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Do balms ruin your technique ?

After using everything under the sun after my shave for the last 30 years, I begin to wonder if this trend of balms instead splashes is actually bad for you shaving technique.

A few months ago I found Tend Skin, a splash that smells like rubbing alcohol, disinfectant and hospital / dentist. The burn after a two pass shave, can only be compared to the shaving scene in "Home alone" (less screaming, more do I still have skin on my face ). I had used alcohol based splashes before,
this burned in places where I nether had a problem.

But after 3 seconds the burn was gone and after 10 seconds the smell completely disappeared. For the first time, I could actually smell the scent of my shaving soap after the shave. And even more to my surprise I didn't have any red patches in the places where it had burnt.

A few shaves on, I realised, that now I was adjusting my technique to avoid causing the burn, up to the point where there was no more burn after a shave. Even a troublesome are on the neck was now no problem any more.

So do balms and cooling gels etc. just placate the problems due to bad technique, and should everybody once in a while use something really stinging to hone / check up on their technique?


I smell like a Christmas pudding
Not me, I love a fierce aftershave burn and shave in such a way as to ensure that I get one. For me, a shave without a good burn is very unsatisfactory.
It makes sense to me that an alcohol based aftershave will provide very good feedback as to the quality of your shave. I generally prefer alcohol aftershaves and have gotten to a point where a shave with my usual razor doesn't result in much burn afterwards.

Another thing to consider is skin type. My skin is on the oily side and balms can sometimes result in blemishes that make the next shave more challenging than it would otherwise be. Alcohol based splashes don't lead to this problem for me.
A splash, or an alum "truth block" is a great way to check up on your technique when learning, yes. It's not the only way to know if you've irritated your face, though, just a nice fast shortcut. You still know without the shortcut, just later, more slowly.

I have reached a point where I don't need the shortcut any more, but I think that may be distinct to shaving with a straight. If you're experimenting with a DE/SE, then you are in effect still learning, even if very experienced, when you try new razors or blades. Still, doesn't all that experience tell you when you are irritating your skin, at the moment you are irritating it? It does for me.

Living in a dry desert, moisturizing with a balm is necessary skin maintenance. I'm with @silverlifter on that one. If I didn't moisturize my skin after a shave, I'm sure I'd never do it.
I always shave 99% of time before shower, why I do this is just habit. Shaving is something I do daily, what results I get are ok most days, if not so good relater, and do second pass.

Closest thing I get to after shave is when I am in shower, first part of body to hit is head & face with baby shampoo, then some witch hazel. Couple times a week I hit with witch hazel before final cold rinse.

Not chasing the BBS Shave, trying to keep stuff simple. Back in 1960's when I first started shaving it was simple task, we did not have hundreds or pre, post product to choose from, Razors were 2-3 choices, not was a big choice. Simple work back then, simple works today.
Keep it simple. Shave with a tallow based soap. You won't need balms/moisturizers. Even use it for pre shave, if your whiskers are tough. That's how things were in the 'old days.'
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