"After Shave" and "After shave" redirect here. For other uses, see After Shave (disambiguation).
An aftershave is a lotion, gel, balm, powder, or liquid used mainly by men after they have finished shaving. It may contain an antiseptic agent such as denatured alcohol or stearate citrate to prevent infection of cuts. Menthol is used in some varieties as well to numb damaged skin, and it is an ingredient that shaving cream manufacturers have started including in their formulations, too.
Aftershave with alcohol also usually causes an immediate burning sensation in men who apply it post-shave, with effects sometimes lasting several minutes. The use of aftershave in society dates back to Roman times. For this reason, a market consisting of highly differentiated products has been created--some utilizing alcohols, some not.
Some aftershaves utilize fragrance or essential oil to enhance scent. Moisturizers--natural and artificial, are often touted as able to soften the skin. Astringents are also often used in the formulation of an aftershave.
Aftershave is sometimes mistakenly referred to as Eau de Cologne due to the very similar nature of the two products. Some aftershave manufacturers encourage using their fragranced aftershave as if it were cologne, in order to increase sales by encouraging men to use it in a more versatile manner, rather than just after a shaving session. Some aftershaves were inspired by a cologne.
Early aftershaves included Witch-hazel and Bay Rum, and have been documented in shaving guides. Both still are sold as aftershaves.