Traditionally aftershave was an alcohol-based antiseptic designed to disinfect small shaving nicks. While men’s cologne and aftershave are sometimes used interchangeably to refer to men’s fragrances, generally aftershaves have a lighter scent and shorter longevity than colognes. If you want to maintain the scent longer, you may need to layer the aftershave with an eau de toilette or eau de parfum of the same scent.
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Also while the alcohol in aftershave keeps cuts from getting infected, it also tends to dry the skin as well as sting on any open wounds. Fortunately, alcohol-based aftershaves aren’t your only post-shave option anymore. More recently, options like after shave lotions, balms and alcohol-free options have been developed that are more skin-friendly.
7 Best Men’s After Shaves
Acqua di Gio* is perhaps one of the most iconic and imitated scents of the 1990s. It ushered out the loud-powerhouse men’s fragrances of the 80s, replacing them with lighter, fresh, aquatic-citrus scents.
Designed for warm weather, Acqua di Gio starts with Calabrian bergamot, green tangerine, and neroli, deepening into rose, rosemary, jasmine petal, persimmon, and Indonesian patchouli. Smells like a walk along the sunny Mediterranean shore.
Dior’s Sauvage scent is a classic men’s fragrance that’s got great versatility — a scent you can wear from work into the evening. Inspired by the spirit of open prairies, it starts with notes of pepper and Calabrian bergamot, merging into middle notes of geranium, lavender, Sichuan pepper, elemi, pink pepper, vetiver, and patchouli before the base notes of cedar, labdanum, and ambroxan balance the fragrance. The balm provides more moisture and calming for sensitive skin.
Versace Man Eau Fraiche is a light and subtle fragrance that is great for work or professional settings. Its top notes blend bergamot, lemon, and starfruit. Middle notes include black pepper, cardamom, Brazilian rosewood, cedar, tarragon, and saffron. The base notes are tobacco leaves, amber, sycamore, musk, and labdanum. It’s got a clean, zesty smell great for warm weather.
Jean Paul Gaultier for Men is of the most iconic men’s fragrance bottles — everyone who knows perfume will recognize the “man in the can.” It’s a sexy, bold scent designed for evening wear — clubs, dancing, romantic night out, or even cold weather. It’s a seductive mix of top notes including fresh mint, bergamot, and lavender. The middle notes are spicy and sweet with orange blossom, cinnamon, and cumin. Base notes are a warm cedar, sandalwood, tonka bean, and vanilla.
Terre d’Hermes is earthy and woody, a very modern masculine scent that’s perfect for work or evening wear. Pepper, flint, and citrus give it both freshness and spicy edge. Bay rose and geranium give a touch of sweetness, while patchouli, benzoin, and cedar ground the scent. A great scent for almost any occasion, from casual to date night, work to going out.
L’eau D’Issey is a refined, aquatic fragrance that’s perfect for casual or professional wear. It’s a light scent that’s a good pick for men not used to wearing fragrance. A blend of citrus and spice combined with base notes of musk, amber, and woods.
In contrast to most Calvin Klein advertising, Eternity’s focuses on the quiet joys of family life. Similarly, the fragrance is crisp, clean, and slightly soapy. It’s a classic fragrance that’s got a blend of greens, crisp jasmine, sage, basil, and rosewood.