Like the classic barbershop, the straight razor shave is again gaining popularity, but you don’t have to let another guy hold a razor to your neck in order to need or use an after shave product. Whether you have been using it ever since you got your first few whiskers, or have never used it before, here is everything you need to know about after shave lotion.

What is It?

Aftershave or aftershave lotion, is a product used mainly by men as the last step in their face-shaving routine (the name is kind of self-explanatory). In fact, this product isn’t always technically a lotion, rather it can come as a lotion, powder, balm, or gel. Each product brand manufacturer tries to individualize itself, but basically all after shave products are used for the same thing—for a man to put on his face after he shaves. After shave products should not be confused with Eau de Cologne.

Why Do You Need It?

These lotions and balms aren’t a need in the same sense that food, water, and shelter are a need, but many guys won’t even consider shaving without it. Different products tout different benefits, but most are made to soothe, calm, moisturize, or even numb the skin post-shave. Active ingredients can include moisturizers, astringents, denatured alcohol (to prevent infection in shaving cuts), menthol, and fragrances or essential oils.  For best results, after shave products should be used along with other pre-shave and shaving cream products.

How to Choose One

Today shaving products are sold everywhere from the corner drugstore and local supermarket to your barbershop and spa, as well as online. WIth so many products to choose from, usually your best bet to finding a winner is just trial and error. Read reviews, check ratings online, and then try a few. First decide if you prefer gel, balm, lotion, or powder, and move on from there. If you have allergies or sensitive skin, don’t forget to check the ingredients label.

The Proud History

Contrary to popular belief, after shave lotion is not a modern invention or product. Hair removal dates back to prehistoric times, but gained the most popularity among the ancient Egyptians—the Greeks and Romans followed suit (especially the soldiers). After shave products may have been used by these ancient civilizations, but were more common in the late 1800s when people cooked up their own concoctions in their kitchens. Sources state that witch hazel and bay rum were two of the first products commonly sold specifically as after shave.

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