How to Use Aftershave: 7 easy steps

Approx Reading Time: 18 minutes

Hairs aren’t the only thing that is removed when men shave their faces. Every time we shave a thin layer of skin is removed along with the hairs which are why men use aftershave to prevent skin irritation and prevent infections. Aftershave products come in various forms and a variety of scents. But no matter which type of aftershave you have the application process is going to be similar for each one. So how do you use aftershave properly after you finish shaving?

You can use aftershave in a few simple steps:

  •     Step 1. Clean your face thoroughly with water
  •     Step 2. Dry your face
  •     Step 3. Apply skin moisturizer
  •     Step 4. Pour a few drops of aftershave on your hand
  •     Step 5. Rub the aftershave between both palms
  •     Step 6. Allow the excess aftershave to evaporate
  •     Step 7. Gently massage the aftershave on your face
How to Use Aftershave: 7 easy steps 1

One thing you might have noticed from the above-mentioned steps is that you can’t simply rub some aftershave on your face directly after you finish shaving. If you want to achieve the true benefits of aftershave, spending a few minutes prepping your face is going to help you in achieving your goal. And in this article, we are going to tell you exactly how you can properly use aftershave and many more important things about aftershave.

How to use aftershave in 7 easy steps

Step 1. Cleaning your face:

Cleaning your face is very important before applying aftershave. When we shave, pieces of hair and skin get caught onto the skin along with the shaving cream on your face. If you apply aftershave directly after shaving without rinsing and cleaning your face, you will end up rubbing all these particles along with the aftershave on to your face. it is therefore important for you to do all the rinsing and washing beforehand since you are not supposed to wash away the aftershave after rubbing it. To properly clean your face after a shave, you should do the following things:

  • Splash warm water on your face to rinse away any leftover shaving cream and other particles from your face. Repeat the same process for your neck as well and rinse it thoroughly until you are sure there is no soap or cream left.
  • After you have washed away all the shaving cream and leftover particles with warm water, it is time to splash cool water on your face. You might have heard that warm water opens up pores of your skin, well cool water is going to do the exact opposite as it closes the pores of your skin returning them to a normal state. Closing the pores is also going to prevent the ingredients of the aftershave from entering your skin.

Make sure that you don’t scrub your face too hard while cleaning it because freshly shaved skin is sensitive and it needs time to heal itself. Rubbing your face too hard can irritate the skin and cause redness. Be as gentle as possible when cleaning your face after a shave.

Step 2. Drying your face:

For this step, you are simply required to grab a clean towel and pat your face gently with it to soak any excess water from your face. You don’t need to wipe your face thoroughly because we just don’t want water dripping from the face. Avoid wiping too hard with the towel because a freshly shaved face needs some time to heal itself.

Step 3. Apply skin moisturizer

Skin tends to dry up after shaving because a layer of skin is removed with every shave. Dry skin has tiny cracks in it and if you apply aftershave directly after shaving when the skin is vulnerable and dry, it is going to sting a lot because most aftershave products contain alcohol in them. Alcohol from the aftershave you are about to use can further dry up the skin making it brittle and wrinkly. That is why it is extremely important to moisturize your skin before applying aftershave to your face. Moisturizing is going to restore the normal hydration of your skin and your skin is going to be able to repair itself quickly. You can moisturize your skin using the method explained below:

  • Use a moisturizing product designed specifically for men to get the best possible moisturizing since these moisturizers are made to be used after a shave and they properly lock moisture inside your skin to prevent dryness. Also, post-shave moisturizers don’t interfere with aftershave since they are intended to be used in combination with aftershave products.
  • Squeeze some moisturizing lotion on your fingers and apply it to the areas of the face that you just shaved. 
  • Rub the moisturizer until it spreads evenly on your face, and gives the moisturizer a few seconds to get soaked into your skin.

After you are finished moisturizing your face you will feel that your face feels less stiff and your skin becomes elastic. Your skin would get the much-needed moisture that was lost during shaving and due to shaving soaps or creams.

