Aftershave Vs. Moisturizer: Is There A Difference?

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There are so many skin products on the market; it is confusing determining which does what. Lotions vs. balms vs splashes, there are seemingly endless options. Some of these products cool the skin, others do not. Some act as moisturizers and skin conditioners as well. This leads us to ask the question about aftershave vs. moisturizer: is there a difference?

Assorted Perfume Bottles and Fragrances in white background

Learning about the different skincare products, and how they all work with your skin is a significant step to treating yourself to healthy skin and a smoother shave!

We’ll take a look at a few essential skincare products relating to shaving. These include aftershave, moisturizer, and more. Let’s find out everything we need to know about aftershave and moisturizing skin care products.

Is Aftershave Like A Moisturizer?

Aftershave can be like moisturizer, and it can also be very different. Traditionally, aftershaves are alcohol-based, as mentioned above.  It is to help with preventing infection from any cuts or abrasions caused by shaving.

Moisturizers are typically not alcohol-based. Alcohol-based products tend to cause the skin to dry due to removing oils from your skin. On some people over time, this could give your skin an ashy looking appearance.

Often, these products are intended to help moisturize the skin. Again, the traditional conception of aftershave is an alcohol-based product.

Aftershave products also often contain menthol to add a cooling, soothing effect to the skin to counter the sting of the alcohol in the product.

Is Aftershave Balm The Same As Moisturizer?

According to Google, a balm is a fragrant ointment or preparation for healing or soothing the skin. Another name for a balm is an ointment.

A typical balm, containing no alcohol, is the Nivea Men cooling aftershave balm. This product boasts no drying alcohol and that it provides a cooling effect for sensitive skin.

Balms are often considered to be more of a moisturizing lotion, rather than a post-shave sterilizer like an alcohol-based product.

Can You Use Moisturizer Instead Of Using Aftershave?

Moisturizing after shaving is a recommended practice for healthy skin. Research has shown clear evidence that moisturizers prevent dryness and improve the skin barrier.  

It prevents drying of the skin, helps prevent ingrown hairs, and helps soften and smooth the skin texture. But, unless there is a disinfectant agent other than alcohol in the mix, moisturizer won’t generally prevent infection of cuts or nicks.

Also, a study shows that some moisturizers that have an ingredient called Hyaluronic acid has demonstrated to promote wound healing and the ones that have menthol will have a cooling effect on your skin.

If a type of shaving product that does not cause nicks or cuts, such as a protected blade or electric shaver, cuts and nicks may not be of concern. In this situation, moisturizer is entirely adequate to replace aftershave..

When it comes to your skin post-shave, there’s no magic solution for all. Everyone’s skin is a little different. Some people will do well with certain aftershaves or moisturizers; others will not.

Should I Moisturize My Face After Shaving? 

Post-shave moisturizing is a good idea if you suffer from dry skin. This process may not be required if you have semi-oily skin sometimes using moisturizer on this type of skin exacerbate the oily skin situation.

So, should you moisturize after shaving? This question is best answered by asking yourself another question: after shaving, is my skin dry?

Men: If you answered yes, you should most definitely find a moisturizer like the Lubriderm Men’s 3-in-1 Lotion for the body, face, and post-shave.

Women: If you answered yes, then you should think about getting a moisturizer or even a shaving oil like Tree Hut Coconut Lime Shave Oil. It’s got 100% pure natural Shea butter for deep moisturizing and made in the USA!

Can You Use Lotion As Aftershave?

Lotion can, and often is, used as an aftershave. It is quite common practice in cold, dry climates. However, without some form of disinfectant, there is a potential for infection in cuts or abrasions caused by shaving.

Some aftershave lotions use different types of disinfecting agents to help counter the fact they are not alcohol-based. And there are also aftershave lotions that offer toning and refreshing menthol and contain alcohol, such as the popular Proraso product from Italy.

What Happens If You Don’t Use Aftershave?

There are several tasks that most aftershaves accomplish quite well, but you might be wondering what would happen if you don’t use any aftershave.

So, if a person does not use aftershave, several things could occur, depending on their skin type. Let’s look at a couple of situations.

If one has any cuts or nicks and does not use some form of the disinfecting agent, there is a potential for infection.

There is a chance for ingrown hair following shaving if aftershave is not used. In softening the skin, many moisturizing aftershaves help to prevent ingrown hairs.

What Can I Use Instead Of Aftershave?

Aftershave is a commonly used product by men (most women prefer a moisturizer, like this Organic Shea Butter to an alcohol-based aftershave) for a post-shave skincare experience.

Most of the time, an alcohol-based aftershave, like the Gillette Gel for sensitive skin, is used by men to cool the skin after a shave.

But if you have skin that doesn’t react well to an alcohol-based aftershave, or maybe you just want a change, not to fear – you have other options. Following, you will find a list of things that can substitute for traditional aftershaves.


If you’re in a pinch and all you have is some rubbing alcohol to use as an aftershave, not worry. Most traditional aftershaves are alcohol-based, or they contain alcohol. It is due to alcohol having an excellent cooling effect as well as being effective at killing germs.

