Ouch! Razor burn, cuts and breakouts are the worst after a close shave. While your razor, technique, and prep work are the best ways to avoid these shaving ailments, a solid after-shave game is vital to KISS-able, comfortably smooth skin. By KISS I mean Keep It Simple Stupid. It is a motto I live by that can easily be applied to picking the right after-shave.
So what elements make an after-shave, well, an after-shave? They are moisturizing, have anti-septic properties, reduce inflammation and itchiness, soothe wounds, and smell nice. Let’s go through some simple, plant-based ingredients that can be used to accomplish this:
Witch hazel is often used as a cheap, natural toner in facial care. It also reduces inflammation, cleans and soothes wounds, reduces itchiness, seals in moisture and shrinks poor size to protect from infection. Make sure to use a low alcohol content variety.
Vegetable Glycerin & Vitamin E Oil
Vegetable glycerin takes the place of drying alcohols in many DIY projects. It also helps add and retain skin moisture. While alcohols are typically used as a preservative, vitamin E oil can be used as a substitute both because of its effect as a preservative and its skin nourishing ability. For both of these products, make sure that they are non-GMO and produced with some love to people, our fellow animals and the planet.
Jojoba & Other Carrier Oils
Jojoba oil is amazing for your skin and is also used in many DIY skincare projects. It is so close to the natural oil, or sebum, your skin produces that it both moisturizes and reduces oiliness over time. You can also use almond oil as a substitute with the added benefit of managing proper skin pH. Coconut oil is the most moisturizing of the gang and can be whipped in with the rest of these ingredients to make your aftershave nice and creamy. Make sure to opt for cold-pressed, unrefined, and organic varieties. Fair trade varieties of coconut oil can also be purchased.
Picking the right essential oils for your after-shave can not only make you smell nice, but also give you additional benefits such as antiseptic and astringent properties. Two common essential oils used in DIY after-shaves are Cedarwood Atlas and Bay (West Indies). Both exhibit the properties above and when combined with the witch hazel produce an earthy, fresh musk.
Here’s a great concoction that I recommend trying from Scratch Mommy (fills a 2oz bottle):
- 1 oz of distilled water
- 1 oz of witch hazel
- 1/4 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin
- 1/8 teaspoon of jojoba oil
- 13 drops of Cedarwood Atlas essential oil
- 7 drops of Bay (West Indies) essential oil
- 3 drops of Vitamin E Oil
Shake it all up and enjoy! I would whip a teaspoon or more of coconut oil in if you want to make this a nice cream as opposed to tonic.
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