Alum block is the original aftershave essential. It is a staple in quintessential barbershops of the past, helping prevent razor bumps, burns and stop a nick or significant cut from bleeding. Yet, not many people know how to use alum blocks for their post-shave needs and more.
One natural old-timer in the skincare realm is alum block. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help neutralize the acid in your pores, while its antibacterial quality attacks bacteria that cause acne breakouts, making it also a natural toner alternative. It has been and continues to be a favorite among many shaving aficionados and pros to use after shaving and prevent razor bumps and irritation or to calm down redness when achieving the best barber shave at home.
Today, you will learn more about this crystal skincare wonder and how using aftershaves like these can turn your shaving game up a notch.
In this article:
- What is an Alum Block?
- How to Use an Alum Block?
- Alum Block for Sensitive Skin
- Aftershave Essentials
What is an Alum Block?
As a young boy, shaving never seemed more enticing than ever, especially with big old dad and pops wielding a sharp razor on their beards so graciously as if it was nothing. But when it was time for you to try it out, reality sure outweighed your expectations. Shaving is not as luxurious and as easy as how the adults make it look.
Chances are, you had your fair share of razor nicks and even major cuts. At one point (or two) in your shaving journey, you had made a bloody mess that you would usually cover up with bits of paper towels or band-aids. Too bad for you. It would help if you had used an alum block instead and stopped the bleeding without a conspicuous mark on your face.
Alum block is a small portion of the mineral potassium alum. It has excellent natural antiseptic, astringent, and antibacterial properties, making it an all-around essential for disinfecting needs and for everyone’s shaving routine.
Thanks to its versatility, people have been using it as an aftershave and more for hundreds of years. In some parts of the world, alum blocks are the best natural deodorant and an old wives’ secret to lighter underarms.
For shaving, alum block’s astringent properties help stop razor cuts and nicks from bleeding by contracting the blood vessels. Those prone to having razor burns can soothe their skin using an alum block because it helps reduce redness and inflammation, disinfecting it, and prevent razor bumps.
How to Use an Alum Block?
Using an alum block is relatively straightforward. It all depends on what you are using it for. Hence below is a list of different uses of alum block:
Alum Block for Aftershave
Many men often wonder why they continue to have post-shave skin irritations even when shaving as close to the skin as possible. The problem is most men often overlook using an aftershave. Instead, they just shave, wash, and go.
Before tonics, colognes, and other aftershave products came into the picture; alum blocks have been catering to men and women’s post-shave needs.
Here is how to use alum block as an aftershave:
Refresh your face with cold water
Before shaving, it would be best to prep your skin and steam it by putting a warm towel over your face for a few minutes. But after shaving, you will need to use cold water to rinse off the leftover lather and other shaving debris. The cold water helps constrict the blood vessels around any open wounds, reducing the amount of bleeding and freshening your skin, preparing it for the alum block.
Wet the alum block
Now that your face feels fresh, you will have to wet the alum block first. Do not rub a dry alum block on your face as its surface can be a bit abrasive, which can further irritate or cut your skin, increasing your risk of razor burn and infected razor bumps.
Apply it on your face
When you finish making your alum block moist enough, it will glide smoothly on top of your skin. Rub it over the area you shaved, and do it gently and carefully. Please do not rush the process, as the goal is to soothe your skin and not disturb it more.
Let it sit
If you genuinely want to get the most out of the post-shave benefits of alum blocks, you will have to be patient. Let it sit on your face until dry. It will give enough time to have its antibacterial, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties get to work to soothe your skin and prevent whatever bleeding that cropped up.
Wash it off
You can leave the alum block to dry and call it a day. It will undoubtedly stop the bleeding on any cut, but you will sport a white cast on your face. So, if you shave in the morning and need to go out, it would be best to wash it off once completely dry. Then, apply an aftershave balm.
Alum Block as a Natural Deodorant
Ask anyone in their golden years or anyone older than you what their secret to having smooth and odor-free underarms is, and they will most likely say alum block. This crystal has long been a favorite traditional and natural deodorant for decades! It is natural, scent-free, alcohol-free, and works well.
The best time to apply an alum block on your underarms is after taking a shower. Hence, it is only wise to keep it inside the bathroom for easy access. To use it as a deodorant, you will have to wet its surface; pat your armpits damp; rub it over gently. It is as simple as that.
Alum Block for Skin Lightening
Being an all-around skincare essential, alum block is a popular component in Ayurveda and natural medical practices, especially for improving skin tones and giving it a healthy glow. According to 1mg, alum’s astringent properties help remove excess oil from the skin, making it lighter and improving its tone.
You can use alum block to lighten your elbows, knees, knuckles, armpits, and other dark areas in your body, even the sides of your pubic area. You will use it as you would apply it as a deodorant. However, it would be best to rub the different sides of the block to avoid cross-contamination.
Alum Block for Sensitive Skin
Those who have susceptible skin should not let alum block residue stay on their face too long. Since it is an astringent, it can give you a tingling and burning sensation, but it is only on rare occasions that alum blocks cause significant skin irritations. Nonetheless, the longer it stays on your face, the longer you may feel its effects.
The burning and tingling sensation that an alum block imposes can be too much for some. So, instead, here at Naked Armor, we recommend washing it off, as instructed above, and apply other moisturizing aftershave essentials afterward.
There are a lot of post-shave products in the market. You can find it in the form of lotion, splash, or balm. However, be mindful because they sometimes have artificial ingredients that may not suit your skin type, especially if you have a sensitive one.
Here are the toxic ingredients you should look out for:
- Propylene glycol - used like glycerin to preserve moisture
- Triethanolamine (TEA) - emulsifying agent
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - detergent and lathering agent
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) - a gentler version of SLS
- Mineral oil - petroleum byproduct; alternative for plant-based oils
- Synthetic fragrance and coloring.
You can try an organic aftershave made from natural ingredients. Here at Naked Armor, we have an excellent collection of aftershaves and beard balms containing the leading top essential oils for shaving that you can use after you shave. Check them out below, and do not forget to Add to Cart.
You may also find other shaving essentials, especially using a straight razor, from us. Simply browse through Naked Armor.
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