By: Matt Vice
Recommended Post Shave Additions
- Tip: When you are finished shaving, immediately wash your face off with cold water. This helps with closing the pores and simply feeling more refreshed. Follow that up by patting down the excess water with a clean towel.
- Alum Block or Stick: Alum is an all-natural, odorless and solid antiseptic which has several benefits (it can also be used as a deodorant or aftershave). When it comes to the post shave, many wet shavers will apply alum if they happen to receive a slight nick or weeper. This will cause the light amount of blood to magically disappear! It is also very effective if you have any irritation after a shave. Hold or slightly move the alum directly on the affected spot(s) for around 20-30 seconds for best results.
Other great aspects of alum are its skin toning features, the ability to fully close your skin pores and having smoother skin results. The toning proponent will provide you with more tightened skin, while closed pores will keep your skin safe and healthy. Even if you have a great shave, alum can be used for its nourishing skin properties. Simply rub the alum all across your face and neck, and you will be good to go! As a bonus, alum is a cheap product and lasts for quite some time. Notes: Always apply cold water to your skin and on to the alum before use. If you are going to rinse off after using alum, continue to use cold water. Lastly, allow the alum to dry before closing it up. The drying process doesn’t take long at all.
There are many companies who sell alum blocks or sticks. Personally, I prefer blocks as they have a larger surface area and feel more smooth on my skin. I have tried many, but the block from PAA has been my favorite. One reason for that is how it doesn’t tighten my skin too much.
- Witch Hazel: Similar to alum, witch hazel also has various benefits for your freshly shaved skin. Especially if you have any sort of irritation, dry skin and more. There are many witch hazel options on the market, but when it comes to wet shavers, I imagine the one brand that stands out the most is Thayers. They produce a rather large selection of different types - Astringents, toners, liquid pads and scents. If you typically use alum as a post shave, then you can stay away from the toner lineup. It is also perfectly fine to use alum and follow it up with witch hazel.
The Thayers product I have always used, which is the cooling medicated bottle, appears to be discontinued now. You may be able to find it, but it’s quite difficult at this time of writing. However, the same medicated version is available in pads. The medicated option is phenomenal for those of us with any potential skin irritation. As far as any witch hazel goes, you will be receiving all natural and safe ingredients at a great price. Not to mention that a bottle lasts for quite a long time. It really does a wonderful job towards healing skin issues, while also leaving your skin feeling very smooth and refreshed. Witch hazel is also perfectly fine to use as an aftershave splash. If you happen to have a really rough shave, then I would suggest only using witch hazel as an aftershave (alum is fine, too). With Thayers products, you can apply their solutions to your skin for up to four times per day. I highly recommend adding some sort of witch hazel in your post shave routine. It’s great stuff!
Aftershave Splashes and Balms
We have finally made it to the end, and it is likely the best part of the shaving routine for many wet shavers! Phenomenal aftershaves which causes your skin to feel absolutely amazing, while also including invigorating scents. However, you may want to be a little careful.
- Splashes: Definitely my favorite type of an aftershave. Simply put, the results are ridiculously outstanding in every facet. The way in which my skin feels with a splash is unprecedented, and the scents seem to be more alive. Shake that bottle up nice and well before applying! Follow it up by splashing it on your shaved skin and feel truly invigorated.
However, there can be a couple of drawbacks when it comes to splashes. I would highly advise not using a splash if you receive nicks, weepers, cuts or rough irritation from your shave. The large majority of splashes contain alcohol, so your skin could feel as though it’s on fire if you have a bad shave. That’s okay, though, as it happens to the best of us! Splashes can also be quite rough towards your skin in very dry climate areas, as they typically don’t have any hydration or moisturizing properties. On my end, the summer and winter months become quite dry. Which in turn could cause my freshly shaved skin to become very dry and uncomfortable if I were outdoors for a decent amount of time. Then again, you can always apply some unscented moisturizer to avoid any dryness from using a splash.
- Balms: Or you can simply use an aftershave balm during those dry weather months. Unlike splashes, aftershave balms include moisturizing benefits for your skin. Balms are also more helpful if you receive some irritation from your shave. Since the large majority of balms do not contain alcohol, your skin will feel much better compared to a splash in that type of scenario. Balms also have a different consistency when compared to splashes. Splashes are simply liquid, while balms have a more creamy texture. Balms are also meant to be rubbed onto your skin, and not splashed.
To me, balms leave more of a slick finish on the skin and the scent isn’t as profound when compared to its splash sibling. Balms still feel quite nice on the skin, and you should definitely feel the extra protection it provides.
Literally everything in the wet shaving world comes down to personal preference. Especially when there are a gigantic number of options in every category. From shave soaps, creams, razors, razor blades, brushes, scents, shaving techniques, aftershave products and more. I recommend keeping an eye open, while also having an open mind, towards products that can improve your wet shaving experience as a whole.