Why Does Aftershave Burn? And How To Choose The Right Aftershave

Have you ever got burned after aftershave? If yes, do you know what causes it to burn? Here you will provide you with information about why aftershave burns!

Aftershave is known as any type of gel, oil, or other materials applied to your skin after shaving. Primarily, they may be harmless when applying them to the skin to soothe or sanitize it.

However, several aftershaves might cause your skin to burn after shaving.

So, why does aftershave burn? How long does an aftershave burn last? How bad is it really? There are numerous unanswered questions about this subject, so we will handle all of them in this post. Let’s get started!

Why Does Aftershave Burn?

No matter how skillful you are or how frequently you shave your hair, aftershave is still supposed to burn. Indeed, many reasons are causing it to sting when putting aftershave on your skin.

Shaving technique

Regardless of your shaving technique, the skin is always slightly injured as a result of shaving.

The razor’s sharp blade grinds against the skin and eliminates the extremely fine upper surface, leading to a close shave. Also, this uncovers newer skin, which is far less hardened and worn and hence, becomes more sensitive. 

On the other hand, a good shave will decrease the quantity of aftershave burn on the skin. Besides, protecting the skin both before and during shaving may also aid in minimizing the harm caused by shaving. The aftershave can burn less if the skin is less injured.

Indeed, numerous options are available, ranging from pre-shave soaps that offer an additional layer of protection to high-quality shaving creams that provide more glide and comfort.

Apart from canned shaving foams, conventional shaving cream and soap give the ideal lubricant level, ensuring that your shave is as gentle on the skin as possible.

Aftershave types

In the past, aftershave splash used to be the only type of aftershave offered. However, the aftershave balm quickly replaced it because it gives a more moisturizing and creamy aftershave than the conventional splash. 

Consider switching to an aftershave balm when you suffer burns from the splash. Although this product may still sting since its antibacterial properties operate on newly shaven skin, the hydrating properties can help relieve the area more instantly and effectively than a splash.

Nevertheless, if your skin is extremely oily, the moisturizing characteristics of aftershave balm may increase oil levels.

It seems to be fantastic for many individuals because it stops their skin from becoming dry. Despite that, those with extremely oily skin may prefer an aftershave splash.



Aftershave is available in various types, and several may include or not include alcohol. However, most come with alcohol, and it is also the primary reason the skin may burn after using aftershave.

Your skin will burn once the alcohol in your aftershave interacts with surface wounds and nicks. Whereas the sting can burn or sting, the alcohol protects the wounded area free of infections and aids in the stopping of bleeding.

Working as an astringent, alcohol is utilized to aid in the closure of the skin’s pores. Indeed, you always desire this result since you do not want your clean pores to become blocked with dirt after you shower.

Additionally, alcohol is beneficial since it eliminates germs and bacteria and can help prevent infection. Therefore, many aftershaves come with it.

However, alcohol dehydrates the skin and makes it challenging to keep it moist. As a result, your skin may feel dry and harsh. We recommend using an alcohol-free aftershave to decrease or eliminate the burning feeling. Witch hazel is a popular replacement beneficial for the skin’s general health.


Several manufacturers include fragrance in the aftershave to provide a two-for-one offer. 

Manufacturers primarily do not reveal what really is in their fragrances, so your aftershave container may write “synthetic fragrance” or “fragrance.” However, this issue is that you have no idea what substances or chemicals they use, which could be toxic or detrimental to the skin, causing discomfort and burning.

In case your skin is sensitive, you had better use natural substitutions or alcohol-free colognes.

Old razors 

Your razor’s quality, as well as its working condition, can be directly tied to the issue of skin burning after applying aftershave. A bad razor and a blunt blade raise the risk of skin damage, which irritates your skin once they get into touch with aftershave. 

Hence, whether the aftershave burns you, check to see if it is blunt or not. A blunt one may lead to irritation, pimples, and rashes. Then, when you apply aftershave to the skin, it can burn.

Therefore, do not forget to use a sharp razor for better shaving and minimize the risk of skin burning and remember to replace your blades on a regular basis.

Is It Normal For Aftershave To Burn?

The answer is yes because what causes aftershave to burn your skin are its ingredients and sometimes your razor itself. Burning may happen unless you check the product carefully or pay attention to your razor.

