Men's AfteshaveThe Good, The Bad and The Stinky

Best Aftershave For Men (And Ones To Avoid)

With a lot of men moving towards the shaggier look, perhaps you haven’t put too much thought into aftershave recently. That’s fair, it’s not a product I would typically think much about either. I recently had to pick up a splash though, and it got me to thinking about what makes a pleasant, but not too manly, after shave.

This is a shockingly tough field to mine, as aftershave is more often used by men of a certain vintage; our fathers and grandfathers.

So how do you find something that soothes the skin after a shave but doesn’t make you smell like a lounge-dwelling lothario?

Well, unfortunately for me that was the tried and true method of trial and error. I smelled a lot of awful aftershave to bring you fine people the abridged version of my findings. Scientific, you ask? Absolutely not, but I like to think I have a good nose and the common sense to avoid anything to pungent.

I thought it best to go over three scents that I really enjoyed and ones that I would throw on after a shave. I also thought it important to name a couple well-known aftershaves that you should be avoiding at all costs.

Picking a scent is a very personal matter so be sure to do your own research as well. The three I chose have a universality to them, and though some may not enjoy them, I think most will. With all of that said, here are what I have determined to be the three best smelling and most soothing aftershaves for men.

Clubman Pinaud After Shave Lotion


Club Pinaud

The first aftershave I came across is once that I wasn’t expecting to enjoy at all. When you see the bottle it elicits thoughts of older men at a speakeasy with bowling shirts on. Not good, in other words.

After going in with some healthy skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised by the initial scent. It’s still fairly traditional in it’s scent, but nothing too strong and offensive as a lot of aftershaves are.

What I did really appreciate it, aside from it’s rather subtle scent, is that it felt quite nice on the skin. That soothing feeling after a shave is something I always appreciate. It instantly cools when it hits you and that immediate relief goes a long way with me. I think most guys will appreciate the soothing feeling, because the moments after a fresh shave can often be quite uncomfortable.

The combination of a pleasant scent and soothing feeling on the skin is something that a lot of men should be able to get behind. Those factors paired with a reasonable price make this a very palatable option for a lot of men. Don’t let the look of the bottle get in your way.

Lather & Wood After-Shave Balm

Lather and Wood Aftershav

The second aftershave I came across that I enjoyed is this offering from Lather & Wood. It’s a little different than your traditional aftershave in that it’s a balm versus a cologne-like liquid. This is a positive development because it soothes and moisturizes the skin after a shave unlike a lot of the other options on the market.

It’s alcohol free as well, which will prevent that burn that is so often associated with aftershave. No one wants to feel like they’re burning their skin, so this is a very pleasant alternative.

Secondly, this has a very nice, neutral sandalwood scent. It’s lightly fragranced, yet powerful enough that when people are close enough they will be able to get a light whiff. This is pretty much what you want from any scent you wear, and this is no exception.

This a is fine option for those that shave every day or quite frequently. It will moisturize, sooth, and the alcohol-free aspect will make it a pain free experience. This is the highest price option of the three, but you’re paying for something that’s of a higher quality than the other two listed here.

There are a lot of smaller-batch practitioners out there creating fine products. The offerings are typically a little more expensive but you’re going to find something with better ingredients and more pleasant smells, and this one is no exception.

Dove Men+Care Post Shave Balm:

The last aftershave I want to recommend is this one from Dove. While Dove doesn’t make the most spectacular of products, you can generally rely on them to make quality products at a decent price. This particular offering gave me what I expected from them: a solid, affordable, and efficient aftershave.

The smell is fairly pleasant and not overpowering as can often be expected in this category. What I like about Dove products is that they’re never greasy, either. It’s going to go on smooth and give you the relief you desire. Unlike the offering from Lather & Wood, however, this one does contain alcohol so be aware of that going in. It’s not going to have you howling in pain but you’ll certainly know it’s there after a fresh shave.

If you’re looking for a no fuss, no muss type of product than I highly recommend the Dove aftershave. It’s best suited for those with regular skin as it’s not going to do the heavy lifting like Lather & Wood’s aftershave. For those looking for something that will get the job done for a fair price, Dove is the best route to go. Don’t expect any miracles, simply a reliable and pleasant aftershave.

Aftershaves you’ll want to avoid:

Aqua Velva

A lot of older fellows grew up with Aqua Velva. It’s one of those things that was a rite of passage for many men. You know, when you first started shaving your old man would throw you a bottle of Aqua Velva before you went off to the local sock hop; that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, times change and Aqua Velva is something that should be left in the past, much like sock hops.

It smells like someone took a mint julep and mixed it with gasoline and Barbasol; the colour is not that far off either. It also feels as though they’ve added extra alcohol to the mix to pound the point home as well. It will make your skin sting as much as it will your nostrils.

I’m not here to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong, I’m merely a guide through these murky waters, but if you wear Aqua Velva you’re wrong about a lot of things.

If your dad still insists on throwing a bottle your way before your next date or social engagement, let him have his moment but under no circumstances should you be putting it on. Share a warm and hearty laugh about your transition into manhood and then promptly throw the stuff in the garbage. Heed my advice and you will not be sorry.

Drakkar Noir:

Another fine offering here. You can tell by the vaguely French name that Drakkar promises to be a quality product. When you see the bottle you’ll know that you’re about to put something horrible on your skin.

It also has an 80s vibe you probably weren’t around for, which should have you wondering why they think this is a solid marketing plan.

“Sure, but how bad can it really be?” you’re probably wondering. Take the first cologne you ever wore (which coincidentally, could be Drakkar Noir) and mix it with Italian sausage. Or smell the seat of an old Trans Am that someone just got out of.

While you may think I’m being hyperbolic, I can assure you I am not. Should you choose not to believe me well then do so at your own peril.

One of the reasons we wear scents such as this is so that the people we are attracted to may find us alluring. This is like if someone bottled all the terrible parts of 1984 and then wore too much of it. Oh, the alcohol burn is borderline overwhelming too. All in all, a fantastically unpleasant experience.

In closing:

You need to find something that primarily works for your skin type. If you have sensitive skin, you should opt for an aftershave without alcohol that will nourish and moisturize. If you have tough skin, then you have a few more doors open to make an informed decision. The key to picking the right scent is to remember that subtlety is important and people don’t like to be knocked in the head with fragrance. Test drive a few before you out them in your regular rotation and whatever you do, avoid anything with a fake French name in a blacked-out bottle.

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