When many people think of aftershave
, the first image that comes to mind is the little boy in Home Alone slapping some onto his cheeks. And promptly screaming. Whether you like the momentary sting that alcohol-based aftershave delivers or prefer a more mellow start to your day, there are a variety of options and fragrances of aftershave for men from which to choose. Spicy, musky, cologne-like, fruity, balms, lotions. How do you choose? This guide will take a look at different types of aftershave products and some of the best options to help you decide.
How to Choose an Aftershave
- If you wear aftershave, it is probably one of the most distinctive traits. It is a fragrance that will remind people of you, for better or worse! And it is also how you will start your day, so you want to make sure that your aftershave is comfortable and great for your skin. The purpose of aftershave is to close the pores, which have been opened by the hot water you use to shave. It should also condition the skin and help keep it smooth. There are a few different routes you can go when choosing: for that open-your-eyes stinging sensation, an alcohol-based splash will be ideal. The momentary sting closes pores and the astringent quality helps prevent infection from small nicks or cuts. Aftershave balm
or lotion is more mild on the pores but still helps protect the skin. Beauty may be skin deep, but fragrance sure isn't. It not only clings to your body, it clings to people's memories of you, especially those closest to you. Whenever your partner or children come by a men's fragrance like yours, they'll automatically think of you. When choosing your aftershave, don't neglect the importance of how it smells. It's not a question of vanity; it's ensuring that people in your home, office, or who happen to be with you on the elevator aren't hit with an astringent, harsh smell or one that is overwhelmingly strong and cloying. Your reputation is at stake: do you want to be the stinky elevator guy? We didn't think so. Usually - not always, but most of the time - the best aftershaves also cost the most. A cheap one may smell, well, cheap. You'll be that cheap, stinky elevator guy. If it does smell pleasant, it may not be very long-lasting. What you save in the initial cost, you'll make up for by having to apply twice a day. If you want all-day fragrance, spend a little more. Aftershave Reviews
- The best feedback we found (besides our own thoughts) were the results from an Askmen.com survey in which they rated the best aftershaves. Amazon lists hundreds of owner postings on their opinions after using the specific product. Many reviewers note that it's really personal preference as to which one is right for you. You can browse the best selling aftershave balms, lotions, and sprays here
After we've told you to go all out and buy the expensive stuff, we're going to back up and recommend the relatively low-priced Gillette After Shave Splash
in either Cool Wave or Storm Force scents. These review consistently well with consumers on Buzzillions and Amazon. As one reviewer says, "It smells clean, my wife loves it, it's inexpensive...that's all I need." Perfection - and a lucky wife. Gillette is a top name in shaving, and their Splash is an alcohol-free formula that is designed for men's skin. It contains moisturizers so your face isn't a raw mess after a shave. The cool, crisp fragrance is long-lasting and crowd-pleasing. The scent is commented on again and again by users, one of whom said he's turned heads and people want to know what he's wearing. You'll be the sexy elevator guy with Gillette Cool Wave or Storm Force (Storm Force was Buzzillions number 3 pick for best aftershaves). This can be had for the small price of $5.20 for a 3.5-ounce bottle at Amazon or at your local drug store. The benefit of using this over an alcohol-based formula is that it isn't irritating to dry skin and it doesn't burn.
A great alcohol-based aftershave is Aubrey Organics Men's Stock North Woods Aftershave. GoodGuide chose this as their favorite aftershave. Why? It offers a "refreshing tingle," and has a pleasing, cool pine scent. This Aubrey Organics, based around ethyl alcohol, witch hazel, pine oil, and ginseng extract, tightens pores and works as a disinfectant for those cuts and nicks. This is a bit more expensive than the Gillette, available for about $8.50 for a 4-ounce bottle. If you have sensitive skin - and who doesn't after attacking it with hot water and scraping it with a very sharp object - an aftershave splash may be more irritating than soothing. For you, an aftershave balm may be just the answer. Balm is designed to relieve irritation of the skin. Aftershave balm is an acquired taste because it has a somewhat gluey consistency, but it can be worked vigorously into your skin. GoodGuide, which helps consumers find safe, healthy, and green products, named Burt's Bees Bay Rum Aftershave Balm as their favorite. Made from a blend of herbs, spices, and essential oils, Burt's Bees soothes, tones, and moisturizes your skin after a shave, while imparting the subtle, spicy scent of classic bay rum. This is a great product, especially for those who enjoy a more natural approach to their skin care. You can find Burt's Bees aftershave balm
for $30 for a 4-ounce bottle, putting it on the very pricy side. If you want to spend the money, it is worth it.
If you thought Burt's Bees was expensive, check out Tuscany Forte per Uomo for Men by Aramis After Shave Balm. A 3.4-ounce bottle of this premier balm costs $120. On sale. The $30+ range is the norm for good quality balms: try The Art of Shaving Aftershave Balm, in Sandlewood, Lavender, Lemon, or Unscented. This was chosen by About.Men'sHealth as the best aftershave balm, and it will cool, soothe, and regenerate skin while leaving it smelling fantastic. You can find these great balms - $17 for travel size and $38 for full size.
For those with very sensitive skin, aftershave lotion is a wonderful, and soothing, choice. Neutrogena is one of the top names in body and facial lotion, and their Razor Defense Post-Shave Lotion is an excellent choice. This aftershave formula heals dry skin, improving its general health. In addition, it softens facial hair and skin, won't clog pores, and is oil and dye free. Fragrance isn't the top priority with this aftershave: instead, it is to treat your skin well and improve its health. You can find the Neutrogena formula for $5 for a 2.5-ounce bottle. I use something called Anthony Logistics
and it is a balm that is fragrance free and has really helped my sensitive skin after shaving. Think about what your skin needs, and then choose your aftershave to suit you. You may find that you need the healing power of a lotion, or you may find that you'd rather have the all-day fragrance. The choice is yours.
Aftershave vs Cologne:
Many men are confused on what the difference is between aftershave and cologne. An aftershave is sold in liquid, gel or lotion (balm) form. They are meant to soothe your skin after shaving with a razor. Some will contain perfumes and moisturizers - but not all do. I prefer lotions as they are easier on my skin, but some people go for the liquid aftershaves that tend to have the most astringent (alcohol based) and give you a good "sting" sensation on your skin. Colognes are used more for smelling good - as in after the shaving and using the aftershave products. Colognes tend to be "very strong" - similar to perfumes worn by women. Make sure you test the cologne on your wrist or dab a small amount on your neck before commiting to buying an entire bottle. Not all smells are good and anything that is too overpowering can be a nuisance to others.