and geraniums. May the name feel familiar? You might be more familiar with it as the active ingredient in a lot of bug sprays.
It undoubtedly offers some insect repellent benefits. Don’t worry, you won’t smell like you’ve got ready for a trek in the Andes, but as it is there, it may offer the benefit of keeping some of our flying friends at bay. Useful if you know you react badly to bites.
What is it?
You know what it is. What a waste of a sentence!
As well as adding to the entirely unique scent of this aftershave, the acidity of lemon peel is strong enough to boost your protective acid mantle and kill unwanted bacteria. However, as it is a natural and relatively week acid, it won’t inflame sensitive skin.
What is it?
This aftershave balm contains coenzyme Q10 which is a naturally occurring enzyme within your body that dissipates as you get older.
Applying this coenzyme to your skin is believed to help fight the signs of aging.
What is it?
Caffeine is the most widely used stimulant drug on planet earth. Derived mostly from the coffee bean and tea leaves, it can also be synthesized for use in medicines and cosmetics.
Caffeine is a natural anti-inflammatory. It does this by restricting small capillaries near the surface of the skin, helping skin to look toned, tight and not flushed.
A great ingredient for anyone who is hoping to freshen up without necessarily actually feeling very fresh!
How to Use Aftershaves
- Apply to clean face.
- If you moisturize (which you should!), be sure to have done that prior to applying your aftershave.
- Rub it up your neck towards your jaw-line, and down your cheeks finishing at the jaw.
- If applying a second coat, use less than the first time.
But there are a couple of adaptations depending on what sort of aftershave you are using…
How Much to Use?
Apply to a moist, but not wet, face.
Because of their viscosity and oily composition, using too much will take a long time to work in and leave your skin looking greasy
A small amount goes a long way here, so apply a pea-sized amount into the palm of your hand and work evenly into the area you have shaved.
Try to avoid making too little go too far though. This will mean you are creating friction and that is not something you want to do.
Apply to a dry face.
Be sure to pat your face dry, rather than rub. Rubbing with a potential irritant like a towel aggravates freshly shaved skin. Additionally, use a clean towel. They can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
A general rule is to place your palm over the opening of the bottle. Turn it upside down and then back round to where you started so that you can remove your hand without it pouring out on the floor.
The amount you have left on your palm from the contact with the aftershave should be sufficient.
However, this does vary from splash to splash.
Why Use Aftershave
For some reason, aftershave is one of those products that has seemed to go out the window for most men.
Whether it’s because of the added expense, the extra time or simply because it seems unnecessary, a large portion of men no longer uses aftershave.
However, if you’re one of those unfortunate men who suffer from ingrown hairs, razor burn or any of the other annoying issues that come with shaving your face, then you may want to reconsider your stance on aftershave.
When it comes to determining the best aftershave, it’s incredibly subjective and comes down to a matter of personal preference.
As we said, many men forego what is an essential part of shaving when they make the decision not to use aftershave.
In addition to making you smell nice, many aftershaves also contain ingredients such as witch hazel, which works as an astringent, helping to tighten the skin and close any open pores of cuts.
They can also help prevent ingrown hairs and other issues by helping to clean out the skin due to their antiseptic properties.
So, if you struggle from any of the issues we’ve mentioned, we highly recommend you choose any product from our list of the best aftershaves, as they can help eliminate these issues and make you feel like a brand new man.
That being said, there are literally thousands upon thousands of aftershave products on the market, making it pretty much impossible to test even a small percentage of them.
So, while we consider the following products to be amongst the best aftershaves available, not all of the products may be right for you depending on your skin type and personal preferences.
The 3 Types of Aftershave (Splash vs. Lotion vs. Balm)
What is an aftershave? Well, it is literally what you apply to your face ‘after you shave’.
Traditionally that meant something alcohol based that stung like mad and that pain made you feel like it must be working and closing everything up. In fact, the original aftershaves were rum-based, which is why many of the brands that play on the ‘classic barber’ theme often include notes of rum.
You no longer need to seek that burn though, not given the vast selection available.
Here are the three categories of aftershave…
1. Splash Aftershave
Splash is a liquid-based aftershave with alcohol as the primary ingredient. Hence the name!
Think Macauley Culkin in Home Alone. Has a shave (despite being 10) and splashes on the liquid based aftershave. In the movie, he screams which seems a bit over the top. But to be fair to him, he did have two felons attempting to burgle his home and kill him. He was probably a bit tense.
2. Aftershave Lotion
Generally a bit more viscous than the more familiar aftershave splash. They contain less alcohol and may offer more moisturizing properties than their liquid counterparts.
It’s fair to say, aftershave lotions haven’t yet taken off in a big way. But we love them and many of the big brands are realizing their potential.
3. Aftershave Balm
If you like the sting of a splash, you won’t get that rush here! Balms are calming and soothing and are generally alcohol-free.
The focus is on restoring moisture and replenishing that all-important acid mantle.
Because of their texture and consistency, those with oily skin might want to avoid them. Having said that, the best balms will dry quickly and aren’t designed to leave a sheen or gloss.
Your Acid Mantle (Why You Should Love It)
If you have sensitive or dry skin, your acid mantle is something you need to know about.
What is it?
It’s a naturally secreted, thin film that protects your skin from irritants, unwanted bacteria, and general dirt. It is made up of a cocktail of oils, fatty acids, lactic acid, amino acids (proteins), and water cells.
It is slightly acidic, with a pH of around 5 (hence the name, obviously). And it’s that acidity which will help kill unwanted bacteria which might be looking for somewhere warm and wet to set up camp.
Why is it important in this review of aftershaves?
The chemical make-up of an aftershave balm is going to have an impact on your acid mantle. Alkaline aftershaves will neutralize it, while alcohols and parabens may strip it. Either way, they will leave your skin exposed and vulnerable.
That’ something you may get away with if your skin is ‘normal’, but it’s something you should be aware of it you know yourself to have sensitive or dry skin.
Important Related Articles
Be sure to check out these vetted lists of the best products to keep your skin looking and feeling its best, along with detailed guides on selecting the best one for your specific needs.