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

Tips for Wet Shaving While Traveling, Part 2: Brushes, Shave Soaps, and Aftershaves

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Welcome to Part 2 of Tips for Wet Shaving While Traveling!

Today we’ll be covering the supporting players of your wet shave routine: brushes, soaps/creams, and aftershaves. Whether you plan to bring the current product you use or will be purchasing a special travel-friendly version, we have solutions that’ll see you through your trip seamlessly.

Check back for Part 3 soon, and don’t forget to read up on Part 1: Razors & Blades here.

Travel brushes

You have two options here:

Buy a travel brush/compact brush –

Many wet shaving brands offer travel-sized brushes. These tend to be small brushes, and often come in travel tubes with caps, like the da Vinci UOMO Voyage 295 Silvertip Badger Travel Brush. This design protects your brush while allowing air flow to prevent the growth of mold. You can also try a compact brush, like the well-loved Omega #11047 Mighty Midget Boar/Badger Shave Brush. Standing at just 73 mm tall, this Omega brush features a fan-shaped bristle loft for easy lathering and a sturdy handle.

Pop your current brush into a prescription bottle –

Don’t want to give up your favorite brush while you travel? We don’t blame you. A simple solution is to put your full-size shaving brush in a tall prescription bottle. This will protect your bristles throughout the trip. If you don’t have one on hand, you can purchase them cheaply at a local drugstore or pharmacy. Don’t forget to drill a small hole into the lid to facilitate drying.

Shave soaps and creams

Shaving soap

Unfortunately, you’ll have to ditch your fancy wooden soap bowl, as the lid won’t close securely during flights. Plus, the bulky size of these screw-top bowls makes them hard to fit into a small carry-on. Thankfully, there’s an easy solution. Slip your puck into a Ziploc container. You can also venture into the world of shaving sticks, which create foolproof lather right on your face. No mug is necessary with a shaving stick (saving you a little room in your bag). Since shaving sticks are solid and come in tubes, you don’t have to worry about anything popping open or leaking.

Shaving cream

Plastic hinged-lid containers (like these from The Container Store) transport shaving cream well, and are available in multiple sizes depending on how much shaving cream you’d like to bring. Since the lids don’t fall off, you won’t have to worry about leaks. Some companies also make shaving cream tube versions of their shaving creams. You can find Taylor of Old Bond Street’s popular fragrances, including Eton College and St. James, in a shaving cream tube.

Aftershaves

When you travel, you’re going to be a lot more active than usual, which means you can easily get dehydrated. To keep yourself and your skin in good shape, remember to drink lots of water and to bring a rich aftershave balm. Truefitt & Hill has a luxurious travel-sized version of their Ultimate Comfort Aftershave Balm. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, the company’s Authentic No. 10 Post-Shave Cologne Balm works as both an aftershave balm for sensitive skin and lightweight woodsy cologne.

If you prefer not to buy a separate aftershave for travel, transfer some of your normal aftershave into a flip-top bottle. The Nalgene Flip-Top Leakproof Travel Bottle is compact and worry-free.

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The RoyalShave Guide to Finding the Best Aftershave for Your Skin Type

Handsome man washing face in bathroom in morning

Aftershaves started off simple enough. After a shave, your barber would splash some of the refreshing liquid onto your face to prevent infection from nicks and cuts while leaving you with that ‘just back from the barbershop’ scent. Since then, we’ve learned that traditional aftershave – which used to approach almost 100% alcohol – is not necessarily suited to every guy.

Now you’ll find a wide variety of aftershaves on the market, which can make the process of finding the right aftershave a bit daunting. No matter what a bottle may claim, use this as a general rule: you must choose an aftershave formulated specifically for your skin type. Failure to do so will cause imbalance in your skin, aggravating inflammation, redness, and razor burn.

Continue reading to learn how to select the best aftershave for your skin type.

Sensitive

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When you shave, you’re taking off a layer of skin (and with it, your skin’s natural protective barrier), an act that is tremendously irritating for men with sensitive skin. To replenish moisture while reducing redness and burning, try a rich aftershave balm like The Daimon Barber Cooling Post-Shave Balm. A combination of fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants soothe skin so it’s strong and supple. Plus, menthol cools the skin, leaving you feeling refreshed.

In general, avoid products with fragrance if possible.

SHOP: The Daimon Barber Cooling Post-Shave Balm

Oily/Acne-prone

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Look for a lightweight (read: non-greasy) lotion.

