Aftershave and moisturizer are two common skin care products that have some similarities, but can they be used interchangeably? Can you use moisturizer instead of aftershave?
There is no detriment to using a moisturizer on your face instead of aftershave, but aftershave is better at reducing the burning sensation caused by microtears on the skin after shaving.
Aftershave is generally better than moisturizer specifically for the purpose of cooling the burning sensation after shaving, but moisturizers certainly have their uses as well. The rest of this article will discuss whether you can use moisturizer instead of aftershave.
What’s the Difference Between Moisturizer and Aftershave?
Aftershaves are typically alcohol-based skincare products that aim to prevent infection from tiny cuts, also known as microtears, that are caused by shaving. Moisturizers, on the other hand, aren’t usually alcohol-based, since alcohol causes the skin to dry up, removing the natural oil from your skin.
Aftershave usually also contains menthol, which reduces the burning sensation caused by shaving. As such, aftershave is designed for a pretty specific purpose, and using moisturizer in place of aftershave won’t provide the infection-prevention benefits of alcohol or the cooling effects of menthol.
Can You Use Lotion as Aftershave?
Lotions and balms that are applied to the skin don’t usually serve the same purpose as aftershave. A lotion or balm is intended to moisturize and rejuvenate the skin, preventing it from drying out as much. You can certainly get by with a little moisturizer or lotion being used as an aftershave, but you won’t get the same immediate cooling effect as with aftershave.
Since moisturizers, well, moisturize the skin, you can prevent some degree of razor burn and other skin issues that can be caused by shaving simply by using them daily.
Is Aftershave a Moisturizer?
Aftershave is not a moisturizer, at least by definition. Most aftershaves are a combination of three components: alcohol to prevent infection, menthol to reduce burning, and aromatic ingredients for fragrance.
A lot of aftershaves do have some moisturizing element to them, but how much moisture your face actually gets is dependent on the quality of the aftershave you’re using.
The goal of an aftershave isn’t usually to moisturize your skin; in fact, alcohol can dry out your skin, which is why, depending on your skin type, using a moisturizer shortly after applying your aftershave is a good idea.
Aftershave lotions or balms, on the other hand, do act similarly to a moisturizer in that they help to provide moisture and help protect the skin by forming a layer over vulnerable skin.
Balms and lotions also serve to keep your beard nice and soft instead of scratchy, allowing for a much closer shave every time.
Many high-end aftershaves can certainly do a fair job of providing moisture to your skin as well.
What Can I Use Instead of Aftershave?
If you can handle the razor burn and just want to ward off the risk of infection, then hand sanitizer works well in a pinch to kill off any bacteria that could potentially enter the microtears on your face. Be aware that it will feel quite harsh, and you run the risk of drying out your skin.
Apple cider vinegar diluted in water can work as an aftershave alternative, and mixing it with witch hazel provides a good deal of moisture for your face. Toothpaste is also another popular option for shaving cream since it offers a close wet shave.
The only issue you’re going to run into with all of these alternatives is that few of them contain alcohol to ward off the risk of infection and skin irritation. Of course, you can also just use some rubbing alcohol in a pinch to avoid this issue, but just be not to splash it on your face to avoid the risk of getting it in your eyes.
Instead, pour a little onto your hands or a cotton pad and rub it onto your skin gently. After using it, apply a moisturizer to combat the drying effect of the alcohol.
Do I Need Aftershave and Moisturizer?
The answer to whether to use both moisturizer and aftershave depends on your skin type. For people with drier skin, using moisturizer after your aftershave and letting it sit for a little bit is probably a good idea to put some moisture back in your skin.
For those with semi-oily skin, it’s probably better to just stick to a decent aftershave. The moisturizing components in the aftershave will work perfectly for rebalancing your skin. Using a moisturizer afterwards may actually exacerbate already existing issues with oily skin and prove to be harmful rather than helpful.
In short, if your skin is dry after shaving, then it’s probably prudent to put on some moisturizer.
What Happens If You Don’t Use Aftershave?
One possible outcome of not using shaving cream is the risk of infection. Bacteria can enter the body through those tiny cuts and nicks (even if you can’t see them) and cause issues within the body. Not using moisturizer also increases the risk of ingrown hairs.
Lastly, aftershave softens out the hair, not only making it softer to the touch, but allowing you to get a better shave the more that you use it.
Aftershave isn’t the same thing as moisturizer, although there are quite a few similarities. The main goal of aftershave is for use in protecting the face from the risk of infection and to provide a cooling effect for the burning sensation caused by shaving.
Most aftershaves do have a moisturizing effect, though, and are suitable as a moisturizer for people with normal or semi-oily skin. For those with dry skin, however, it’s advisable to apply a dedicated moisturizer to your skin after shaving to add moisture back to your face.
If you want to skip the cost of expensive aftershaves, moisturizers do work in a pinch, and there are lots of alternatives out there for you to choose from.
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