In today’s article I will cover aftershaves and their uses.
It is such a common item used by men everywhere in their grooming routine. Not just in the mornings but throughout the day. It is also a very personal thing as the scent associated with the aftershave is also often considered as part of a man’s signature in his personal style.
Here is a brief history:
Back in the day when men visited a barber as routine, his barber would use an alcohol based splash to kill off bacteria and minimize infections on their clients’ faces. These splashes were also scented.
As men started shaving at home they used these splashes themselves and it soon became part of the routine.
As time wore on men started caring more for their skin and this brought on a whole new spectrum of aftershave products. What follows is a small overview of the basics:
The two main differences in today’s world are alcohol and no-alcohol.
Traditionally and also more popular are aftershaves that use alcohol as their base. While alcohol is a good antiseptic and does close the pores in skin(astringent) it also causes the skin to dry out.
Alcohol free aftershaves use essential oils instead. The benefits of this are huge! Not only are essential oils antiseptic and anti-bacterial. They are also astringent. They also moisturize the skin, are naturally tolerated by your body because they are not synthetic and have a range of other therapeutic properties in varying degrees.
Alcohol may seem like the natural choice, but this is purely due to the historical and traditional usage. The alcohol is very harsh on skin and can actually cause ingrown hairs and aggravate razor burn! Essential oils are much more subtle and smooth, however some skin types might find a very fine layer of oil if not applied and absorbed properly.
So, when do you use your carefully selected aftershave? Just after shaving, but you can also use it when you go to bed. Using it just before bedtime allows the good skin care properties to nourish and moisturize your skin while you sleep, which is when your body does most of it’s self-repair business!
An aftershave should soothe, nourish, and moisturize the skin; stimulate cell regeneration; and help maintain clean, healthy skin.
Always check product labels carefully, look for all natural ingredients, and stay away from dyes and synthetic fragrances. They can cause skin irritations and allergic reactions. On the other hand, natural ingredients such as plant and mineral extracts, nut and vegetable oils, wax and essential oils, are biodegradable and work in harmony with the body’s natural functions and cycles.
Good ingredients to look out for are:
Natural oils like: avocado, coconut, grape seed, macadamia, almond, hazelnut, olive or jojoba.
Essential oils like: lavender, rose or orange.
Lastly, what is the difference between aftershave, cologne and eau de toilette?
It is simply a reference to the concentration of the scent, or perfume base, used in the product. The highest concentration is in perfume, followed by eau de parfum, eau de toilette and then eau de cologne. The lowest concentration of scented oils is found in aftershaves.
I hope you enjoyed this article and find it useful, drop me a mail or leave a comment.
I’ll be happy to hear from you.
Until next week, cheers!
Andre – The Garage Man
For many men shaving is no mystery. It is a task that gets done every morning as part of their daily routine.
Some men do not know that a shave is not just a shave.
Shaving started in it’s current form approximately 3000 years ago! It was widely made popular by Alexander the Great and his army, who primarily shaved for hygiene purposes. You know, showers were hard to come by back then!
As shaving grew in popularity so did the tools and the techniques until we reach the form that is recognised as the “modern” way to shave. This is known as the wet shave. Where you use a razor, not an electric shaver, to shave.
Effectively it consists of 4 steps and 5 basic requirements.
The basic requirements are simple:
- A razor.
- Shaving cream or soap in some form.
- A mirror.
- An after shave lotion or balm in some form.
The basic steps are simple too:
- The preparation.
- The lather.
- The shave.
- Post shave care.
Many men seem to have simply learnt from their fathers or another adult the bare minimum requirements to remove stubble from their faces. Not many were taught a proper technique.
This is my aim here with this short article; to propose a basic but effective technique for the best possible shave.
Now the best possible shave for you will aim for three objectives:
- Skin care.
It will be up to you to use this technique as a baseline to start finding your own personal technique that works the best for your skin.
Here we go:
I will use myself as an example. My beard is thick, grows on the quick side and feels very coarse from the get go. My facial hair blunts a blade in less than three shaves.
I also found that razors with multiple blades cause a lot of skin irritation and ingrown hairs for me.
Thus I went back to basics and selected an inexpensive single blade double edged razor. It is also commonly known as a safety razor, as it’s history shows it was introduced after the original straight edged, “cut throat” razor which is now mostly in the domain of professional barbers.
It consists of a wide double edged blade that sits below a curved cover which acts a guard preventing the blade from slicing deep into the skin. However it is still super sharp and can cause deeper cuts than more mainstream disposable razors.
This was the key that unlocked a whole new shaving experience for me.
Your shaving cream and after shave will be based on your preferences and I will cover these in future posts. For a starting point, use those that offer smoothness and have very little harsh chemicals in them. Just check the labels on the containers for now.
Step One: The preparation.
Do not just run a basin full of water, slap shaving cream on your face and drag the blade across your skin. It will remove hair but grossly irritate your skin.
Use warm water, wet your face thoroughly if you have not just had a shower or bath. This is because the warm water will open your skin pores and soften the hair a bit.
Step Two: The lather.
With your face still damp but not wet and skin still warm, apply your shaving cream. Lather it in well and try lift the hair slightly away from your skin if it is long enough. Some folks use a shaving brush for this purpose.
Step Three: The shave.
Place your razor against your skin with no pressure. The weight of your razor should suffice. If you use a plastic or lighter weight razor apply just a small amount of pressure. With my razor I apply the guard flat against the skin and then tilt it until the blade edge touches my skin surface. It’s metal body is weight enough for pressure.
Next use short strokes, not longer than the distance from the bridge of your nose to the tip of your nose. Then rinse the blade thoroughly in the warm water. Shave along the grain of your beard, following the direction that it grows in. This will mean from top to bottom from your cheek bones to somewhere close to your adams apple. And up from the base of your throat to the end of your top strokes. Along your throat you will have to angle slightly outwards to follow the grain of the hair.
The short strokes and repeated rinsing keep the blade free from excess hair tips that could block the cutting edge, dulling the shave and causing rough grazes and blocked pores, leading to ingrown hairs.
Step Four: Post shave care.
After your shave, take clean warm water and rinse any remaining shaving cream and hair cuttings off your face.
Follow this by using a quality after shave product. This must serve at least three purposes.
Your after shave should have some form of anti bacterial and moisturising properties.
It should also have astringent properties. This means it should help to close your pores and facilitate the healing of any minor cuts and grazes.
Finally it should leave you smelling great and feeling refreshed.
I trust this simple guide will assist you in finding the perfect shave.
For any questions, email me or leave a comment.
Andre – The Garage Man.
I started this blog with the intention of doing something new and inspiring.
Turns out it took so much time to do the deeds that I had no time to go online.
Give me just a little bit more time… Good things are coming.