Whether you decide to use a gel, lotion, balm, or splash, aftershave seals in moisture and prevents bacteria from clogging your pores, and which is why you need to check out the best aftershave balms for men along with a clipper. I myself just started using aftershave after finally shaving off the beard I had been growing out for a good eight months. Because it had been so long since my jawline was cleanly shaven, I decided to splurge in Calvin Klein’s Obsession for men.
Unless you want painful razor bumps with ingrown hairs or raw, sensitive skin, you need to use aftershave. We’ve already spoken a bit about beard shampoos and conditioning balms and oils, but these are products you use if you are grooming a beard. If you’re shaving your hair completely, you’ll need something to soothe your skin. That’s why we’ve decided to review some of the best aftershave products for men.
Best of all, it will leave you smelling delectable. The first time I walked downstairs wearing this aftershave, my wife did a double-take. She absolutely loves the scent, and can’t get enough of it.
It isn’t just about how it smells, though.
Using an aftershave will tighten up the skin so the shave actually feels smoother.
Plus it disinfects.
As you probably have bacteria on your face, you spread it around when you shave. This could lead to an acne outbreak. Unless you douse yourself with aftershave to kill any of that bacteria so it doesn’t have a chance to spread.
Then, it helps put some moisture back into the skin at a time when it is most receptive. A balm applied while your circulation is stimulated from the shave will keep your skin hydrated.
If you are shaving regularly–especially if you’re using a straight or safety razor, you can’t skimp on the best aftershave balms for men.
Aftershave Balm vs Aftershave
While both do the same thing, namely to tone, tighten and disinfect the skin, they do it much differently.
To some, using a traditional aftershave that you splash on your face as akin to a Medieval torture device. The burn is agonizing.
And to some, it will irritate the face and leave it feeling raw and uncomfortable beyond the few seconds of bracing burn.
That’s because an aftershave splash is made with alcohol. This is like adding lemon juice to a cut since your skin is very raw after your shave. You’ve taken the outer layer of skin off of your face after all.
There are some that are made with Witch Hazel that are far more gently on your skin, but most of them still use alcohol. (You can take a look at my review of a few different bay rum aftershaves by clicking here) And there are plenty of men that use this one specifically because of the burn. I guess the stinging sensation reminds them that it is actually doing its job.
The best aftershave balms for men, on the other hand skip the alcohol completely. In its place is most likely With Hazel, but occasionally you may find other astringents in there.
They are in lotion form, pourable without being splashable and need to be rubbed into the skin.
Pros and Cons of Aftershave Balms
Though you may love the idea of not dealing with setting your face on fire after you’ve shaved, it may not be a cut and dry decision to use a balm. There are advantages and disadvantages to everything and the best aftershave balms for men are no exception.
No burning sensation – I went over this in the last section but it bears repeating. Since there is no alcohol, a balm is going to gently take care of your skin. It goes on with no discomfort and still does what it needs to do.
You use less – Since it only takes a tiny amount to rub into your skin, you end up using far less than if you were to apply a an aftershave splash. I would estimate that you use less than half as much when you apply a balm so what you get lasts much longer.
The scent lingers longer – With an alcohol based splash, the scent may be much stronger at first, but the alcohol evaporates quickly along with the scent. You may only get a few minutes with a splash whereas the balm stays on your skin for much longer as it absorbs. This means your scent will last longer as a result.
More natural – This is highly dependant on brand, but you are more likely to find an all natural, or at least one that contains more natural ingredients, than with a splash. A lotion is able to carry essential oils and other natural ingredients in a way that an aftershave splash can’t so they are far easier to find.
It absorbs slowly – When you apply a splash it comes and goes within seconds. Your skin ends up dry right away. With a lotion it has to be rubbed into the skin and can leave your face feeling greasy while you wait for it to absorb.
