Shaving and grooming needs of men have grown with over 1.3 billion men around the world shaving every day. As an unkempt guy, I want to help you improve your shaving kit and provide you with the best information to help you make a decision with every grooming product. If you’ve taken a look into the best safety razors, you will want to look into picking the perfect aftershave as well.

Brief History of the Aftershave

Before the 18th century, men didn’t groom anywhere near as much as we do today. Having a product to apply for beautiful and radiant skin wasn’t a thing back then. It wasn’t really until the 20th century that shaving became a staple in the unkempt guys’ life.

The 20th century popularized wet-shaving (safety razors and straight razors), dry shaving (electric razors) and other grooming products to help with getting the closest shave possible. It would be from the invention of shaving soaps that aftershave would appear on the market for guys.

Today, aftershaves aren’t completely necessary, but they are the perfect addition to your shaving kit. It will help reduce the healing time of razor burn and cuts, as well as provide you a disinfected area to help prevent hair bumps from forming.

What is Aftershave?

If you’re a beginner to shaving, aftershave is going to be your best friend to help with reducing the healing time of cuts, nicks and burns you’ll get from the first-timer experience. Of course, as you get better with shaving, you may find less of a need for aftershaves and you’ll be more interested in picking the perfect shaving cream for your face to offer equal benefits.

Aftershaves come in two selections: splashes and balms. You will want to look into each of these to help with picking the ideal aftershave for yourself.

What are Balm Aftershaves?

Balm aftershaves are the easiest of the two to apply to your face. Balms are dense and you’ll notice it will work similarly to a heavy cream lotion. Balm aftershaves work best for unkempt guys looking for a great hydrating product after their shave with their razor.

First-time shavers may want to invest in a balm initially because you’ll be more prone to razor cuts and burns. This is going to provide slightly more relief for your irritation and add more moisture to help combat those drier and cooler climates. These aren’t usually alcohol based, like splashes, which will make a huge difference with the overall moisture of your skin.

If you suffer from oily skin, you may find this product to be useful in the winter only. Switch to a splash during warmer weather to avoid excessive oil in your pores.

What are Splash Aftershaves?

The alternative to a balm aftershave is the more popular and well-known aftershave, the splashes. These splash aftershaves primarily alcohol-based, which will provide you with relief with irritation and prevent any infections from occurring on your face. This could cause those unsightly hair bumps or could cause acne breakouts. Splashes provide a beginner unkempt shaver with the ideal pH balance for their skin.

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These will work primarily as an antiseptic and antibacterial, so you’ll want to be careful if you have sensitive skin. If you are known for having breakouts from alcohol or excessive drying, you’ll either want to choose a balm aftershave or you’ll want to make sure you invest in a great moisturizer to help.

Those who suffer from oily skin will find solace in a splash aftershave. This will help reduce the oil buildup and give you more radiant skin. If you’re looking to score that second date with a specific woman, this will help you achieve that.

Understanding Your Skin Tone

Before you know what to look for in a specific aftershave, you need to know your skin type. Knowing this will help you decide on a balm or splash. This will also help you look for specific products in your aftershave and to avoid others variant on your skin type. As an unkempt guy, you need to know what products are most suitable for you, even with your shave.

Dry Skin Types

You’ll notice that your skin appears rough, cracked and really dull when you suffer from dry skin. In addition, you will see that your face seems to peel and lines and wrinkles tend to appear more. You’ll want to avoid products that will take even more oil from your face.

Combating dry skin with a daily moisturizer both when you wake up and before going to bed is the best method to keep it glowing. In addition, you want to have a gentle face washing routine setup so that you avoid adding the roughness of your skin.

Oily Skin Types

Unkempt guys with particularly shiny skin and face a lot of problems with acne in the “T-Zone” (forehead, nose and chin) often suffer from oily skin. Oily skin types tend to have larger pores and will require an astringent (splash) to help them combat this issue.

If you suffer from oily skin, you may notice your skin seems to attract a lot of dust and debris throughout the day – hence why you get blackheads and whiteheads – you may want to look into washing your face twice a day. This is going to be a great addition to your aftershave with helping you keep your face clean and smooth.

Sensitive Skin Types

Prone to getting itchy skin after using a majority of products? You may suffer from sensitive skin. Some guys even have issues with the debris in the air with their skin, especially with pollen and other environmental debris.

When you’re looking to pick the perfect aftershave for your sensitive skin, you will want to pick a product specific to sensitive skin. It’s going to be a little trial-and-error for you when looking for the perfect product because even those built for sensitive skin can still irritate certain people. Avoid astringents and products with too many products. Keep it simple with sensitive skin.

Combination Skin Types

For some guys, picking the perfect aftershave might entail that you use more than one product. If you find yourself a sufferer of combination skin, where you have the “T-Zone” area that’s oily and cheeks that are dry, you’ll want to find a product that works for both of these areas.

