28 Mar How to Make Your Own Aftershave
Shaving is one of the many tedious daily tasks that men have a wide range of feelings about. Some men love the feeling of a freshly shaved face, while other men long to let their beard grow long and free like some kind of wild Father Christmas.
Regardless of whether shaving is a loved or hated event, a daily or weekly event, there are some things that are an almost ritualistic part of shaving. One of those things is aftershave.
What Is Aftershave For?
Aftershave actually serves a number of purposes. Originally, the only purpose of aftershave was as an antiseptic, which would keep any cuts from getting infected. With modern blades and electric razors, however, cuts are not as prevalent so using aftershave as an antiseptic is not as urgent.
Many men prefer to use an astringent as an aftershave, because not only do astringents prevent infection, they also open up pores to help prevent acne. Many of the astringents men use as an aftershave are the same astringents women use as a toner in their beauty regimen.
A more modern reason for using aftershave is the pleasant scent added to many aftershaves. Modern aftershave often doubles as a cologne, cutting down on both the time and expense of good personal hygiene. In fact, many well-known cologne brands also offer aftershaves scented with their signature fragrance.
Perhaps the most recent addition to many aftershaves, however, is moisturizer. Aftershave now comes in two varieties: balms and splashes. Balms generally contain moisturizers, which are great for soothing irritated, dry skin. Splashes are generally high in antiseptics or astringents, which help prevent acne.
If you have oily skin, you should use an aftershave splash, while if you have dry skin, you should use an aftershave balm.
Why Make Your Own?
Not only is making your own aftershave more economical, but you can also tailor it to your to your personal needs and style. Many commercial aftershaves are too heavily scented for the comfort of many men, so not only can you choose your own scent, but make it as light or as heavy as you like.
Your skin is also unique, which means a unique blend of ingredients -which you can tailor to your liking -will give you the best results. Men are also becoming more aware of the number of chemicals and additives contained in many daily hygiene products like shampoo, conditioner, antiperspirant and may want to make their own aftershave out of all natural products.
How To Make Your Own
Whether you want just an astringent, a scented astringent or a moisturizing aftershave, here are some of the basic ingredients so you know what they do and how they work.
Most ingredients are inexpensive and readily available, so you can easily whip up a batch, see how you like it and tweak and toy with it as you go until you get just the right blend. Eventually, you can whip up a concoction that will meet your own personal and individual needs.
Antiseptics & Astringents
Witch hazel has been used as an astringent for decades to help tighten skin and open up pores. You can use it as an aftershave splash all by itself or add a scent to it.
Good old fashioned alcohol works as a great antiseptic aftershave. You can use rubbing alcohol or even a drinking alcohol like rum or vodka. Since alcohol evaporates quickly, within a few minutes you won’t even smell like a liquor store! If you use a nice brandy or whiskey, however, it might leave behind a nice oaky scent. Try experimenting on the weekends when you don’t have to risk running into your boss smelling like booze! Check out our Rum Bay recipe below if you want to try it.
Orange, grapefruit, and lemon rinds all have antiseptic and toning qualities, not to mention a great scent. If you don’t want to smell fruity, you can balance the citrus scent with some of the scented herbs below.
Not only will essential oils add a delicious scent to your aftershave, but many essential oils have great health properties in and of themselves. Some great masculine scents are rosemary, spearmint, sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, bay, cypress, ginger, black pepper, vanilla, and vetiver.
Don’t be afraid to drop in a single drop of a lighter scent like ylang-ylang or a citrus oil. Mix, match, and experiment to come up with your own unique blend.
Herbs add a zesty aroma to aftershave, and you can just drop them in the bottle in a splash or grind them up and blend them into a balm. Some great scented herbs are rosemary, chamomile, lavender, sage, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, mint, and thyme.
The fresher they are, the more aroma they will have, so you might consider going to the grocery store and buying fresh herbs or you can even grow your own!
