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Why Aftershave - Serious Question.

The title says it all... but to elaborate just a bit. I’ve been wet shaving since 2008. I have used a number of soaps (usually some of the cheapest) and razors (going from DE to SR). I haven’t used aftershave the entire time. In fact, I haven’t used aftershave since dabbling with it as a teenager. Then only because my brother used it and I would occasionally splash some of his brut on. I rarely get irritation unless I 2-3 pass shave more than 3 days in a row. I don’t feel my skin is overly dry or oily. I also have never been a cologne wearer.

Here lately though, the thought of adding a scented splash of refreshment to my shaving regime keeps popping up all the time. So I guess my Questions are this...

Can you tell a difference if you don’t use aftershave?
How big of a difference?
Do you believe there are long term benefits, other than scent, to aftershave (in essence could you tell 5 hours later that you forgot to splash AF).
Do you use aftershave mostly for the feel of the splash and the lingering scent, or is there more to it?

I have RAD bad, but I’ve been a good boy with soaps and brushes. I probably don’t need to venture into aftershaves, but the allure is there. I just don’t want to do it if it is a scent only thing.
 
A scent only thing isn’t so bad, that’s how I was using my preferred drugstore offerings. It became a ritual to finish the shave, a splash on the shoulder, below my neck, not on my face. Hot weather changed that. Working on a house project, hot and sweaty, towelling off, in the sun, splashes are in a holding pattern right now. I’m probably the wrong guy to weigh in since I don’t use them on my face, but I do miss the finish a little bit. They’ll be back.
 
For me using an aftershave is just part of the shaving experience. For my skin I find a bit of moisturizer helpful, especially in winter, so I use ASBs more than splashes. For many years I used a bit of coconut oil and that worked fine. I never really understood the heavily scented alcohol based aftershaves. Unless you want to smell good I dont feel they do much good for your skin. Not sure of the purpose of getting the "alcohol burn".
You may just be one of the lucky few that just have really good skin and you dont need anything post shave. I think most of us wetshavers could probably dispense with aftershaves and not feel any difference. It is just part of wet-shaving culture.
 
I, for one, don't regularly use aftershaves. But I do use an alum block, followed by CeraVe moisturizer.

In either case--whether with an aftershave or alum and a balm--such a step adds a nice finish to a shave. At least that's how I view it. Otherwise, my shaves feel, well, incomplete.
 
I use an aftershave slash after every shave. Always have. It has never been for the scent as I choose my aftershaves that have no lingering scents. My current preferred aftershave is 75% Wahl Bay Rum + 25% Dickerson Witch Hazel (by volume).

I don't know why I use an aftershave. My skin doesn't need it. I get no burn sensation from it. My skin doesn't need anything on it after a shave and thorough rinse. There is almost no lingering scent. Must be just force of habit - and I like applying it.
 

BigJ

Ambassador
For me using an aftershave is just part of the shaving experience. For my skin I find a bit of moisturizer helpful, especially in winter, so I use ASBs more than splashes. For many years I used a bit of coconut oil and that worked fine. I never really understood the heavily scented alcohol based aftershaves. Unless you want to smell good I dont feel they do much good for your skin. Not sure of the purpose of getting the "alcohol burn".
You may just be one of the lucky few that just have really good skin and you dont need anything post shave. I think most of us wetshavers could probably dispense with aftershaves and not feel any difference. It is just part of wet-shaving culture.
+1! Reason #1 is that I enjoy a splash after shaving!

Other reasons are to minimize skin irritation and to lower risk of minor infections (historically).
 
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I use aftershave for two reasons, firstly I normally use vintage scents that remind me of my childhood and evoke pleasant memories. Secondly I use high alcohol content aftershaves which provide an intense burn which I really enjoy. A shave without a good burn is a big disappointment to me and I am quite prepared to shave too close in order to get it.
 
I also like the alcohol burn, if it has menthol, even better. Most of the alcohol splashes I have also have witch hazel, glycerin, aloe, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, or other skin nourishing additives, so I don’t find them drying at all.
 

luvmysuper

Moderator Emeritus
Contributor
I use aftershave for two reasons, firstly I normally use vintage scents that remind me of my childhood and evoke pleasant memories. Secondly I use high alcohol content aftershaves which provide an intense burn which I really enjoy. A shave without a good burn is a big disappointment to me and I am quite prepared to shave too close in order to get it.
+1! Reason #1 is that I enjoy a splash after shaving!

