The first image that comes to mind when hearing the word “aftershave” is precocious Kevin McAllister (starring young actor, Macaulay Culkin) applying the product followed by a guttural scream, indicating the level of inevitable pain.
Not all aftershave contains the biting sting portrayed in the 1992 hit film, Home Alone.
However, selecting the right aftershave product can be daunting. Are you looking for a product that soothes the skin? Do you prefer an aftershave with a nice fragrance?
All in all, understanding the purpose of aftershave can help shavers to identify which product is best for their skin type, sensitivities, and overall shaving experience.
The Purpose of Aftershave
There are three properties found in most aftershaves: antiseptic, astringent, and fragrance. The function of each property is critical to the effectiveness of the aftershave.
Let’s break it down a bit further:
Antiseptics. The antiseptic property cleans shaving cuts and skin nicks. Aftershaves that are made with witch hazel or alcohol bases are designed to help with sanitation. If you experience the inevitable sting and burn after applying aftershave, this is typically the alcohol at work.
Astringents: Astringents are necessary for aftershave products because they close opened pores. Hot water opens the pores, which makes facial hair easier to cut. After shaving, the pores need to close to prevent dirt, oil, and dead skin cells from clogging them, which causes breakouts. The aftershave helps close pores, and are often more effective than cold water.
Fragrance: Not all aftershaves smell like Grandpa’s aqua velva. Many aftershave products have a subtle aroma. Some are even odorless. All in all, the fragrance is that nice, fresh “after shave” smell that lasts throughout the day.
The Pros of Aftershave
Here are a few reasons why men should use aftershave:
Skin Care. One of the most important advantages of using aftershave is that it helps to moisturize and cleanse the face. Clean, moisturized skin looks radiant. Facial skin that is well moisturized and free from dryness and flakes means having a beautiful, smooth, and toned face. Taking care of the skin is essential for a smooth shave.
Skin Protection. Another advantage of using aftershave is protection. You may not realize it, but shaving removes the top layer of skin. After you finish shaving, your face might feel like a raw sunburn. Aftershave provides a layer of protection from the sun’s rays and keeps irritation away.
Affordability. Although it isn’t a direct benefit to skin, affordability is another advantage. There are many diverse aftershaves available on the market that are cheap. Some luxury brands provide nicer aromas, but a cheap aftershave also does the job.
The Cons of Aftershave
On the other hand, here are a few disadvantages to using aftershaves:
Sensitive Skin. One of the biggest disadvantages associated with aftershave products is sensitive skin. Men with skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and others require special aftershaves, which may be more expensive, depending on the type and brand.
Additionally, the chemicals used to make fragrances may cause adverse reactions to the skin. Be sure to select an aftershave product that is designed for sensitive skin. If you are unsure of what product will work for sensitive skin, ask for recommendations for your physician or dermatologist.
Too Many Choices. As we mentioned above, one advantage of aftershave is affordability. This is because there are many aftershave products on the market. While this itself is an advantage, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming.
Avoid getting lost in the aftershave jungle by taking the time to thoroughly understand your individual skin needs. Read various aftershave product reviews to learn about the pros and cons associated with each type and brand.
3 Tips for Selecting the Right Aftershave
Choosing the right aftershave enhances the shaving experience. Here are some tips for selecting a great aftershave that is also right for you.
- Alcohol or Witch Hazel: The preference of using a soothing astringent over a burning anti-bacterial aftershave means choosing between alcohol or witch hazel. Witch hazel is a fantastic astringent, but if afflicted with cuts, nicks, and other blemishes, alcohol might be the better choice.
- Natural Ingredients: Tea Tree oil and Aloe Vera are natural ingredients that are just as effective as alcohol and witch hazel but without the burn and sting. Aftershave products with natural-based ingredients may cost a little more, but may be necessary and well worth it for you, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- Fragrance: The scent of aftershave affects perception. After all, aftershaves with fragrances should be subtle, not overwhelming. Therefore, choose an aftershave that is either odorless, or that isn’t overwhelming. If you select an aftershave with fragrance, be sure to use sparingly to avoid an overly powerful odor.
So, there you have it. Now that you have a better understanding of the pros and cons to using aftershave, you can select an aftershave product that is right for you. All in all, a great aftershave is the finishing touch to a morning shaving routine.