It’s easy to use too much – Even though I just said you use less balm than splash, it is very easy to end up using too much. And as I just said, it will leave your face feeling greasy. You have to be careful how much you dole out and try to not overdo it.
Best Aftershave Lotion for Oily Skin
Lather & Wood Aftershave Balm
Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean you should skip on the lotion. A lot of men with oily skin choose to use a splash to cool and cleanse their skin without clogging their pores, but they may not be hydrating their skin adequately. Oily skin can still become dry and tired without enough moisture.
Especially if you’re shaving with a cartridge razor with multiple blades, you’re skin will become irritated rather quickly. A moisturizing balm will help to keep your skin soft even if you’re shaving every few days. Light, hydrating lotions won’t cause you to break out especially if you’re using them in moderation.
Lather & Wood comes in a small glass bottle and has a pleasant, subtle scent. Even though the container is fairly small, you only need one or two pumps to cover your entire face. The balm absorbs immediately with no greasy residue making it perfect for anyone prone to breakouts. The balm is soothing on the skin, and while the scent disappears rather quickly, it leaves your skin feeling healthy and smooth.
You can choose to have no scent at all when you purchase if you would rather not have anything conflict with your cologne.
But, if you like an old school manly scent, the sandalwood is really on point. It is aggressive at first, but does quiet down in a few minutes. Remember that an aftershave is not meant to replace your cologne so don’t expect the scent to last all day. If it seems too strong at first, wait a few minutes before you get in that elevator or in line for coffee.
The way this works is instead of using alcohol, or even Witch Hazel, it has an extract from white willow bark to do the job. It works great as a germ killing agent to disinfect your face, but it is very gentle. Even gentler than Witch Hazel.
To keep your skin hydrated it contains some glycerin which is also added into soaps for its moisturizing properties. As such, the extract won’t dry out your skin. One downside to using glycerin is that your pores don’t tighten up as quickly. One of the benfits of using Witch Hazel is how your skin gets toned so the shave feels much closer when your pores close up around the root of the facial hair. You won’t feel your skin tighten up nearly as much with this lotion.
If you are doing a shave with a safety razor or straight edge, then you may really appreciate the fact that it doesn’t tone since it may sting your face a little bit. This is so gentle that it provides good relief from serious razors. In fact it was formulated specifically for use with a straight edge.
The dispenser comes in very handy since it makes it easy to get the right dosage so you don’t end up going overboard and wasting it. In fact, you can easily get 6 months out of a bottle making it a very good value even though the price is not exactly cheap.
It goes on almost more like a thick oil than a lotion so a little really goes a long way. Make sure you take your time to really rub it in so it doesn’t leave your face looking shiny and feeling greasy.
Plus, when you purchase, a company representative will call you personally to gather feedback about the balm. Lather & Wood has an incredible customer service team, and if anything is wrong with your product, they’ll make sure to correct the issue as swiftly as possible. This is, without a doubt, one of the best aftershave balms available on Amazon. The reviews speak for themselves here!
Best Aftershave for Ordinary Men Who Want to Smell Extraordinary
Clubman Pinaud After Shave Lotion
Pinaud After Shave Lotion is a lightweight moisturizer that refreshes and cools your skin, and it will instantly take you back to an old-school barbershop. The scent is pleasant but not overpowering. A blend of oakmoss, citrus, and powder makes this aftershave particularly compelling because it’s classic and timeless yet unassuming and understated.
The scent should last at least for a few hours, and the women in your life will adore it. You get great value for your dollar, and the bottle should last you for months on end. Best of all, this aftershave will make you smell like a man.
Wondering what that scent is when you walk into a classic barbershop? Chances are pretty good it’s from the barbers using Clubman.
It has citrusy top notes from bergamot and orange in the beginning, but quickly goes earthy with a musk fragrance that lingers on. It doesn’t have that classic sandalwood or cedar that you find in so many barbershop scents, but this one will feel very familiar.
