Shaving….. let’s face it, no one likes to do it, but it’s a necessary evil in order to maintain a well groomed appearance. So who originally came up with the idea of shaving? Well you need to go back 10,000 to attribute the blame, as it’s believed that cavemen used to remove their facial hair, using clamshells to pull out their beard hair.
It is known by cave drawings, discovered in Ukraine, that ice age men definitely used to keep their facial hair to a shorter stubble, thereby still maintaining some warmth, but preventing frostbite when the vapour from breath froze in a heavier beard and accumulated against the skin.
Ancient Egyptians shaved their faces and heads for the sake of good hygiene, and copper and bronze razors have been recovered in ancient burial chambers. They also used stones sharpened into blades which they set in wooden handles – the ancient version of the modern day safety razor. Greeks and Romans also shaved during the reign of Alexander the Great to distinguish themselves from the hairier barbarians, and barbers became commonplace. From thereafter the decision regarding clean-shaven or some degree of facial hair became a matter of fashion.
The steel edged straight razor, commonly known as a ‘cut-throat’ razor was manufactured on a large scale from 1680 in Sheffield, England. The first real safety razor was designed by Jean-Jacques Perret in 1762, although the first one wasn’t marketed until 1880 by the Kampfe brothers. Until then men went to the barbers for their shave. Incidentally, Truefitt & Hill of Mayfair, London which was established in 1805, is the world’s oldest remaining barbershop. In 1895 the first razor with disposable blades was invented by King Camp Gillette, a name synonymous with disposable razors today. Unfortunately the blades rusted quickly, but in the 1960’s stainless steel replaceable blades became available and easy shaving became possible for everyone.
It was commonplace to apply an alcohol based product to the face after shaving in order to act as an astringent and prevent infection from cuts and nicks. We’ve all seen Macauley Culkin in Home Alone scream after applying aftershave. The pain is real!! An average man will shave 10,000 times during his lifetime. Therefore it’s important to get the skincare right. Shaving removes the dead skin on the surface, and removes the natural oils from the skin, thus dehydrating it. The real purpose of an aftershave is to rehydrate the skin, and reduce irritation. Therefore alcohols which can dry the skin out further and irritate the sensitised skin are not the answer. Neither are products loaded with parabens, polyethylene glycol, phthalates, formaldehyde, oxybenzone, sulphates, toluene, mercury, mineral oil, animal oils, or synthetic colours and fragrances which can majorly disrupt the endocrine system, causing hormone malfunction which controls our mood and metabolism and may lead to birth defects, neurological, reproductive and developmental damage. They can cause cancer, organ toxicity, respiratory difficulties and skin allergies. Post shaving skincare needs to be gentle and caring, and what better way than to use the gift of Mother Nature. Natural extracts such as oil and butter can rehydrate, moisturise, reduce itching and swelling, calm razor burn, close pores to protect against dirt and bacteria, prevent ingrown hairs, accelerate healing and soothe skin irritations, leaving the skin soothed, soft and moisturised. Whatsmore, all the ingredients are active, concentrated and potent, and a little goes a long way.
These are natural vegetable oils, extracted by cold pressing from the nut, kernel or seed of plants. They help to carry the therapeutic properties of essential oils into the skin, since essential oils evaporate quickly and are too concentrated to apply directly to the skin. Nevertheless, carrier oils have an array of benefits in their own right, being exceptionally beneficial to the health of skin and hair, and can be used alone.
Argan oil is the perfect choice for an aftershave balm and is a core ingredient in many of the popular commercially available products. It’s packed with an abundance of poly-unsaturated fatty acids, namely omega 6 and omega 9, and active compounds, including vitamin E, all working in unison to offer superb hydration, soothe shaving burn or any rash or irritation, reducing inflammation and repairing the skin’s barrier, in addition to improving the skin’s elasticity. Argan oil can help to regulate the sebum, preventing spots or acne and reducing dry skin. As a lightweight oil and easily absorbed, it will soothe and protect against in-grown hairs, making the new hair follicles softer so the new stubble growing will be less coarse. As a potent antioxidant, argan oil can help to reduce the damaging effect of free radicals and protect from sun damage. Any nicks and cuts will be cared for and protected from infection with the antibacterial properties, and wound healing accelerated.
