There are several ways to close off a perfect shave, but knowing where to begin and which post shave product to choose can be overwhelming for a new wet shaver. Finding what works for your preferences will help you ensure your skin is properly sterilized, feeling great and ready to take on the day. Let’s explore some of the common post shave products and their various benefits.
WHY USE A POST SHAVE PRODUCT?
First, let’s explore why it’s important to use a post shave product after you shave. It’s always good to sterilize and close your pores after a shave with products such as Potassium Alum, an Aftershave Splash or an Aftershave Balm. Ideally you want to use something that acts as an astringent to reduce any chance of infection on any cuts or weepers that may have occurred during your shave. Sterilization is a good best practice to follow after you shave.
Potassium Alum is a crystal-like stone which is a natural antiseptic or astringent. It is great because it’s really easy to use, scent free and cost effective. It typically comes in two forms, a solid block or in a stick format which has a plastic base making it easy to handle.
HOW TO USE ALUM: To use it, simply wet your skin with water, wet the Alum and rub it on your skin, wait 30-40 seconds and then wipe/wash it off. You may feel some stinging and tightening, which means it’s working. Here is a video on how to use Alum.
OTHER BENEFITS OF POTASSIUM ALUM
Alum also has some other great benefits and can be used as more than a post shave product.
FEEDBACK TOOL: Alum serves as a feedback tool for your shave. For example, if you feel stubble as you are applying it, this means your shave wasn’t as close in that particular area and could possibly be improved. Another type of feedback provided by Alum is the amount of burning that you may or may not feel. If you have lots of burning, that typically means you either used too much pressure with your razor, had a dull blade or your shave lather didn’t have enough cushion. Ideally you want to feel nothing or a slight tingle or very light burning sensation when applied, but never intense burning.
WEEPERS AND CUTS: Alum works great if you get any small cuts or weepers when you are shaving. Simply wet it and apply to the inflamed area and let it dry. That should stop any small cuts or weepers from bleeding.
GRIP: If your hand is slick from your shave soap or cream, before you grab your razor, clean your hand with water or on a towel, wet it and rub some Alum on it and this will help give you a tight grip. It’s always best to never handle a razor with a slippery hand.
DEODORANT: Alum can also be used as an effective deodorizer or deodorant.
SKIN TONER: Alum works as a natural skin toner and can also help reduce acne.
Again, when using Alum after your shave, apply it, let it sit for about 30-40 seconds and then remove it by rinsing or using a damp facecloth.
If you like the old school experience, there is nothing better than an alcohol aftershave splash. Splashes are designed to close off your shave, tighten, moisturize and soothe your skin. The initial feeling will give you a bit of heat from the alcohol and then often a cooling effect. This hot and cold stimulation can be extremely addictive for some wet shavers.
Many modern aftershave splashes contain various ingredients and extracts to help nourish your skin. Most are specially formulated with Witch Hazel, an astringent compound produced from the leaves and bark of the North American witch hazel shrub and is commonly used in commercial healthcare products. Some aftershave splashes even contain Aloe Leaf Juice for enhanced nourishment or “skin food”.
One of the greatest pleasures of aftershave splash is the scent aspect. There are many different scents on the market, and you should have no problem finding something you connect with. The scent of aftershave typically has some staying power and can last a while and almost act as a mild cologne.
HOW TO USE AFTERSHAVE SPLASH: Pour some out on your hands and gently apply into the skin and hold on for the ride. That’s it.
There are many aftershave balms on the market and what separates them is their viscosity. There are waxes, balms and creams of all sorts. Most aftershave balms typically provide more moisturization over an aftershave splash. So if you are someone that uses a daily moisturizer or would like increased post-shave hydration due to dryness, choose an aftershave balm. Aftershave balms are also often scented and come in many scent profiles.
HOW TO USE AFTERSHAVE BALM: Pump, squirt or remove some out of the container onto your hands and gently apply to skin. It’s so easy.
USING MORE THAN ONE POST SHAVE PRODUCT
Some wet shavers only choose to use one product, while others use a combination or all three products. Typically, you would start with the Alum and go from there. If you were going to use all three post shave products, you would use the following sequence: Apply the Alum [then remove it], Apply Aftershave Splash [let it dry] and then apply the Aftershave Balm. Again, this is to serve as a framework and choosing your own process and products is one of the best parts of traditional wet shaving.
As you will find, there are many ways to close off a shave and choosing the best post shave product for you is essential when getting started. Remember, you can use one of the above products, a combination of two or all three.
If you like a scent free option, Potassium Alum will be the most readily available product for you. If you like a bit of the burn with some scent, choose an aftershave splash and if you need a bit more hydration in your post shave, try an aftershave balm. Either way, you can’t go wrong.