After shave lotion vs balm. What is better for your skin?

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After shave lotion vs balm

There is a big variety of aftershave products on the shelves at your local supermarket. It can be quite challenging to find the one you need and the one that will actually benefit you without side effects. Aftershave lotions and aftershave balms are sold right next to each other. Which one does your skin really require?

In our “After shave lotion vs balm” article, we will discuss the differences between these two products, which one will be the best for your post-shave skin, and what components you should avoid at all costs due to them being harmful.

Definition of aftershave lotion

What exactly is aftershave lotion? Usually, you would describe it as a substance, that has a consistency like cream. It sells in bottles that have pumps. You squeeze some of it in to your hand and spread it over your shaved face. It should make your dry skin smooth and stop skin irritation.

This is not the case with the aftershave lotion. You will be surprised, but it acts in the opposite direction. Due to the high content of alcohol, using aftershave lotion might lead to skin problems such as peeling.

If you have a razor burn, or you accidentally have damaged your dry or sensitive skin while shaving, aftershave lotion will disinfect the affected area. At the same time, it will cause a very unpleasant sensation as it is going to burn your freshly shaved face. It is actually quite bad for your skin post-shave.

The idea behind wiping the damaged skin with some type of chemical that has antiseptic properties has a point. We wouldn’t recommend layering it on your whole face, though. Just dabbing the wounded area should be fine.

Aftershave lotion has almost no natural ingredients. The scents used in aftershave lotions are chemically made. It will certainly impact your sensitive skin, resulting in a rash. So, as you understand, aftershave lotion isn’t going to help as there are no soothing properties, but the opposite, it aggravates the condition of your skin.

Definition of aftershave balm

An aftershave balm is completely different. The substance reminds liquid, that is alcohol-free, but can have witch hazel. Aftershave balms typically will have a high content of natural ingredients. It will help to calm the skin after shaving. The extra addition of vitamin E and herbal essential oils eliminates the burning sensation and treats damaged areas.

The variety of aftershave balms is wide. You can find the ones that have a light scent and the ones that don’t smell like anything. It is best to choose fragrance-free products to low the chances of your skin reacting unexpectedly.

Some brands have more soothing components that in turn will hydrate your skin as well. For example, the extract from tea trees or aloe vera will not only moisturize your skin but will also take care of the cuts you might have.

Aftershave balms can also protect from harmful direct sunlight if it contains SPF protection. It is the perfect combination if you prefer to do the shaving routine in the morning and plan to be out the whole day. Just coat your face with an aftershave balm.

Why do I need either of them?

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Choosing between an aftershave balm and a shave lotion you certainly should opt for the first one.

The shaving process is already traumatic to your skin enough as it is. Aggravating it with harmful chemicals isn’t the best idea.

The only time when a lotion might have a benefit is by fighting the oily skin condition. The indication of oily skin is the presence of ingrown hairs. Removing excess oil with aftershave lotions is easy. The only thing you should be aware of is that the effect will not last long. You should seek for another remedy to treat such skin.

What is the main difference between both of them?

The vital point that defines the difference between a lotion and a balm is the way it affects your skin after you remove hair. A balm treats damaged skin and help it to regenerate faster, disinfecting at the same time with natural components.

Lotions contain a lot of harsh chemicals that can lead to serious problems with the skin on your face and even impact your organs.

Harmful ingredients to stay away from

The range of aftershaving care is quite wide. You can find products that will benefit you, but you need to know which components should be avoided at any cost. The following chemicals will affect your skin badly, resulting in all sorts of problems such as rashes, dry spots or even acne.


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Lotions are typically consisted of ethyl alcohol or witch hazel. This shouldn’t be used on delicate areas of your skin, especially on your face. Instead of helping your skin to settle and heal, it makes the problems worse by damaging the top layer. So, if you see the word “alcohol” in the content list, put the product back on the shelf and stay away from it. Even if some lotion has less alcohol than others, the rule stays the same.

Scented chemicals

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Scented products should be avoided as well. You have no idea what chemicals in particular were used in creating that scent. Unknown chemicals might lead to an allergic reaction. Unless the tag states that only natural components were used, refrain from purchasing such a product. The aftershave care should be useful for the skin after shaving, not the other way around.


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Phthalates including benzyl butyl phthalate and dimethyl phthalate, are commonly used to make the plastic softer. We don’t think this is something that should be used on your delicate face skin. Even though you might see the temporary effect of using a product that has BBP in it, you won’t notice the severe damage done to your body straight away.

You might not be aware of the numerous reports from men, stating that their health was affected by using care products with phthalates in the content, to the point, that it causes a reduction of sperm count in some men. The best option is to not purchase such lotions and choose a natural aftershave balm.

Useful tips

1. The ideal time for shaving is straight after a shower. When your skin and hair are soft, the shaving experience will be the most pleasant and fast one and won’t have the aftermath problems.

2. If you have no time to take a shower, but shaving is needed, we recommend using a hot towel shaving technique. Soak the towel in hot water and wrap it around your face for a few minutes. That will soften the skin, which will result in a smooth shave with no rash.

3. Use exfoliating scrub before shaving. It has a lot of benefits such as cleaning pores, removing dry skin, and giving a healthy look on your face.

4. When you coat your face in aftershave balm, you shouldn’t be too rough. Move slowly in circular motions from your cheeks to your neck, rubbing the product in.

Read also: Can you shave with just water?


Is aftershave balm or lotion better?

As we have discussed in the post above, the aftershave balm acts gently on your skin, preventing such problems as rashes, razor bumps, and ingrown hairs. It often contains healing ingredients such as aloe vera and vitamin E. Most aftershave lotions aggravate the damage caused by shaving tools, plus they usually have quite a strong scent, which can affect you as well.

Is after-shave balm the same as after shave?

It is not the same, as the purpose of each product differs. The aftershave balm helps to cope with the aftermath of shaving by soothing the area and healing it. The aftershave products are typically used for the smell only. They do not contain any calming the skin ingredients and only make everything worse because of isopropyl alcohol.

Can you use after-shave balm as body lotion?

You could possibly use the aftershave product as a lotion for the whole body, especially if the balm has a pleasant scent. It will help to hydrate your skin and will prevent it from cracking.

To summarize

In the after-shave lotion vs balm battle, the winner is the after-shave balm. It reduces the impact of shaving on your skin. It treats the appeared conditions, caused by this, due to the content of carrier oils or witch hazel that help to reduce the impact. Do not neglect to apply skin care every time you shave, it will prevent greater skin problems in the future.

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