After shaving, causing burn is relatively normal. 
After shaving, causing burn is relatively normal.

So what should you do to avoid burning due to aftershave?

  • Read product packages thoroughly, check for all ingredients, and avoid colors and artificial fragrances because they might irritate your skin and induce allergic responses. 
  • Also, prioritize natural substances that work in unison with your body’s natural processes and cycles, including mineral and plant extracts, essential oils and wax, or vegetable and nut oils.
  • Besides, it would help if you chose aftershaves with anti-inflammatory or natural oils like coconut, macadamia, grapeseed, jojoba, almond, or olive, which come with soothing and hydrating effects.
  • Before buying an aftershave, carefully test it on the face or skin to observe how it reacts. Ascertain that the aftershave enters the skin without generating an oily residue.
  • Last but not least, check your razors before shaving. If it is too blunt, you should replace it with a new one.

How Long Does Aftershave Burn?

Based on your skin’s vulnerability, aftershave might burn for as little as several seconds or one minute. The aftershave can burn a little longer when you shave because it is an open wound.

If this is the first time you have used an aftershave, recall a moment when you used peroxide or alcohol to treat a scratch or a wound. The sensation of aftershave burning is a more subdued variation, so do not worry.

Is It Acceptable To Skip Using Aftershave?

The answer is yes. However, while aftershave is not required, it might be beneficial for men whose skin is sensitive, has acne, or has regular skin irritation.

The astringent qualities in aftershave can kill acne-causing germs. Other substances in it, including Aloe Vera or many moisturizers, can aid in soothing your skin, avoid irritation, and reduce redness. All of these things are fantastic when you have shaved your hair.

In case you do not have an aftershave in hand, you should rinse the face after shaving using a natural oil such as jojoba or coconut to hydrate the skin and avoid the skin pores from irritation.

Also, cold water and oil may help form a protective hydrating layer over the skin, keeping it healthy and avoiding skin infection and irritation.

Is Aftershave Supposed To Be Rinsed Off?

Yes, it is. However, aftershave will not relieve the burning sensation quickly.

This product is not meant to be totally removed. You had better let other oils or scents that are meant to be absorbed into your skin and stayed on for the duration of the day.

Also, because aftershave creams and balms are particularly hydrating for the skin, they can be used as a leave-on treatment.

What Types Of Aftershave Should You Use?

It is ideal to consider your skin type to get the most suitable aftershave for yourself.

Normal skin

This type of skin has an even, smooth, and seems healthy texture. Men with normal skin may choose various aftershaves.

Remember that when you choose to use a dry-causing one, follow up with a moisturizer or a hydrating aftershave balm to leave your skin rejuvenated and moisturized.

An aftershave balm is recommended for normal skin. You can also try an aftershave containing witch hazel, which has all of the same properties as alcohol-based ones but is gentler on your kin.

Oily skin

Once touched, your skin feels greasy. It is also glossy around the nose, chin, and forehead. Additionally, oily skin has big pores and is susceptible to pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Aftershave balms are recommended for those with oily skin.

Dry skin

As dry skin is touched, it feels scratchy. It could also look drab and chaffed. Sometimes, it may be cracked and broken.

If your skin appears these phenomenons, apply an aftershave gel containing hydrating and refreshing components like shea butter, jojoba oil, aloe vera, glycerin, etc.

Avoid products that contain alcohol because they will make your skin dryer after use.

Sensitive skin

If exposed to specific chemicals in aftershaves, this skin type is likely to get pimples and rashes, which can become irritated.

Choose an aftershave balm with hydrating properties. However, the fragrance ingredients of the product should likewise be mild to non-existent. You can even choose an aftershave created exclusively for sensitive-skinned shavers.

Aftershaves containing eucalyptus oil or lemon should be avoided if your skin is sensitive since they can irritate, particularly if exposed directly to the sun.

Combination skin

If you have a combination of skin between dry and sensitive, for instance, you may see the traits mentioned above on specific regions of your skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Some Of The Advantages Of Using Aftershave?

Avoid Infection

In case you use an extremely sharp blade or regular blades, daily or infrequent shaving may sometimes be unpleasant on your kin. It may cause damage to your skin’s top layer and uncovers skin pores to microorganisms.

