Do you experience skin irritation after shaving? Little things like itchiness, redness, sensitivity to touch, and just general discomfort? That's where products like aftershave balm and lotions are used to sooth discomfort and give you a comfortable post shave experience.
These sort of products are best for men with sensitive skin but they're beneficial to anyone who uses them. Out of the three types (splash, lotion, and balm) we're going to compare after shave balm vs lotion.
Why Use Aftershave?
A common misunderstanding of aftershave is the assumption it's for fragrance. Some aftershave's have a pleasant scent but they're not for smelling great. The real purpose behind aftershave is a hygienic solution.
When you wet shave with a razor there's all sorts of bacteria involved. Shaving gives this bacteria the opportunity to get into nicks, cuts, and open pores on the surface of your skin. No matter how much effort you put into making sure everything is in a clean environment bacteria is always going to be there.
In order to prevent infection we use aftershave. Although there are different types of aftershave, some of which have bonus purposes, the general purpose is to tighten the skin and close your pores. If you're looking for a good selection of aftershaves I've written an article on the Bay Rum Aftershave brand you might be interested in.
Using an alcohol based aftershave can also help solve mild acne. The alcohol will dry up the excess oils that cause acne and tighten the acne where it isn't noticeable.
After Shave Balm vs Lotion
There's quite a bit of difference between an aftershave balm and lotion. Below I'll cover and break down what makes these two different types of aftershave unique. You'll have to decide for yourself which one is more suitable for you.
Aftershave balm's match with men who have sensitive skin or rough hair. If you have one or both of these traits you'll find balm to be the most suitable option.
Aftershave balm is a great protector post shave. It's built to soothe and nourish your skin and prevent shaving related issues after shaving. It'll aide dryness, skin irritation, and razor burn to name a few.
Typically you'll want to select a balm that's alcohol free unless you're trying to fight off mild acne. You'll notice an immediate feeling of relief as you apply it to your skin and it'll make your skin and beard softer.
Common Ingredients in Aftershave Balm
Balms are made with a combination of natural ingredients that are excellent for your skin. Mainly you'll come across the ingredients of glycerin, allantoin, and aloe vera. All three of which are great on your skin.
If you've never used an aloe vera based skin product you don't know what you're missing. Aloe vera improves your skins health and is absolutely heavenly for sensitive skin. Other ingredients such as the glycerin and allantoin provide you with moisturizer and hydration.
Why choose balm?
Take a moment to judge your hair and skin. Is your facial hair quite rough and is your skin the same? Balm will soften and condition your skin and hair. Another thing to consider is how often you shave. If you shave less frequently you'll benefit from balm more than a lotion based aftershave.
Balms are typically thick and creamy than compared to lotion aftershaves. Most balms are going to be alcohol free so they're not going to have any burning sensation. Balms excel at moisturizing skin, soothing skin irritation, and aiding razor bumps.
Aftershave lotions are very different than your standard splash aftershave. The lotion type is for moisturizing your skin post shave. A lot of lotions include a fragrance so you have some variety in scents to choose from.
Most aftershave lotions still contain alcohol but a lot less when compared to splash. This is a combination designed to close your pores but prevent the dryness that comes with a stronger alcohol based aftershave.
I wouldn't use a lotion aftershave if you have issues with acne. Using glycerin and lotion products can cause your acne to get worse. Instead use a balm or standard splash for acne.
Common Ingredients of Aftershave Lotion
Aftershave lotion consists of a wider range of ingredients including: mineral oil, fragrances, water, glycerin, aluminum starch, and myristyl propionate.
Depending on the fragrance in the lotion it can contain many other ingredients. There's more synthetic ingredients in aftershave lotion than what most people think. That's why it isn't as recommended for sensitive skin. Many people confuse lotion as being good for sensitive skin but it isn't always the case.
Why Choose Lotion?
If your goal is to conquer dryness after shaving then aftershave lotion will work great and you'll be able to combine it with a pleasant scent. However, if you have sensitive skin and things like razor bumps, redness, and irritation are a common thing for you post shave you should get aftershave balm.
Lotions are for those that experience less post shave issues and just need a little something for moisturizing, closing pores, and the option to smell good.
