Don't Skip Aftershave—Here Are the 12 Best to Reduce Irritation

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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

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.

Best Budget: Proraso After Shave Lotion

Proraso Aftershave Lotion

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.

Best Drugstore: Old Spice Classic After Shave

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.

Best Luxury: Claus Porto Musgo Real After Shave Balsam

Claus Porto Musgo Real After Shave Balsam

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

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.

Best for Dry Skin: Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Cream

Dr. Carver’s Post Shave Cream

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.

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

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.

Best for Combination Skin: Kiehl’s Ultimate Razor Burn and Bump Relief Post Shave Cream

Kiehl’s Ultimate Razor Burn and Bump Relief

Combination skin is defined as a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, all rolled in together (we’re paraphrasing, but you know what we mean). So it makes sense that if you have combo skin, you’ll need a product that does a little bit of everything. Willowherb helps nurture and soothe skin, aloe hydrates, and lipohydroxy acid—a derivative of salicylic acid—exfoliates dull skin and helps control oil to keep pores clear.

Best for Sensitive Skin: SheaMoisture Elixir After Shave

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.

Best for Preventing Ingrowns: Bevel Shave Restoring Balm

Bevel Restoring Balm

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.

Best Scent: Caswell-Massey Number Six After Shave

Caswell-Massey Number Six After Shave

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.

Best Toner: THAYERS Witch Hazel Facial Toner

Thayers Unscented 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.

Article Sources
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  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

  4. Zeichner JA. The use of lipohydroxy acid in skin care and acne treatmentJ Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2016;9(11):40-43.

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