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Ben's Aftershave Reviews

So below are a few aftershaves I've tried and what I think about them. I think one of my favorite parts of wetshaving is trying new products so I would expect to see a few new ones on here every once in awhile. Also, I'll try to keep this as PG as possible but, if my opinion on something is just that strong, I may throw in a few colorful adjectives.

AS OF 08 SEP 13:

Proraso AS Splash (New Formula): When I first tried this stuff out I thought it was the greatest AS ever. I rarely used AS before I started wetshaving. I expected a Home Alone type of burn when I put it on. It has that classic alcohol sting, but I think it was the menthol feeling afterwards that got me. One of the reasons I tried this first was because of all the reviews in received in this forum. Members went on and on about how great it smelled and how amazing it was. I think it smells like medicine. It's a pretty good performer but I won't be buying another bottle when this one runs out. There are definitely better ones out there (IMHO,YMMV, and all of that) but the price is pretty decent and it's on sale a lot on sites like Italianbarber.com.

Truefitt and Hill (T&H)Grafton AS Balm: I expected some milky Nivea type balm when I cracked this bad boy open. Very far from it! This stuff is thick. I use 3-4 squeezes and it's more than enough. The smell is fantastic (Grafton is my favorite smell so far). The formula is for sensitive skin, and just like all of those formulas it kind of irritates my skin (kind of weird if you ask me but I'm sure some scientist somewhere would love to give me a 2000 word essay on why...meh). I will keep using it despite the irritation just because I love the smell that much. It's not tacky. I don't use it by itself anymore; I use it a few minutes after I put on an AS splash as a protective layer. I have the splash coming in the mail now and will be getting the cologne when I get home. At about $35 a bottle (a really nice looking bottle I may add) it's a moderate buy.

Taylor of Old Bond Street (TOBS) Jermyn St. AS Spray: There is something I'm starting to view as a universal truth: the smell of Jermyn Street is fantastic! If their product wasn't such garbage I'd keep this in my rotation forever. Here we go...The idea of an AS that you spray directly on the face seems retarded to me. My cheeks are close to my eyes and I don't want AS in my eyes. This AS also left my skin feeling extremely sticky all day. Jermyn St. was also the second AS I bought and the first to introduce me to that really intense burn. This stuff burnt the hell out of my skin which, once again, I found amusing because it was for sensitive skin. I kept it for awhile because I really enjoy the scent (enough so that I may try the cream next spring). The price is moderate and the product stays with you all day.

Taylor of Old Bond Street (TOBS) Eton College: Currently one of my number one splashes, even though I have some gripes with it. I think this stuff is made of mostly ethanol because as soon as it leave the bottle it begins to immediately evaporate. This is also another aftershave with a pretty intense burn. The smell is fantastic though! Citrusy with a little bit of spice and lavender. It has some staying power as well which I like. When I put on some T&H Grafton Balm with it I'm in olfactory heaven. Jermyn St. made me realize I really don't like a tacky feeling face after I shave; I like a nice smooth dry surface. This AS definitely leaves my face dry but not too dry. Me gusta. It costs about as much as Jermyn St. does (I think I paid $34 for it).

Sir Irisch Moos AS Splash: Do you like to smell like spicy moss? Like you've been walking around a wet forest for a few day? This is definitely the scent for you then. I have a lot of gripes with this one. It's pretty darn expensive (though I guess I can't complain too much about that since I just picked up the Grafton splash) and I was really disappointed with how little the bottle was. I tried it and, to be perfectly honest, I can't even remember how well it performed because I hated the scent so much. This, unfortunately, is about as deep as I can go in the review for the product.

Musgo Real AS Splash: I decided to try the Musgo AS after I tried the cream. The scent is fantastic! You have to use is sparingly because if you don't it can get a little tacky. The scent also has some pretty good staying power. There is some decent burn when it's applied so if you're not a fan of that this AS is not for you. I've been using a sampler, but it seems like a moderately priced AS when I check a few places online. I've never seen it for sale though. There is also a preshave oil and balm with the same scent that I may try down the line. Definitely one of my top three at the moment.

