By far the most popular post-shave solution is the alcohol-based after-shave or cologne. But did you know that the daily use of such products can dry out your skin and contribute to the acceleration of the ageing process? The post-shave moisturiser trend is rising and for good reason.
Everybody loves a good after-shave. That stinging sensation after a morning shave can really wake you up and we all have that favourite scent that we’ve grown used to.
But what if we told you that this ritual might be causing irreversible damage to your skin?
There are two types of products when it comes to after-shaves: Alcohol-based ones, which are the most common and are usually called lotions or waters, and Alcohol-free ones, which are categorised as balms, gels or moisturisers. It might seem like we’re nit-picking here, but the distinction is important, and by the end of this article we hope to have convinced you that using conventional alcohol containing aftershave is damaging the long-term health of your skin and accelerating the ageing process.
If you prefer to see this content in a visual format, have a look at our video recap:
In a nutshell- because they contain alcohol. As a rule of thumb, if something burns like hell when you apply it to your skin, don’t use it. It’s a well-known fact that alcohol dries out the skin, and it is probably the culprit of many men’s dry skin problems.
If you suffer from skin conditions such as acne and eczema, please don’t use this kind of lotion, we beg you! It will severely aggravate your skin condition and will sting like crazy.
But aren’t there any benefits to using a conventional after-shave?
The anti-septic qualities of alcohol are often quoted as a benefit of aftershave lotions, helping heal those little cuts that sometimes happen when you shave, but let’s face it in this day and age unless you’re shaving with a butcher’s knife, you shouldn’t be having cuts in your face from shaving. And if you use products with natural ingredients, like lime essential oil and aloe vera, you will benefit from the same anti-septic properties.
Because instead of using alcohol, they use alternative and more natural ingredients such as witch hazel, Allantoin, aloe vera, amongst others. These less aggressive ingredients are more natural and sustainable and can be as efficient if formulated correctly. Some of the ingredients to look out for are:
- Olea europaea (Olive oil): Fights bacteria and moisturises
- Ribes nigrum (Blackcurrant extract): Skin smoothing
- Aloe Vera: Anti-septic and anti-inflammatory
- Allantoin: Anti-inflammatory and moisturising
- Prunus armeniaca (Apricot kernel oil): Anti-ageing and moisturising
- Shea Butter: Smoothing and Anti-inflammatory
- Witch Hazel: Anti-septic and anti-inflammatory
Finally, another great reason to use alcohol-free creams rather than alcohol-based ones is that they will save you money! Aftershaves in a liquid form usually run out relatively fast. To service the whole shaving area, you need to splash a reasonable amount, and most likely you won’t hit the skin uniformly, causing dry patches and irregularities. Creams and balms, in the other hand, can be used sparingly, and with the proper circular motion can be applied in a balanced fashion. A 100ml bottle of cream can last almost 10X more than its liquid counterpart, and cost the same or less.
The only caveat that we will allow is for men with extremely oily skin. In this case, used sparingly, alcohol-based solutions can help dry out the skin. But for 90% of the men, this isn’t the case.
Now that we’ve helped you convince to get rid of those expensive, inefficient post-shave lotions, here is how you should be using your natural balm:
The first thing to do is to shave your face as you normally would. We recommend using a specialised soap. After this, you should clean your face and splash with lukewarm to cold water, depending on your preference. Lukewarm water is said to soothe the skin, whilst cold water opens the pores. We usually go for cold water, but to be honest, the difference is probably negligible. Your skin is now ready to be soothed. 1 or 2 pumps of your favourite scented or unscented cream should suffice. Massage it gently to your face and neck until it dissolves and voila- You should feel the calming effect, rather than the usual aggressive stinging, which will leave you smelling well and moisturised. Additionally, it will contribute to the closing of the pores, blocking dirt and bacteria from your skin.
The video below goes through the above-mentioned steps in further detail:
With all this in mind, we developed our own formulations. For oilier skins, we recommend our aloe vera based skin repair gel, which is stronger in its anti-inflammatory reaction. For drier skin, we recommend our cedarwood moisturising after shave cream: