What is aftershave? TheCoolist describes it as “any liquid, gel, paste-like, or oily substance you apply after shaving for the purpose of soothing irritated skin”.
If you didn’t already know exactly what aftershave was, that’s probably because, as a man, you weren’t in the habit of using it in the first place — and assumed you never really needed it. However, adding aftershave to your bathroom supplies can actually have surprising benefits…
What precisely does aftershave do?
“While many consider the purpose of aftershave to be scent, similar to a cologne, it can actually have a useful role in the recovery of skin after shaving,” dermatologist Dr Sonia Batra explains to Men’s Health.
This is due to the astringents — like alcohol or witch hazel — that are often on the ingredients list for aftershave. If it’s a common thing for your skin to become irritated following a shave, applying aftershave can help you to calm this irritation.
You might have given your skin a few nicks in the process of shaving — in which case, you can also take comfort from aftershave’s ability to disinfect these nicks and stop any bleeding present as a result of you having shaved.
Do you really ‘need’ aftershave?
“Aftershave is not always necessary, but can be helpful for men with sensitive skin, acne, or frequent skin irritation,” according to Batra. So, how urgently you genuinely need to use aftershave can depend a lot on your specific situation.
It does bear emphasis that aftershaves can differ markedly in their ingredients and, consequently, their practical merits as well. There are many traditional, alcohol-based aftershave splashes that actually only disinfect the shaved area.
Other aftershaves can contain oils that, when applied to an irritated shaved area, disinfect it and keep the skin hydrated. It could therefore be well worth your while for you to look closely at the ingredients list for a particular aftershave before you think seriously about whether to buy it.
You could, for example, peruse the wide range of men’s aftershave products available from OnBuy — and so make sure you get aftershave that will have the effect you want it to.
How should you use aftershave?
Naturally, what better person to answer this question than someone who uses aftershave as part of their day-to-day job?
“I always start with a hot towel to open pores, and finish with a cleanser and cold towel to close pores,” Connecticut barber Jared Gelbert has revealed to Men’s Health. “I use aftershave to heal the open, raw shaved skin, further disinfect and close pores, and then rehydrate.”
However, if you will be putting on aftershave yourself and in your own time, the process is thankfully self-explanatory to a large extent. All you really have to do is massage the aftershave into areas you have just shaved and then let the substance soak into the pores.
While it is possible to ‘get away’ without using aftershave, skipping it can backfire in the longer run — especially if the skin you routinely shave is prone to irritation.
feature image by Nolan Kent on Unsplash