The 6 best aftershaves for razor burn

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ByMasha Vapnitchnaia

Aftershaves have come a long way from super strong alcohol-based splashes (remember that scene from Home Alone?). These days, the best aftershaves for razor burn are alcohol-free and contain gentle, plant-based astringents and moisturizers that can help close the pores and retain moisture on freshly shaved skin. And though the word “aftershave” may conjure thoughts of pungent tonics, there are many mildly scented or even fragrance-free options in different application forms, including gels, lotions, and sprays.

Most aftershaves will have a combination of active ingredients that aim to calm and hydrate skin. Look for a product made with tea tree oil or witch hazel, which both have anti-inflammatory properties. Similarly, menthol has a cooling effect on the skin and can help soothe mild pain if you’re literally feeling the burn. As for hydration, nut oils like macadamia are incredibly moisturizing, as is aloe vera and glycerin. If you’re prone to ingrown hairs as well as razor burn, consider an aftershave with gentle exfoliating acids to prevent that in the future. And if you have sensitive skin, the majority of aftershaves below are free from most potentially irritating synthetic fragrances and dyes.

Whether you prefer a classic aftershave splash, spray-on oil, gel, or balm, these are the best aftershaves for razor burn to help soothe your inflamed skin and keep it hydrated.


The refreshing splash

With witch hazel at its base, this hydrating aftershave helps to calm skin without the use of alcohol as an astringent. The formula also contains skin-conditioning macadamia nut oil and soothing organic chamomile. The splash is infused with bergamot fruit oil, giving it a refreshing citrus scent without artificial fragrance — although it does contain dyes.

One reviewer wrote: “This is my favorite after shave. Great scent, refreshing but with no alcohol burn.”


The cooling oil

The menthol in this aftershave oil helps to cool and refresh the skin, and it’s easy to spritz on after shaving. The oil is USDA-certified organic and also contains sunflower, baobab, and rose hip oils to hydrate without leaving behind an oily residue. The alcohol-free formula also contains bergamot oil, which gives it a light citrus scent. It’s free from artificial fragrances and dyes.

One reviewer wrote: “The oil based aftershave is a nice break from the stingy and sometimes irritating alcohol based products. A little goes a long way and if you don't overdo it, the oil sinks into the skin without leaving any greasiness behind.”


The moisturizing balm

This aftershave balm is packed with hydrating ingredients, including organic aloe vera, lavender, and vitamin E. The formula also contains coconut oil and hyaluronic acid to help moisturize and soothe skin. It’s alcohol-free and contains no synthetic fragrances or dyes. This version is scented with peppermint, lemongrass, and eucalyptus essential oils, and it’s also available in an unscented version. Plus, it comes in a travel-sized bottle that’s easy to pack in a toiletry bag.

One reviewer wrote: “This is a great product, especially for someone with sensitive skin. I frequently get razor bumps on my neck and this helps with reducing that, keeping the skin moisturized, and cooling ‘the burn’.”


The classic witch hazel toner

Though not an aftershave per se, this witch hazel toner has all the right ingredients to support skin post-shave. In addition to witch hazel to reduce redness and inflammation, the tonic contains moisturizing aloe vera and glycerin. What it doesn’t contain is alcohol, dye, or artificial fragrance. This version is unscented, but it’s also available in five scented formulas including lavender, coconut, and cucumber. This affordable solution to razor burn is also incredibly popular, earning a 4.7-star overall rating on Amazon after more than 68,000 reviews.

One reviewer wrote: “I searched high and low for a good solution to my sensitive skin after shaving; this product works great. It really helps with the burn and redness I am usually left with after shaving.”


The exfoliating balm

The lactic and salicylic acids in this aftershave balm help to exfoliate and even out skin tone, including razor bumps. Tea tree oil and witch hazel work to calm skin, and the formula also contains moisturizing jojoba oil and shea butter. It’s free from alcohol, artificial fragrance, and dye. The balm is unscented, but reviewers noted that it smells light and fresh thanks to the menthol and other botanically derived ingredients. Another popular choice, this aftershave balm has a 4.7-star overall rating on Amazon.

One reviewer wrote: “I’ve been using this product consistently for the past six months now. My skin gets very dry after shaving and I am prone to razor bumps. This product helps with both issues. It has a very pleasant smell and it keeps my skin moisturized all day.”


The soothing gel

This aftershave gel includes several skin-soothing plant extracts, including witch hazel, aloe, sage, chamomile, lavender, and cooling mint. There’s also anti-inflammatory rosemary and moisturizing glycerin. In addition to calming razor burn, this cooling gel can also help with sunburns. It’s free of artificial fragrance, dye, and alcohol.

One reviewer wrote: “I love the consistency and the subtle smell of this stuff, and most of all, it really does sooth[e] my face after shaving. No more razor burn.”

Studies referenced:

Pazyar, N., Yaghoobi, R., Bagherani, N., & Kazerouni, A. (2013). A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology. International journal of dermatology, 52(7), 784–790.

Thring, T. S. A., Hili, P., & Naughton, D. P. (2011). Antioxidant and potential anti-inflammatory activity of extracts and formulations of white tea, Rose, and witch hazel on primary human dermal fibroblast cells. Journal of Inflammation, 8(1).

Hanum, T. I., Laila, L., Sumaiyah, S., & Syahrina, E. (2019). Macadamia Nuts Oil in Nanocream and Conventional Cream as Skin Anti-Aging: A Comparative Study. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 7(22), 3917–3920.

Surjushe, A., Vasani, R., & Saple, D. G. (2008). Aloe vera: a short review. Indian journal of dermatology, 53(4), 163–166.

Fluhr, J. W., Darlenski, R., & Surber, C. (2008). Glycerol and the skin: holistic approach to its origin and functions. The British journal of dermatology, 159(1), 23–34.

Tsai, T. H., Chuang, L. T., Lien, T. J., Liing, Y. R., Chen, W. Y., & Tsai, P. J. (2013). Rosmarinus officinalis extract suppresses Propionibacterium acnes-induced inflammatory responses. Journal of medicinal food, 16(4), 324–333.