Shaving sucks.

Thankfully, I only need to shave about once every three days. Even so, my skin becomes inflamed, red, itchy with post-shave razor bumps all over. One day after throwing my razor into the sink, I had a revelation, that this was a grave inconvenience to all of mankind. And because no one asked me to, I decided I’d go on a quest to find aftershaves that would calm down my angry post-shaven face. Here’s what I found on my journey.

SEE ALSO: This is why we need to rethink shaving

Method of testing:
For this, I took matters into my own hand. Like, I channeled a method actor and truly went at this full force. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone (unless you, too, are on your own quest!) but I shaved every day against the grain to really piss off my skin. Damn, some days it felt like I was skinning my face off, but I knew it was for a good cause (said quest, lol). I shaved at night mostly because it would give my face some time to heal before facing the public, but I also did some morning shaves to see how it fared throughout the day.


Here’s the consistency from left to right:

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Here’s the consistencies of each of the products. From left to right: Herban Cowboy Vegan After Shave, Burt’s Bees, Dr. Carver’s, Pilot, Kingsman. Photo by Benzamin Yi)

(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)


Herban Cowboy After Shave Balm ($6)

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Dusk after shave

(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)

These guys take the cowboy part seriously, having launched their company in a log cabin with no internet or phone lines (basically any young person’s nightmare). This is a vegan product for those who are conscious of that lifestyle. The scent, though, is not of carrots or cucumbers as mentioned on its front label. It’s more of that classic musky scent of baby powder that they call “Dusk,” and so it’s something you would wear if you shaved to go out for the evening. And like a classic aftershave, this one works really well on sensitive skin with an immediate soothing effect. Unlike the classic aftershave, this company is very environmentally conscious with their recyclable, PETA-endorsed, vegan, charity-donating product. Oh, and it’s only $6. Yee-haws all around!
TLDR; Great for sensitive skin, scent is a bit strong, vegan, day use.


Men’s Aftershave Burt’s Bees ($7)

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Burt's Bees after shave

(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)

This is the brand you’re probably most familiar with as a lip balm. So it was a no-brainer to use this on my sensitive fresh-shaven skin. It’s made of 99.9% natural ingredients and is considered unscented. Though, weirdly to me, it smells a bit plasticky — maybe that’s the 0.1% unnatural part about it. I would say to use this if you don’t have sensitive skin because, while it’s a great moisturizer (no greasiness or residue), it wasn’t calming my skin down enough. The best parts about this aftershave are the natural ingredients that go into this and the price. At about $7 for 2.5oz, this is the way to go on a budget.
TLDR; For non-sensitive skin, not the best fragrance.


Dr. Carver’s Miracle Repair Serum ($12)

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Dr Carver's after shave

(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)

This aftershave is meant for those who get razor bumps, razor burns, and ingrown hairs. I think of this one as supplemental to the aftershave you have for the days when your skin is extra sensitive, but you can definitely use this as your main product, too. This product will help those bumps and burns while emancipating your hairs using ingredients like blueberry, white tea, and cypress berry. This is completely unscented, so it won’t distract any other scents you’re trying to highlight with other products.
TLDR; Great for razor bumps and burns, unscented, night use.


Pilot ($20)

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Pilot after shave

(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)

This is from a brand new men’s grooming company based in California. When I had those days of consecutive shaves where my skin was screaming for peace, this is the aftershave that would calm it down. Always. Instantly. Even when the other aftershaves weren’t soothing the fiery patches of pissed off skin, this one was the just-shaved-skin whisperer. The eucalyptus in here really helps calm it down, while the aloe vera helps heal and moisturize that tender skin. I love the light and neutral scent of this, which makes it something you can wear to sleep, in the morning, or when you go out at night. It dries quickly without any residual feel, so you can apply your moisturizer soon after and keep that face hydrated all day. Lastly, Pilot is also involved in their community, helping out with the homeless in LA, so just one more reason to support them.
TLDR; Best for sensitive skin, immediate soothe, my favorite, day or night use.


The Art of Shaving’s Kingsman Bourbon After Shave Balm ($55)

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Art of Shaving Kingsman after shave

(Photo by Benzamin Yi/Very Good Light)

I wanted to include one high-end aftershave because you have to be curious why you would pay the premium. It comes down to the fragrance. At around $20, you’ll get something that works amazingly on your skin. Beyond $20, you’re going to get something that smells amazing. Though, I’d advise you to double check to see if it harmonizes with whatever cologne/scent you have on. While it’s not super heavy, its mix of grape seed extract with shea butter is definitely something you wear in the morning or your night out.
TLDR; Good for sensitive skin, smells amazing while doing what an aftershave does, day use.

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