Captain's Choice Cat O' Nine Tails: I like bay rum, I really do, and I really like Captain's Choice Bay Rum (I guess I'll do that one next) but I really do not enjoy Cat O' Nine Tails. This smells like an aftershave that a fervent smoker would use. It really smells like spice and cigarette butts. It performed well, didn't give me that much AS burn, but I could not get over the scent. I had to go back to the bathroom and wash it off of my face and hands.

Captain's Choice Bay Rum: I got a sample of this from Garry's Sample Shop and wanted to buy more and more (definitely buying a bottle for an after-the-gym splash). The scent is great and balanced (like D.R. Harris Bay Rum Hair Tonic). No overpowering AS burn and it didn't leave my face dried out. Another great thing about this AS is that it's only $18. That'll do pig...that'll do.

Pinaud Clubman AS Splash: I remember using clubman talc when I was a teenager and really missed the smell. I bought a bottle of it out here and use it ever day before I put my boots on. I love it. The AS smells EXACTLY like the talc and has some real staying power. It does leave your face a little dry and has, what I would call, a moderate burn but overall it's not a bad AS. It's also probably one of the cheapest AS's you'll find and if there's a drugstore nearby you'll probably find it on the shelves.

Tabac AS Splash: I was hoping I would stumble on another scent I would fall in love with......NOPE! This stuff is what I would imagine the basement of a nursing home smells like. This was, I believe, specifically made to make you smell like old man. It performed ok, but I had a hard time getting past the scent. Gave it away.

Lucky Tiger AS/Face Tonic: Speaking of one that surprises you and you fall in love with it! Here's what I love about this stuff. I don't like wearing AS when I have to run in groups. I don't want to be that guy that smells like a middleschool locker room. This stuff has a very, very light scent and goes on with almost zero burn. My favorite part, when I washed it off in the shower, it left my face feeling really smooth. I'm buying a bottle of this as it will be my go to AS before my PT sessions in the morning when I get back home. At $15 a bottle I won't have any trouble convincing SWMBO to let me grab some. Great product! Disclaimer: Does not contain bits of real tiger and 60% of the time, it does not work every time...

Well I'm going to get some food. I'll keep this thread updated every time I try something out. Stay classy gents!
Great reviews! I agree with many of your observations. Love the scent of Jermyn St., hate the atomizer because it's a sticky formula and if there was ever a "splash" not conducive to spraying through an atomizer, this is it. Some T&H balms have been irritating to me as well, although Ultimate Comfort balm is arguably one of my favorites. I love the Grafton scent and have the cream, splash, and cologne in the scent, but I am not drawn to getting the balm because I will typically use an unscented balm instead. Proraso is great..... and Eton College does the same for me as it does for you.... great scent but evaporates quick and leaves a dry, soft feeling as pretty much all of the TOBS splashes do for me with the exception of Jermyn St. Tabac and Sir Irisch Moos splashes I enjoy, but only when using the matching soaps for my shave for the most part.

You might want to try the Jermyn St. AS cream instead of the lotion. It comes in a tube and is a cream rather than a gel or milky balm. The scent is great and is easier to apply. Absorbs well too. I actually like to use Proraso splash when I shave with the Jermyn St. cream because I feel the scents are in the same neighborhood, but I love the results of Proraso splash much more than the Jermyn St. AS Lotion.

Another in agreement on the Jermyn St. lotion -- scent is amazing, though too strong for something on yer face. Functionally, it's a lot like trying to spritz on pure mineral oil. I was seduced into buying some because of the TOBS Jermyn St. Cream. (I'll use it sprayed into a palm of straight witch hazel, but that's a bit of a pain and still not the greatest).

I actually like the SIR Irisch Moos. Not anything like a favorite, but it leaves a good face feel and seems to me to be like a more refined version a drugstore splash type scent. Wouldn't pay full price for it, either, though.

Clubman, on the other hand, I just can't take the scent (and another one too strongly scented, whatever else I think of it, for a face splash).
AS OF 13 SEP 13:

Happy Friday the 13th everyone! I have a few more *** to review. Let's get to it!

