What Is The Difference Between Aftershave And Cologne?

It's easy to confuse aftershave and cologne. Mostly due to the fact aftershaves come in different scents and some smell quite good. Shaving has also evolved over the years and has become something we're teaching ourselves instead of being taught.

If you've been confused between the two products for some time now you're not alone. Lets debunk the mystery and make sure you're using the right product for the right task. So, what is the difference between aftershave and cologne?

what is the difference between aftershave and cologne

Here's The Difference

Aftershave and cologne should be used for different purposes and are designed to accomplish different tasks. Some people think if you use aftershave you don't need to use cologne but that isn't true. Here's the breakdown.


Aftershave is exactly as it sounds and is to be used after shaving. The ingredients in aftershave are designed to moisturize your skin and soothe it after a shave. There are also different types of aftershave: splash, lotion, and balm that I've written a review on.

Some aftershaves smell quite good and some people love the smell of their aftershaves and use it like a cologne. However aftershave isn't designed for long term scents and will fade quickly. The scent in aftershave is just meant to be pleasant for the moment and not an all day scent.

You can use your aftershave as a cologne but don't try using your cologne as an aftershave.


Colognes are in no way designed to soothe your skin post shave. While an aftershave will clean the skin, close pores, and soothe skin a cologne will not.

Cologne has ingredients built to smell great and last much longer. They contain ingredients that make the cologne stick and actually last all day. You shouldn't apply cologne to freshly shaved skin. Instead cologne should be applied to pulse points.

Aftershave and Cologne Together

Using aftershave and cologne together really boils down to the type of aftershave you have. If you're using an aftershave with scent that fades away in 15 minutes then you might want to use a cologne after using aftershave.

Some aftershaves have strong scents that last a lot longer. You can find these aftershave and cologne combination on Amazon. This gives you a skin soothing product that has a great scent that'll last all day. My only caveat with this is if you've got highly sensitive skin you may want to stay away from these colognes. They can cause skin irritation.

One aspect often not considered is your body chemistry. Basically not all scents are going to hold up on you compared to other scents. What works well for one person might not work the same for you. It could take a little experimentation to get a scent you like and sticks around.

Can You Use Cologne As Aftershave?

I don't recommend using cologne as aftershave. Cologne has absolutely zero of what you need in an aftershave so it can't replace it. You want something to soothe your skin and assist you right after shaving and cologne just isn't going to do this.

If your goal is to get away from using aftershave but you want a scent you like here's what you can do. Pick yourself up some Aloe Vera lotion that uses all organic natural ingredients and replace your aftershave with it.

This will help your skin after shaving but isn't going to do everything aftershave does. It'll help with any razor burn and skin irritation but it isn't going to close up pores and clean up bacteria like aftershave.

Apply a thin amount of your Aloe Vera lotion and then use your cologne on your pulse points after. That's going to be the next best situation that'll give you close to what you're looking for.

Before You Go!

So now you know what is the difference between aftershave and cologne. I recommend using both an aftershave and a cologne. Just make sure to never use your cologne as an aftershave. You're just asking for skin redness and irritation if you do.

If you have any tips or suggestions on this topic please leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

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