The RoyalShave Guide to Post-Shave Products

Your skin is at its most vulnerable after a shave. You’ve just abraded the top layer of skin, and with it your natural protective oils. Your skin will also be drier due to the use of shaving soap or cream. To ensure your face stays irritation-free over the course of the day, you’ll need to replenish with a tailored post-shave ritual. Below, we cover six aftershave products to consider, and mark which skin types befit each product.

Remember, before using any products: wash your face with cold water to tighten up blood vessels and reduce redness and swelling.

Aftershave Splash

Best for: Normal or oily skin

Aftershave splash is an antiseptic with a lingering scent, although the scent is lighter than a dedicated cologne. Aftershave splashes usually contain alcohol to kill bacteria and are antiseptic in nature, meaning they constrict blood vessels to tighten pores and smooth skin.

While these properties are immensely beneficial for plenty of wet shavers, gentlemen with dry or sensitive skin will want to avoid aftershave splashes in general, due to alcohol content. Alcohol can be too drying for sensitive or dry skin, especially right after a shave when skin is particularly vulnerable. If you have sensitive skin and still want to use an aftershave splash, look for one with witch hazel in place of alcohol.

SHOP: Geo F. Trumer Aftershave

Aftershave Lotion

Best for: Normal, dry, or sensitive skin

Aftershave lotion is thicker in consistency than aftershave splash, and ranges in consistency from liquid to cream. Non-greasy, an aftershave lotion absorbs quickly to cool and refresh skin while replacing lost moisture. Unlike aftershave splash, aftershave lotion won’t dry out skin. Conditioning agents and antioxidants defend skin from unwanted elements post-shave.

Aftershave splash also has a subtler scent and tends not to contain alcohol, so it won’t irritate dry or sensitive skin.

SHOP: The Art of Shaving Ocean Kelp Aftershave Lotion

Aftershave Balm

Best for: Normal, dry, or sensitive skin

Aftershave balm has the thickest consistency of all the aftershave varieties, making it highly emollient and soothing for those with dry or sensitive skin. We also recommend aftershave balm for men of all skin types during the winter, when the climate is cold and dry. When it comes to application, a little goes a long way. Depending on the thickness of your balm, you can use anywhere from a dime-sized amount to a quarter-sized amount. While some balms contain alcohol, the best contain none, substituting less-irritating essential oils.

With a subtler fragrance than splash and lotion, aftershave balm is a good choice if you regularly apply cologne and don’t want a conflicting fragrance.

SHOP: Proraso Aftershave Balm – Green, Refreshing and Toning

Alum Block

Best for: All skin types

An alum block is a necessity for all skin types. Made of potassium alum, these products have several important functions: they stop bleeding from nicks, they are antiseptics that kill bacteria, and they provide feedback for your shave. Running an alum block across your face will make sensitive areas sting, so you’ll know where you applied too much pressure or the wrong angle. Less stinging = a better shave. This feedback can be used to improve future shaves.

There are other reasons you should add an alum block to your shave routine – see them in our Alum Block 101 post here.

SHOP: Osma Alum Block

Styptic

Best for: All skin types

When you’ve got a big nick and need to stop the bleeding fast, a styptic will do the job. Made with aluminum sulfate or potassium aluminum sulfate, a styptic can come in either a pencil or a pen form. But be careful: because a styptic is a stronger astringent than an alum block, it will also sting more.

SHOP: RoyalShave Alum Pen

Cologne

Best for: All skin types except dry or sensitive skin

To smell fresh long after you’ve set your razor down, spritz on cologne. Keep in mind that you cannot substitute cologne for aftershave, since a cologne doesn’t have antiseptic properties. However, do match your aftershave scent with your cologne, or you’ll risk offensive odor mixing.

Because fragrance and alcohol are some of the top skin irritants, it’s best to avoid using cologne if you have reactive or dry skin.

SHOP: Truefitt & Hill Cologne

Inspired Style: Idris Elba

As a dedicated sartorialist (he has his own menswear line with Superdry) and contender for the role of James Bond, Idris Elba is a fitting choice for today’s Inspired Style. The Luther star’s love of dark, moody colors and layering provides a wealth of inspiration for the coming fall months. What we admire about Elba’s sense of style is how he brings polish and charisma to any outfit, transitioning seamlessly between red carpet suits and street wear. What keeps his looks on point is keen attention to tailoring – as well as knowing when and how to break the rules.

