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Have you had enough of the stinging alcohol-based aftershaves you got from your parents or grandparents? Men who regularly groom their beards know that traditional aftershaves contain alcohol that acts like a sanitizer, and it usually doesn’t smell that great.
But you don’t have to use products that contain alcohol to cleanse and protect your skin after you shave. Today, there are plenty of nature-based products that keep the skin clean, protect it and heal without causing irritation – and they smell fantastic.
Not only do traditional aftershaves smell funky, but they also are no longer the best on the market. We’ve rounded up the best smelling aftershaves for men that contain good-for-skin ingredients.
1. Blu Atlas Aftershave
Blu Atlas Aftershave – the best smelling aftershave for men – elevates your fragrance with its lightweight charm and skin-soothing benefits. The aftershave is a potion crafted from botanicals and other ingredients of natural origins that care for your post-shave skin.
When you shave, you’re opening up your pores to the world. That’s why we recommend putting your trust in brands like Blu Atlas. They recognize that most men come in contact with around 120 chemicals daily, and they are out to lower that number. That’s why they started a men’s skin- and hair-care brand that formulates safe, effective products without the harsh ingredients.
Blu Atlas Aftershave is a blend of soothing aloe vera, rose water, sweet almond oil and oat extract. The plant-based ingredients nourish and heal post-shave troubles like redness, inflammation, nicks or bumps.
The scent won’t run you over like a bull in a china shop. It’s a lightweight, fast-absorbing fragrance, and is the perfect match for every man. You can add extra fragrance layers with your favorite cologne or eau de parfum without worrying that they will clash with the aftershave scent.
Why bother with a lightweight fragrance like this one? Because the high-quality formula plus its calming aroma make it one of the best aftershaves for men. It’s also the best aftershave for men with sensitive skin or who deal with dryness or irritation after shaving.
Sign up for the brand’s “subscribe & save” program to get your hands on this affordable post-shave balm.
2. Aesop Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion
Aesop’s unisex post-shave lotion is a riotous blend of hydrators and scents that alleviate stressed-out skin. Moroccan Neroli Post-Shave Lotion works best for normal, combination and sensitive skin, wrapping you in a warm embrace and ensuring your skin is relaxed and soothed.
Key ingredients include neroli blossom, panthenol, shea butter, clove oil, witch hazel and sandalwood, seamlessly blending to support and protect irritated skin. The natural ingredients gently hydrate the skin (anywhere on the body) while leaving behind a light fragrance.
Aesop’s lotion is earthy, woody and tangy, and is ideal for men. The warm scent will wrap around your skin and effortlessly blend with other fragrances like those from your favorite cologne.
3. Noble Otter Two Kings Aftershave
Two Kings Aftershave is one of the best smelling aftershaves – especially for men who want to skip cologne. The liquid is a blend of notes that make wearing cologne redundant. Harmonious top notes of black currant and citrus heart ease into middle notes of lily, carnation, jasmine and rose. The base notes of oud, sandalwood, oakmoss and incense bolster the other notes and transform them into a long-lasting, sultry aroma.
This aftershave has more to offer than its wonderful scent, though. It can eliminate bacteria and ensure your freshly shaved skin gets the relief it deserves. Plant extracts and witch hazel help soothe any irritation and offer lightweight nourishment.
Two Kings Aftershave is one of the best smelling aftershaves for men, and is the perfect solution for gents who want to save money on expensive cologne.
4. Harry’s Post-Shave Balm
Worried you won’t get to use your favorite aftershave because it will overpower your cologne? Fret not, lads. If you’ve chosen the right aftershave, it should complement your fragrance and be a balm for your skin.
Harry’s Post-Shave Balm is the perfect example of aftershave and cologne harmony. It’s a refreshing blend of ingredients that help hydrate and cool down the skin following a shave. The formula is free from parabens and sulfates and is fast-absorbing, so there’s no need to worry about grease streaks.
Ingredients like cucumber extract and natural aloe leave your skin feeling fresh and with a gentle fragrance. Men who regularly deal with nicks, bumps and other razor-related irritation should try this soothing formula.
