What’s the difference between witch hazel and aftershave? I’m a young guy who has suffered from mild acne for a number of years, Would you recommend me using witch hazel as opposed to a traditional aftershave? If so, Is there a specific brand of witch hazel I should use? If I were to use witch hazel should I even bother using a traditional aftershave (such as a balm)?
I’m also a little confused on how shave oils work. Are you supposed to put shave oil on your face, and then use a brush to put on shaving cream on top of the layer of oil? Thank you so much!
So to answer the first part of your question, Witch Hazel could be considered a type of aftershave (more like a “splash” than a “balm”) and should be useful for treating acne. As for branding, its largely a personal preference kind of thing: you can find generic Witch Hazel at your local mega-market very cheaply. Some brands have different scents that you may or may not like.
For myself, I use Witch Hazel as a cleanser after I shave to pick up any loose bits of stubble and clean off any remaining lather residue: I find I get fewer ingrown hairs when I do this. Then I will rinse with cool water (though this is optional) and apply aftershave balm for additional protection.
Regarding shaving oils, unfortunately the answer is “yes and no.” Oils that are shaving-brush-friendly are applied and then lathered over. Unfortunately not all oils are brush-friendly. You should be safe using oils from vendors or companies that also have traditional shaving supplies: Art of Shaving, Truefitt & Hill, and Pacific Shaving are a few that come to mind that are safe. When in doubt, ask the vendor.