What's the difference between After Shave Balm & After Shave Lotion?

After Shave Balm vs After Shave Lotion

Shaving should be an enjoyable experience, not a painful chore.

After shaving, your skin is dry and sensitive and it's probably already beginning to look inflamed.

It needs to be soothed, cooled and moisturised.

After putting down your razor, the next step in your shaving routine should be applying the Aftershave.

But what's the difference between Aftershave Lotion and Aftershave Balm.

Yes - both are used post shave but they're very different!

What is the use of After Shave Lotion?

After Shave Lotion (sometimes just referred to as Aftershave) is fragranced and often alcohol-based. It is designed to help calm shaving irritation and disinfect the skin post shave.

Alcohol can also help get rid of bacteria on your skin but the problem is - alcohol can also worsen irritation, dry your skin out and cause it to flake.

What is the purpose of After Shave Balm?

Aftershave Balm serves the same purpose as lotion - to soothe your skin after shaving.

Unlike Aftershave Lotion, Aftershave Balm generally does not contain alcohol and is designed to moisturise. It’s thicker and creamier than Aftershave Lotion.

A typical Aftershave Balm has a light fragrance that comes from its ingredients and many men find it is much kinder to post-shaved skin.

You’ll know if the product you use contains alcohol - it’s what gives you that ‘stinging’ sensation.

Ingredients to avoid in After Shave


Many After Shaves contain isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol - similar to what you might find in a hand sanitizer or house hold cleaner.

These ingredients are great for killing bacteria on your face but not so great when it comes to soothing your skin post shave.

Alcohol can be found listed as:

  • Methanol
  • Denatured alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • SD alcohol
  • Ethyl alcohol

A great natural alternative to alcohol is Witch Hazel. It will not dry out your skin or cause redness and irritation.


Phthalates are chemicals used to soften plastics and - believe it or not - are used in some shaving products to soften your skin.

Phthalates can be found listed as:

  • DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate)
  • DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
  • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
  • BBP (benzyl butyl phthalate)
  • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
  • DINP (diisononyl phthalate)
  • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
  • DIDP (diisodecyl phthalate)


The problem with Parfum is that it can mean almost anything because it is an umbrella term for a multitude of possibly toxic and irritating ingredients.

Always opt for an After Shave containing natural fragrance (or fragrance free if you prefer).

Parfum is listed as:

  • Fragrance
  • Parfum

Best After Shave Balm for sensitive skin

Choose an Aftershave Balm without alcohol and look for natural ingredients. Specifically, look for a balm that contains soothing ingredients like Aloe Vera Leaf Juice, Chamomile, Witch Hazel and Vitamin E.

You should also look for a non-greasy formula and an Aftershave Balm which is pH balanced so as not to upset the chemistry of your skin.

What ingredients do you need in Aftershave?

Be on the lookout for these natural ingredients:

Vitamin E

Protects your post shave skin from environmental damage like pollution and cigarette smoke.

Vitamin E is considered an antioxidant superhero, it deeply hydrates post shave skin to calm irritation.

Aloe Vera Leaf Juice

Aloe Babadensis’s nourishing properties promote minor wound, burn and rash healing and is an excellent moisturizer and emollient. 

White Tea Leaf Extract

White tea is a lightly oxidized tea. Studies have shown that white tea has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and can strengthen and rejuvenate the skin matrix.

Witch Hazel

A great natural alternative to alcohol. Witch Hazel has all the anti-bacterial advantages of alcohol but is non irritating and won't dry your skin out.


Allantoin's anti-inflammatory, healing, calming and nourishing properties help stimulate healthy skin cell growth.

Chamomile Flower Extract

Chamomile Flower Extract has soothing, healing and anti-inflammatory properties and helps cool and calm sensitive skin.


Menthol is a natural cooling astringent for the skin, scalp and body.

If you're looking for a men's aftershave that won't give you razor burn and is better for your skin, go for a product marked as alcohol-free and one made from natural ingredients such as VITAMAN's After Shave Balm.