How best to soothe our post-shave visage? That – gents – is the topic of endless debate amongst shavers looking for the best after shave skin. Yet, whilst expressing our desire for soft, smooth, irritation-free skin in articulate locker-room arguments should continue to bring joy and despair to our every-day lives, we’re here to help you add some valid points to the discussion.
Yes, the more old-fashioned amongst us will swear by a good aftershave splash and nothing more, and yes, some will argue that aftershaves are but perfumes disguised as lotions (whatever you do, don’t call them heretics!) But fear not, for if you’re not the argumentative type, you can simply direct them to this very article, a go-to guide for all things post-shave.
So, without further ado, we present our case in defence of all things post-shave: from the classic splashes to the soothing aftershave balms.
Men’s Aftershave: The Difference Between Eau de Toilettes, Splashes, Lotions, Balms & Moisturisers
Balms, lotions, splashes, moisturisers? If these all sound like synonyms for the same product then we strongly recommend you keep reading! For all the men’s grooming product novices out there, and all the experts that need a quick refresh – the word ‘aftershave’ can mean a variety of things.
So, let’s start by deconstructing the meaning of the word ‘aftershave’. No, we’re not going all post-modernist on you, but a little bit of linguistics might come in handy after all. As the term implicitly suggests, an aftershave is a product to be applied post-shaving. Up until now, we’re all clear. Yet, the linguistic rollercoaster begins once we start using this very word to describe balms, lotions and all sorts of other male grooming essentials.
To clear this lexicological quandary once and for all, let’s break it down as follows:
Difference Between Aftershave, Eau de Toilette & Cologne:
Under the men’s grooming umbrella of aftershave products you can find aftershave splashes which are your traditional liquid alcohol-based products designed to gently perfume freshly shaved skin.
These aftershave splashes may help reduce skin irritation by deeply cleaning your delicate post-shaved skin with their alcohol-based formulas. As an added bonus, these splashes usually contain 1-3% of perfumed essential oils leaving you with a fresh clean feel.
Often associated with the aftershave category, we have our frequently confused eau de toilette and cologne products. Now, to nip the confusion right in its (scented) bud, aftershaves are not colognes nor eau de toilettes. Make no mistake – the main difference between eau de toilette and aftershave is that the first does not belong in the same category as the latter. In other words, they are two very different products!
That’s right gents, if you’re after a cologne, perfume or eau, stay well away from our aftershave category or the philologists will come after you! Jokes aside, whilst aftershaves are designed to help to care for our freshly shaved skin, eau de toilettes, perfumes and colognes are created with the sole intent of making you smell nice.
Difference Between Aftershave Balm, Aftershave Lotion & Aftershave Moisturiser
Within the burgeoning male grooming product category, we can also encounter the common specimens of balms, lotions and moisturisers. Now, whilst these products are openly out there in the wild, many of us still need to learn how to tame them for personal use. So – balms and lotions, what’s the big fuss?
Not too dissimilarly from the classic aftershave splash, aftershave balms also contain alcohol and can be used to help clear your skin post-shave. So, before any of you sceptics come knocking at the door, let us explain the differences straight away. Aftershave balms are creamier in texture and milder than aftershave splashes, usually containing less alcohol and more moisturising ingredients.
All clear. So, what on earth is an aftershave lotion then? Well these products are usually more fragranced and the perfume lasts longer.
Just when you thought you understood the men’s aftershave market, here comes the aftershave moisturiser to mystify things up. So, it’s not a lotion and it’s not a balm. How is the aftershave moisturiser different then? The main and most important distinction lies in the lack of a certain ingredient: alcohol. Moisturisers don’t contain any alcohol and are created with the sole intent to hydrate and nourish the skin.
The Best Post-Shave Products for Your Needs
Now that we’re all clear about what’s what, we can finally focus on the good stuff. Aftershave products should help reduce the irritation caused by shaving and should help clear, soothe and leave our skin with a gentle scent of freshness. But when’s best to moisturise over clearing? And if unsure, can we use these products together?
When to Use Men’s Aftershave Splash
If you’re looking for a product with mild properties that is liquid-based and also smells great, then look no further.
Aftershave splashes can be used straight after shaving and are best suited for men with normal, combination or oily skin as the alcohol content in them may cause your skin to dry up.
If you have sensitive skin, alcohol-based splashes may be too harsh, we recommend you opt for more soothing products like aftershave balms instead.
When to Use Men’s Aftershave Balm
Want an aftershave that also moisturises? Then opt for an aftershave balm that helps soothe and nourish your skin post-shave.
Aftershave balms are perfect for gents with sensitive or medium-dry skin. That’s because they have enough alcohol to act as post-shave cleansers, but also contain nourishing ingredients that hydrate your sensitive skin.
Since some balms come in a handy semi-solid format, they’re easy to use on both skin and beard. In fact, for all you gents with taches, goatees and full-grown facial locks, using aftershave balms will not only keep your skin clear and moisturised but also help your beard stay soft and hydrated.
When to Use Aftershave Lotion
Use lotions if you want an aftershave product with a pleasant scent and a refreshing tightening effect. Consider lotions your half-way mark between splashes and aftershave balms.
Aftershave lotions can be applied similarly to splashes: simply shave, clean your face and then apply the lotion. Plus, since lotions come with enough fragrance oils, you won’t need to apply extra eau du toilette or cologne.
Lotions are best suited for men with normal or combination skin. That’s because lotions contain some alcohol but also moisturising ingredients like glycerine and essential oils which can help improve the appearance of combination skin.
Just shaved your head? The best aftershave lotion for bald heads will contain enough alcohol to clear your freshly shaved dome but also enough hydrating ingredients to sooth your freshly shaved skin.
When to Use Aftershave Moisturiser
If you suffer from dry, flaky skin then using aftershave products with alcohol may make your condition worse. Swap the alcohol-based aftershaves for a replenishing moisturiser instead.
Aftershave moisturisers are primarily designed to hydrate, soothe and lock in moisture. Since some aftershave balms still contain alcohol, they might still irritate your skin. If you’re looking to clear your skin but also keep the dryness at bay, we recommend alternating between a balm and an aftershave moisturiser.
So, whilst an aftershave balm, lotion or splash is designed to soothe and freshen up your post-shave irritated skin, your moisturiser’s main role is to hydrate.