With his new sci-fi film The Dark Tower in theaters, Thor: Ragnarok coming November, and another season of Luther, you’ll be seeing a lot more of Elba – and his nearly impeccable style pedigree – in months to come.

Let’s learn from this dashing Englishman by breaking down three outfits where he proved he’s one of the best-dressed A-listers out there.

Outfit 1: The Gray Suit

The gray suit has become a staple for Idris Elba on the red carpet. More interesting than a black suit and less outlandish than a more colorful hue, a gray suit conveys sleekness. Just remember to give it personal flair by playing with the color and texture of your shirt and tie. Here, at the premier of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Elba wears a lavender button-up and polka-dot tie to add a touch of color to his Prada suit. A good rule of thumb for patterns: the bigger the pattern, the simpler the shirt.

When donning a suit, Elba believes it’s all about the shoes and the cut on the trouser. Decide on proper pant length and the amount of break you’d like.

SHOP SIMILAR:

The Suit – Bonobos The Foundation Italian Wool Suit

The Shirt – Finamore Cotton Herringbone Shirt

The Tie – BHLDN Grey Dot Tie

The Shoes – Monte Rosso Lazio Cap-Toe Oxford

Outfit 2: The Casual Polo

Many actors excel on the red carpet, but their style flounders when it comes to everyday dressing. Not Elba. As an actor who works 18-hour days, it’s no surprise Idris Elba has mastered comfortable style. In fact, he says his style is best described as “charismatic and easy-to-wear gear.” His go-to look? A polo shirt and jeans.

If you thought polo shirts were just for golf, Idris Elba will quickly convert you. A devotee to the classic polo, Elba adds attitude to the staple while keeping things polished with impeccable fit.

For his appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Elba packed a casual punch with a navy polo, dark blue jeans, and comfortable printed slip ons. To prevent casual from looking sloppy, Idris always abides by the rule of dressing for his body shape. The polo isn’t too tight (which would make him look like a beef head) or too loose.

The dark blues of this outfit, combined with varying textures, make it an excellent transition look between summer and fall. Put on a gold watch like Elba for a smart finishing touch.

SHOP SIMILAR:

The Shirt – Polo Ralph Lauren Slim-Fit Cotton-Jersey Polo Shirt

The Jeans – AG Jeans Tellis Slim-Fit Denim Jeans

The Shoes – Toms Navy Washed Canvas Deconstructed Alpargatas

Outfit 3: The Layered Wool Coats

Technically this is not Elba’s outfit but that of his tormented detective character, John Luther, but it doesn’t stray far from how Elba usually layers his coats and overcoats. Elba sticks with monotone grays to keep the focus on texture. The popped collar and striped red tie freshen up what would otherwise be a somewhat bleak palette.

The result is a rich, interesting ensemble befitting cold fall and winter days.

SHOP SIMILAR:

The Overcoat – Brooks Brothers Double-Faced Wool-Blend Topcoat

The Coat – Hugo Boss Wool Blend Jacket

The Shirt – J. Crew Secret Wash Shirt in White

The Tie – Canali Dots & Stripes Silk Tie

The Pants – Thomas Maier Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton Twill Chinos

Infographic: 5 Scientific Reasons Why Wet Shaving is Better

Plenty of us collect safety razors, shaving soaps, and shaving brushes as much for function as beauty, and proudly so – the hashtag #SOTD (Shave of the Day) has over 1.7 million posts on Instagram, and is one of the most popular boards on Badger and Blade. Wet shaving has been thoroughly elevated into an art form. But let’s not forget the science.

Since the early 20th century, when King Camp Gillette invented the first double edge safety razor, there have been three groundbreaking independent studies on wet shaving. “Independent” is the operative word, as there have been numerous other studies carried out by cartridge manufacturers like Gillette, Schick, and Dorco claiming that shaving with a multiblade razor is more beneficial. In these studies, scientists are paid to say multiblade razors reduce the pressure needed for a close shave, thus cutting down on irritation. If you’ve ever shaved with cartridge razors and later switched over to single blade razors, you know otherwise.

