Back in November, we pulled together a few of our favourite aftershaves to help you find the best one for you, but what qualities make a good aftershave? We are here to help you know what to look for when buying an aftershave to make it even easier to find a post-shave product that will improve your overall shaving experience.
What Does Good Aftershave Do?
Aftershave is a post-shave product, a category that also includes things such as moisturiser, healing gel and styptic pencils. All post-shave products are designed to help you recover from the abrasion and damage that shaving can cause your skin.
Aftershave is one of the most popular post-shave products because it incorporates a multitude of recovery properties and fragrance to boot. When you’re looking to buy a good quality aftershave, it should effectively do the following...
Our skin is covered in a layer of natural oil, known as sebum, which protects from the air, regulates the oxygen and water that moves through our pores, and generally keeps us moisturised. While it’s important to use hot water to open your pores and achieve a closer shave, this can also wash away some of the sebum and lead to your skin becoming dry. The hotter the water, and the longer your skin is exposed to it, the more it dries out your face.
Because hot water is a necessary part of an effective shave, you need a way to combat its negative effects. A good aftershave should have restorative moisturising properties that prevent your skin getting that dried out, tight feeling.
A razor blade doesn’t just shave hair and stubble; it also removes the top layer of dead skin and can catch on bumps and spots.This can leave your face vulnerable to bacteria after a shave. It’s often this bacteria that causes redness, itchiness and pain, resulting in problems with shaving rash, for example. Bacteria can be carried on the metal blade itself, especially if you’ve never thought to disinfect your razor head.
One of the most vital qualities of aftershave is as a disinfectant for your skin. This was actually where aftershave began, as strong alcohol that would kill any bacteria and prevent it causing shaving rash and other problems. Many aftershaves these days are alcohol free, but they should always have disinfecting properties.
As previously noted, your skin is likely to be slightly sore and vulnerable after shaving. A good aftershave should relieve and soothe your face. Different aftershaves achieve this in different ways - for example, Proraso Eucalyptus After Shave Balm has eucalyptus oil to soothe and menthol to refresh.
This is probably the property that aftershave is best known for, and the fragrances available are massively varied. When you’re looking for a good aftershave, consider what kind of fragrance you like. A traditionally masculine sandalwood? The refreshing and spicy citrus of bergamot? The choices are almost endless, and this is where you can be most expressive in your shaving routine.
There’s also a difference between aftershave splash and balm or lotion. With splash aftershave, scents tend to be longer-lasting but possess less moisturising properties, while balms and lotions tend to treat the skin well, but the more subtle fragrance is likely to wear off in a shorter time. When you’re looking for the perfect aftershave for you, consider which properties you deem most important.
When looking for a good aftershave, bear in mind these four essential properties and you should be able to find a product that gives you the best post-shave skin possible!
Do you prioritise fragrance over moisturising, or vice versa? Let us know in the comments!