What Does Aftershave Do?

Artisan Shaving is reader-supported. We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Aftershave is an essential part of your morning routine. But have you ever questioned what does aftershave do? After all, it is often painful to apply and you don’t see any of the effects. Even in terms of scent an eu de toilette is far more effective than aftershave.

But don’t be mistaken, aftershave is an important product that fulfils many goals. Primarily it serves to disinfect the skin after shaving.

Disinfecting Skin

Even with utmost care and preparation, shaving is still a very vigorous process for the skin. It’s an exfoliation that removes dead skin leaving the below exposed.

It’s also very easy to get little nicks and cuts you may not even notice.

Aftershave soothes everything – despite the sting. The alcohol that forms the biggest ingredient is a disinfectant that prevents bacteria from forming in the skin and causing irritation.

Prevent Shaving Rash

The alcohol is also an astringent, meaning it causes tissue to tighten up and reduce inflammation. This is why it should be your first step to preventing shaving rash.

It Smells Great

Then of course there’s the scent. Despite these skin benefits, most men think aftershave is all about the scent when actually there’s only a small amount of scent oil in order to keep the high strength of the alcohol needed to disinfect the skin. Nevertheless, many men still love the conclusion of shaving in the morning with a rich smell.

To enhance this you can coordinate your shaving soap and aftershave to boost the scent and its longevity. This is called fragrance layering and can even be topped with a bit of eau de toilette – which features a stronger concentration of scent oil.


There’s also an element of ritual to aftershave. While this might seem the least important answer to what is aftershave for, one cannot help but wonder why some people religiously stick to aftershave when there is such a range of post-shave balms available that seem more effective than dowsing and stinging your face with alcohol.

Like shaving with a traditional DE safety razor, aftershave makes you feel connection to your heritage. Generations of men have started their mornings with a splash of aftershave – the sting serving as a call to whatever battles they face that day.

Win a Merkur Futur Worth $60!

Merkur Futur Review