Best Rated Aftershaves

Using aftershave for the first time is a bit of a right of passage for most men at an early age. Aftershave splashes have that distinctive sting to them that feel almost unbearable the first time you shave.

Of course, modern aftershave products have come a long way from what we all know from just a few years ago and what counts as an aftershave includes more than those alcohol-based splashes. If you want to know more about what to look for in the modern aftershave market be sure to have a look at my aftershave buyer’s guide elsewhere on the site.

Right here, I’ve picked out a number of promising aftershave products from the most popular online choices out there. The ones that I think are the best get highlighted at the top of the list and the rest are in no particular order.

Smolder Aftershave – By The Blades Grim

I guess nothing makes you feel like a man, after applying a razor to your neck, more than using an aftershave, unless it would be using an aftershave that features the Grim Reaper. I sort of get it though. It’s cool and edgy. The bottle and label look like something from a space western. Really, I can imagine the kind of hip person who would find this instantly appealing.

Weird market segment aside, is the product inside the bottle any good? The Smolder aftershave is apparently formulated to be gentle and moisturizing. There’s no alcohol in this, which should prevent excessive drying of your skin.

People are really positive about the smell of the Smolder product, it’s got a strong vanilla smell that is popular with bystanders. Importantly, the smell is not overpowering, but sort of lingers around you over the course of the day.

No one seems to have anything to say about the moisturizing properties or gentleness, but I suppose that if it were neither of these things we’d hear about it. As it stands, Go Grim has managed to create something with a distinctive branding and smell in a market that is crowded with products that all sort of smell and work the same.

Aramis After Shave for Men

Aramis is another well-known brand, but has the distinction of being one of the more expensive and “fancy” aftershaves here. Given the price, this is probably not an impulse buy.

The whole thing exudes quality and it is one of the few brands that has not gone along with the awful trend of using plastic bottles. No, the Aramis aftershave comes in a lovely, thick glass bottle. It also means that, unlike Old Spice, there has been no need to alter the formula to avoid damaging the container.

The smell of Aramis is now inextricably linked with a certain idea of affluence. Aramis doesn’t even bother to try and sell it with promises of being natural or good for your skin. Just that if you have good taste and want other people to know it, you need to buy this.

Aqua Velva After Shave

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s how the saying goes and so here we have an aftershave product from almost 100 years ago still getting splashed onto faces all over America.

Well, OK, I don’t think the formula is completely unchanged from 1918. I mean, this was a time when the simplest disease could kill you and people thought nothing of filling everything with asbestos and lead.

The Aqua Velva bottle is still pretty nice, I think, and keeps that classic feel. If you had a dad who used this stuff the brand may in fact have special significance for you, in a similar way to Old Spice.

This Ice Blue variant is meant to make your skin feel cool and refreshed. In terms of ingredients it’s actually pretty simple compared to modern products and you aren’t really going to find anything fancy here.

I have to laugh at the warning that the Aqua Velva is flammable until dry and that you should not put it on your face if you are close to any sort of open flame. Yeesh.

The thing is that, like Old Spice, the smell of Aqua Velva is basically synonymous with what Americans think of as “masculine” smell. Even if you didn’t know what it was, you’ve probably smelled the leathery musk of Aqua Velva. So if you want aftershave that defines what the baseline for the product is, in other words “pure” aftershave, there isn’t really that much choice.

Gillette Series Sensitive Skin After Shave Gel

Gillette’s slogan is famously “the best a man can get”, but is it really? If you are one of the big players for long enough it becomes more likely that you start to believe your own marketing. Gillette however, has always been a reliable player in the male hygiene product world.

This time around they bring us an aftershave gel, which is made specifically for sensitive skin.
Since this is a gel and not a splash or a balm, greasy residue is always a concern. Gillette says that this has been specially designed to minimize greasiness. The overall effect of the gel is to cool the skin and it’s not just meant for use after shaving, but whenever you feel your skin could use the care.

Although the product is scented, it’s not strongly perfumed the way a splash usually is. Customers praise the simplicity of the gel and many have been using it for over a decade.

For anyone who wants to avoid the strong smell and sting of a splash, but also doesn’t like the greasiness of a balm, this gel may just do the trick.

