Best Aftershave For Men 2020: Our Top Picks

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Aftershave is often seen as a rite of passage. The final step of a morning shave that stings and smoothes a man as he starts his day. What is the best aftershave for men to get a refreshing kick before they head out the door?

Best Aftershave Splash For Men

  • Old Spice Aftershave
  • Brut Aftershave
  • Clubman Aftershave
  • Aramis Aftershave

Best Aftershave Balm:

  • Nivea Men

What Does Aftershave Do?

The true purpose of aftershave is to disinfect the skin with alcohol after shaving. This prevents a lot of irritation like shaving rash. The scent is an added extra, hence it’s never particularly strong.

That said, given that all aftershave is alcohol it’s only really the scent that separates them. Many cologne brands will also produce an aftershave so you can enjoy your favourite designer scent.

You can also do what’s called fragrance layering where you match your aftershave and eau de toilette.

The difference between aftershave and eau de toilette is all about the concentration of fragrance oil in the product. Eau de parfum – traditionally associated more with women – has the highest concentration of fragrance oil.

If you have a particular favourite shaving soap or shaving cream then you can bet the same brand will do an aftershave and maybe even an eau de toilette cologne. Some grooming experts argue that combing all three will be too potent but the choice is yours.


Traditionally aftershave only came as aftershave splash, which is alcohol with some sort of scent.

Today though there are a wide variety of aftershave products.

Aftershave Splash

Splash is the classic blend of alcohol with a small amount of fragrance oil.

One classic recipe was bay rum which simply involved a mix of bay leaves – either soaked or as oil – in rum. The scent of bay rum is very rich and warming.

However their are definitely different styles of scent. One clear division is between traditional and more modern and sporty fragrances.

Some people love the “just from the gym” scent of Lynx Africa while others find it nauseating. Equally many classic musky scents like Old Spice recall the sophistication of men of the past – pipesmoking father figures or Preppy batchelors who prefered whiskey and cigars to crossfit.

Thankfully both options are widely available. Another consideration is cost. Aftershave splash is not a complicated product and so you can easily get a decent bottle for less than $10. More than this and the chances are you are paying for branding. That said, there are some amazing brands that are definitely worth the extra premium.

After Shave Balm

Post-shave balm, of after shave balm, is basically a moisturizer with soothing additives to reduce inflammation. These have become very popular as it doesn’t sting.

Rubbing cream into the skin also seems easier than attempting to pat liquid onto your face. Plus many come with anti-ageing properties and other features to enhance your skin.

Alum Block

Hardly anyone does this today, but traditionally you could use an alum block as aftershave. You would rub a wet alum block across the face and this would soothe and disinfect the skin. Read more about alum blocks here.

Old Spice Aftershave

Old Spice Aftershave

Old Spice is a nostalgic classic. Many men buy this specifically to recall the scent of their father or grandfather. Hence the splash comes in a classic 1970s bottle.

That said a frequent complaint of Old Spice is that it isn’t the scent they remember from the 1970s. This could be true but more likely our memory of scents is just as variable as our memory of sight and sound.

Scent is particularly effective at transporting us back to another place and time but sadly an aftershave isn’t going to reunite your perfectly with fond childhood memories.

However, Old Spice remains a classic splash with a traditional scent. This is a great scent for anyone who’s tired of the sporty scents most brands opt for and prefer’s an air of classic sophistication.

  • Top notes are nutmeg, lemon, orange, star anise and aldehydes.
  • Middle notes are carnation, jasmine, geranium, cinnamon, heliotrope and pimento. 
  • Base notes are ambergris, benzoin, cedar, vanilla, tonka bean and musk.

Brut Aftershave

Brut Aftershave

Another classic scent from the 1960s and 70s, Brut also falls victim to the idea that it’s not as good as it used to be.

One confusion is they divide their products into this post shave remedy and a separate splash on lotion designed to be applied all over the body.

While neither smell the same as a real eau de toilette none of them cost the same either.

Instead this great value scent is potent and uplifting.

  • Top notes are anise, basil, bergamot, lavender and lemon.
  • Middle notes are geranium, jasmine and ylang-ylang.
  • Base notes are oakmoss, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla and vetiver.

Pinaud Clubman Aftershave

Pinaud Clubman Aftershave

This American classic features a very dapper gent on the label of it’s incredibly stylish bottle. This is a classic “babershop” smell that is formulated in France before being bottled in the US.

  • Top notes of orange, lemon, and bergamot .
  • Middle notes of jasmine, geranium, and lavender.
  • Base note of musk.

Aramis Aftershave

Aramis Aftershave

Aramis was launched by Estee Lauder Companies in September 1964 in New York and then in the UK, exclusively in Harrods at first in 1965.

This classic fragrance is perhaps better known as an eau de toilette but this post shave splash is a more subtle equivalent. Aramis also offers a post shave balm for anyone who wants the retro scent of Aramis and a modern soothing cream like Nivea Men.

The only downside is that as more of a designer brand it is rather pricier than other more utilitarian brands.

  • Top notes of bergamot, artemesia, gardenia, galbanum, cumin.
  • Middle notes of clary sage, myrtle oil, clove bud oil, jasmine, patchouli, orris.
  • Base notes of patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver, tree moss, leather, castoreum, amber, musk.

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