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Applying Aftershave And Cologne?

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TOBS Jermyn Street and D.R. Harris Windsor
Tyler writes: “I had a question regarding aftershaves and cologne that is leaving me a bit perplexed. Basically, let’s say you wanted to use a soothing, moisturizing aftershave balm, however you also wanted a little splash of your favorite cologne (or an aftershave splash). Assuming that the scents of both products mix nicely, and that I am aiming for the cologne scent to be most “dominant”, which product should be applied first?”

Tyler continues: “I normally use an aftershave balm, as I have tend to have dry skin. I have a few different balms in my lineup, some are lightly scented and work great while some are “unscented” yet still carry some kind of scent (and still work great). My reasoning goes like this…do the balm first, wait until it gets absorbed into the skin, and then go for the splash of cologne at the end. But, will the drying effect of the splash just reverse the moisturizing effect of the balm?”
Generally speaking you want to apply the most “watery” product first, followed by heavier products. However for a regular cologne (vs. aftershave splash) you would want to wait until everything else was applied. The key here is the amount of alcohol involved. A high alcohol content like a classic cologne (which is almost all alcohol with a scent component) should be “isolated” by applying it over protected skin.


Shave tutor and co-founder of sharpologist. I have been advocating old-school shaving for over 20 years and have been featured in major media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Lifehacker. Also check out my content on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!View Author posts

2 thoughts on “Applying Aftershave And Cologne?”

  1. I use an aftershave splash first after my rinse and grab a shirt, pants etc. for day ahead while it dries and performs the magic it does. Then will put on some balm and while that soaks in I’m dressing. Usually a cuppa and something to nosh on and if feeling extra spry or have a big event for day some cologne (usually on the back of my neck). The end ceremonies of my daily olympic shave!

  2. Aftershave has the highest alcohol content, and lowest concentration of fragrant oils. Next is (Eau de) Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum, and Parfum, having the highest concentration of oils and lowest alcohol content.

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