Aftershave Balm Vs After Shave Lotion - What's The Difference?

Shaving should be an enjoyable ritual, not a painful chore.

After shaving, your skin is dry and extra sensitive and it's probably already beginning to look inflamed. It needs 3 things: to be soothed, cooled and moisturized. 

After putting down the razor, the next step in your shaving routine should be applying the Aftershave. But don’t confuse Aftershave Lotion and Aftershave Balm.

Yes - both are used post shave but they're very different. In this article, we explain the difference so you can make an informed decision.

What is the use of After Shave Lotion?

After Shave Lotion (sometimes just referred to as Aftershave) is scented and often alcohol-based. It is designed to help calm shaving irritation and disinfect any small nicks you might have given yourself.

Alcohol can also help get rid of bacteria on your skin but the problem is - alcohol can also worsen irritation, dry your skin out and cause it to flake. 

Some men like the fact After Shave Lotion is scented (meaning they don’t have to use a cologne afterward) but oftentimes, it can leave skin red, dry and irritated all morning.

What is the purpose of After Shave Balm?

Aftershave Balm serves the same basic purpose as lotion - to soothe your skin after shaving. 

Unlike Aftershave Lotion, Aftershave Balm generally does not contain alcohol and is designed to moisturize your post-shave skin. It’s thicker and creamier than Aftershave Lotion. 

A typical Aftershave Balm has a light scent that comes from its ingredients and many men find it is much kinder to post-shaved skin.

You’ll know if the product you use contains alcohol - it’s what produces that ‘stinging’ sensation post shave. 


Ingredients to avoid in After Shave


Many After Shaves contain isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol - similar to what you might find in a hand sanitizer or house hold cleaner.
These ingredients are great for killing bacteria or toxins on your face but not so great when it comes to soothing your skin post shave (as you can probably tell by that burning sensation after shaving). 
Alcohol can be found listed as:
  • Methanol
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • SD alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol

A great natural alternative to alcohol is Witch Hazel. It will not dry out your skin or cause redness and irritation. 


Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics and - believe it or not - are used in some shaving products to soften your skin.

Some research has shown that Phthalates can reduce sperm count.

Phthalates can be found listed as:

  • DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate)
  • DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
  • BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
  • DINP (diisononyl phthalate)
  • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
  • DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate)


    The problem with Parfum is that it can mean almost anything because it is an umbrella term for a multitude of possibly toxic and irritating ingredients.

    Always opt for an After Shave containing natural fragrance (or fragrance free if you prefer).

    Parfum is listed as:
    • Fragrance
    • Parfum

    Best After Shave Balm for sensitive skin

    Choose an Aftershave Balm without alcohol and look for natural as opposed to synthetic ingredients. Specifically, look for a balm that contains soothing natural ingredients like Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Spearmint Leaf Oil.

    Witch hazel is a natural astringent and has antiseptic properties - think of it as a natural alternative to the alcohol found in Aftershaves. And Vitamin E is great for skin that needs that extra moisture post shaving. 

    You should also look for a non-greasy formula and an Aftershave Balm which is pH balanced so as not to upset the chemistry of your skin.

    What ingredients do you need in Aftershave?

    Be on the lookout for these natural ingredients:

    Vitamin E 

    Protects your post shave skin from environmental damage like pollution and cigarette smoke.

    Vitamin E is considered an antioxidant superhero, it deeply hydrates post shave skin to calm irritation.

    Aloe Vera Leaf Juice

    Aloe Babadensis’s nourishing properties promote minor wound, burn and rash healing and is an excellent moisturizer and emollient. It is a skin/hair soother, healer, repairer and collagen booster.

    White Tea Leaf Extract 

    White tea is a lightly oxidized tea. Studies have shown that white tea has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and can strengthen and protect the skin matrix.

    Its rejuvenating impact sets it apart from other tea-based skin care agents. White tea can provide partial protection from UV damage caused by the sun.

    Witch Hazel

    A great natural alternative to alcohol. Witch Hazel has all the anti-bacterial advantages of alcohol but is non irritating and won't dry your skin out. 


    Allantoin's anti-inflammatory, healing, calming and nourishing properties help stimulate healthy skin cell growth.

    Chamomile Flower Extract 

    Chamomile Flower Extract has soothing, healing and anti-inflammatory properties and helps cool and calm sensitive skin.


    Menthol is a natural cooling astringent for the skin, scalp and body.

    Click here for a full list of the best natural ingredients found in men's skincare products.

    If you're looking for a men's aftershave that won't give you razor burn and is better for your skin, go for a product marked as alcohol-free and one made from natural ingredients. 

    Our non-greasy, quick-absorbing alcohol free men's aftershave balm soothes, calms and hydrates your face to prevent irritated, itchy rashes and blemishes. 

    Every single one of the natural ingredients included in our natural aftershave balm comes directly from the Australian outback and has been thoughtfully added to give your skin everything it needs after shaving.

    The result is post shave skin that is cool, smooth and refreshed.

    after shave balm

    Related Posts