Sweet Almond Oil
Known as the “King Of Nuts”, and used by the Chinese for centuries for its amazing benefits to the skin, it’s a powerhouse of beneficial vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids including vitamins A, E, B2 and K, plus omega-6, omega-9, palmitic and stearic acids, in addition to zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium. It’s a superb emollient and moisturiser to replace the moisture lost through shaving, rehydrating and soothing dry red skin, inflammation and razor burn. Almond oil is light and easily absorbed, penetrating deep to restore the skin’s natural protective film to protect against oxidative damage and prevent premature ageing. It helps to stimulate the natural production of collagen and elastin, accelerate skin renewal, repair skin damage, and normalise the sebaceous glands to balance the oil content in the skin. Extremely gentle, almond oil is suitable for all skin types, including the most sensitive, and can even help to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Due to its antibacterial property it can also help with acne, and protect any shaving nicks against infection.
Jojoba oil is technically a wax and not an oil, and is biologically very similar to the skin’s own sebum, which makes it a natural solution to replace oils lost through shaving everyday, whilst helping to balance the skin’s own oil production.
It is a humectant, meaning that it locks moisture into the skin and forms a protective barrier but, as a non comedogenic, will not clog the pores, instead dissolving the sebum in clogged pores. Packed with fatty acids, vitamin E, carbohydrates, and minerals that are essential for skin health, jojoba oil is hypoallergenic, and therefore suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive.
Odourless and colourless, this oil is very easily absorbed and will deeply nourish the skin, and its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal properties will protect against conditions like acne, eczema, itchiness, psoriasis, razor burn or any other kind of skin irritation, and in-grown hairs.
High concentrations of vitamins A and E, help to brighten the skin and protect against oxidative damage, diminishing and protecting against the signs of ageing. Jojoba oil stimulates cell regeneration, and actively promotes wound healing, encouraging the binding of skin cells separated due to a wound or cut, thus helping any shaving cuts to heal quicker.
Aloe vera is an absolute powerhouse when it comes to skin healing. It’s rich with a balanced group of a possible 75 biologically active substances such as vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, anthraquinones, saponins, salicylic acids and amino acids. A natural light moisturiser with remarkable hydrating properties, studies have shown that it can penetrate up to three epidermal layers of the skin, in addition to penetrating the epidermis quicker than water. It helps the skin to retain moisture, whilst stimulating collagen and elastin, repairing skin cells to minimise the signs of ageing. Aloe vera is also a first-class antioxidant that inhibits the oxidation process in cells, protecting the skin further. It unblocks the pores and leaves the skin feeling super soft.
Aloe vera is instantly cooling to the skin, and its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and soothing effect will help to soothe razor burn, skin irritation, eczema and psoriasis, and reduce acne and blackheads, whilst treating ingrown hairs. Nicks and cuts are no problem to aloe vera since it actively promotes skin repair, and has been shown to increase skin repair by up to eight times.
For hundreds of years African women have been using shea butter to hydrate, firm, heal and regenerate hair and skin. The restorative quality of shea butter, combined with its superior moisturising, antibacterial and anti-itch properties is extremely advantageous to those with skin damaged by razor burn, in-grown hairs, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rashes, allergic reactions or any kind of inflammation, helping to nourish and protect the skin, and relieve symptoms. As a non comedogenic, the butter will not clog the pores, but will dissolve the sebum in clogged pores, which makes it highly suitable for acne-prone skin. The anti-inflammatory property of shea butter will reduce redness and handle any infection naturally, reducing scarring and discolouration of the skin, and evening out the skin tone. Shea butter is also a humectant, meaning that it locks moisture into the skin and forms a protective barrier. Since shea butter is so deeply absorbed, the nutrients are carried further into the skin, accelerating wound healing and helping the wound to heal from the inside out, healing any nicks or cuts from shaving quickly, whilst antibacterial properties prevent infection. As a strong antioxidant it can reduce and counteract the effect of free radicals, helping to protect against skin damage, including inflammation and premature ageing.
Essential Oils are the concentrated chemical compounds extracted from plant parts such as roots, seeds, leaves, flowers or bark, through distillation, either steam or water, or via a mechanical method such as cold pressing. It is these highly potent compounds which give the plant its unique aroma and taste – its very essence. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their wonderful scent and therapeutic properties. Inhaling essential oils stimulates the olfactory nerves and impacts the amygdala, which is the emotional centre of the brain, influencing mood and behaviour. They can also be absorbed through the skin, and pack a punch in hair and skin care. So here’s a pick of oils specifically suited to aftershave care. Just add a few drops to any of the natural products listed above, mix well, and boost the mood while enjoying the delicious fragrance and reaping the benefit of their health boosting properties for the skin:
Aroma: floral herbaceous with a woody undertone
Blends well with: chamomile, frankincense, peppermint, lemongrass, eucalyptus, grapefruit, tea tree
Aromatherapy: calms and relaxes. Relieves anxiety and depression.
