What can I use as a natural aftershave?

Man using aftershave.
Personal Hygiene Image Gallery Natural aftershave may be better for sensitive skin. See more pictures of personal hygiene practices.
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They say that clothes make the man, but a nice aftershave doesn't hurt either. Unfortunately, many store-bought brands contain strong fragrances and chemical ingredients that some people don't want to slather on their faces. To take more control over what comes in contact with your skin, and perhaps save a few bucks in the process, you could try whipping up a batch of your own natural toner.

Here are a few stand-alone ingredients -- many of which you can find around your house -- that could make simple additions to your shaving routine:


  • Aloe -- You probably already know that this cooling gel soothes sunburn, but its benefits don't stop there. Aloe also makes a cheap and easy balm for just-shaved skin -- and since it doesn't contain alcohol, it's ideal for sensitive skin types. For a quick fix, dab it on with a cotton ball.
  • Apple cider vinegar -- Splash on this all-natural alternative full strength, or dilute it with equal parts water or witch hazel if it seems too strong for you. Store apple cider vinegar in the fridge so it's refreshingly cool when you need it [source: Cousin].
  • Cold water -- While this won't make you smell like a juniper tree, it will make your skin feel a little bit smoother. Splashing your face with cold water helps close the pores you opened while shaving, and it's also a great way to soothe irritated skin in a pinch [source: Eldor].
  • Alcohol -- Many store-bought aftershaves have alcohol as an ingredient. Try putting rubbing alcohol on your face, or you could even apply drinking alcohols like vodka and rum, mixed with spices or other herbs, to your skin [source: Cox].

To find more information on skincare and natural alternatives, check out the links on the following page.


Natural Aftershave FAQ

Can you use lotion as an aftershave?
Lotion or aloe vera can keep bacteria out of shaving-related cuts while adding moisture. It's best to use a lotion that’s specifically formulated for use post-shave to ensure it doesn't contain any artificial fragrances.
What is aftershave?
Aftershave is any kind of liquid, oil, gel, or other substance meant to be put on your body after you shave. It's meant to treat a variety of things post-shave, including preventing in-grown hairs and razor burn, and reducing skin damage. Some people also like an aftershave that adds a pleasant smell to the skin, much like a perfume would.
What are the benefits of aftershave?
The benefits depend on what’s in it, but traditional aftershave acts as a form of sanitizer to prevent bacteria from getting into pores, tiny cuts, and exposed bits of skin that are left behind after shaving. It also closes pores, reduces itching and swelling, and helps heal cuts and nicks.
What is the best natural aftershave?
Aloe vera gel or apple cider vinegar make great, easy, inexpensive natural aftershaves. You can also whip up a mix of shea butter, coconut oil, essential oils of your choice (if you want fragrance), and witch hazel.
Are alcohol-based aftershave bad?
If used over a long period of time, yes. Alcohol-based aftershaves tend to be more damaging to your skin than beneficial due to their drying effects on skin.

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Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Cousin, Pierre Jean. "Beautiful Skin Tip: Apple Cider Vinegar." Care2.com. July 29, 1999. (Accessed 9/11/09)http://www.care2.com/greenliving/apple-cider-vinegar-skin-tip.html
  • Cox, Janice. "Natural Beauty for all Seasons." Google Books. (Accessed 8/25/2009).http://books.google.com/books?id=SvW-kSrUjksC&pg=PA131&dq=natural+aftershave&ei=kLiVSrTyCZm8M8D95NcH#v=onepage&q=natural%20aftershave&f=false
  • Eldor, Karen. "After-Shave and Skin Care." AskMen.com. (Accessed 8/16/09)http://www.askmen.com/fashion/trends/54_fashion_men.html