Proraso Moisturizing & Nourishing After Shave Lotion contains alcohol to disinfect, and is enriched with shea butter to reduce irritation. Its super lightweight texture means you don’t have to worry about pores getting clogged.

If you feel a lotion is still too thick for your oily skin, use an aftershave splash instead, which is usually based in antiseptics like alcohol or witch hazel to prevent infection. We like Geo F Trumper Aftershave in Spanish Leather, a rich, woody scent that’ll double as a subtle cologne.

SHOP: Proraso Moisturizing & Nourishing After Shave Lotion

Combination

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You have two options:

  1. Apply a product designed for sensitive/dry skin on your cheeks, and a product designed for oily skin on your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin).
  2. Use a product designed specifically for combination skin. Imperial Barber Products Bergamot After-Shave is safe for use on all skin types but does everything you need an aftershave to do: disinfect, calm, and condition the skin.

SHOP: Imperial Barber Products Bergamot After-Shave

Dry

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An aftershave balm will be your ultimate aly, especially if you tend to get nicks. Balms coat the surface of the skin with a protective layer, preventing moisture loss. Apply only what you need, however, since balms are the thickest of the aftershave lot and can clog pores if used in excess.

Avoid products containing alcohol, especially astringents, the strongest form of toner. Astringents typically contain 20 – 60% alcohol and are better suited for oily skin.

Baxter of California After Shave Balm is alcohol-free and contains a nice mix of tea tree oil (anti-microbial) and glycerin (lubricant).

Tip: Do you have dry, aging skin? If so, follow your aftershave balm with a hydrating moisturizer afterwards, like Taylor of Old Bond Street Dry Skin Cream for Men, which protects your skin’s elasticity with UV filters.

SHOP: Baxter of California After Shave Balm

Normal

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Lucky you – you can use just about any type of aftershave you want! If you’re keen to keep hydrated, glycerin-based Geo F Trumper Skin Food absorbs quickly and can double as a pre-shave treatment.

If you use an aftershave with alcohol, replenish moisture with an all-around lotion like Ernest Supplies Protective Matte Moisturizer. This all-natural, fragrance-free moisturizer is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E to defend against signs of aging.

SHOP: Geo F Trumper Skin Food

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Interview: Captain’s Choice

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Scott Brennecke of Captain’s Choice

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Scott Brennecke, better known as The Captain by his loyal customers, is the force behind the shipshape men’s grooming line Captain’s Choice. Based out of Wheaton, Illinois, Brennecke founded Captain’s Choice in June 2011 after discovering a serious lack of high-quality, great-smelling aftershaves.

An entrepreneur for most of his adult life, Brennecke owned a popcorn distribution business at the time and multi-tasked to get Captain’s Choice going, running the popcorn business while creating batch after batch of aftershave prototypes. Many months later, the company’s now-bestselling aftershave, Bay Rum, was born.

Today we speak with Brennecke about what a Milky Way bar has to do with the founding of the brand, how he came up with the name ‘Captain’s Choice,’ and the wonderful cause Captain’s Choice supports to help veterans get back on their feet again.

Enjoy!

We hear Captain’s Choice started with a flash of inspiration you got one day while you were at Walgreens?

Yes, I had stopped to pick up my daily Milky Way candy bar and as I grasped it, a sudden and distinct thought popped into my head that I ought to buy an aftershave.  I call it Divine inspiration.  So I looked at and smelled the offerings at Walgreens and just curled my toes – no WAY I would buy one of those.

I thought, Maybe I’ll go home and try to make my own.  And that is how it all started.  Following that was failure on a daily basis, batch after batch, week in and week out until I hit the 4 ½-month point and had a winner.  It is our Bay Rum aftershave that we sell today.

You were in the popcorn distribution business for many years. Why the transition over to men’s grooming?

I started my popcorn distribution business in 1987 and sold it in November 2015 since Captain’s Choice had grown to take more of my time.  The popcorn business had become more challenging over the 28 years I had owned it, and I have always had an eye out for new business ideas.  With a growing family, I needed to provide as I was able.

For a year and a half while I had my popcorn business I also sold high-end light bulbs door to door.  In the middle of it all I stopped into the Walgreens for my Milky Way which led to Captain’s Choice.  For a good bit of time I actually had three business cards – one for popcorn, one for light bulbs, and one for Captain’s Choice.  Each time I had to call someone I had to make sure that I remembered who I was to the person I was calling:  Am I the light bulb guy?  The aftershave guy?  The popcorn guy?  It was a nutty time, but a lot of fun, too.