5. Jack Black Post Shave Cooling Gel
Cooling gel isn’t just for the cool kids anymore. Jack Black’s Post Shave Cooling Gel is an aftershave that immediately cools your face after you’ve shaved it. Some unlucky men experience high levels of irritation like redness and inflammation, and that’s when an aftershave like Post Shave Cooling Gel comes in handy.
Apply it directly after shaving to soothe and calm the skin without that dreaded burning sensation. Some men note that while the product is incredible at soothing post-shave irritation, it does leave behind a sticky residue, which may make it a no-go for some.
The gentle formula contains sage, lavender, rosemary, chamomile, balm mint and aloe leaf. All are natural ingredients that aid, support and heal the skin after shaving, and leave behind a fresh scent.
After the gel dries, it provides the wearer with a gentle fragrance that lasts a few hours.
6. Supply Healing Post Shave
Healing Post Shave lets you choose a favorite fragrance while gently repairing and restoring your skin post-shave. Supply offers seven different scents to elevate your natural aroma. The alcohol-free spray uses aloe vera, shea butter, vegetable glycerin and witch hazel to handle irritation.
Supply formulates aftershaves that work for every man. Choose from Black Pepper & Fir, Lavender & Lemon, Citrus & Basil, White Birch & Sage, Bergamot & Juniper, Sandalwood & Cedar or Fragrance Free. We know you’ll find a scent you love!
Everything You Need to Know About Aftershave
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never used aftershave before or if you’ve been slapping it on for decades. Our guide fills you in on all the need-to-know information and highlights key features you should be on the lookout for.
What Is Aftershave?
The purpose of aftershave is to soothe irritation like nicks, cuts, bumps or razor burn caused by shaving. Traditional aftershaves contain antiseptics that kill bacteria that may cause irritation post-shave.
What’s the Difference Between Aftershave, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum for Men?
Let’s be clear on one thing: Eaux de parfum, colognes and other types of fragrances for men are definitely not aftershave! Aftershave is a special type of product that may contain an aroma or fragrance that helps you smell outlandishly good, and it also includes all sorts of goodies to heal, soothe and nourish your skin. Those ingredients are not included in cologne or EDPs.
Eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau de parfum are misted scents that will elevate your natural fragrance. Aftershave will restore and rejuvenate your skin, and has a side job of helping you smell fantastic.
How to Choose an Aftershave
We know you’re dying to find a new aftershave scent that makes you smell like a young god, but don’t be too hasty. First, you need to check out the key features that will help you target your perfect match.
If you’re after the best-smelling aftershave, chances are you’d like to smell incredible. When it comes to meshing your aftershave with other scents, like cologne or deodorant, be mindful of fragrance layers.
For example, you won’t want to pair a sharp, musky aftershave scent with a citrus-scented cologne. That’s a disaster waiting to happen. Be mindful of how your aftershave will work with other scents, and ensure they’re complementary.
We recommend testing your pairings before using them for important meetings or events like a first date.
Look for High-Quality Ingredients
The best thing you can do for your just-shaven skin is to use a nourishing and healing aftershave. It will lock in moisture, repair nicks and cuts, and even soothe razor burn, bumps and inflammation.
An easy way to spot grooming products with high-quality ingredients is to look for items labeled vegan, all-natural or organic. Here are a few high-quality ingredients to look for in an aftershave:
- Aloe vera: Aloe vera can single-handedly tackle all types of irritation, from redness to irritation, and is a dab hand at healing cuts and nicks. If you’re looking for a top-notch aftershave, make sure it includes some aloe because it’s the perfect treat for your sensitive post-shave skin.
- Chamomile: A superb natural ingredient for men with sensitive skin, chamomile contains properties that can heal and protect after you shave. The plant can minimize damage from environmental stressors while absorbing free radicals. Chamomile also carries a wonderfully light, relaxing scent.
- Shea butter: Commonly found in lotion-based aftershaves, shea butter helps hydrate the skin and uses its natural anti-inflammatory properties to restore balance.
- Sweet almond oil: Some men experience dryness after shaving. That’s where a high-quality ingredient like sweet almond oil comes in handy. It rehydrates the skin while adding an extra layer of protection from UV radiation. The natural oil also helps reduce irritation and soothes the skin.
