You always notice a Maserati. It's a sleek, sexy machine with exceptional power under its hood. It's also pretty rare to see one on the road, so that when you do spot one, you think 'yeah, beautiful car.' A Maserati stands out and gets everyone's heads turning. This is how you should feel when you add aftershave to your wet shaving routine.
You want to look chiseled, slick, clean cut and ready to turn the ladies heads, not a rusty old Porsche with scrapes and dents in its body work.
Did you know there is a difference between an aftershave and a cologne?
Colognes are fragrances designed to make you smell delicious so that Jane in Accounts fawns over you, or perhaps to mask your coffee breath or to make the strong whiff of the train you commuted to work on disappear.
We love Amouage Jubilation XXV, that turns heads we can tell you, and did you know that Clive Christian No.1 was the most expensive perfume for men in 2006 at $2150 for 28ml! You can find out more about fragrances here.
An aftershave is a liquid (splash), lotion or gel (balms) that you use on your face after a shave to soothe any chafed skin.
Count yourself lucky, as there was no such thing as applying 'product' to your face before the eighteenth century, and if you wanted a shave you went to a so-called barber who's razors were as blunt as a butter knife. It would have been a painful experience with very little, if not none at all post-shave regime.
However, once it became fashionable in the latter half of the century to sport a cleanly shaven face blokes started to shave and like all good marketing, companies began to create shaving powders and perfumes for this new style of man.
In 1752 Richard Barnard of Temple Bar in London invented the shaving powder, or so he claimed. It was created to make the blade cut your beard far easier than it had been before.
In 1774 perfumer Charles Lillie advertised his 'Persian Soap' which he claimed smoothed men's skin after shaving, and in 1801 'Elenora's Lavo Cream' was advertised as 'particularly agreeable to Gentlemen after shaving as it cools and heals the remaining heats.'
As beards came back into fashion we saw the emergence of balms and oils and one of the most popular products was Rowland's Kalydor pertaining to cure inflammation. As we move through the years more and more companies spruced the next big thing to cure all kinds of shaving ailments, until we are where we are today.
D. C Minetti patented a clear solution to relieve skin irritation after declaring:
“It is understood that the general function of an after-shave lotion is to relieve the discomfort and taut feeling of the skin caused by shaving. The purpose of an after-shave lotion is to soothe minor irritations, cool and refresh the skin and to give one an overall feeling of wellbeing.”
What are they used for?
Nowadays we use these splashes and shaving balms after shaving with a double edge razor or cut throat razor.
Don't let all your hard work go to waste though; you still want Jane to dote on you, right?
Make sure you apply a balm such as this Bluebeards Revenge Post Shave , which is heavier on the skin and moisturises and provides irritation relief, or use a splash that is more watery and most often contains a combination of toners, astringents, and hydrosols to cleanse while providing antiseptic or antibacterial protection to soothe and repair irritated skin.
Both balms and splashes contain humectants which are ingredients used to increase skin penetration and activity while minimising the dehydrating effect. Glycerol is a humectant.
You can also use moisturisers, and there are plenty of these on the market, and they are a combination of chemical agents to make the epidermis softer and more pliable, thus helping to soothe and repair shaved skin.
Then you have toners which cleanse the skin while also shrinking your pores that can be used for minor skin irritation and razor burns. Astringents are used to dry out the skin and are recommended for oily skin types.
So there are plenty of shaving and skincare products to treat your skin after you shave that will aid irritation relief and apply moisturization to the skin, but what's in them?
What Are They Made Of?
Check your products for ingredients that will be kind and gentle to your face. Witch hazel is top dog when it comes to helping your face repair itself as it produces a natural astringent decoction that acts as a cooling agent and a mild antiseptic which your face will love. It doesn't dry your face out either.
Other great natural ingredients are aloe vera -- a natural soother-- tea tree oil -- a natural antiseptic that flushes out your pores and prevents skin infections -- rose oil distillate and various vitamins.
Penhaligon's Bayolea Soothing Gel contains both witch hazel and aloe vera.
Ones you should try to steer clear of are any products that have a high alcohol concentration (unless you are a masochist) as it tightens the skin and dries it out, which will lead to flakiness then your skin peeling away. Plus it bloody hurts.
Look out for eucalyptus and lemon oil, which is no good for sensitive skin.
You could do your homework before purchasing an aftershave product and find out if it will provide relief of irritation, has a cooling and refreshing action and has antibacterial action. If it does then grab it.
What Should I Use For My Type Of Skin?
There are four main types of skin: Normal, Sensitive, Dry and Oily and dependent upon which one you fall under will determine which kind of products you should aim for.
RoC who invented the first sunscreen break them down as such:
It's soft to the touch, and its complexion is more or less even. You can hardly see any pores and the skin does not display any noticeable imperfections. Its cells provide adequate quantities of the elements required for proper hydration and they protect it from bacteria.
You are the lucky one as you can try out splashes and balms till you find one that you like. Look for a product that keeps your skin neutral and hydrated, so use any mild aftershave splash or balm in this case. Try to keep away from alcohol based products and keep an eye out for witch hazel.
Your skin lacks lipids and is rough to the touch due to lack of hydration. Most probably it has a tendency to chap and can become tight and itchy. You probably have cracks, lines or wrinkles too.
As we live in a typically warm climate with parts of Australia being dry, you want to choose a balm. Look out for a moisturising aftershave balm that is alcohol-free and apply before bed and any other dry skin products. Make sure you drink plenty of water.
This skin type has a shiny and greasy appearance that displays pores that are slightly dilated. It has an uneven tone, is thick, and is prone to blackheads. This is usually down to products that are too harsh, you are under stress, tired and have an unhealthy diet.
Grab products like an aftershave splash with toner and use a facial cleanser daily as oily skin attracts dirt. Make sure you apply a facial scrub two times a week and only use an oil-free moisturiser and oil-free products.
Your skin clearly shows zones that are normal or dry and areas that are oily, which tend to be your nose, forehead and chin. This is called the 'T' zone. Your cheeks and temples will show dry characteristics. You're most probably prone to blackheads around the nose.
Pretty straight forward this skin type. You will break out in a rash, always itch or sting when using products on your face. So stop using them immediately and do some research.
You should now be aware of how important your shaving ritual is and how easy it is to get it all wrong.
There is no point spending all that time with pre-shaving oils and luxurious soaps as you shave when you use a high alcohol product on your sensitive face. There's a reason why that burns.
Likewise, don't smear an oily moisturiser all over your oil-laden 'T' zone as you're just going to look like a teenager with a severe case of the breakouts. Jane won’t like that look we can tell you.
If you are spending time on your shaving ritual and expecting great results when you've finished then take some time to do some research. Know what kind of skin you have and if you don't know ask our barbers and if they can’t help you then stop in the department stores and ask the ladies.
Once you know where you are going wrong, apply the fix then growl like a Maserati and watch the heads turn.
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