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How to Make Aftershave

You may already know that aftershave disinfects and soothes your skin after shaving, but did you know you can easily make it at home?

Here’s how:

Aftershave Splash Recipe

Making an aftershave splash is straightforward. All you need to do is combine the following ingredients in a glass amber bottle with a spray top:

Witch Hazel3/4 cup
Aloe Vera Gel1/4 cup
Vegetable Glycerin1 tablespoon
Essential Oils (Optional)10-15 drops

Aftershave Lotion Recipe

1. Create a Base

Start by creating an emulsion. An emulsion is a mixture of oil and water ingredients, which typically do not mix together, but can be forced to do so with the help of an emulsifier such as emulsifying wax.

Heat together the following ingredients in a double boiler until they are fully melted:

  • 2 tablespoons of emulsifying wax
  • 1/4 cup of shea butter

2. Add Carrier Oil

After removing the mixture from heat, stir in 1/4 cup of your chosen carrier oil – let cool to lukewarm temperature.

3. Mix & Add Water-Based Ingredients

In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup of distilled water and 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel.

4. Combine and Blend

Gradually add the water-based ingredients to the cooled oil-based mixture while stirring continuously. This consistent stirring helps to combine and suspend the oil and water molecules forming an emulsion.

Pro Tip: To create a stable and creamy emulsion, you’ll need a hand or immersion blender. Blend the mixture on a low to medium setting until a creamy lotion consistency is achieved.

5. Add Fragrance

Add approximately 10-15 drops of your essential oil blend to the lotion to provide a fragrance to the mixture.

Aftershave Balm Recipe

Aftershave balm soothes skin post-shave due to the high concentration of moisturizing ingredients. Follow these steps to make aftershave balm:

1. Preparing Oil-Based Ingredients

Heat the following ingredients in a double boiler until completely melted:

Cocoa Butter1/4 cup
Coconut Oil1/4 cup
Beeswax1 tablespoon

In this recipe, cocoa butter and coconut oil act as emollients to smooth and soften the skin, while beeswax acts as an emulsifier and provides a protective layer on the skin.

2. Cool Down

Once thoroughly melted, remove the mixture from heat and let it cool until it begins to solidify but remains soft to the touch.

3. Add Essential Oils

Next, add the following ingredients to the slightly solidified mixture to provide fragrance and additional skincare benefits. You’ll want to add 10-15 drops of essential oils, and if desired, 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil.

4. Mix and Set

After adding the essential oils and Vitamin E, mix with a hand mixer or spoon and pour into a storage jar or aluminum tin.

Understanding the Ingredients

Here are a few ingredients within aftershave and their benefits:

  • Witch hazel, a plant-derived substance, works as an anti-inflammatory and astringent. It heals minor nicks or cuts from your razor, gently cleanses the skin, reduces pore size, and leaves a smooth, fresh appearance. Unlike alcohol, it doesn’t sting or excessively dry out your skin.
  • Aloe vera gel adds a layer of moisture to the skin, preventing it from drying out after shaving. This ingredient also contains vitamins A, E, and C, known to reduce inflammation and irritation. It also has antibacterial properties, contributing to the disinfecting role of the aftershave.
  • Vegetable glycerin is an excellent humectant, meaning it draws water into the outer layer of your skin, keeping it hydrated throughout the day. It also promotes skin elasticity, encourages new skin cell growth, and aids in wound healing.
  • Essential oils are optional in this recipe but often included for a pleasing scent. High concentrations can cause irritation, so patch testing is recommended for sensitive skin. Beware of false claims regarding essential oils. Some people may state they have anti-aging or skin-tightening properties. Although some oils like frankincense or lavender have antioxidant or healing properties, they will not significantly alter your skin’s structure or reverse signs of aging.
  • Shea butter is packed with vitamins A, E, and F and provides the skin with essential fatty acids and nutrients necessary for collagen production. This makes it an excellent choice for combating dry skin and improving skin’s health and appearance.
  • Carrier oils serve as the base for most cosmetic products and are so named because they ‘carry’ other ingredients. Most of the time, they are derived from the fatty portions of plants and are excellent for hydration and provide nourishing vitamins and fatty acids to the skin.

Interested in making other grooming products? Check out our in-depth guide here.

Sanitary Preparations and Process

Before preparing your aftershave, sanitize the storage container. Immerse them in boiling water for 10 minutes and then allow them to air dry. Using pipettes ensures precise measurement of the ingredients and prevents cross-contamination.

Essential Oil Blends

Here are a few suggestions for essential oil blends that you can use in your aftershave recipes according to your preferences:

  • Woody Blend: 10 drops of cedarwood oil, 3 drops of sandalwood oil, 2 drops of vetiver oil. This blend embodies a robust, outdoorsy aroma.
  • Old Spice Blend: 7 drops of clove oil, 4 drops of cinnamon oil, 2 drops of nutmeg oil, 2 drops of ginger oil. This blend recreates the classic “Old Spice” scent with a spicy, warm undertone.
  • Refreshing Citrus Blend: 7 drops of lemon oil, 4 drops of orange oil, 3 drops of grapefruit oil, 1 drop of lime oil. This blend provides a bright and invigorating scent, perfect for a morning wake-up call.


While the above recipe works for most, some might prefer a traditional aftershave with an alcohol base.

To make this, replace the witch hazel with 2 parts of 100-proof vodka or other pure grain alcohol and 1 part of distilled water. Note that using alcohol may cause dryness and a sting upon application, especially if minor cuts or abrasions exist on the skin from shaving.

For those with sensitive skin, consider a variation that includes chamomile, known for its soothing and calming properties on the skin.

Swap a portion of the witch hazel with a chamomile tea infusion, which you can prepare by steeping chamomile tea bags in hot water for about 15-20 minutes. After cooling, use about a 1/2 cup of the chamomile infusion, reducing the witch hazel to a 1/2 cup as well.

Bay rumwhich we discuss at length here, is another popular aftershave scent. Rather than using vodka, as our recipe above specifies, as the name suggests, rum is used as the alcohol base.

Add one whole crushed West Indian bay leaf, two whole allspice berries, and one small stick of cinnamon to two cups of dark rum, as well as a tablespoon each of glycerin and aloe vera.


Store your newly made aftershave in a dark, cool, and dry place to prolong its shelf life. Whether it is a splash, lotion or balm, they should all last approximately 6 to 12 months, depending on the freshness of your ingredients and the cleanliness of your process.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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