Here Are the Best Aftershaves to Reduce Irritation

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Best Aftershaves

Byrdie / Sabrina Jiang

For most men, shaving is a part of life. Sure, you've got your lumberjack beards and your steady stubble sporters, but the shaving industry rakes in billions of dollars annually and we don’t think it will shrink to zero anytime soon.

As most men know, shaving doesn’t come without its share of inconveniences. Most notably of which is irritation. Whether it be in the form of ingrown hairs, razor bumps, or simply dry, tight skin, the refreshing go-to for most men over the decades to tend to that burning skin is classic aftershave. It comes in balms, tonics, splashes, and sprays, but some kind of aftershave has become a mainstay in men’s bathrooms for a reason—it works. Some work better than others, and these work the best of all.

Keep scrolling for our picks of the best aftershaves for men.

Best Overall

Marie Veronique Louis Pierre Aftershave Tonic

Marie Veronique | Louis Pierre Aftershave Tonic

Courtesy of Credo

This aftershave has a little bit of everything an aftershave should and lacks the bad stuff it shouldn’t. The first ingredient listed on the label isn’t the all-familiar water, but instead a green tea leaf infusion, which is soothing and loaded with beneficial skin-saving antioxidants.

Other hero ingredients include apple cider vinegar meant to help maintain an ideal pH level, trace minerals—magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and more meant to help restore skin’s microbial balance, and cucumber to soothe.

Price at time of publish: $39

Best Budget

Proraso After Shave Lotion

Proraso Aftershave Lotion

 Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re looking for a luxury brand at a bargain price, Proraso is the way to go. Using quality ingredients, 98% of which are from natural origin and none coming from or harming animals in any way, this family-owned Italian brand is made accessible to the masses. We highly recommend you take advantage of that generosity.

Price at time of publish: $14

Best Drugstore

Old Spice Classic After Shave

Old Spice Classic After Shave

Courtesy of Amazon

The saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This ubiquitous, universal, uniquely American aftershave is a favorite among men everywhere. It wasn’t broke when our dads, our dad’s dads, and their dad’s dads used it, and it ain’t broke now.

Price at time of publish: $9

Best Luxury

Claus Porto Musgo Real After Shave Balsam

Claus Porto Musgo Real After Shave Balsam

Courtesy of Mr Porter

This opulent formula, featuring rich, emollient almond and jojoba oils with nutrient-dense shea butter and beeswax, provides relief and hydration to skin freshly shaved or simply craving a splash of luxury. Scented with vetiver, eucalyptus, and hints of patchouli, this can easily replace your daily fragrance—or if you’re so inclined, it’s offered as a cologne as well, along with four other sophisticated scents.

Best for Normal Skin

Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel

Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel

 Courtesy of Sephora

This fragrance- and alcohol-free cooling post-shave formula, which includes aloe and chamomile, soothes and calms skin, along with antioxidant-rich aromatic botanicals such as sage, lavender, and rosemary. Free of synthetic fragrance, colorants, and parabens, Jack Black relies on the astringent and antiseptic power of witch hazel instead of drying alcohol to keep skin clean and clear.

Price at time of publish: $22

Best for Dry Skin

Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Cream

Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Cream

 Courtesy of Dollar Shave Club

The organic prickly pear cactus found in Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Cream has the unique combination of an extremely light texture while still providing deep penetration. It’s known for its superior hydration and barrier boosting benefits and has the highest concentration of vitamin E on the market right now. All this means both substantial and long-lasting hydration. If your skin tends to feel particularly tight and itchy following your daily shave, this might just be the best bet to save face.

Price at time of publish: $9

Best for Oily Skin

Ursa Major 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic

Ursa After Shave Cream & Post-Shave Moisturizer Major 4-In-1 Essential Tonic

 Courtesy of Credo 

What most guys don’t know is that when it comes to oily skin, less is more. Using a bunch of alcohol to strip all that oil away will do more harm than good. Instead, you greasy guys might just benefit more from letting your aftershave work smarter, not harder, Using natural glycolic and beta hydroxy acids, this tonic promises to keep oil from clogging pores while keeping its production from going into overdrive.