Tiny wounds appear when you attempt to eliminate all noticeable hairs by cutting near your skin. They could also form due to friction between the skin and your razor blade.

Infections can enter through these tiny incisions. Therefore, aftershaves contain antiseptic ingredients to sanitize the shaved region and prevent fungal or bacterial infections. Aftershaves prepared with witch tea tree oil and hazel, for instance, are plant-based and come with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.

Close Pores

Folliculitis occurs once the follicles are damaged while shaving, and they stay open after that, enabling fungi, bacteria, or other substances to enter the region.

Several aftershaves contain astringent ingredients that restrict pores and make it difficult for fungi and bacteria to flourish, such as witch hazel. The astringent quality helps lessen and ultimately halt bleeding by restricting blood vessels. 

Also, aftershave may block hair follicle openings, preventing infections inducing itching and pain.

Ease Irritation And Hydrate Your Skin 

Organic masterwort flower, niacinamide, tea tree oil, and other anti-inflammatory ingredients are primarily included in aftershaves to help minimize skin irritation. It also helps maintain your skin moisturized, healthy, and smooth.

Fresh Scent 

Aftershaves come in a range of aromas on the market, some of which contain natural perfumes such as anise, cedarwood, oatmeal, lavender oil, and others.

A powerful or subtle aroma, or whatever you want, combined with a newly shaved beard, is a significant advantage of aftershaves.

Using an aftershave brings you a lot of benefits. 
Using an aftershave brings you a lot of benefits.

Can You Put Aftershave On Your Balls?

No, your balls are not the place you should apply aftershave on. When you attempt it, you may have to deal with the sting that will occur.

The pubic region is known as a sensitive area of the body. So, you should be cautious about what you use there, notably whether you have recently shaved. And aftershave is not what you need.

Alcohol is frequently found in aftershaves. Also, it contains astringent ingredients, which are always harmful to the testicles as well as surrounding tissues. 

As a result, aftershave is not intended to be utilized on the testicles. 

It is not recommended to use aftershave on your balls. 
It is not recommended to use aftershave on your balls.

What are the differences between aftershave gels, balms, and lotions? 

Aftershaves are classified into three types: balms, lotions, and gels, all of which come with antibacterial characteristics and the ability to heal, hydrate, and renew your skin after shaving.

Aftershave balms

Although being advertised as shaving products, aftershave balms are skin care treatments. 

Most balms include 2-5 percent alcohol; some may be alcohol-free. This kind of balms can replace alcohol with natural substances like essential oils because they are just as antimicrobial as alcohol-containing balms but do not induce dehydration.

Balms are less drying than lotions and splashes since they include no or very little alcohol. In addition, water and oils are also used in aftershave balms to hydrate your skin without causing an oily residue.

Aftershave lotions

Lotions contain the largest alcohol concentration among the three types, which are from 60 to 75% of alcohol.  

Since putting alcohol on freshly shaven delicate skin creates pain, though it is an antiseptic, applying lotions is not advised. They can dry up and irritate.

Aftershave gels

Aftershave gels, like balms, have a lower alcohol concentration than lotions. Several are even alcohol-free. 

Nevertheless, unlike balms, gels do not contain oil, making them less hydrating. Gels can be quite refreshing and pleasant, and they are typically effective at protecting and keeping your healthy skin.

Is Aftershave Balm Supposed To Burn?

Yes, but it does not always happen to you, and the consequence is not too severe.

Aftershave balm serves the same purpose as a lotion in that it soothes your skin after shaving. Because it does not include alcohol, it is significantly softer to apply to your skin.

However, because its primary aim is to cure and protect your skin, it usually only has a mild smell. So, it may be a little annoying for individuals who are allergic to fragrances or have sensitive skin.

If you are interested in this topic and want to know more about aftershave, we highly recommend you watch this video:

Final Thoughts

“Why does aftershave burn?” Its ingredients are the primary causes, in addition to your blunt razor. Indeed, aftershave burning is terrible, and no one expects it to occur.

So with this article, we hope you will have more information about aftershave burning so as to protect yourself from it!

Max Young

Hello, my name is Max Young - the founder of ShaverMap.com, a website dedicated to the shaving community.

Recent Posts