- Nathan Gareau, Famed Cocktologist and Shave Enthusiast.
A shave is not over until the skin has been soothed from the trauma of a shave. A gentleman’s face, and/or the legs and armpits of a lady are often left feeling tender and sensitive once it has been cleared of stubble. When it comes to post-shave care, one has options. Balms, splashes, and alum blocks, each have their individual strengths and uses.
A balm is often used to moisturize and relieve skin of irritation and is particularly useful for those in a cold and dry climate. Folks who complain of sensitive or dry skin may prefer a balm to a splash, as it won’t remove any additional oils from the face, further drying it out.
On the other hand, a splash is a watery tonic of astringents, antiseptics and facial toners. Gentlemen and ladies with oily skin or who live in humid environs, would likely find a splash to their liking. They often contain something that serves as an antiseptic to cleanse any small nicks or cuts, hence their trademarked sting. Skin that has been freshly ‘splashed’, feels tighter and more aware of its surroundings; a gentle breeze is more apparent and the sun that much warmer.
An alum block is a crystal of mineral salts that is used after shaving to sanitize nicks and cuts and stop minor bleeding by constricting the skin. People who complain of dry or sensitive skin might not appreciate its use as it would dry them out, but everyone else should give it a try. Alum blocks can also be used as an alternative to deodorant, who knew?
Personally, I enjoy using both a splash of Musgo Real Lime & Basil and the Castle Forbes Lime Balm after a 3-pass shave. The antibacterial and tingling splash deals with any embarrassing slip-ups or nicks while tightening up my skin. Afterwards, a generous dose of balm, to sooth and moisturize my freshly smooth face. A little of each makes me feel like I shaved using a feather instead of a sharpened piece of steel, even though my newly groomed face would tell otherwise.
I find that if I skip a step, my shave feels incomplete. Just a splash leaves me feeling overly tight and sensitive to the environment. Just a balm leaves my face soft and too relaxed, doughy even, like an under baked dinner roll.
At the end of the day, everyone’s skin is unique. Pay attention to how it feels after a shave and do something about it.