If you can’t get enough of that barbershop smell, then bring it home and use the same stuff the barbers use.
This one does pack a little bit of a sting compared to other balms that are more or less a cream, however.
It does contain alcohol so it is not nearly as gentle on your skin as a cream.
It doesn’t have the marketing that Old Spice has and doesn’t have the same type of appreciation. There has been a movement for all things retro and old school scents like Clubman should be leading the way. Maybe you want to start using it and bring Clubman back to its former glory from the 40’s and 50’s?
Best Aftershave Balm for Gentleman
Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men
This provocative, distinct blend of botanics and rare wood is simply unforgettable. Though Calvin Klein’s Obsession for Men costs a pretty penny, it is absolutely intoxicating. A small dab on your face after shaving is more than enough to refresh your skin. Not everyone has the budget for luxury skin care products, but those who make it a priority will love this spicy oriental scent.
Its alcohol free formula means it goes on very smooth without that bracing jolt that you usually get from an aftershave.
It hydrates the skin and repairs the damage done to the outer layer of skin. So, it isn’t all just for scent and making a fashion statement.
Not all designer brand cosmetics are of high quality, but I can assure you that best aftershave balms for men and especially Obsession is truly designed for a gentleman. Sophisticated and elegant, this aftershave is not one to miss. I personally have never spent money on something so indulgent, but it is, without a doubt, the best aftershave balm I have ever used.
Your mileage may vary, of course as most of these things are objective. There are a couple of caveats. One is that it does contain parabens and also, the fragrance is synthetic.
Best Aftershave Balm for Acne-Prone Skin
Prosaro After Shave Lotion
We’ve reviewed Prosaro products before because they’re so exceptionally well-made. Their after shave splash is no exception. Made with witch hazel, eucalyptus oil, and menthol, Prosaro will cleanse and tone your skin like no other aftershave.
Witch hazel is a shrub found in both the Americas and Asia, and it is known for its healing properties. A natural astringent, it extracts oil from the skin and is used in dozens of over-the-counter acne medications. Eucalyptus oil is anti-inflammatory, and menthol gently cools the skin.
This is easily one of my favorites. And it is quickly catching up to Clubman in popularity in the barbershop where I work. It has an invigorating and clean scent that wakes up the senses.
It does give up an intense burn on just shaved skin, but to me that is part of the appeal. Some people love that burn that can really grow some hair on your chest.
Others are looking for a more gentle and calm toning cream. If you’re like me then give this one a shot. I am sure you will love it!
This Italian classic is unique because it tones your skin. Toner is an essential component of any good skincare routine because it rinses away impurities leaving your skin vibrant and radiant.
Prosaro has been around for decades, and we fully trust their entire line of products. If you are looking for an after shave that improves your complexion with every wash, then look no further.
Baxter of California After Shave Balm
Though I am trying to focus on products that are all natural or contain mainly natural ingredients, I am prone to make exceptions when a product is so good.
Take Baxter’s Aftershave balm. Yes, it has some hard to pronounce ingredients, but this is one of the best aftershave balms for men that you can use.
Let’s go over why I love this one so much.
First off, it goes on very easily and absorbs quickly. You really only need a tiny amount to coat the palms of your hands and then rub it into your face. I mean like less than the size of a pea is more than enough to get you going.
Once you start rubbing, it goes right into the layer of skin. It doesn’t need to be coerced into getting absorbed.
This means you won’t have a greasy or shiny look to your skin while you wait for it to either get absorbed or evaporate.
Another thing there is to love is the feeling you get. It is alcohol free, so there is no sting, but it is invigorating nonetheless. It has a menthol or eucalyptus action that feels cooling and warming at the same time. It makes your skin tingle but not in that alcohol burn kind of way. You can feel the circulation start to flow to your face.
Then, your skin just tones right up. It begins to tighten for a very smooth effect. Your shave suddenly feels like a professional did it as the pores have closed up and the top layer of skin has sealed itself in essence.