Price at time of publish: $32

Best for Sensitive Skin

SheaMoisture Elixir After Shave

SheaMoisture Elixir After Shave

Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re prone to bumps from shaving (really, who isn’t) then tea tree is going to be something you wished you knew about sooner. Witch hazel works together with tea tree oil to create a powerful cleansing and antimicrobial duo meant to address both underlying and surface skin issues. Peppermint extract provides a refreshing tingle without any burn and aloe together with shea butter soothes and hydrates.

Price at time of publish: $10

Best for Preventing Ingrowns

Bevel Shave Restoring Balm

Bevel Restoring Balm

 Courtesy of Amazon

We’ve mentioned the classic bump-fighting combo of tea tree oil and witch hazel before, but add lactic and salicylic acids to help exfoliate and even out a complexion shadowed by skin issues of the past, and you have a winning combo against ingrown hairs. Oat kernel is meant to protect against further irritation while shea butter and jojoba oil keep skin moisturized.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best Scent

Caswell-Massey Number Six After Shave

Caswell-Massey Number Six After Shave

Courtesy of Caswell-Massey

If “Iconic Aftershave” was to be something you looked up in the dictionary, this is the one you would find. No, that’s no hyperbole, it’s a fact. George Washington (yes, founding President George Washington) picked up a bottle of “America’s first fragrance” in 1780, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Menthol and glycerin cool and soothe but the heavy hitters in this splash are the crisp, citrusy notes of bergamot, rosemary, and narcissus, that when blended with Caswell-Massey’s 27 secret aromatics, create a uniquely bright barbershop aroma that stays with you all day.

Price at time of publish: $48

Best Toner

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Facial Toner


Listen, not everyone suffers from the same skin woes. We’d bet that for every guy that gets gnarly ingrowns from thick hair fighting to get through thick skin, there is a guy out there struggling with skin so sensitive, even the suggestion of added fragrance makes his break out. If you fit the later, you need something built to do the dirty work without wreaking havoc, and that's exactly why this aftershave is the best pick.

Price at time of publish: $11

What to Look for in Aftershave

Shop Specific to Your Needs

Before you purchase an aftershave take notice of your hair and skin. Are you someone who deals with ingrown hairs often? Do you have dry or sensitive skin? It helps to be specific when in the market for a new aftershave. 

Hydrating Ingredients

If your skin tends to feel itchy following your daily shave, you might be in the market for some added hydration. Look out for ingredients like jojoba oil, shea butter, and aloe vera as they’ll hydrate, nourish, and soothe the skin. 

Prevent Irritation

Some aftershaves double as toners to help maintain your skin's delicate pH balance while preventing irritation and clogged pores. 

  • What is the point of aftershave?

    The purpose of aftershave is to re-hydrate the skin post-shaving. Shaving can dry out the skin and cause it to feel itchy and irritated, so the proper aftershave can really help soothe the skin. 

  • Do aftershaves expire?

    Aftershaves are known to last a couple of years if left unopened. Once used, depending on the brand, you should toss your aftershave anywhere between six to 12 months. 

  • What is the difference between men’s and women’s aftershaves?

    Typically, men's and women’s formulas are the same — the main difference resides in the packaging and scents used.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. OyetakinWhite P, Tribout H, Baron E. Protective mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in skinOxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:560682. doi:10.1155/2012/560682

  2. Thring TS, Hili P, Naughton DP. Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cellsJ Inflamm (Lond). 2011;8(1):27. doi:10.1186/1476-9255-8-27

  3. Khémiri I, Essghaier Hédi B, Sadfi Zouaoui N, Ben Gdara N, Bitri L. The antimicrobial and wound healing potential of Opuntia ficus indica L. inermis extracted oil from TunisiaEvid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019;2019:9148782. doi:10.1155/2019/9148782

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