Many men are averse to caring for their skin. No matter where you are in the world, it’s not uncommon to hear a phrase like “skin care products are for chicks” when engaging in gentlemanly palaver. We think this is a travesty. After all, men have faces, too. But if you insist on shunning skin care, we ask that you make an exception for one key product: aftershave balms. You’ll find that the right balm can at the very least make shaving a more pleasant experience, and it may even revolutionize your shaving routine.
Aftershave Splash vs. Aftershave Balm
Before we get started, we thought we’d point out the differences between aftershave splash and aftershave balm. Aftershave splash is an antiseptic that has a lingering scent, while aftershave balm is a hydrating lotion with a mild scent that typically goes away soon after application. Since aftershave splashes are usually alcohol-based astringents, they tighten and dry out the skin. If you’re prone to nicks and your skin tends to dry out after shaving, you’re better off going with a nice, hydrating balm.
Balms are very simple to use. Once you’re finished shaving, rinse off the remaining shaving cream and splash your face with cold water. Use a towel to pat your face dry, then apply a small dab of aftershave balm. (Depending on the thickness of the product, you can use anywhere from a pea-sized amount to a quarter-sized quantity.) Gently massage into your skin. The whole process takes mere seconds and can make the difference between a smooth, high-quality shave and one rife with red bumps and razor burn. Finding your personal best aftershave balm is definitely a worthwhile process.
There’s no single balm that works for all men; we recommend that you try a few of the following to discover which is the best aftershave balm for you.
Best Aftershave Balm
If you’re looking for something affordable and unpretentious, Nivea’s Sensitive Post Shave Balm is a great way to go. It may not have all the fancy ingredients and scents of other products, but it’s one of the highest-rated aftershave balms on Amazon, so that’s something. This baby comes with vitamin E, provitamin B5, and chamomile extract for excellent soothing properties. It’s specially formulated for sensitive skin, so if you’re struggling with razor burn and bumps, this product is a good one to start with. The Nivea Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm is a winner of The Manual Grooming Awards 2019.
Other Great Aftershave Balms
Cannabis plays host to a ridiculous amount of healing properties, but I bet you’ve never thought about using it on your face. This solution from Perricone MD won’t get you high, but it puts the healing components of cannabis at the forefront to help soothe the skin after a close shave, while also leaving a pleasant and addicting woodsy scent. With the help of aloe vera and witch hazel, this simple yet complex formula works hard to hydrate and refresh your skin after a close shave and keep it moisturized for hours after.
Carefully formulated and packed with natural ingredients like shea butter, jojoba, witch hazel, and a heap of bountiful essential oils, Rockwell Razors’ aftershave balm is a very good option as it’s effective, easy to put on, and exudes a pleasant scent. The Canadian-crafted balm is designed to be both soothing and moisturizing for your skin, which helps prevent razor burn. This aftershave boasts a calming scent, too, rich with notes of neroli, anise, leather, lilac, and cedar.
As you can read in our piece on shaving with a straight razor, professional barber Calen Koenig swears by Proraso. These balms are top-notch hydrators, making them excellent for men with Sahara-esque faces. Proraso’s balms have no alcohol, no parabens, no silicons, no mineral oil, and no artificial colors. What do they have? A lot of great natural ingredients that are excellent for promoting healthy skin. Proraso balm is available in three colors: blue, green, and white. Blue has aloe vera and licorice extract, green has a fresh minty scent, and white has notes of oatmeal, green tea, and thyme.
This aftershave balm combines the eye-opening freshness of tea tree oil and the cooling power of aloe vera. Glycerin (which moisturizes) and allantoin (a compound that combats redness and irritation) round out Baxter’s outstanding healing profile. This aftershave balm is free of alcohol and thus avoids causing your skin to dry out. It’s unpretentious, it’s effective, and it’s affordable.
When you shave, you partially remove a layer of skin. To prevent redness, burning, and painful bumps, it’s a good idea to reach for a nice aftershave balm. The Art of Shaving balm lives up to its grand name. It’s free of alcohol and synthetic dyes but rich with grape seed extract and shea butter. When it comes to soothing your face, this balm is more than up to the task. Like Proraso, The Art of Shaving makes several differently scented balms. We recommend the unscented variety for gentlemen with sensitive noses.
Kiehl’s post-shave repair formula utilizes an alcohol-free solution and aloe vera — everyone’s favorite sunburn savior — to help combat the aftermath of shaving. Not only does it work to soothe razor burn and nicks instantly after they present themselves, but Kiehl’s aftershave also works to help repair and heal the outer layer of your skin that is the most damaged by a close shave. This solution performs best for an everyday shaver who likes to maintain a smooth, clean-shaven, and ultimately healthy face.
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