Grooming Advice

Aftershave or Cologne, What’s The Difference?

man applying aftershave in mirror

We previously brought you four of our classic aftershaves for men here. But what is the difference between aftershave and colognes and when do you use a cologne as oppose to an aftershave?

What is Aftershave?

Not only coming in liquid form, aftershaves are also widely sold as balms and lotions. Shaving can sometimes be a traumatic procedure for your skin, so it is imperative that you nourish and replenish your skin after you have finished shaving.

Aftershave has a around 1-3% perfume oil included so less likely to irritate the skin causing razor burn or other lumps and bumps. Their alcohol content is higher than colognes though, hence why you get that sting when applying, but don’t fear. This is doing a great job of closing up exposed pores, combating another reason men get irritation. In addition many brands add aloe vera into their aftershaves to offer a soothing and nourishing finish for the skin.

What is Cologne?

If you gave aftershave the job of nourishing your skin after shaving then cologne’s job is to make you smell great. With a higher perfume oil used than in aftershave you will get a stronger scent for longer. Activated by your body heat, try not to use excessive amounts, subtlety is key.

When To Use

Fairly simple rules apply for usage. If you have been shaving and had a nick or cut then aftershave will do wonders to heal them and close your pores. Finished shaving and have no cuts then by all means use cologne instead.

If you have sensitive or dry skin we would recommend using an aftershave balm or lotion. For oily or combination skin then a liquid aftershave will be best for you.

Can I use both? Only if they are from the same line, otherwise you will counter-affect the scents giving a mixed aroma.

Sam Brady is a menswear expert, having worked in or around the field for the past 14 years. He has built up a keen eye for detail when it comes to the production of clothing, and is happy showcasing the craftsmanship of Savile Row and Jermyn St. But he understands the need for an interchangeable modern man’s wardrobe that mixes high street and luxury clothing.

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