If you’re a guy, you have to deal with shaving regularly, it’s inevitable. It is estimated that roughly 90% of men have to shave everyday if they want to maintain the clean shaven look. You will probably shave around 20 000 times in your lifetime. That’s a whole lot of blade scratching across your face! Makes sense why you should consider investing in a good shaving routine. And something that is crucial to looking after your skin, is a good aftershave.
The Origins of Aftershave
Nowadays you grab your store bought razor and quickly get rid of the excess stubble on your face. But in the olden days actual razor blades were used by barbers in a barber shop. The barbers soon realized that they need to apply something to a man’s face after dragging a blade across it.
So the original purpose of aftershave was to prevent infection. Their blades were not as sharp as ours today, so there were lots of nicks and cuts involved in a daily shave. Roman barbers had the habit of applying a special plaster to soothe the skin after a shaving session.
An even more strange method included a spider web that was soaked in vinegar and oil. The vinegar helped to burn away bacteria and the oil was the moisturizer. The smell must have been terrible! Luckily by 1770 the Hungarians had perfected their experimentation of fragranced lotions and aromatic waters. The craze spread across Europa and eventually to America as well.
Aftershave as the name suggests is something you apply to your skin after shaving. A good aftershave contains a strong antiseptic agent. In the olden days you could usually only find brands using denatured alcohol, but modern brands use a milder astringent such as witch hazel.
A really good aftershave will include a moisturizer to keep your skin soft. And it’s a great bonus if you can find an aftershave with a distinct manly smell. Sometimes aftershaves are mistaken with eau de cologne.
Fore even more interesting background on aftershave, check out this article interesting facts about aftershave.
Why You Should Be Using Aftershave
You can judge a good aftershave by the following three criteria.
Firstly it needs to contain a strong antiseptic agent that will keep your freshly shaven face germ-free. Secondly, it needs to soothe your skin. And thirdly, it must help to close your pores to make sure dirt and oil stays out.
DIY Aftershave Recipes
You can treat your face with your very own homemade aftershave. The nice thing about making your own aftershave, is that you can handpick the ingredients to suite your personal skincare needs. This is especially handy if your skin tends to react negatively to store bought products and you don’t want to spend exuberant amounts each month on special sensitive skin products.
Cucumber Aftershave Splash
A very easy recipe – you only need three ingredients, a blender and a microwave.
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1/4 cup of mint extract*
- 1/2 cup of water
Put the whole cucumber in a blender, rind and all. Blend on the highest setting until it’s liquefied. Add the mint extract and blend again for 30 seconds. Sift the mixture, ensuring no solids are left behind.
Add water to the strained mixture and microwave on high for 3 minutes and on medium for 2 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes before pouring into your aftershave bottle.
It will make up to 6 ounces of aftershave. This one you have to store in the fridge.
Aftershave for Sensitive Irritated Skin
If you have irritated skin that is sensitive, this recipe might be a good fit for you. All you need are these two ingredients:
- 1 glass of water
- 2 teaspoons Chamomile flower essence*
You want to boil the water and then slowly mix in the Chamomile flower essence. Remember to stir!
Once the Chamomile flower essence is mixed in, let it all cool down. After it has cooled, filter it through a coffee filter to make sure there are no bits left in your aftershave mix. If you are satisfied with your mix, pop it into the fridge to cool even further.
When your aftershave mix is ready, you can apply it using a cotton pad to the irritated skin area. Leave it on for approximately 10 minutes.
Witch Hazel, Rose Water and Aloe Vera Aftershave
This recipe has a few more ingredients than the others, but results in a more sophisticated aftershave. What you need is:
- 2 cups Witch Hazel extract
- 4 tablespoons Rose Water
- 4 tablespoons Aloe Vera
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Glycerin
- A few drops of essential oil of choice (Lavender, Peppermint, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, everything is optional)
This recipe might have more ingredients, but it is super easy to make. Basically you just mix it all into a bowl and stir it gently.
When you are happy all the ingredients are well mixed in, pour it into a jar for storage. To use this aftershave, you just apply it like you would any “regular” aftershave.
All Natural All Healthy
Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. It soaks up much more than you can imagine. All those unnatural chemicals in store bought aftershaves are absorbed into your skin and can affect your health more than you realize.
Switching to a healthy, homemade alternative will benefit you greatly. Remember, you will be shaving thousands of times in your lifetime, it’s important that you pay attention to your daily shaving routine. Look after yourself now, so that you don’t have to regret your skincare choices when you are a wrinkly old man.
What’s your favorite aftershave scent? Do you like a strong, manly scent or prefer something more subtle?
About the author: This article was contributed by Andries Johannes from Manomics.com. Manomics.com is a blog dedicated to men’s lifestyle topics, such as grooming, health and fitness.