Step 4. Put some aftershave on your hand

Once you have cleaned and moisturized your face after the shave, you can start applying aftershave now. Depending on the type of aftershave you have you may have to pour or spray the product on your hand. Since it is not possible to pour aftershave on both hands at the same time you can use one hand to pour or spray aftershave on the other hand. If you have a spray based aftershave then you need to spray 2 or 3 times on your palm and if you have a liquid aftershave pour 2 or 3 drops of aftershave on your palm. In case the aftershave you are using is a very thin liquid, you can place your palm on the opening of the aftershave bottle and turn it upside down with your palm still on the opening. This way you can prevent excess aftershave from coming out of the bottle and getting wasted.

Step 5. Rub the aftershave between your palms

Since you have to apply aftershave using both hands and you poured the aftershave, on one hand, you have to get the aftershave on both palms to properly apply it on to your face. And to do that all you have to do is rub your palms together until you have spread the aftershave evenly on both palms. But make sure to do it immediately after pouring the aftershave onto your palm because some aftershave liquids evaporate quickly due to the higher amount of alcohol content. Also, make sure not to rub the aftershave between your palms for more than a few seconds because aftershave is meant to get absorbed in your skin and if you keep rubbing it between your palms for a long period you won’t have sufficient aftershave left as it is going to get absorbed by your hands.

Step 6. Allow some of the aftershave to evaporate

Almost all aftershaves contain alcohol and as we mentioned earlier it is the high alcohol content that causes the stinging sensation you may feel when you apply the aftershave to your face. While alcohol is great for killing bacteria and other germs and preventing skin infection after a shave, you still have to beware of the drying effect aftershave has on the skin. So to prevent the skin from drying and to reduce the stinging sensation caused by aftershave it is best to let the aftershave evaporate for a few seconds to reduce the effect of alcohol on your skin. Doing this will reduce the amount of alcohol from the aftershave because alcohol tends to evaporate quickly but the other ingredients of the aftershave would stay on your palm to nourish and soothe the skin. Make sure to only let the aftershave evaporate for a few seconds because we don’t want all the alcohol to get evaporated and have none left to fight the germs present on our face.

Note: If you have an aftershave product that does not contain alcohol or has very little amount of alcohol, to begin with, you can skip this step. But if you commonly experience dryness after applying aftershave to your face then this step is necessary to reduce the dryness as well as the stinging sensation that is felt after using an aftershave.

Step 7. Massage the aftershave on your face

With aftershave on the palms of both hands, gently rub the aftershave on the part of the face you shaved. Start from the cheek and rub to the jaw on both sides. Then rub the aftershave on your neck region starting from the chin, down to the lower neck. Make sure that all the areas you shaved have been coated with aftershave. After application, you are not expected to wash it off because it helps in skin regeneration and skin protection. But if you have an aftershave that recommends washing it off after a certain amount of time then you should wash it off as recommended.

While you might have seen aftershave ads showing men splashing their face with aftershave liquid it is not ideal or economical to splash aftershave liquid directly on your face. First, the amount of aftershave liquid that would be wasted when splashing it on your face is significant and secondly, splashing all that alcohol on your face can cause your face to feel dry and stiff. But by following the steps explained above you can apply aftershave properly on your face without worrying about skin dryness.

Different types of aftershave

When you think about aftershave the first thing that comes to mind is a fragrant liquid that we commonly call splash. But splash isn’t the only kind of aftershave out there. You can find balm and lotion-based aftershaves as well. While they are all meant to soothe and protect your skin after a shave, their ingredients and application are different from one another. Knowing the difference between them is going to help you pick the right type of aftershave for yourself. Some key differences between the three types of aftershaves and their pros and cons are as follows:

Aftershave Splash

This is the most common type of aftershave and it is also the most widely used. Traditionally, aftershaves came in the form of splash and they used to be alcohol-based. This hasn’t changed much. Aftershave splash is also always in liquid form, therefore, giving it the name splash. In the beginning, aftershave splash used to contain high amounts of alcohol, but modern aftershave splashes are available with different levels of alcohol content. Splash aftershaves were introduced by barbers because they used the same shaving tools on a lot of people every day. Equally, the high alcohol content of splash was great for killing germs that might be transferred from the shaving tool on to the person’s skin during shaving. Most men use splash aftershave because they like the stinging sensation it produces when applied to the face while others avoid splash because of the same stinging sensation. Either way, the high alcohol content of aftershave splash is very effective against germs and if you want to make sure that you don’t accidentally attract any germs to your freshly shaved face, then splash is the perfect option for you.