Other reasons are to minimize skin irritation and to lower risk of minor infections (historically).
What they said.

I don't use AS because it is or isn't good for me, I couldn't care less.
I like that burn at the end of the shave. It's like the final curtain dropping on a well done play, it signifies that I'm done.
The scent I choose either compliments the soap I used or is a nostalgic scent which brings back fond memories.
It is an integral part of my shaving routine which I enjoy immensely and will not give up.
 
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I really don't know. Maybe aftershave is a social construct? My soaps got excellent post-shave care so an aftershave isn't really necessary. Maybe for antiseptic purposes? I definitely enjoy the scents nonetheless
 
+1! Reason #1 is that I enjoy a splash after shaving!

Other reasons are to minimize skin irritation and to lower risk of minor infections (historically).
+2 Its my fav part of shaving and I love the scent throughout the day.
 

DoctorShavegood

Aaron Scissorhands
Moderator
Contributor
I love a good menthol Based aftershave. I do not mind a little sting. I pick out the scents that I love. That’s it.
 
I like to use an AS. Does the "burn" signify some kind of antiseptic attribute of the AS? I've always thought so. But this is secondary.

My two primary reasons are:
  1. It's part if the experience and culture and tradition. If my barber uses a splash after shaving, then I wantot do that too.
  2. I quite enjoy the scents. The scent of the splash tends to last longer than that of the soap. I try to match soap and AS scents as much as possible so as to extend the scent of the soap and the shave.
I'm not aware of any other benefits to the skin, and if there are any, they aren't part of my motivation.
 
Honestly, just go buy a bottle of Aqua Velva (or similar) and give it a spin. You'll learn more in 30 seconds that you ever will from reading through any number of threads online. It's like $3 at Rite Aid, and there are less expensive options out there too.
 
To reduce the risk of infection. Alcohol (both kinds) are bacteria killers. There is one that gives some intense tingle, but not quite the burn of alcohol. I like it so much I bought 4 bottles. Has a mild clean scent. Uses a chemical Benzalkonium Chloride to kill bacteria instead of alcohol. I mix it with Thayer's witch hazel. If you want a stronger scent, you'll need something else. Mix all three together and it's a good combo. I'm mixing in Scorum grapefruit juice, or at least that's what it smells like.
Amazon.com : barber shop aid no burn
 
Why Aftershave? Serious Question.

Why not? Serious Answer.

It's like: wearing a suit without a tie? You can, but why?

It's like,

A hotdog with no mustard

A rootbeer float with no vanilla ice cream

Chinese food with no soy sauce

Wearing Cuffs with no Links

Ying with no Yang

Beevus with no Butthead

It's like, No cigarette after doing the big nasty. I don't even smoke and it still sounds like a nice finisher after doing the big nasty. :)
 
To reduce the risk of infection. Alcohol (both kinds) are bacteria killers. There is one that gives some intense tingle, but not quite the burn of alcohol. I like it so much I bought 4 bottles. Has a mild clean scent. Uses a chemical Benzalkonium Chloride to kill bacteria instead of alcohol. I mix it with Thayer's witch hazel. If you want a stronger scent, you'll need something else. Mix all three together and it's a good combo. I'm mixing in Scorum grapefruit juice, or at least that's what it smells like.
Amazon.com : barber shop aid no burn
According to Kenyon university, BC is not a bactericide, but bacteriostatic, i.e. you don't actually kill (much) bacteria. Then there is the known toxicity and irritation.
As far as alcohol, it is antiseptic before it denaturates protein, at which point it becomes inactivated. If you want to kill bacteria, it makes most sense to use it directly before shaving, not after, since you might have cuts or bleed.

To the OT:
  • Can you tell a difference if you don’t use aftershave? - Yes
  • How big of a difference? - Noticeable in feel and skin look
  • Do you believe there are long term benefits, other than scent, to aftershave (in essence could you tell 5 hours later that you forgot to splash AF) - Yes
  • Do you use aftershave mostly for the feel of the splash and the lingering scent, or is there more to it? - I use balms, not splashes. Common ingredients of aftershaves I use are dexpanthenol and allantoin, which soothe the skin and reduce irritation. No itching, no skin issues for me. A nice scent is a plus, but not all aftershaves I have used have been scented
 
If I don't splash on something, my face develops a mild and fleeting irritated feeling. So I always use something. I use colognes rather than aftershaves, basically alcohol and scent. Right now I am enjoying lime.
 
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