Nivea for Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm

Known more for their facial creams, Nivea also does some “post-shave” stuff that makes it worth taking note.

Many aftershave products can be quite harsh, especially alcohol-heavy splashes. This balm bucks that trend by leaving out the alcohol altogether. Instead you get chamomile extract and vitamin E. Predictably, Nivea says this stuff works best when combined with their shaving gel product, but honestly it probably doesn’t matter.

So this won’t sting; it moisturizes your skin and works to soothe or prevent shaving-related irritation.

The verdict from customers is very positive and to top it all off this is a cheap product at just a shade under seven bucks. The scenting is very light, which may be good or bad depending on what you want to get out of the product. For my part it’s one less thing to worry about and you can just apply a deodorant for your overall smell.

The Nivea balm comes highly recommended for those of us who don’t like the effect of drying alcohol on our skin and don’t mind soft baby skin on our faces.

Majestic Pure Aftershave Splash

A relatively new brand, this aftershave splash from Majestic Pure is a more traditional take on an aftershave product.

It comes in a beautiful clear bottle and the aftershave itself is uncolored. It’s an effect I quite like and I can imagine it looking very snazzy in a modern bathroom.

The formula is complex and contains hazel, willow bark, tea-tree, and aloe leaf. Majestic Pure markets this as being free from any sort of harmful chemicals. Of course, legally, no manufacturer can include harmful chemicals in their aftershaves, but I guess that depends on what Majestic Pure sees as “harmful”.

These different ingredients act as moisturizer, cleanser, and fountain of youth. Majestic Pure has a lot to say about the anti-aging properties of their splash.

What matters in the end is how happy customers are and everybody seems to like the stuff from Majestic Pure. Of course, being such a new product there’s no real long-term feedback, but if you feel like indulging your inner tree-hugging hippy then this seems a good way to go about it – if you can swallow the slightly inflated price.

Dove Men+Care Post Shave Balm

Like Nivea, Dove is a brand most people associate with creams and bars of gentle soaps, but their range of products includes many items specifically aimed at the needs of men and their grooming regimens.

The Dove Men+ balm manages to beat even the cheap Nivea balm in terms of price, despite both having the same volume of product.

This is another balm that contains no alcohol and no fragrance, which means no sting and no additional smell to worry about.

It helps to prevent redness from shaving and soothes razor burn. Of course, if you are using an electric shaver the last one is not really an issue, but my electric razor has caused plenty of redness from friction and plucking out the occasional hair.

This formula uses vitamin B5 and apparently absorbs into the skin faster than usual. So if you are the sort of person (like me) who doesn’t like greasy skin products that linger on the surface, this sounds pretty good on paper.

Customers like the product itself, but there are actually some complaints about the squeeze tube container. It gives out inconsistent amounts when squeezed and there’s no way to tell how much product is left apart from weight.

Still, it works and people like it, so it comes with a good recommendation.

Old Spice Classic

Do I really have to write anything about Old Spice? I mean, it’s Old Spice, for crying out loud. If you haven’t used or at least smelled it at this point you probably have been living in a cave somewhere. Actually, cavemen are probably big fans of Old Spice.

Except, it seems that this is no longer your dad’s Old Spice. Procter and Gamble apparently changed the formula after shifting to plastic containers, and people who have been using the original are full of complaints about it.

So on the one hand we have to look at this as sort of the “New Coke” of Old Spice. It sort of smells like the original, but not really. Judged by that standard, this product is pretty much a failure.

On the other hand, we can forget that this is supposed to be Old Spice and judge it as its own thing. From that point of view the new Old Spice is not bad at all. You could even think of it as a compromise between the now cliche fragrance and a more modern scent, evoking Old Spice without being actual Old Spice.

If, however, you are looking for something that’s also going to be big on skincare, looking elsewhere is probably a good idea.

Stockholm Syndrome

Looking at these popular fragrances I was struck by how little negativity there is when it comes to aftershaves. People don’t seem to care that much about the skincare aspects and are more interested in the smell and feel of the product. Nostalgia and familiarity are stronger drives than rational product decisions. Keep that in mind when considering these products.

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