Aftershave is a product used most commonly by men on the skin of the face after shaving, although products for women to use exist as well. In addition to smelling good, it helps keep the skin smooth and in good condition, a concern for men who shave every day. Also, as an alternative to commercial aftershaves, people can also formulate their own with specific ingredients or scents so that they can smell unique and have smooth, silky skin.
This product serves a number of functions. Most importantly, it acts as an astringent, which means that it raises the pH of the face after the use of alkaline soaps for shaving. Healthy skin is naturally somewhat acidic: astringents and toners are used by both genders to keep their skin smooth. Using aftershave also closes the pores which have been opened by warm water while shaving, disinfects the surface of the skin to prevent potential infection of small cuts and nicks, and may moisturize as well. Men with very dry skin should add a moisturizer after using aftershave, or purchase a product which contains moisturizer.
Most aftershaves contain alcohol, which is a natural astringent and disinfectant. Alcohol-free products are available, and usually contain astringents like witch hazel mixed with soothing plant ingredients such as aloe and seaweed extracts. Alcohol-free products are more likely to come in the form of gels and creams, although they are produced in a liquid form as well. In all cases, aftershave should be applied with cotton pads so that the oils on your fingers do not disturb the skin of your face.
To make your own bay rum aftershave, you can soak two to four cups of bay leaves in enough rum to cover them. Add spices like rosemary, ginger, orange peel, or cloves to make the scent a little more complex, and put the jar in a cool dark place for one month. Take the aftershave out and strain it into a new jar for daily use. To make a basic alcohol free moisturizer, you can blend two cups of witch hazel, 2 ounces (60 milliliters) of rose water, two ounces (60 milliliters) of aloe vera gel, 0.5 ounce (15 milliliters) of vegetable glycerin, and an essential oil mixture of your choice to create a unique scent. This mixture can be used immediately.