Men’s “After Shave” – Don’t Just Spritz, Splash Or Spray
I am a member of the Health Club at my local Y, where I swim almost every day, and I have the opportunity to observe the shaving and “after shaving” habits, if you will, of a number of men on a regular basis.
In the locker room of the men’s Health Club, there are a number of amenities, such as disposable razors, hair dryers, cans of shaving foam, towels, of course, and flasks of a minty-blue substance that I see men routinely splash onto their face after shaving, and which has a rather pleasant, though not particularly distinctive, aroma.
This is a product universally recognized as a drugstore aftershave, and so common is it, that it has come to known by one word alone – much like Cher, or Madonna – a word which, by all that is right and natural, should really be two.
In fact, were it not for the myriad of other issues begging for my support and attention, I would be tempted to spearhead a movement to restore the words “after shave” to their rightful prominence, if not in the lexicon, then, at least, in the daily skincare regimens of North American men.
I take it back. I’m not that busy. I believe I will to take on this crucial mission.
Okay – I’ll make this brief and to-the-point.
As much as I am a very passionate and, occasionally, vociferous advocate of the subtle and elegant use of fragrance for men, I do not really “get” the aftershave thing at all.
After a man shaves, he should do three critical things:
1) soothe his skin of any irritation caused by shaving (razors are sharp objects and they can cause redness)
2) exfoliate dead skin cells and debris and
3) protect his skin from exposure to damaging radiation
That’s it. Three.
The typical “garden variety” aftershave accomplishes none of those three tasks. (Sorry, Mr. “I’m On a Horse”, but someone has to say it.)
Aftershave products with a high concentration of alcohol can sting or even burn the skin, if it is very sensitive, whereas anything with oil can clog pores.
The pungent aroma of most after shave products, while pleasant, is an unnecessary addition to what is already a dissonant cacophony of scents for most guys who use a deodorant, a shampoo, a shaving cream and a cologne, each with a different smell.
Guys, here’s how to get it together and keep it simple:
1) wash your face with a cleansing product that contains salicylic acid and glycolic acid to remove dirt, oil, bacteria, lipstick (lucky bastard) and dead skin cells
2) shave with a moisturizing shaving cream (foam is mostly air)
3) apply an alcohol-free, oil-free, hydrating “after shave product” (that’s three separate words) that contains glycolic and salicylic acid to gently remove leftover debris, and also soothing components to calm irritation and…
4) add a dab of sun protection of a minimum 15 SPF and preferably 30
Then, give yourself a little spritz of a classy cologne – on your hands, ears, neck – but not on your face – and you are good to go.
You’ve only got one face (regardless of how many people have said otherwise) so you may as well keep it looking its best.