However, alcohol dries out the skin like few other things. After using alcohol on the skin, one may need to apply a moisturizer to accommodate the alcohol’s drying effects.

Skin Care & Caution Tip: Never splash rubbing alcohol on your face. Instead, pour a little into your clean hands and gently rub onto your skin. Rubbing alcohol can be very painful and cause damage to the eyes, so avoid getting any alcohol or alcohol-based product in your eyes.


Some people like to keep plants in their homes. And the succulent known as aloe is not only a beautiful and comfortable plant to grow around the house, it can also soothe and help moisturize and heal the skin

The plant often found as a primary ingredient in many skincare remedies is easy to grow. It is particularly well-known for its leading role in many moisturizing creams boasting of aloe in their proprietary recipes.


Water seems silly, right? I mean, we use water to wash off the excess shaving cream. But wait, there is a method to this watery madness, and it has to do with temperature.

When one washes one’s face, it is generally very warm to a tolerably hot water is utilized for such a purpose. The reasoning is that warmer water will help to liquefy and lift (with soap) and oils and dirt from the skin. As well, the pores open more so to warm or hot water. It allows the water to wash away dirt buildup in the pores for an even cleaner skincare solution.

The same is generally accepted for shaving – hot water used to rinse the razer. And a hot towel to open the pores is also commonplace.

After a shave, once the shaving cream or other lubricant is rinsed or washed away with nice warm water, one can splash cold water on the face in place of aftershave.

Cold water acts to shock the skin, a similar sensation to an alcohol-based or menthol, including aftershave. Cold water also shrinks the skin, closing the pores. Now, if you’ve just finished shaving and washing your face with warm to hot water, then your pores should be open and nice and clean. Cold water to now close the pores and prevent future dirt from entering will allow the skin to look and feel healthier.

Choosing An Aftershave And Moisturizer

We’ve looked at aftershaves and moisturizers, but how do we know which is going to be best? It comes down to individual skin type, and a bit of trial and error.

Don’t be upset if the first product you try doesn’t quite work for you. Again, your skin is as individual as you are – expect some trial and error to find what works best for you.

To narrow things down a bit for you, we’ve compiled a couple of lists of the best aftershaves and moisturizers as per people’s reviews of the products.

The items on this list are those that have received the highest amount of good reviews. We even check the reviews to see if they seem legitimate.

Which Type Of Aftershave Is Best For You?

Most women prefer the use of a moisturizing lotion post-shave. However, some do use a product like that we recommend at the end of this first list. 

For Dry Skin – Lather & Wood Shaving Co Ultra-Soothing After-Shave Balm – This non-drying formula calms irritation, is non-greasy, and moisturizes the skin for a silky smooth finish that eliminates razor burn.

For Oily Skin – Fine Platimum Classic – An aftershave so simple, it’s only alcohol, water, fragrance, and menthol. No oils to irritate oily skin and a classic barbershop clean feel and scent, masculine but not overpowering.

For Sensitive Skin – Maison Lambert Organic Oil – A 100% organic argan and jojoba oil aftershave is one of the best-unscented aftershave oils for sensitive skin. And it is highly concentrated, so only a small dab is required.

For Everyday Use – Blind Barber – Watermint Gin – This daily face moisturizer and aftershave is a 2-in-one product by the Blind Barber. With wild water mint, juniper berry, and botanical extracts, this soothing lotion is an excellent product to help soothe and heal all skin types.

For Men or Women – Tend Skin Solution – This product claims to be of use for razor bumps, ingrown hairs, and redness caused by shaving, waxing, or electrolysis.

Which Moisturizer Is Best For You?

For Dry Skin – Neutrogena Triple Protect Men’s Face Lotion – This broad-spectrum SPF 20 anti-aging moisturizer for men is designed to help relieve dry skin. It’s an Amazon top choice.

For Oily Skin – Marlows No. 123 – Marlowe’s No. 123 is a fantastic product for us with oily skin. This daily facial moisturizer helps to hydrate the skin without the greasy feeling of other moisturizers. It also has a delightful refreshing scent that is sure to invigorate.

For Sensitive Skin – Burt’s Bees Daily Face Moisturizing Cream – Many of us already know and trust Burt’s Bees for their fantastic lip balm. But wait, they’ve also got one of the best sensitive skin moisturizers on the market. This product is highly acclaimed by most who have and continue to use it.

For Everyday Use – CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion is another Amazon top-selling product. The product boasts a lightweight lotion formula with three essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid.


Aftershave comes in several different forms. The most common are splash, balm, gel, and lotion.  Moisturizer, on its own, is a skin hydration formulation and often a skin conditioner.

Although aftershave may include moisturizer (commonly in the balm formulations), aftershave is used directly after shaving. Pick an aftershave that is suitable for your skin type and moisturize anytime you feel the need to hydrate your skin.

Now that you know all about aftershave and moisturizer, which plan of action will you take for your skin?