• Ingredients of aftershave splash:

Alcohol: This is the main ingredient of an aftershave splash and a splash can contain up to 70 percent of alcohol in it. Alcohol is meant to close pores and kill germs from the skin. There are many different types of alcohol that can be used in making a splash aftershave. Some common types of alcohol found in aftershave splash include SD alcohol, Ethanol, Denatured alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol, Methanol, and Ethyl alcohol.

Glycerin: Glycerin is great in attracting and retaining moisture and it is used in aftershave splash to keep the skin hydrated. While alcohol has a drying effect on the skin, glycerin counteracts the dryness caused by alcohol by attracting moisture from the environment to keep the skin moisturized.

Artificial fragrances: Splash aftershaves that have a fragrance contain a combination of various chemicals that give the aftershave a distinct scent. More than 4000 different types of chemicals are used to induce fragrance in splash aftershave and a bottle of splash may contain any of these chemicals. Since every aftershave splash has a distinct fragrance, companies who manufacture them don’t mention exactly what chemical or combination of chemicals has been used to produce the fragrance of their product.

Allantoin: This is a common ingredient in many skin care products and the reason it is used in aftershave splash is because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Allantoin also moisturizes the skin and it is known to reduce skin irritation.

• Pros and cons of aftershave splash:

Pros:

Disinfects the skin: The biggest benefit of using aftershave splash is its antibacterial properties and if you use an aftershave splash with high alcohol content then you should be able to clean all the germs from your skin. Since shaving makes microscopic cracks in your skin, germs might enter your skin through these cracks. But using a splash aftershave reduces the possibility of infection.

Pleasant fragrance:  The reason why people confuse aftershave for cologne is because of the powerful fragrance it gives off when applied to your face. Aftershave splashes are available in a wide range of fragrances that allow you to choose a fragrance based on your preference. 

How to Use Aftershave: 7 easy steps 2
Cons:

Can cause skin dryness: The most common complaint users of aftershave splash have is that they leave the skin dry. This is caused by the high levels of alcohol present in splash products. Skin dryness can reduce the ability of the skin to repair itself after a shave. You might also feel that your face is tight which happens because dry skin loses its elasticity.

Hurts when applied to the face: The stinging sensation produced by alcohol when it meets a shaving wound is not something everyone can bear. The pain can last a long time after the aftershave splash is applied to the face and it takes some level of tolerance to get used to alcohol-based aftershave splash.

Causes ingrown hair: Men who use aftershave splashes experience ingrown hairs quite often. This happens because alcohol causes the pores of your skin to get closed and when hair starts to grow back it can’t grow above the skin level because the pores are not wide enough to let the hair grow outward. This causes the tip of the hair to start growing inside the skin instead of growing out resulting in ingrown hair.

Not suitable for sensitive skin: Aftershave splashes usually contain chemicals that make them bad for men with sensitive skin. If you have acne or other skin conditions, then using an alcohol-based aftershave splash can make your condition worse.

Aftershave lotion:

Aftershave lotions make for great skin moisturizers and they are great for men who don’t like too much alcohol in their aftershave because aftershave lotions contain lesser amounts of alcohol in them compared to aftershave splash. Aftershave lotions are thicker and this makes it easier to apply. They also don’t evaporate quickly. Aftershave lotions are not verily available and they can be hard to find because they are just not popular among men. The reason for their lack of popularity might be that they don’t contain as much alcohol, which reduces their ability to fight bacteria. But the low alcohol content of aftershave lotion makes them perfect for men who want some antibacterial properties in their aftershave but also want to keep their skin from getting dry. The application process of aftershave lotions is similar to aftershave splash since they both have a similar consistency. 