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A photo taken by a customer while traveling

How did you come up with the name of your company?

With our Bay Rum aftershave being the first product, I wanted the name to reflect the heritage and the origin of bay rum.  It came out of the Caribbean hundreds of years ago, and so I thought “Captain’s” seemed perfect.  But what else?  I toyed with “Finest” and went back and forth for a few weeks.  Eventually I settled on “Choice” simply because I thought I may want to have the logo with two interlocking “C’s” at some point.  In addition, Captain’s Choice just rolls off the tongue – I like it.

Tell us how you came up with your first product.

I started on Google, searching under homemade aftershave.  Where I started and where I ended up are polar opposites, I can assure you.  I have a long-suffering brother who is candid with feedback, and a wife who is MORE candid.  So when they both said they liked a batch after 4 1/2 months, I knew I had it.

What are some of your accomplishments as a business?

As modest a business as it is, the accomplishment I am most proud of is being able to give back on an annual basis to a local charity: the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, an act which our customers make possible with their purchases.  This organization provides job counseling and life skills education as well as a place to live while the vets once again become productive members of society.  They have an enviable track record over the years, with veterans moving out of the house after nine months on average.

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A photo taken by a customer in front of Big Ben

What do you believe makes Captain’s Choice products distinctive?

We hear over and over from our customers how much they love the “face feel” of our lines.  Not just upon application, but more importantly, following the dry down.  They rave about the all-day moisturizing!  In addition, our products are made by hand in small batches right here in the USA.  This is important to our customers.

We also use essential oils and extracts in our soaps, balms, and aftershaves.  I only work with ingredients that I would want to use myself.

Each product has been developed to fill a specific niche in the personal care industry.

Here is one example:  when working on our Sandalwood aftershave I purchased the most popular sandalwood aftershaves in the marketplace because I want mine to be unique.  The popular ones were prominent in scent and multidimensional.  So I made my Sandalwood one-dimensional with a more subtle scent.  It is now our number-two seller and has been a hit with customers looking for a more back-to-basics version of the classic sandalwood scent.

What is one Captain’s Choice product every man should own and why?

It would have to be our proprietary lather bowl.  That design took me six months with eight prototypes and ten volunteers.  There is a lot more that went into it than may appear, but it is a real winner.  It incorporates several design elements all together: a convenient diameter that fits the palm, ridges in the bottom to create lather quickly, low sides to avoid the brush knocking against the side, and curved walls to contain the lather.  Once you own one of them your life will then be complete!

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Two bits of advice that apply to any endeavor:  First, you need customers.  It elicits a chuckle at the thought of it – of course you need customers – but too often entrepreneurs focus on getting a patent or coming up with an entirely new invention.  Often they succeed only to discover that nobody is interested in their product.

Secondly, look forward to failing.  At each failure you learn and refine the next attempt.  Get up and try again – over and over and over again.  Solicit feedback and give people license to offer constructive criticism.  This is how you get better.  Eventually you may arrive at a product people want.

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Brennecke’s nephew helping out by assembling boxes

What new products can we expect from Captain’s Choice in the near future?

We have already begun development of a Bay Rum cologne that will last all day and yet not be too prominent.  We expect to release it this fall.  Following that, we will release other colognes based on our Lime, Sandalwood, and North aftershaves.

Quick Question + Answer:

Right Now, I’m obsessed with:

My newly-planted hummingbird garden.  I did some homework on plants that attract them and then spent a fair amount of time working the ground and sorting out the layout.  It is all planted now and, of course, I have decided that if I just dig up a little more ground I can make it even MORE attractive, so that will occupy my time next week.

I’d love to visit:

Europe.  I haven’t really traveled much outside the States and find the history of Europe fascinating.

Rule I live by:

Be considerate and friendly towards others, especially strangers.  This comes easily to me because it is who I am, but here is why I favor it:  life can be a challenge at times, and a considerate gesture or an encouraging word can go a long way towards making someone’s day.

The best part is that by being intentional in this manner, it is a very fulfilling experience for me as well.

Learn more about Captain’s Choice on their website. Follow Captain’s Choice on Instagram and Facebook.

Shop Captain’s Choice products at RoyalShave.

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