- Witch hazel: Witch hazel is a natural astringent that can be used in aftershave products or as an aftershave alternative. It works well for sensitive skin by soothing redness and inflammation, and when it teams up with aloe vera, they heal and support the natural skin barrier. To use witch hazel as an aftershave alternative, apply it exactly as you would an aftershave to reduce irritation after shaving.
Avoid Harsh Ingredients
After getting your close shave, following up with gentle ingredients is a must. There are so many aftershaves available that it’s often hard to identify the “good” ones. Many aftershaves contain harsh, drying chemicals that cause irritation, like redness, inflammation and bumps.
Parabens, sulfates, phthalates and artificial fragrances are some of the biggest offenders. We recommend steering clear of the big bad four (as listed above) and reaching for all-natural ingredients that soothe and protect the skin.
Types of Aftershave
There are three common types of aftershave: lotion-based, gel-based and liquid-based. Each type heals and soothes the skin differently.
- Lotion-based aftershaves offer rich moisture and hydration, and are ideal for dry climates or winter. They make the skin soft and smooth and leave it feeling refreshed.
- Gel-based aftershaves have a stronger fragrance and typically carry nutrients and vitamins that revitalize the skin.
- Liquid-based aftershaves have antiseptic properties and keep skin clean while offering a delightful scent.
Know Your Budget
While you likely want to look and smell incredible, you probably don’t want to spend your life savings on it. The right aftershave should help heal your skin after shaving and give you the scent you desire.
Standard aftershaves cost between $10 and $30, and higher-end products can exceed $40. When purchasing an aftershave, consider how often you’ll use it, and thus how often you’ll need to replace it.
Products around the $20 mark, like the Blu Atlas Aftershave, hit the sweet spot between wallet-friendly price and high-quality ingredients. You can easily replace it once it runs out, and it’s not a significant expense every few months. Brands like Blu Atlas usually have “subscribe & save” offers, giving you a discount for purchasing products on a recurring schedule.
Top Tips and Tricks for Aftershave
In this section, we cover tips and tricks to get the most from your aftershave and how to use it correctly.
How to Apply Aftershave
So you’ve shaved, and now you want to apply some aftershave. First, rinse off your face with cold water to close your pores. Let your face dry completely, and get a small amount of aftershave in your hand. Rub your hands together in a circular motion, then spread the aftershave onto the shaved area. Lightly massage it into the skin and ensure it’s spread evenly.
If your skin still feels dry after applying, get a bit more aftershave and spread it over the dry areas. Allow it to absorb into the skin, and don’t wash it off!
When to Apply Aftershave
The best time to apply aftershave is after you’ve showered and shaved, and have a clean, dry face. It doesn’t matter if you’re doing your delightful facial grooming in the morning or evening; you can apply aftershave at any time. But if you’re applying it in the evening, you can likely skip the best smelling aftershave (unless you’re heading out for a night on the town) and reach for a moisturizing, soothing aftershave that focuses on healing.
How Much Aftershave Should You Use?
There’s no exact science to applying aftershave, but if you’d like to be precise, you should use half a teaspoon of product. What that looks like in practice is a couple of drops in the palm of your hand. If you get a couple of drops and it isn’t enough, add a drop or two to satisfy your skin.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use aftershave together with cologne?
Yes, you can use cologne along with aftershave. After shaving, you’ll apply your aftershave to reduce irritation, and then you can use cologne. Before mixing the scents, ensure that they work well together. Typically, you want the stronger scent to come from cologne; the aftershave will be more like a boost to the fragrance and add extra layers. Ideally, your chosen scents won’t be warring with each other for scent domination.
What’s the best smelling aftershave for men?
The best-smelling aftershave for men is Blu Atlas Aftershave. Complement the other fragrances in your grooming routine with this invigorating post-shave balm. The light scent makes it ideal for morning and evening skin- and hair-care routines. Aftershave will relieve and comfort your skin without causing irritation. It’s got the best smell, and it feels fabulous post-shave. What more could you ask for?