How to Use Aftershave: 7 easy steps 3

• Ingredients of aftershave lotion:

Glycerin: Glycerin used in aftershave lotions may come from natural sources or can be artificially manufactured. This ingredient is meant to keep the moisture locked inside your skin and prevent loss of moisture from freshly shaved skin.

Aluminum starch: This ingredient gives aftershave lotions a thicker consistency without forming lumps and prevents the lotion from caking up.

Myristyl propionate: Used as a skin conditioner in aftershave lotions, this ingredient makes the skin feel smoother.

Mineral oil: Mineral oils are also meant to lock the moisture inside the layers of skin and help in skin healing.

• Pros and cons of aftershave lotions:

Pros:

Moisturizes the skin: Since the amount of alcohol in aftershave lotions is not as high as aftershave splashes you don’t have to worry about dry skin after a shave. In addition to low alcohol contents, aftershave lotions contain plenty of moisturizing ingredients as well that not only moisturize the skin but also help in retaining the moisture until the skin heals its upper layers.

It also contains some antibacterial properties: although the antibacterial properties of an aftershave lotion are not as high as an aftershave splash, it still has a mild anti-bacterial action which is perfect for men who experience a lot of cuts and nicks while shaving. However,  an aftershave lotion is not ideal for use in a barbershop because a single shaving tool is used on a lot of men and its mild anti-bacterial property is not enough to disinfect such shaving tools.

How to Use Aftershave: 7 easy steps 4
Cons:

Not readily available: If you want to buy an aftershave lotion you might have to search a lot harder to find one. Not a lot of companies make aftershave lotions, therefore, there aren’t a lot of stores that sell them. You will have an even harder time finding an aftershave lotion that fits your needs and has a fragrance that you prefer.

Slightly painful when applied: While aftershave lotions are not as painful on your skin as aftershave splashes are, they still cause some discomfort and stinging.

Aftershave balm:

Balm based aftershaves are thick in consistency and they are usually made with natural ingredients which makes them perfect for people who don’t like to use chemical-based products. They are known for their mildness and men with sensitive skin like them the most because they contain natural nutrients for the skin. The nourishing properties of aftershave balm make it the most skin-friendly kind of aftershave you can buy. The best part is they contain zero alcohol which means no stinging or skin dryness after putting them on your face.

• Ingredients of aftershave balm:

Carrier oils: Carrier oils are usually extracted from seeds of a plant and they are known for their skin healing abilities. Some common carrier oils used in aftershave balms include coconut oil, castor oil, and jojoba oil, but you can find many other carrier oils in aftershave balms as well.

Aloe Vera: It is a natural antioxidant and it also has anti-inflammatory properties that make aloe vera perfect for fighting redness and razor burns caused by a razor blade.

Allantoin: Also found in aftershave splash this ingredient also helps reduce inflammation and helps in the skin repairing process after shaving.

• Pros and cons of aftershave balms:

Pros:

Can be used on all skin types: Apart from men with very oily skin, aftershave balms can be used by all skin types including men with sensitive skin thanks to its natural composition and zero alcohol content

No sting: The biggest benefit of aftershave balms is that you won’t feel any pain when applying them on your face. This makes the process much more pleasant and you are less likely to skip applying aftershave out of the fear of experiencing pain.

Moisturizes your skin: Natural ingredients especially aloe vera can be extremely effective in retaining and restoring the ideal moisture levels of your skin. Not to mention aftershave balms have a healing effect on your skin something, an alcohol-based aftershave can’t achieve.

How to Use Aftershave: 7 easy steps 5
Cons:

Not suitable for oily skin: If you already have very oily skin then using an aftershave balm with a high amount of carrier oils can cause your oily skin condition to get worse.

Doesn’t absorb quickly: When applying an aftershave balm you might have to wait for some time until all the contents of the aftershave balm are absorbed into your skin. This is because aftershave balm doesn’t evaporate and it is quite thick making absorption a little slower. 

Conclusion

Aftershaves come in various forms but the application process for each type is the same. The amount of time the aftershave is going to take to get absorbed into your skin depends on the thickness of the aftershave and its ingredients.  Having read this article, you should be able to use aftershave properly and reap its long-lasting benefits.