I prefer a really good quality aftershave balm. That generally means an artisan product (like Village Barber, Wm Neumann, New York Shaving Co., etc.) or something from one of the better men’s skin care lines (Trumper’s Skin Food, DR Harris’ aftershave Milk, or even Proraso). But might there be something usable from your local grocery or drugstore?
Nivea For Men Sensitive Aftershave
My “bog standard” recommendation for a widely-available, commercial aftershave balm is Nivea For Men Sensitive. No alcohol or dyes, they don’t go overboard with weird chemical additives, and it goes on easily. You don’t need to use a lot so a bottle will last a long time, and it should work well for most men (except perhaps if you have exceptionally dry skin). There is a very mild fragrance to it (which I really can’t identify but seems vaguely floral) which is not unpleasant. This is a “no drama” product that just seems to work.
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Panthenol, Isopropyl Palmitate, Tapioca Starch, Tocopheryl Acetate, Bisabolol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Triceteareth-4 Phosphate, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Fragrance.
Brut Aftershave Balm
The consistency of the Brut Aftershave Balm is thicker than many other balms I’ve tried, so I use a little less. I squeeze some out into a moistened hand then onto a moistened face so it gives me a thin, even cover. As I apply it to my face it soaks in very quickly and doesn’t leave a greasy feel–the aloe and shea butter are noticeable but not over-done.
To me it’s not quite the Brut scent of the “classic” aftershave splash, but it is reasonably close. And the scent is very mild–I don’t think it’s going to get in the way of any other fragrances you’re going to apply.
Overall I think this is a decent aftershave balm. If you see it in the men’s grooming isle at the drug store or grocery I think you can try it with confidence.
Ingredients: Water, PEG 8, PEG 8 Distearate, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Leaf Juice, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Peppermint Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Polyacrylamide, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Laureth Stearic Acid, Carbomer, Amino Methyl Propanol, Potassium Stearate, Dipropylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Fragrance
Dove Men+Care Aftershave Balm
A couple years ago Dove came out with a men’s line of bar soap (Men+Care) which I actually quite like. They’ve recently expanded the line, including an aftershave. There are two versions, “Sensitive” and “Hydrate”–however the ingredients listed on both product’s packaging (and on the Dove website) are exactly the same:
Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Fragrance, Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Beheneth-25 MA Crosspolymer, Linoleamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, DMDM Hydantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Disodium EDTA, Stearic Acid, Sodium Citrate, Panthenol, Sodium Lactate, Triethanolamine, Sodium PCA, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Ceramide 3, Phytosphingosine, Cholesterol, Ceramide 6 II, Ceramide 1.
The consistency of the balm is a bit thinner than the Brut balm and actually goes on a bit easier for me. I reached out to a Dove rep for an explanation of the difference between Hydrate and Sensitive and I was told the fragrances were different (the Sensitive version has a lighter scent).