Men’s fragrances come in all forms of varieties, where many wonder about aftershave vs. cologne as they often confuse the two. But the fact is, both have different purposes.
Some men believe that if they use an aftershave, it isn’t necessary to use a cologne after that. However, this is not true. So what is the difference between both? Let’s find out by answering these questions:
- What is an Aftershave?
- What is Cologne?
- Aftershave vs. Cologne: Final Thoughts
What is an Aftershave?
As the name implies, aftershave is a product that you apply to your skin after shaving. It cleans and closes the skin pores, soothing it down to reduce razor burn and possible razor bumps.
Think about shaving as an act of dragging a sharp metal across one of the thinnest and most sensitive areas of your body: the skin.
When you shave, you irritate the skin and produce microabrasions that bacteria can later infect, more so if you have sensitive and acne-prone skin.
What Does It Do?
As the blade shaves through the base of the hair, it comes into close contact with the skin pores, opening them up and exposing them to the bacteria that might accumulate on the blade.
Aftershave cleans and closes these pores, preventing bacteria from entering the skin. It also seals the accidental nicks and cuts that occur during shaving so that no infection can occur.
Aftershaves also contain fewer scented oils since the odor is not designed to linger on the skin the whole day.
What are the Main Ingredients in Aftershaves?
There are two main ingredients used in aftershaves. These are alcohol and witch hazel.
As a powerful astringent, alcohol is the reason why aftershave tightens and seals the skin and blocks bacteria from getting into the bloodstream. It is also the reason why aftershave burns or stings during application.
Witch hazel extract is a natural astringent with anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
It does not dry the skin like astringent alcohol. Instead, its moisturizing properties improve the hydration, elasticity, and softness in the outer skin layer. Hence, making it a perfect antidote for razor burn or irritation caused by shaving.
Meanwhile, its medical properties include anti-acne applications. For that reason, witch hazel is excellent at preventing acne blow-outs caused by too much pressure when shaving.
When and How to Apply Aftershave
Always apply an aftershave after every shave, especially if you accidentally cut or nicked yourself while shaving.
In particular, men with dry and oily skins with clogged pores should use this product to relieve the dryness and kill the skin bacteria in the pores.
The type of aftershave you use will depend on your skin type.
- If you have normal skin, a gel or liquid aftershave can be a good option.
- If your skin is oily, choosing a lotion, gel, or liquid with moisturizer is better.
- If the air is dry and cold or your skin is really dry, look for a balm with a moisturizer.
After you determine the kind of aftershave to use according to your skin type, here is how to apply aftershave properly:
- Follow your usual shaving routine. Once you complete your shave, use cold water to wash your face clean.
- Make sure to dry your face thoroughly with a clean hand towel. Keep in mind to not rub the towel on your skin because it can cause skin damage, and you do not want that.
- Pour out about a dime-sized amount of aftershave product of your choice into your palm.
- Rub the aftershave into both of your hands in a circular motion to spread it evenly for flawless application.
- Start applying gently on the face, especially in the most sensitive and freshly-shaved areas, starting at the cheekbones down to your jawline. Apply on your chin, upper lips, and finish up by applying on the neck area.
- Consider applying a second coat since some aftershaves tend to dry out fast.
It is as simple as that.
What is Cologne?
Cologne is a light-scented fragrance, usually marketed to men, that only lasts for a few hours.
In 1709, an Italian perfume maker in Cologne, Germany, was the one who formulated the original cologne, hence the name. They marketed it as Eau de Cologne, or Water of Cologne, believing that it had the power to ward off the bubonic plague, which was prevalent during those times.
Today, people use cologne to designate any scent formulation with 2-5% perfume oil. In contrast, the parfum or perfume contains anywhere between 20-40% scent oil. Since perfume fragrances have more oils than water, it tends to last eight hours longer than cologne.
What Does It Do?
You apply the cologne on the skin to let your skin’s natural oil absorb and meld with the essential oils in the product, resulting in a unique scent. The best place to apply them is on your pulse points, where the constant body temperature can heat the oils and release their fragrance to the air.
Since colognes are used primarily for fragrance, they can’t serve as a replacement for an aftershave. They don’t have anti-bacterial and astringent properties that can be of use after shaving.
What are the Main Ingredients in Cologne?
Colognes, unlike aftershaves, have three main ingredients, which are the following:
Essential Oils or Fragrance
Flowering plants are the natural source of essential oils. But, nowadays, some are producing essential oils synthetically. The most expensive and exclusive colognes are from rare essential oils that perfume houses secretly guard against the competition.
It may surprise you, but colognes have alcohol in their formulations, but only less than those within an astringent. It is because manufacturers only use it to distill the aromatic compounds that produce the fragrance. Therefore, a cologne cannot disinfect the way aftershaves can.
Water plays a vital role as the solvent for carrying the essential oil in the distilling process during the formulation of the cologne. In other words, it will capture and transport the fragrance when the heat and alcohol break down the essential oils to release the scent.
When and How to Use Cologne
The best time to apply cologne is just right after a shower when you are drying off. Do so by holding the bottle about 3-5 inches from the skin for even distribution.
A helpful rule of thumb when applying colognes is to start with a single drop or spray on your bare chest. As you find your comfort level with the scent, you can move on to spray to other parts of the body.
Remember to apply to warm areas, including behind the ear, shoulder, inner elbow, forearm, wrist, neck, and cheek, as heat can activate the scent during the day.
Aftershave vs. Cologne: Final thoughts
Always remember that while you can do away with a cologne during your shaving experience, you cannot do the same thing with an aftershave.
Using aftershave is essential because it is a hygienic way to end your shaving experience.
As for the cologne, it is all a matter of preference. If you want to have a fragrance that lasts more than the time it takes you out of the bathroom, dress into your work clothes, and go out into the world, then use a cologne.
Otherwise, stick with an aftershave. Your mug will thank you for it.
And when you do, choose an organic aftershave one with natural ingredients like ours here in Naked Armor. It does not contain any synthetic ingredients, hence ensuring that it is excellent for all skin types. Check them out below and Add to Cart.
Watch our YouTube video on the difference between aftershave and cologne.
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