The Best Aftershave You Can Buy

Your choice of aftershave is one of the most important parts of building your wet shaving kit, but it’s also easily the most subjective. Quality is very cut and dry when it comes tosafety razors and shave brushes, and while there is certainly a standard when it comes to grading a particular aftershave, what you put on your face after a shave largely boils down to preference and skin type.The basic purpose of your aftershave is three-fold: To soothe your skin and ward off irritation after dragging a sharp razor across your face, to kill bacteria and prevent infections if you nicked yourself while shaving, and to make you smell nice — all without leaving your skin dry or oily. Choice of fragrance is, admittedly, the least important consideration, although it’s perhaps the most enjoyable. A good aftershave should also help to prevent the dreaded post-shave breakout by closing up your exfoliated pores.Aftershaves generally come in either liquid or cream form. Creams, or balms, are designed to moisturize your skin and prevent or relieve irritation, so they’re ideal for men with sensitive and/or dry complexions. Liquid aftershave tonics are typically made to tone skin and close up pores and are a good choice for guys with naturally oily skin. Of course, any good aftershave, whether a balm or tonic, will do all of this to some degree, but which kind you want comes down to your preferences and how your skin behaves.As with shaving soaps, it’s a great idea to try a few post-shave tonics and balms to see what you like and what feels best on your face. We’ve picked out five of the best ones to suit a variety of preferences and skin types. Our recommendations offer something for everyone, from post-shave balms that soothe sensitive skin to old-school barbershop aftershaves that’ll have you smelling just like grandpa did when he was wooing grandma.

Here are the best aftershave you can buy:

The best natural aftershave

The best natural aftershave

Why you’ll love it: If you want to go au naturale, then you can’t beat the soothing and antiseptic properties of witch hazel, the main ingredient in Thayers’ renowned face toner.

If you’re at all familiar with skin care, then you’re likely no stranger to witch hazel. This North American herbal extract has been a staple of organic cosmetic products for centuries, prized for its natural ability to treat skin inflammation while featuring additional anti-bacterial properties, and it still remains a hugely popular natural alternative to synthetic topical solutions and antiseptics.Although witch hazel is cheap and undeniably effective, it doesn’t smell particularly nice. The Thayers’ face tonic is a great alternative to plain witch hazel, as it contains some additional ingredients that give it a pleasant fragrance while making it even more suited for use as an aftershave. Thayers is a historic 19th-century American brand that offers a number of all-natural facial tonics and skin toners, but with the additions of natural ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E that work in conjunction with the witch hazel to refresh and soothe inflamed skin.We named Thayers our favorite natural face toner before, and although it’s not explicitly advertised as an “aftershave,” many men have nonetheless added this great formula to their wet shaving shelf. This is due to its all-natural ingredients and its undeniable effectiveness. After all, the purpose of a face toner is to clean the skin, close up pores, and soothe irritation, which is exactly what an aftershave should do, and Thayers checks all the boxes.Thayers offers its face toner in four different formulas. Our favorite of these contains additional rose water, which provides a nice fragrance while offering some additional skin-soothing effects along with the witch hazel. Thayers is completely free of alcohol, humectants, and parabens as well, and at $9 for a big 12-ounce bottle, it’s arguably the best value of all of our top picks.

Pros: All-natural ingredients (with no alcohol, humectants, or parabens), witch hazel and aloe vera provide excellent anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, the rose water offers a pleasant fragrance, and it’s an incredible value for a large 12-ounce bottle

Cons: Lacks the traditional masculine fragrances generally found in other aftershaves

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