The following infographic (via Prime & Prep) covers 5 key observations from independent studies conducted in 1937, 1976, and 2007. In total, these studies prove wet shaving is gentler on skin and delivers a more effective cut than cartridge shaving. Each observation comes with a takeaway that will both boost your knowledge of wet shaving as well as improve your daily shave.

One takeaway for us is the importance of softening hair before a shave with a hot towel treatment or by taking a shower. Learn how to DIY a barbershop hot towel treatment here.

Shaving Soaps, Creams, and Gels: Which Should You Use?

 

Proper razor technique and blade sharpness are only part of the wet shaving puzzle. To shave well, you must ultimately be equipped with a spread of tools tailored to your skin type and lifestyle.

Shaving creams, shaving soaps, and shaving gels are all designed for the same purpose: to enhance glide and protect your face during shaving. But each type has benefits and drawbacks.

We hope the following breakdown will help you decide which one to go with!

Shaving Soap

There’s a small learning curve associated with lathering a shaving soap. Condensed into a puck or a disc, shaving soaps only lather with water and a shaving brush. Producing lather takes a few minutes, and the process can be even harder if you’re using triple-milled soap.

Triple-milled soap is soap that has been passed through a milling machine three times to thoroughly mix the ingredients and fragrances, as well as squeeze out extra moisture. This makes triple-milled soap harder than regular soap – and thus more difficult to lather. However, once you do learn how to lather it, triple-milled soap produces the richest lather you will experience. Plus, triple-milled soap is more economical. You can easily get 3 – 4 months of shaving out of one puck.

This is why soaps like Mitchell’s Wool Fat Shaving Soap and Geo F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap (both triple-milled soaps) have just as many die-hard fans as men who complain about how hard they are to lather. A trick to try: place a few drops of Geo F. Trumper Skin Food or glycerin on the puck or brush prior to lathering. Most importantly, always use distilled water.

If you want more advice on the subject, we actually wrote a blog post on how to get lather from Geo F. Trumper Hard Shaving Soap here.For a slightly easier lathering experience, try Edwin Jagger Shaving Soap.

Tip: If you have sensitive skin, note that shaving soaps are more likely to dry out your skin than creams or gels. But don’t let that stop you from trying one – just pick a soap formulated for sensitive skin, like Acca Kappa Muschio Bianco Shaving Soap Bowl.

Shaving Cream

Shaving creams contain more water than shaving soaps. This makes them far easier to lather (in fact, you can lather immediately and without water, versus having to build lather slowly with shaving soaps). So if you typically find yourself short on time, a shaving cream may be the smart choice for you. We also recommend shaving soaps for those new to wet shaving, as developing lather with soap is a learning process in and of itself.

And shaving creams are often a better choice for men with sensitive skin. Because shaving creams tend to come in many more varieties than shaving soaps, you’ll find plenty of unscented versions with minimal ingredients that can irritate skin. Truefitt & Hill has a lovely unscented line called Ultimate Comfort, formulated for sensitive skin.

You can’t go wrong with a shaving cream from one of the three T’s: Geo F. Trumper, Taylor of Old Bond Street, and Truefitt & Hill. For an indulgent shave experience, try Castle Forbes Essential Oil Shaving Cream, an ultra rich cream with aloe vera to prevent irritation. If you’re looking for something more affordable, Proraso has long been a standby.

Shave Gel

Like shaving creams, shaving gels don’t require water to build lather. Just squeeze some out from the tube and apply with your fingers. Shaving gels are thinner in consistency than shaving creams and allow you to see what you’re doing, since they don’t produce lather. This feature makes shaving gels a good choice for beginners who can use the visual feedback.

Zirh Aloe Vera Shaving Gel is a lightweight-yet-hydrating shaving gel that cushions with glycerin and has a smooth consistency.

The Conclusion

So which type of shaving product should you use? Let’s sum it up:

For massive lather: Shaving Soap

For men with limited time: Shaving cream or gel

For beginners: Shaving cream or gel

For men with dry or sensitive skin: Shaving cream

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