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Is alcohol really bad in shave products?

Have had many many shaves both with and without alcohol in my aftershave. Never had a problem with the alcohol containing aftershaves. If anything, I generally seem to like how they make my skin feel more than otherwise. And some non-alcoholic splashes, even from very well fine producers, can make my skin feel too oily. It’s another instance where each person is different.
From what I've seen, aftershaves from some of the more popular artisans mentioned in the forums (like those from DG, B&M, PAA, and A&E) contain a lot of other ingredients to supposedly help moisturize and counteract the drying effect of the alcohol. Of course, many of these are more expensive than traditional aftershaves. And as usual, YMMV.
Not for me, I much prefer using high alcohol aftershave because I love the strong post shave burn it gives. Alcohol is included for its antiseptic qualities I think. Some say it should be avoided as it can dry the skin which is probably true, especially if your skin is already prone to dryness. Mine is not so I am happy to use it, plus my need for a post shave burn outweighs any such concerns. 👍

Half the reason I shave is so I can slap on some Cat o nine tails after for my slow capsaicin like burn...mmmm

I have very oily skin, so it helps in that regard, too.
Specifically aftershave or shave cream. I always see labels promoting no alcohol but all the older products used it. Is it bad?
It depends... as many other things in this hobby, it's YMMV.

People who have oily skin, will benefit from alcohol in aftershave, as alcohol dries the skin. OTOH, if you have dry skin, it will do you no good, so you should stick with alcohol-free balms.

Well, this is a simplified explanation, but as always, the devil is in the details, more precisely the %-age of alcohol in a given aftershave product. I would stay away from products with very high concentration of alcohol, but am very happy to use quality aftershaves that contain SOME alcohol, as I like a mild burn. That said a quality aftershave (be it splash, balm or gel) will contain skin nurturing ingredients, that calm, sooth and moisturize the skin, such as Aloe Vera, Witch Hazel, Chamomile, Shea Butter and/or essential oils of Jojoba, Dates, Prickly Pear, just to name a few.

Besides, alcohol is disinfectant, which is important property, so I wouldn't avoid it at all costs.
I like Alcohol in my aftershave and witch hazel to clean up oily skin and small weepers, Another good reason to have some Alcohol in ingredients is to preserve the products for better shelf life.
When I get vaccinations like my recent one for COVID, the nurse always wipes my arm with alcohol to clean the skin and kill many pathogens. However, the skin on my shoulder is not nearly as sensitive as that on my face.

I do apply witch hazel to my face after my shave. It contains about 8% alcohol. If I get a great shave, I won't get any irritation from that application. However, if I get an inferior shave, even that small percentage of alcohol will burn. Some people cherish the burn; I do not. The only way I can use an aftershave splash or cologne containing alcohol is to dilute it with water. Thus, I rarely use one.

I have a similar problem with aftershaves containing menthol. Menthol is a counter-irritant often used on sore muscles. I do not want to put an irritant of any kind on my face. Again, some folks love the chill of menthol; I do not.

So this is very much a YMMV type of thing.
A proper AS doesn't actually contain that much alcohol and should not be a problem unless you have relatively dry skin. It is however, a boon if you have oily skin.

EDT's and colognes tend to contain far more alcohol and should not be used as an aftershave.

In my experience, simple is best. An "old fashioned" AS like Tabac, TOBS Sandalwood or Proraso Green work wonders for my skin but balms do not.
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