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How to Make Aftershave

Updated on May 23, 2013

Aftershave is one of those delightfully manly scents that so many boys remember their fathers and grandfathers smelling of. These days, however, there seem to be few of those strong, dark and earthy smelling aftershaves to be found.

But don't resign yourself to buying what shaving companies make, find a few ingredients and make your own.

This young man is going to need some aftershave!
This young man is going to need some aftershave! | Source

A Short Aftershave History

Back in the old days of shaving, home shaving was rarely an option. The only way to be shaved was at the barber shop. In those days, the aftershave played an important role: as the barber did face after face, he couldn't be sure of thoroughly cleaning his equipment between each shave.

Aftershave would cleanse the nicks and secure the patient from any risk of infection.

Today, aftershave has come to serve more purposes than simply an antiseptic, it can now include moisturizers and soothing agents, and more.

What is Aftershave?

After your skin is subjected to the irritating experience of having a razor slide over its surface, a little remedial treatment is called for. The sum of this treatment is found in aftershave.

Aftershave is required to accomplish three basic goals:

  1. Disinfection: While you've washed your face and razor before shaving and possibly after, there's still a chance of infection in any cuts and nicks you may have made.
  2. Moisturization: After cleaning your face so thoroughly, and washing the natural skin oils that keep your skin hydrated, you're going to need something to help restore and retain moisture.
  3. Astringence: Sealing pores and gaps in your skin help prevent further complications.

Some common aftershave ingredients.
Some common aftershave ingredients. | Source

Aftershave Basics

A list of what you need:

  • Alcohol: This fulfills the disinfection quality, but has the added bonus of keeping it smelling fresh and sharp. Rum is most popular choice followed closely by vodka.
  • Witch Hazel Extract: This fulfills the astringency of aftershave, closing pores and nicks and its antimicrobial properties give an added bonus.
  • Vegetable Glycerin and Aloe Vera Gel: This both work as moisturizers in your aftershave, and are especially important for those with sensitive skin.
  • Spices: Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, etc. These can not only add a delightfully "manly" smell, but also gives the added benefit of some homeopathy (see below).
  • Essential Oils: Like the spices above, essential oils can be added to your aftershave to boost its healthful properties.

Bay Rum Aftershave

  • 4 Ounces Vodka
  • 2 Tablespoons Jamaican Rum
  • 2 Dried Bay Leaves (pimento racemosa, not the stuff for soups)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
  • 1 Stick of Cinnamon, broken in pieces
  • Fresh Zest from a Small Orange

Mix together in a jar and leave to sit for 4 - 6 weeks. Strain using coffee filters until smooth. Bottle and use.

Easy Essential Oil Aftershave

  • 1/2 cup Silver Rum
  • 1/4 cup Witch Hazel
  • Tea tree essential oil
  • Peppermint essential oil

Mix together and shake well. This aftershave recipe uses only the base (rum and witch hazel) and oils, so it's ready to use right off the bat.

This makes a TON of aftershave. I made this for my dad last Christmas... I'm suspecting it's a year's supply, and he uses it every day!

Before Bed Aftershave

  • 1/2 cup Silver Rum
  • 1/4 cup Witch Hazel
  • Dried chamomile heads
  • Lavender essential oil

Mix together in a jar and leave to sit for 4 - 6 weeks. Strain using coffee filters until smooth. Bottle and use.

Happy Holidays Aftershave

  • 1/2 cup Silver Rum
  • 1/4 cup Witch Hazel
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Peppermint essential oil

Mix together in a jar and leave to sit for 4 - 6 weeks. Strain using coffee filters until smooth. Bottle and use.

Which is Your Favorite Scent?

See results

Homeopathic Benefits of Common Aftershave Spices and Oils

  • Cinnamon: Relaxing - encourages proper circulation.
  • Allspice and Cloves: Encourages proper digestion.
  • Peppermint: Invigorating - energizing.
  • Lavender and Chamomile: Soothes and relaxes.
  • Tea Tree Oil: Antiseptic.
  • Eucalyptus Oil: Inhalation of vapors fights mucus in lungs.

How to Use your Aftershave

Once you've finished shaving, splash a good teaspoon or two of aftershave into your palm. Gently, rub this in on anywhere you've used the razor. If that's not enough, feel free to use more.

Any aftershave recipes you like? Share them below!

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