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  1. #1
    Junior Member RobertHardy's Avatar
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    Aug 2011
    Denver, Colorado
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    Default Aftershave Balm vs. Traditional Aftershave

    Hey everyone,

    I'm extremely new to the whole process of shaving with a straight razor (I had my 3rd and closest shave yet this evening), and I'm wondering, firstly, what the real differences between aftershave balms and more traditional aftershave products are, and secondly, what the pros and cons would be of using either of these types of products.

    Also, what types of post-shave products do you guys use, in what order do you use them, and what benefits do you get from your particular setup?

    Many thanks,


  2. #2
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    Oct 2008
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    Hello Robert,

    Your typical 'traditional' aftershave splash is alcohol based with other ingredients mixed in, usually skin toners and fragrance. They come in a variety of scents, but these are most associated with "barbershop" scents. They will most likely burn when applied to freshly shaved skin, which wears off and feels refreshing afterwards. Unfortunately, some guys experience skin drying or other irritation from alcohol splashes; you'll have to try it for yourself to see if you get a bad reaction.

    Balms usually look like a runny cream, opaque in colour. They usually don't contain alcohol, so you won't get the refreshing burn most of us are used to, but they do have good skin moisturizing properties. Just like lotions, balms come in many scents, however it's not so common to find the traditional scents (the barbershop classics) in balm form.

    I hope this helps.

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    RobertHardy (09-05-2011)

  4. #3
    < Banned User >
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    Jul 2011
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    I tried Nivea balm and a low alcohol DR Harris pink splash..both left my skin greasy and skin is already it's Clubman LimeSec/Vegitol and British Sterling I choose to n lasts a VERY longtime so its worth the buy IMO

  5. #4
    May your bone always be well buried MickR's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Brisbane/Redcliffe, Australia
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    I actually use a bit of both.I apply an unscented aftershave balm first, then after about 15 minutes, I apply whatever A.S I decide on, on top of that.


  6. #5
    'tis but a scratch! roughkype's Avatar
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    Oct 2010
    Durango, Colorado
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    Hi Robert,

    I only use balms in the winter, when it's REALLY dry here. I'm over in Grand Junction, where it's pretty dry pretty much all the time.

    My daily aftershave is Thayer's cucumber/aloe witchazel, reliably available at GNC stores. It has no alcohol, so no sting. I keep mine in the fridge and it feels extra soothing as it goes on cold. I'm not really into scents, but don't mind smelling like a cool cucumber for a few minutes.

    I get the best comfort bang for the buck by shaving with cold water only. As cold as the tap will run, for a preshave rinse, for my lathering, for the whole shebang. Sometimes in the winter I can't bear the thought of a coldwater shave, but I find it's a great way to go in general.

    There are quite a few users in the Denver area. Here's the thread for this summer's Denver meetup, with pictures starting around page 8. Put a pin in our Googlemap (it's in the Community dropdown) and see who's close by.

    Best wishes to you.
    "These aren't the droids you're looking for." "These aren't the droids we're looking for." "He can go about his business." "You can go about your business."

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    RobertHardy (09-07-2011)

  8. #6
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    Aug 2011
    Southern California
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    I have sensitive skin and when I use traditional after shaves my skin dries out and turns red for a few hours in spots. When I use most after shave balms my skin doesn't dry out and usually doesn't turn red.

    Have a good one,


  9. #7
    Plausibly implausible carlmaloschneider's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Mount Torrens, South Australia
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    Sometimes I use Proraso 'Cream Liquid Aftershave' which is sort of cross between a balm and a AS, sometimes an AS, sometimes both. Basically I monitor my skin and the shave and use what is warranted. I too have oily skin and I find many moisturising products uneccesary...
    Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?
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  10. #8
    ace is offline
    Senior Member blabbermouth ace's Avatar
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    Dec 2010
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    No matter how good one's technique may be, the fact is that moving a sharp blade across your facial tissue creates trauma to the skin. Razor burn is a clear sign of too much trauma. Skin heals best when it is moist, and balms have the effect of moisturizing the skin and keeping it moist.

  11. #9
    Senior Member PaddyX21's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Gillingham, Medway, United Kingdom
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    Although I quite like using an alcohol based AS, I am unable to do so regularly as my skin really doesn't like it!
    I also tend to use a lightly scented or unscented balm, and use an AS later if required

  12. #10
    Senior Member oldschooltools's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Southside Virginia
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    Post shave routine is a very personal thing. I would say try ALL of the above and remember which works best for you.

    For me:
    Always...cold water rinse and witch hazel, followed by
    hot weather... alcohol based aftershave
    cold weather...balm

    Good luck, Jimbo

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