Properties: has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, astringent, moisturising, cleansing, and skin healing properties, therefore making it highly suitable for an aftershave treatment to relieve razor burn and heal nicks and cuts. Suitable for all skin types. Reduces inflammation and itching, and soothes and heals skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne and infected ingrown hairs. Can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even the skin tone.
Aroma: Apple-like, lightly herbaceous
Blends well with: Lavender, Lemongrass, Grapefruit
Aromatherapy: Relieves anxiety and depression. Soothes tension and stress. Restores emotional balance.
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties. Soothes and calms inflamed and irritated skin including razor burn, eczema, psoriasis, acne, or any other skin irritation. Balances sebum levels, relieving dryness or oiliness. Promotes skin healing to effectively handle any cuts and prevent infection.
Aroma: sweet, warm, woody with hints of spice and citrus. Possesses the ability to make other aromas richer and more intriguing.
Blends well with: Lavender, Lemongrass, Grapefruit
Aromatherapy: soothes tension and stress. Restores emotional balance. Boosts focus.
Properties: potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, wound healing, antiseptic and skin soothing properties. An excellent aid to handle infected ingrown hairs, razor burn and any nicks and cuts. Extremely nourishing to the skin, it stimulates cell renewal, promotes elasticity, tightens the skin and evens out skin tone. Balances sebum levels, relieves the signs of ageing and enhances the protective function of the epidermis.
Aroma: sharp, cool, refreshing, menthol
Blends well with: Lavender, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree
Aromatherapy: refreshing, stimulating and uplifting. Dispels mental fatigue and promotes mental clarity and enhanced concentration.
Properties: cools and invigorates the skin. Anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, healing effect. Suitable for all skin types. Calms razor burn, other skin irritations and relieves itching. Has a healing effect on infected blemishes, cuts, acne and ingrown hairs, and helps to numb any pain. Promotes skin rejuvenation.
Aroma: light, refreshing, subtle citrus with earthy herbaceous undertones
Blends well with: Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree
Aromatherapy: reduces nervousness, anxiety and stress. Eliminates lethargy and mental fatigue. Promotes a positive outlook, boots mental clarity.
Properties: antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and antioxidant for good skin health. Cleanses and detoxifies the skin and pores, helps to tighten large pores, eliminate excess oil and prevent acne and blackheads. Reduces redness, inflammation and itching, effectively reducing the symptoms of razor burn. Promotes blood circulation and has wound healing properties, cleansing and disinfecting any cuts, and is helpful in the treatment of ingrown hairs. Stimulates cell regeneration and strengthens the connective tissues.
Note: do not expose the skin to strong sunlight after application as may make the skin more photosensitive.
Aroma: woody, herbaceous, camphorous, minty
Blends well with: Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Tea Tree
Aromatherapy: calms anxiety. Invigorates and eliminates lethargy. Promotes mental clarity.
Properties: antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant for good skin health. Reduces the appearance of ageing. Moisturises and seals the skin, and its cooling and anti-inflammatory properties help to relieve the discomfort of razor burn. Promotes blood circulation and wound healing, and can take care of any cut or ingrown hair, preventing infection.
Tea Tree Oil
Aroma: fresh, herbaceous, camphorous.
Blends well with: Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint
Aromatherapy: relieves fatigue and nervous depression
Properties: strong anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-itching properties. One of the best oils for treating razor burn and ingrown hairs. Suitable for use on all skin types. Regulates sebum production, calms the skin, soothes irritation and supports wound healing. It helps to treat psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis, and relieves acne. Deep cleanses the pores and removes impurities. Improves blood circulation and complexion, refreshes the skin, eliminates flabbiness and restores elasticity.
Aroma: light, uplifting, tangy
Blends well with: Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Frankincense, Chamomile
Aromatherapy: relieves fatigue, stress, tension and nervous depression. Improves mental clarity, memory and alertness.
Properties: powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. Regulates sebum production, deep cleanses the pores and removes impurities, effectively eliminating the cause of acne and blackheads. Reduces redness and inflammation, including razor burn, and can help to even the skin tone. Relieves a dull complexion, leaving the skin looking more radiant. Promotes collagen production to improve elasticity. Helps to cleanse and heal any cuts or ingrown hairs. Protects the skin against premature ageing and tissue degeneration.
Note: do not expose the skin to strong sunlight after application as may make the skin more photosensitive.
So now you know which natural products you can use to make an amazing aftershave treatment, based entirely on your exact skin needs, and naturally fragranced to suit your taste and boost the mood. 100% natural. No harsh synthetic chemicals or alcohol to irritate the skin. Banish the screaming as you slap on the aftershave! Say hello to happy healthy skin.