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3 Aftershave Balms From The Drugstore

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brut aftershave

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).

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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

20 thoughts on “3 Aftershave Balms From The Drugstore”

  1. Pingback: 3 Aftershave Balms From The Drugstore | rasage

    1. Great for hands. Not sure I’d put it on my face, Though I think it is mostly glycerin, I think, so it’s probably OK.

  2. I’ve read that the Nivea Sensitive Balm changed their formulation (long time users complaining that the new one sucks). I bought a bottle about a month ago and the ingredients list is different. Notably it did not list methylparaben.
    Water, glycerin, isopropyl palmitate, CR flower extract, tocopheryl acetate, tapioca starch, triceteareth-4 phosphate, maltodextrin, carbomer, sodium hydroxide, phenoxyethanol, piroctone olamine, fragance.

  3. Yes, Nivea is a classic and for good reasons. But I second all the votes for Neutrogena. A couple more dollars, but very nice for a thicker balm to use in the winter months.

  4. I’ve been impressed with the Neutrogena Men Sensitive Skin Post Shave Balm. The consistency out of the bottle is on the heavier side, but it goes on smoothly. There’s also no greasy or sticky feeling. The fragrance is also pretty mild.

    1. I concur with the Neutrogena recommendation, and would also recommend the straight Oil-Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin moisturizer as an aftershave balm, especially in winter. It has no scent of its own, absorbs quickly, and has no tacky after-feel. A little goes a long way, as well.

  5. I did a comparison of a few drugstore aftershave balms a couple months ago. The one I ended up liking the best was Aveeno Active Naturals.

    1. That’s my favorite of the products labeled “After Shave” too. But I more typically simply use Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer (which is a very fine facial moisturizer). Aveeno products are first rate and I like the addition of salicylic acid for my face. Aveeno has other varieties which do not contain this chemical for those who prefer to avoid it.
      Before I moisturize I splash my face with witch hazel (mixed with a couple drops of glycerin) –so perhaps technically that is my aftershave.

  6. I use Nivea’s Sensitive and I like it. In fact, just bought some more over the weekend. I have adult acne but Nivea doesn’t seem to aggravate it. In fact, since I’ve adopted DE shaving using better quality shaving creams and soaps, my face breaks out less and when it does, the blemishes don’t last as long.

    1. Glenn,
      Just curious… how much protein do you take in a day? When I started working-out again, I was taking in too much protein which lead to adult acne.

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