Men’s Aftershave

Monday, 15 June 2009

Designed to soothe a freshly-shaven face, aftershave is a less expensive alternative to cologne. Scent aside, we find out more about this important skin care regimen for men.

The Basics

  • For normal to dry skin, consider an alcohol-free aftershave to avoid drying out your skin. For oily skin, an alcohol-based aftershave should be ok.

  • Alcohol-free aftershaves are better at soothing and moisturizing, but they also tend to cost more than alcohol-based.

  • Aftershaves are basically watered-down versions of cologne. You can often find both products in the same scent, but colognes usually last longer, have a stronger smell, and cost about 30% more.

  • Every perfume or scent smells different when it reacts with body chemistry. Make sure you try it first. Wear it around for an hour or so and make sure you still like it.

  • Gentler products moisturize and soothe as well as leave a desirable scent. Often ingredients include things like aloe vera, chamomile, lavender and vitamin E.

Other Considerations

  • Putting aftershave in areas with more hair (e.g. forearms and the back of the neck) prolongs the scent.

  • If an aftershave (or any cosmetic product) causes a rash or irritation, stop using it altogether. Many common ingredients that cause irritation include: alcohol, menthol, mint, potassium or sodium hydroxide, as well as camphor.


We recruited some men with various skin types to test these products for a few weeks.

We tested: . BUY IT
  • Old Spice (alcohol-based): $6/100 ml
. . Well.ca Amazon.com
  • Adidas (alcohol-based): $8/100 ml
. . Well.ca Amazon.com
  • Aveda (alcohol-free): $20/100 ml
. .
  • Shiseido’s Zirh (alcohol-free): $50/100 ml
. .

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)


Skin Test

The men’s results and ours (we tested on our legs to see what it felt like) were all similar:

  • Old Spice left a slight burning sensation.

  • Adidas became annoyingly itchy, though temporary.

  • Aveda was smooth and soothing. 

  • Shisedo was slightly tingly, with a smooth feeling afterward.

Smell Test

We know smell is subjective, but we tested it out for fun.

  • Kristina preferred the Adidas

  • Anna liked the scent of the oldie-but-goodie Old Spice.

  • The Aveda was subtle and fresh, with a slightly spicy aroma.

  • We all thought Shisedo’s Zirh had quite an unappealing, medicinal smell.


Aveda went on smooth and soothed each different skin types and had just the right amount of scent without being overpowering. 

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