Aftershave splash is the grandfather of the product line. It's a liquid based aftershave that you place into your hands and splash on your skin. These are still widely used and are great for keep you clean post shave. Most of the splash aftershaves are alcohol based but they have them without it and with reduced alcohol.
If you want a good example of splash aftershaves look at the Bay Rum aftershaves. I've linked to them above in this article. They're a popular brand of aftershave and they make a great product.
Many splash aftershaves also come with a scent like the lotion aftershaves. Typically a wood scent or other manly scent. While the scents can smell great it is what's caused people to think they're only meant for scent which has caused people to use them less. The modern generation seems to have forgotten the real purpose but would have a better shave experience if they used aftershave.
Common Ingredients in Splash Aftershave
Alcohol is the main ingredient in splash aftershaves. It can take up a staggering 70% of the entire bottle. The other ingredients are usually glycerin and allantoin.
Both glycerin and allantoin help sooth and moisturize the skin. Glycerin draws moisture from the air to refresh your skin right after shaving. Allantoin helps with inflammation and also has moisturizing features.
Mostly all splash aftershaves have a fragrance. If you have sensitive skin you might want to avoid these or seek out a unscented splash.
Why Choose Splash?
If you don't have sensitive skin and you just want the cleaning, closed pores, and tightening aspect of aftershave then go with a splash. Splashes are also a bit easier to apply and dry quickly. You can find a lot of different scents and should be able to find one you like.
Splash aftershave is also great for reducing and fighting off mild acne. If you get razor bumps after shaving and acne is a concern then splash is the most ideal solution.
I've covered all three types of aftershave and by now you should have an understanding of which type you want. Below I've got one aftershave for each type that I recommend. Any of the three aftershaves are great so just pick the type you think is most suitable for you.
Lather & Wood Aftershave Balm
The lather & wood aftershave balm on Amazon comes in a strong sandalwood scent. It has a spray on top and comes in a 2fl oz bottle. This is an alcohol free aftershave that's formula is built to moisturize and solve skin irritation post shave.
They're classified as a calming solution to freshly shaved skin. You can read the reviews and see customer images on Amazon to get an understanding of the skin conditions people had and had solved by this product.
At the time of this writing if you scroll down on the product page to the "special offers and product promotions" section they're giving a discount for multi-bottle purchases.
The one downside is also the scent. Some people think the scent is a bit too strong and should be toned down. So if you're sensitive to smell this might seem overbearing. Overall it's a great product.
Leovard Aftershave Lotion
The Leobard aftershave lotion on Amazon comes unscented in a 2fl oz bottle with press top. This lotion aims to clear razor bumps, soothe razor burn, relieve ingrown hairs, repair skin damage, and reduce skin aging.
Since it's an unscented lotion you don't have to worry about it effecting your sensitive skin. This is a great option to keep your skin moisturized after shaving. It doesn't take much to get the soothing benefits of aftershave lotion.
All ingredients in this product are 100% organic and natural. No synthetic ingredients which is harder to come across in lotions.
The downside to this kind of aftershave is the oily feeling it can leave behind. If you have issues with acne you want to avoid a lotion based product. It will add to your acne and make it worse.
Bay Rum Aftershave Splash
The Bay Rum aftershave splash on Amazon comes in a larger bottle with 4fl oz of liquid splash. Bay Rum has hand selected and aged ingredients to give you the highest quality aftershave splash on the market.
This product is 100% natural, vegan, and cruelty free. Plus it's made right in the United States. It's created with a blend of natural exotic spices & citrus, essential oils, and extracts and the essence of bay leaves from the West Indian Islands.
This particular aftershave splash is a 100% pure glycerin based aftershave. So it's not going to leave you dried out like strong alcohol based aftershaves. Instead it leaves you refreshed and moisturized.
Before You Go!
Hopefully I was able to give you a better understanding of after shave balm vs lotion vs splash. Each one is a bit different than the other. Make sure to pick the one suitable to your own shave situation and based off any sensitivity or shave related issues that may be common for you.
A good aftershave can completely change your experience with shaving. If you have any aftershave tips or suggestions please leave them in a comment below. Thanks for reading!