How to Choose and Wear Aftershave
Choosing the perfect aftershave scent can be tricky; never mind worrying about whether the consistency is beneficial for your skin type.
Originally used in barber shops, traditional aftershaves could contain as much as 90% alcohol to kill off bacteria and minimise the likelihood of transferring diseases from customer to customer.
These days, aftershaves are mainly used as a statement of class, elegance and suave, but you can only pull it off if you get it right… Nobody is really a fan of being able to smell you from miles away!
What actually is aftershave?
Aftershaves are a balm, lotion, cream or gel that you put on any places after you’ve shaved (hence the name!). They were originally used as a highly concentrated mix of alcohols to close pores and fight off infection if you’ve made a small cut in the shaving space.
They’re now used for the same thing, but can be used as a multi-purpose product. Many companies have cottoned onto the fact that complimentary colognes and high-alcohol aftershaves can be combined to make the whole male grooming process much faster, including a fragrance within your normal aftershave!
What’s the occasion?
It’s important that you chose the scent and type of your aftershave depending on the occasion. Perhaps you’re going for a new job interview – would you really want a potential employer to be bombarded with an overpowering scent whilst you’re being interviewed?
— Karen King (@JobTips_Karen) May 20, 2015
You probably wouldn’t want to wear the same aftershave for a job interview than you would for a lads’ night out, so the choice of fragrance really depends on the occasion. Another surprising factor that can go into your choosing of an aftershave is the time of the year. Seasons can have huge influence as certain fragrances suit each time of the year. Dark, musky scents probably won’t be your ideal summer aftershave; much like wearing cool, fruity fragrances not being appropriate for the winter time. What type is best for my skin? The task of choosing an aftershave when you walk into a shop can be daunting as there are so many to choose from! An important factor that you need to consider when choosing your perfect aftershave is the type/consistency that is best suited for your skin, which can help narrow-down the selection dramatically.
Aftershaves in a balm-like consistency are a relatively new way to cleanse the skin post-shaving, but are also one of the most popular. Unlike many other men’s aftershaves, they only contain between 2 – 5% of pure alcohol. Balm aftershaves are ideal for sensitive and delicate skin as they are one of the most moisturising options available. The extra oils and water is massaged onto the skin where the pores are open (and where skin is potentially rough and razor-burnt) make the skin feel smoother, softer and more hydrated. You’ll also probably find that the women in your life are dying to get their hands on one of these as they make a great makeup primer, but don’t tell them!
For normal skin that is not particularly sensitive or dehydrated, gels are a great option. Gel aftershaves are less moisturising than a balm due to containing less oils and water, but are much more refreshing. They have lower alcohol content so do not act much like an antiseptic, with some not even containing alcohol whatsoever! Although they are not alcohol-rich, there is more room to play with when it comes to choosing a fragrance that isn’t overpowered.
Lotions are not the best choice for sensitive skin as they have a huge alcohol concentration, with some aftershaves containing as much as 75% pure alcohol! When it comes to choosing an aftershave in the form of a lotion, it’s essential to bear in mind that rubbing alcohol onto an open cut can be painful. Such a high concentration of alcohol in an aftershave can irritate the skin and aftershaves of this consistency contain mainly synthetic ingredients, so really is not the best option available!
Natural vs. Synthetic
The last point to consider is whether you’re looking for an all-natural aftershave, or one containing some synthetic ingredients.
Made men’s shave gel and after shave today! It smells great and is so much better the natural way! — ByeByeBooze (@ByeByeBooze) October 27, 2012
Natural aftershaves containing plant extracts, essential oils and wax are always preferred as they are beneficial to the skin and work in harmony with your body. Synthetic aftershaves however tend to be prone to irritating the skin and causing an allergic reaction. Although natural aftershaves are best for your health, it’s hard to find a great-smelling fragrance within one.
To put it simply, natural aftershaves are best for the health of your body, whilst synthetic aftershaves contain the best fragrances. It’s all down to your preferences!
There is such a huge variety of aftershaves available on the market right now that it can be hard to choose. For stylish men looking for the perfect aftershave to complement their suave suit and brand new luxury watch, we hope this guide has served you well on your mission to find the perfect fit!
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