While it may seem that flower scents are for women, rose water has historically been used by men as a fragrance. Not all flowers have the light, fresh scent generally associated with women, and can add a nice balance or counterpoint to some of the heavier herb scents like rosemary, cloves or allspice.
Aloe vera is a gel-like substance that comes from the leaves of the aloe vera plant. If you want the best and freshest aloe vera, you can actually buy your own plant and harvest it. Whole Foods also sells fresh aloe leaves during the summer or you can buy 100% pure aloe vera gel.
Be careful when you buy pre-packaged aloe-vera gel, however, because sometimes it can contain as little as 5% pure aloe. Aloe is great for soothing razor burn and acts as a mild moisturizer for people with oily or combination skin.
Glycerin is a natural humectant, which means it attracts moisture to your skin and then binds it there. Glycerin also makes a great base for aftershave since it is a good solvent – meaning ingredients dissolve easier into glycerin than in water or alcohol. When diluted with water, glycerin will soften your skin, making it a great moisturizer.
If you have very dry skin, there is almost no better moisturizer than shea butter. High in vitamin E, it also mimics the sebaceous oils found naturally in the skin. As with aloe, however, you have to be careful where and how you buy it. The longer shea butter sits, the more it loses its natural moisturizing properties. For best results, purchase fresh, high-quality shea butter from a reputable source.
Some DIY Recipes
This recipe requires more exotic ingredients, but still very easy to make. You should be able to find the ingredients at your local drug or health food store.
- 2 cups of rubbing alcohol
- 1 cup of witch hazel
- 1/4 cup of glycerin
- 1/8 cup of peppermint essential oil
- 1/8 cup of lavender essential oil
- 1/16 cup of eucalyptus essential oil
Combine the ingredients, except the essential oils, in a jar with a tight lid. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add the essential oils in, take care not to add too much lavender. Screw the jar shut and shake thoroughly. Refrigerate the mixture for three to four days and remember to shake it at least once a day.
After the refrigeration period, pour into a nice bottle. You need to shake the bottle every time before applying the aftershave. You should have enough aftershave liquid to last you between six to eight months.
Cucumber Aftershave Splash
A very easy recipe — you only need three ingredients plus a blender and a microwave.
- 1/2 a cucumber
- 1/4 cup of mint extract
- 1/2 cup of water
Put the whole cucumber in a blender, rind and all. Blend on the highest setting until it’s liquefied. Add the mint extract and blend again for 30 seconds. Sift the mixture, ensuring no solids are left behind.
Add water to the strained mixture and microwave on high for 3 minutes and on medium for 2 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes before pouring into your aftershave bottle.
It will make up to 6 ounces of aftershave. This one you have to store in the fridge.
Bay Rum Aftershave
Use West Indies bay leaves, spices, and some Jamaican rum to create a spicy and woody scent. This recipe contains ingredients you can easily find at a local store or specialty health store. A perk is that you get to finish the bottles of Vodka and Rum after making your aftershave!
- 4 ounces of Vodka
- 2 tablespoons of Jamaican Rum
- 2 dried bay leaves*
- 1/4 teaspoon of Allspice
- 1 stick of cinnamon, broken in pieces
- Fresh zest squeezed from an orange
*Use the higher quality Pimenta Racemosa leaves, available at natural food stores, instead of the ones sold at your local grocery store.
Add all the ingredients together in a small bottle or mason jar with tight fitting lid. Place the closed container in a cool, dark place (not the fridge) for two weeks. The alcohol will extract the essential oils from the bay leaves. When the process is complete, sift the mixture through a coffee filter. Ensure that no residue remains behind. Pick a nice bottle for your homemade aftershave and splash on your face after shaving.
Additional scent options: lavender, rosemary, juniper, allspice, and cinnamon.
Have you tried making your own aftershave before? If you did, what recipe did you use and was it effective? If you have any tips on how to make your own aftershave, please share them with the rest of us by commenting in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!
Guest article by Andries Johannes. Andries writes for and edits the men’s lifestyle blog Manomics.com. Manomics.com is a blog focused on men’s lifestyle topics such as grooming, health, and fitness.