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However, most unkempt guys find that if they look for two products, one for their dry skin and one for their oily skin area, they get the best results. It’s going to vary on what you want and what works best for your personal preferences.

Ingredients in an Aftershave

Now that you understand your skin type, you’ll want to match the best ingredients to give you the best results after your shave. Here are some of the most active ingredients you’ll want to look into when picking the perfect aftershave.


Certain products will contain moisturizers, mainly balms, that help with softening skin and increasing your skins’ water retention. If you suffer from dry skin or combination skin, you’ll want a product that guarantees a great moisturizer. Otherwise, you are going to have to moisturize your skin thoroughly with another product after your shave.

Astringents and Toners

Working hand-in-hand astringents and toners work to help with cleansing your skin and reducing the size of pores temporarily. If you suffer from sensitive skin, you’ll want to skip the astringent and go for a light toner that won’t be as abrasive on your face. Toners provide you with relief from superficial cuts (cutting the top layer of skin), fungal infections, rashes, acne and hair bumps. Long-term use reduces scars as well.

Astringents contain around 20-to-60% alcohol. Depending on the severity of your oily skin, you will want to pick out an astringent that works ideally for your skin. If you have mildly oily skin, you may want to lean toward a 20-to-25% astringent. However, if you have really bad oily skin issues, learning toward a higher alcohol percentage could be useful.

Some common ingredients of toners include:

  • Vinegar;
  • Alum;
  • Zinc oxide;
  • Witch hazel;
  • Oatmeal;
  • Alcohol;
  • Acacia;
  • Zinc sulfate; and
  • Potassium permanganate.

If you look for more organic aftershaves, you’ll find that Witch hazel is a broadly popular ingredient that can be used even on non-oily skin types as well. This makes it perfect for people who suffer from combination skin problems.


Another common ingredient found in aftershaves are humectants. These stimulate your pores and increase other active ingredients’ effectiveness by extending the activity time. It will also help with penetrating the skin even further and decrease dehydration in certain ingredients. So if you suffer from dry skin, you’ll have more of a need for humectants.

When you’re picking an aftershave that works perfectly, you’ll want to look for the following humectants:

  • Urea;
  • Lactic acid;
  • Propylene glycol; and


Hydrosols basically contain diluted essential oils in them. During the distillation process of aftershaves, especially if scented, you’ll notice that certain products on the market have hydrosols. These were seen as the natural byproduct of the distillation process, but it seems they are proven to help even more with promoting healthier skin tones.

Although technically not considered a sterile product, hydrosols inhibit the growth of bacteria because of the acidic properties found inside of it. This can also help with balancing out pH in your skin because shaving soaps used during your shave tend to be more alkaline, so this can help add some acidity to balance it out by the end of your shave.

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Subtle Scent Changes Throughout the Day

You’ll notice that after a few hours, the scent of your aftershaves changes subtly. While you might love the initial notes, you may be displeased with the scent after a few hours. Here’s what’s going on with your product.

Anything that contains a fragrance often has several different notes. When you first spray your aftershave, you’ll pick up on the top notes of the fragrance. These are the fresher, crisper scents that your nose picks up first. This can also include more citrus scents as well.

Within 10 to 20 minutes, you’ll begin to smell the middle notes of your aftershave. Middle notes tend to be the main attraction of the scent and will be the finer, lighter notes that will last for about an hour or two.

After the two hours, you’ll begin to smell the base notes of your aftershave. This is going to consist of the heavier scents that will dominate for the remaining portion of the day. As the top and middle notes fade, you’ll be left with these.

Knowing the fragrances offered in your aftershave will give you an idea of what to expect from the scent throughout the day. If you enjoy the middle and base notes, you’ll be able to tolerate the scent. However, if you only like the top notes, you’ll find yourself disappointed for the majority of the day with your aftershave. Research your choices in perfume notes before making a final decision.

Ingredients Every Unkempt Guy Can Benefit from in Their Aftershave

There are a few ingredients that every man can enjoy, regardless of skin type. Here are some to be on the look for in your aftershave:

  • Calendula;
  • Vitamins;
  • Jojoba oil;
  • Chamomile;
  • Aloe Vera;
  • Diluted rose oil and;
  • Witch hazel

These will all help with toning your skin, reduce the healing time of cuts and promote a healthier balance with your skin.

Choosing the Right Product in No Time

Knowing your skin type will be the main factor in your decision to pick the perfect aftershave. As an unkempt guy, you don’t need to spend all the time in the world when you’re trying to pick the right product for your shaving kit.

After you get comfortable with shaving and you find the right techniques that work for you, you may find that a shaving cream could offer you a two-in-one solution for your shaving soap and aftershave. When paired with the best shaving brush, your shaving cream will completely replace your need for either of those products.

Give yourself time to adapt to and learn more about shaving techniques. Eventually, you’ll be ready to make the commitment to more advanced shaving products.

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