Geo F. Trumper (GFT) Coral Skinfood: I ordered this awhile ago on accident. When I first used it I had to check the label again to see if it was a woman's product. This stuff is extremely perfumie (word of the day?) like most GFT products (IMHO). The performance was, however, really good (like most GFT products). There was some slight burn after the skinfood had been on for about 20 seconds but it didn't last more than 5 minutes or so. It's very slick stuff as well, more like a gel, and because of that it gets very sticky if you apply it to a dry face (both hands and face were sticky). I liked the witch hazel "tightening" effect it had on my skin which is something I look for in an AS. Not a bad product but fairly steep at $26 for 100ml. Having said that though a little does go a long way.

Geo F. Trumper (GFT) Lime Skinfood: So I said to myself, "Self, maybe another smell would win you over." I usually take my own advice so I went ahead and picked up the lime scent. It's very citrusie (possible runner up word of the day?). I was surprised though that this skinfood was significantly more runny thatn the coral. It performed the same, same slight burn, same tightening feeling, everything. I didn't like the scent still so I b/s/t'd it. I would like to, some day, try the sandalwood skinfood.

4711 Original Aftershave Splash: I really don't know what to make of this stuff. My senses were really everywhere when I put this on yesterday. It didn't have a cool burning sensation, it had a slight warming sensation :bayrum2:. I tried really hard to pinpoint the scent but I couldn't nail just one. I think I picked up a slight fern smell, some spice, and a few others I can't quite nail down yet. The smell didn't linger at all. It dried my face a little but it wasn't a bad perfomer. I'm going to try it again until I can get that "aha" moment with the stuff. Not bad and it's priced pretty decently.

I got some Thayer's Witchhazel in the mail not too long ago and my T&H Grafton AS splash should be here any day so expect some review updates in the near future. Have a great day all, and if some masked person says that Friday the 13th is national play in the cemetary day.......trust them, it probably is. What could go wrong? :a51:
Thanks for the reviews, Ben. I generally prefer to cook off some of the alchohol before applying aftershave as I'm not a big burn guy. Eton College has become a part of my rotation, but I think I like Mr. Taylor of all TOBS shaving cremes, so I bought some of their aftershave recently and really like it. The scent of this creme is a bit more lowkey than some of their other products, at least IMHO.
Thanks again for the reviews Ben. One secret with the GFT Skinfood is that if you really love it and must have it, you can buy it in a 500ml bottle for less per ml. I would characterize the 4711 as citrusy-fern and it's one of my favorites. It's inexpensive and traditional and been around forever. I think you will love the T&H Grafton AS splash but that you will find that it will burn tremendously..... that's my prediction anyway. The scent of Grafton is my favorite T&H scent.

Thanks for the reviews, Ben. I generally prefer to cook off some of the alchohol before applying aftershave as I'm not a big burn guy. Eton College has become a part of my rotation, but I think I like Mr. Taylor of all TOBS shaving cremes, so I bought some of their aftershave recently and really like it. The scent of this creme is a bit more lowkey than some of their other products, at least IMHO.

Really?? Are you simmering it in a sauce pan? That's a new one one me, but a solid idea. Does the evaporation of the alcohol intensify the scent and staying power?
Sorry, Dustin, that's an expression I picked up somewhere--maybe it's not as accepted as I thought it was! By this I simply mean, I shake the aftershave into my hands then gently pat my hands together and roll my wrists. This seems to dissipate the alchohol and doesn't give me a burn when I apply it to my face.
Sorry, Dustin, that's an expression I picked up somewhere--maybe it's not as accepted as I thought it was! By this I simply mean, I shake the aftershave into my hands then gently pat my hands together and roll my wrists. This seems to dissipate the alchohol and doesn't give me a burn when I apply it to my face.

Hahaha I legit pictured you putting on an eye patch and dumping bottles of bay rum into pots on your stove :lol:
AS OF 20 SEP 2013

So this may be my last update until I get home. I traded a bowl for some AS so if those get here on time I'll publish what I think. Once I get back it'll be a free-for-all until SWMBO puts an end to it.

