Is It Necessary to Use Aftershave?

You may have seen shaving soaps described as “so good you won’t even need an aftershave”. In fact, we’ve described many a soap that way ourselves. However, does that mean we should toss out all our aftershaves? Is it really necessary to use an after shave?

Well, sometimes you could forgo an aftershave product and be ok, but really why would you? There are so many reasons to keep the aftershave part of your wet shaving routine.


1. Aftershaves have astringent properties 

Especially if you choose an alcohol-based splash (but even if you don’t), most aftershaves are designed to close pores and tone your skin. Astringents, like alcohol, help cleanse the skin, tighten the pores by causing them to constrict, and dry out oils. 

Astringency is also helpful if you find yourself with a minor nick or bleeding cut. It will reduce the bleeding, but it will often come with a bit of a sting. You can usually determine how well (irritation and nick free) your shave was done by the amount of stinging from an alcohol-based aftershave splash. Balms are generally more friendly and soothing to your skin but can still have astringency properties. 

Astringent ingredients that you might find in your after shave include alcohol, witch hazel, citric acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and rose water.   

2. Aftershaves have antiseptic properties 

Often the same astringent ingredients also provide antiseptic properties as well. These products serve to clean/disinfect your skin. Microscopic nicks, cuts, and abrasions can leave your skin open to infection – and you might not even know of the threat.

Using an antiseptic splash or balm on your face after a shave is just good planning. It will make sure that bacteria and germs are not a threat to your just-shaved skin. A clean mug is a safe mug. 

Antiseptic ingredients often found in aftershaves include alcohol, witch hazel, and citrate acid just to name a few. 

3. Aftershaves have hydrating properties 

In addition to cleansing and toning, your aftershave splash should also help to moisturize your skin. Soaps and shaving can have a traumatic and drying effect on your skin. If your shaving soap leaves your skin feeling tight, then you will particularly benefit from this property.

By adding moisture back to your skin after shaving, you are giving it the nourishment it needs to recover.  A good moisturizer will not only improve the skin’s water content but it will aid in desquamation (the sloughing off of dead cells). This leaves your skin looking smoother and younger.

There are many, many moisturizing ingredients found in aftershave splashes. 

  • Humectants (draw moisture to the epidermis, either from the dermis or the atmosphere if it is over 70% humidity): glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol, and alpha-hydroxy acids. 
  • Occlusives (increase water content by slowing evaporation on the skin, they are usually greasy and are most effective on damp skin): petroleum jelly, mineral oil, lanolin, and silicone derivatives.
  • Emollients (stay on the skin and function as a lubricant, maintaining soft, pliable skin): palm oil, stearic acid often in cocoa & shea butter, oleic acid from olive and other vegetable oils.

4. Aftershaves have aromatic properties 

Of course, one of the most enjoyable reasons to splash on an after shave? The scent. Although there are some out there that need (because of allergies or sensitivities) or want (because of preference or conflicting scents) to forgo a scented splash, most wet shavers enjoy dabbling in the many aromas available. 

There are so many options to choose from – deep & dark to bright & zesty to green & earthy. Scent-makers are matching their signature scents to phenomenal shaving soaps for a full experience. There are even essential oil fragrances that forgo fragrance oils. With so many options, you are sure to find one that makes your day. And the day of your co-workers as you carry the scent with you.

Check out our large selection of aftershave splashes and balms here at West Coast Shaving!

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