As far as moisturizing, there is glycerin to disinfect and then add some moisture to your skin to keep it feeling plump. Then aloe vera will soothe your skin and leave it feeling fresh. And, lastly, tea tree oil will help to prevent ingrown hairs and do away with any remaining bacteria that the glycerin didn’t catch.
Then there is the scent.
It is invigorating for your nostrils as it is your skin. It has a citrusy vibe, heavy with lemon, but then the refreshing menthol takes over. It quickly subsides and you’re left with a slightly sweet honey fragrance.
I really love the whole range of Baxter products as they all work exceptionally well. They all smell great, and give you a bit of a feeling of luxury when you use them. Like you’re spoiling yourself a bit.
Brickell Men’s Instant Relief Aftershave for Men
Finally we arrive at an all natural and mostly organic aftershave lotion! The best aftershave balms for men are really best when they don’t contain a lot of chemicals. Luckily these days we do have brands that are committed to not only providing a great product, but making sure it only contains exceptional and natural ingredients.
Brickell is a brand that does all of their products the natural way.
Let’s take a look at some of the ingredients that makes this aftershave so incredible.
The first ingredient on the list is aloe vera so that is the dominant factor. This will really soothe the skin and leave it feeling plump and hydrated.
To disinfect the skin without using any alcohol or Witch Hazel it contains tea tree oil. An added bonus from using this ingredient is the invigorating sensation when you apply it. It doesn’t sting exactly but it has a sort of menthol effect. It clears your pores and also helps the aftershave absorb quickly.
This is so good at moisturizing the skin and toning that it can even be used as a skin toner even when you don’t shave. It is very good at preventing acne and giving your skin a youthful appearance.
It doesn’t matter what kind of skin you have. It works well for oily skin or dry equally well. Whichever your skin type, it will be left stronger and more elastic after using it. With coconut oil to repair the damage done by the razor, to the glycerin that packs a moisturizing punch.
How does it smell?
It has a mostly menthol fragrance with a bit of fresh lemongrass. It is a light scent though and dissipates quickly so you wouldn’t use it as a personal fragrance. As I mentioned, since it acts mainly as a toner, it isn’t something where the fragrance is that important.
The best part about this product unlike the others is that it doesn’t contain any parabens, sulfates, glycols, phthalates, petrochemicals, silicones, PEG’s, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances.
There is no downside to using this aside from the price. It is not cheap. Though Brickells says that a bottle can last two months, but I find that it lasts longer than that. A little does go a long way so you will probably feel that you are getting your money’s worth.
How to Use After Shave Balm?
Cosmetics? For men?
If you shy away from anything in the beauty aisle, then you should think again. Men and women both get wrinkles, pimples, and pock marks. Healthy skin is a good measure of overall health, and if you want to look your best you’ll take care of it. If you are a low-maintenance kind of man, like most of us are, you should at least put on aftershave.
With some of the best aftershaves to choose from that shouldn’t be too difficult. After shaving, simply wash off any remaining shaving cream and pat your face dry with a towel. If you’re using a moisturizing aftershave balm like Lather & Wood or Obsession, pump a tiny bit into your palm after shaving and smooth it over your cheeks and jaw bone in a circular motion.
There’s no need to use more than a pea-sized amount. If you’re using the best aftershave balms for men or a splash like Prosaro or Pinaud, pour a bit into your palms and rub your hands together before applying it to your face.
Be careful to wait a few minutes before applying aftershave splash though because some of the alcohols might irritate your skin if applied directly after shaving. Back in the day, this is how every guy did it. A splash of an aftershave was a tonic as they called it then. They loved how it would smooth out the skin after a shave and leave their skin feeling tightened and clean.
A bonus was how it smelled, but that was not its sole function. And today we sadly have gotten away from that as men. I hope this article has inspired you to get some aftershave and start smelling like a man again!