Thayer's Unscented Witch Hazel: I have been using witch hazel on my damp face as a primary post shave treatment since I ditched the alum block (see review below). I really like witch hazel; it has an astringent quality which helps keep my skin clean and it has a slight tightening effect which I enjoy. Thayer's is a little more expensive than store bought witch hazel but IMHO, that's because it has more ingredients and performs much better. There is the feeling when you put it on, that you might experience a burn, but the burn never comes. I like this because it keeps my skin guessing first thing in the morning...take that! The unscented is truly unscented. Of course if you pour a gallon into a bucket and take a whiff you'll probably pick up the scent of witch hazel (der) but if you want something that will help clean the skin, moisturize it very lightly, and go well with your favorite AS I highly recommend this.

Store Bought Witch Hazel: When I first read about witch hazel as an AS it was right after I had sworn off my alum block. I went to the PX and found a big bottle for $1.59. Yep, that'll work. Here are some downsides to store bought witch hazel. 1. It smells like witch hazel so if this is all you use, I wouldn't get too close to anyone for at least 20 minutes. 2. There is no nice tip to dispense it in a controlled manner. If you're half asleep and not paying attention then you're gonna have witch hazel all over your hands (but for $1.59 a bottle....meh). 3. Some store boughts have alcohol in them which can give you one hell of a burn and dry out your skin. Be sure to check the label. I used this cheap-o stuff for about a month and have had no issues. I just don't like the smell all that much so I used that as an excuse to buy some Thayer's. BOOM!

Truefitt and Hill (T&H) Grafton AS Splash: I.....am.....in.....love. This stuff is absolutely fantastic! Maybe I have a steep confirmation bias for the T&H Grafton line, but hey, it's my review right ? I read earlier that it would have an incredible burn so I was slightly conservative with it. I applied it to my damp face after I used Thayer's and felt almost no burn. It has a really nice hydrating feeling like Musgo but it did not leave my face tacky at all. The scent is a little more woodsy that the balm and cream but it's still fantastic. I plan on using this one as much as my Eton College. The downside? The price. I got this bottle on sale for $65 (which is why I didn't pick it up sooner).....what a deal!!! I'm going to try to mix in some splash and balm together on my damp hand to see how that performs.

Art of Shaving Sandalwood Balm: So I wanted to try a balm out around the time I got started with wetshaving. I amazon'd some stuff and one of the first things that came up was AoS Sandalwood. I had never heard of sandalwood before. I researched it. Sounded manly, plus I like a woodsy type smell. I ended up getting the full $90 kit since I still didn't have a brush at the time. This is a very nice product. I like the pump dispenser and a little goes a long way. The smell is pretty good, but after a few weeks of using it my nose picked up a very faint moldy smell. After that I just went back to Proraso. There was some burn if you dabbed it on and an even bigger burn that lasted up to an hour for me if I rubbed it in. I can't use this stuff, but that's not to say it's a bad product. Prices vary depending on where you buy it, but you can usually find a bottle for about $30 which, considering the size of the bottle, it kind of steep. Like I mentioned earlier though, a little goes a long way.

TOBS Alum Block: So I bought this back in April to try out this "alum block" everyone talked about. I rubbed it on my face after shaving (I was still learning how to shave properly) and I have never felt something burn that badly after shaving.....ever. The worst part? I then used water to rinse it off my face and it literally felt like tiny shards of glass were being scraped off of my face. I actually kept using it for about 3 months because I thought it was just something that came with the wet shaving process. Ummm......no. Tossed it. Never using an alum block again. I do like how one member described the alum block though. He said it was the "...piano teacher of wet shaving." Very apt. You can get alum blocks cheaply but the TOBS one cost me $18. They do seem to last forever though. Wonka would approve. Make sure, if you buy alum, that you buy the one for it's intended purpose. Some are supposed to be used as deodorants and will wreak havoc on the face. Maybe that one was. Regardless, the experience is ruined for me.

Thanks for the feedback so far guys! If I don't post another one in the near future, I'll be sure to keep this thread going when I get back stateside!
That's a lot of reviews. For me Proraso Splash is the way to go, especially when you get it in that big 400mL spray bottle, but there are others on this list that I've tried and love as well.
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