Can You Use Hand Sanitizer As Aftershave? (No, Here’s Why)

can you use hand sanitizer as aftershave

Shaving is oftentimes a common part of a normal daily routine, requiring a few simple products to make the process go smoothly, such as aftershave. However, if you suddenly run out of aftershave, what other alternatives would work just as well? Would hand sanitizer be a good option?

Aftershave contains a certain percentage of alcohol to clean cuts you might get from shaving, so in an antibacterial sense, you can use hand sanitizer as an alternative. However, hand sanitizer can damage your skin more than aftershave since it often has a higher alcohol concentration, leading to excessive dryness.

While hand sanitizer can work as an aftershave in terms of its disinfectant properties, there are several ways in which hand sanitizer can be less effective. To help you to learn why hand sanitizer is not the best alternative, let’s look into using hand sanitizer in detail and other options that may prove to be even more effective.

Can You Use Hand Sanitizer As Aftershave? (In Detail)

To learn why you can use hand sanitizer as an aftershave, you should first look into the purpose of aftershave and its composition. Aftershave is a gel or liquid that you can apply after shaving to help alleviate skin irritation from the shaving process. Hand sanitizers also have antiseptic properties that help to prevent infection by cleaning minuscule scratches on your skin.

Aftershave and Hand Sanitizer Ingredients

Many types of aftershave have around 30% to 40% alcohol to help disinfect any cuts you get from shaving.

However, different types of aftershave can also contain different alcohols, one of which is the harmful isopropanol alcohol. Try to look out for isopropanol alcohol in your aftershave as it can lead to excessively dry skin and eventually poisoning if you use it for an extended period of time or if you use it in considerable batches.

On the other hand, the alcohol content of hand sanitizer is much more considerable at 60% to help destroy different types of bacteria and viruses. There are even some hand sanitizers with an ethanol content of 85% that do a much better job of removing bacteria. 

Effectiveness of Hand Sanitizer as an Aftershave

Since hand sanitizers have a more significant alcohol content, they may have a much stronger effect on your skin, resulting in your skin being drier and causing skin sensitivity. There are also some people who feel a burning sensation and itchiness as a result of using hand sanitizer.

As such, while you can use hand sanitizer as an alternative to aftershave, and it will help to break down bacteria in the same way as the alcohol in aftershave, it is definitely too strong to use on a regular basis due to the alcohol content. In order to protect your skin and prevent dryness, it’s better to use an aftershave directly instead of a hand sanitizer.

Additionally, some hand sanitizers can also have fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin. If you use such a product on all parts of your body that you shave, it may even result in worst skin conditions such as contact dermatitis. 

Can I Use Hand Sanitizer for Razor Bumps?

Razor bumps are hairs that grow back into the skin, triggering inflammation, redness, itchiness, pain, and other unpleasant reactions. If you often develop razor bumps, then a trip to the dermatologist may be a good option. However, you can also use products that have antibacterial properties to help prevent infection, and one such antibacterial product is hand sanitizer.

Since hand sanitizer contains alcohol, it effectively breaks down harmful bacteria that can be on razor bumps. However, other home remedies are available to help soothe razor bumps, including aloe vera gel, which is gentle, can have moisturizing effects, and even soothe skin irritation you get from razor bumps.

Razor bumps are essentially small wounds, and putting hand sanitizer or something with a high concentration of alcohol on your razor bumps, will disinfect them. However, it can be harsh on the skin and can even damage skin tissue, thus slowing down the healing process.

What Can I Use Instead of Aftershave?

There are plenty of different alternatives to aftershave that perform the same purpose yet with even more effectiveness or offer you a more comfortable shaving experience.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is an excellent alternative to aftershave since it has soothing and moisturizing effects that can even soothe burns. Many people use aloe vera also to treat skin damage and heal smaller wounds, such as microscopic cuts from shaving.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar can also be a suitable option since it contains an ingredient called acetic acid. Acetic acid has anti-microbial properties and can also act as a good lotion after you dilute the vinegar using water. Adding coconut oil to the mixture can even moisturize your skin and give it a pleasant and natural fragrance.

Can I Use Alcohol As Aftershave?

Using rubbing alcohol directly on your skin is not a good idea since rubbing alcohol can lead to your skin becoming increasingly dry and red, with the upper layers peeling off. Although it can effectively sterilize your skin after shaving, the detrimental effects are harsher than the disinfectant benefits.

Disadvantages of Hand Sanitizer as an Aftershave

Other than causing skin irritation, there are also more disadvantages of using hand sanitizer as an aftershave. For example, some types of hand sanitizer contain methanol, which is a toxic ingredient that can have very negative side effects such as insomnia or vomiting if you overuse it.

Another disadvantage is that general overuse of hand sanitizer can cause or worsen skin conditions like eczema, especially if you have more sensitive skin. In severe cases, using alcohol as an aftershave can even inhibit human growth since it contains phthalates that are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors can directly impede your natural growth process.


To wrap things up, you can use hand sanitizer as an option for aftershave, though not without consequences. Hand sanitizer has a very strong alcohol content, and alcohol does a great job at both getting rid of bacteria and causing damage to your skin in larger doses.

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