The Finishing Touch

Every ritual needs a luxurious end and its no different with shaving. Here are our top 5 post shave balms

Round up by Rupert Watkins

A shave should be a luxuriant ritual that sets a man up for the day. As a way of ensuring we are presentable and clean faced it’s hard to beat. Whether the shave is a decadent hot towels and badger shaving bush affair or a more bleary-eyed scrap in the morning before you run out the door, a good post shave balm should be in a prominent position on your bathroom shelf.

There are clearly dozens now on the market, from a fiver to over £100, and many claiming anti-aging, anti-pollution and antioxidant qualities. So how to sort the wheat from the chaff?

If you have shaved properly, you will have used hot water to relax and open the pores and soften the bristle and cold water to close them and calm the skin after it has been aggravated by the razor blade. You therefore need a balm that your epidermis (outer layer of skin) can rapidly absorb – even with many of the pores closed up. Everyone will be different here and it’s a matter of trying and testing; don’t necessarily think an expensive balm will automatically soak in better, your skin just might not like it. Be open minded, you may find a lighter scent free moisturiser targeted at both genders works rather than a well-known men’s brand.

With that proviso in mind, here’s the editor’s choices (unranked) for  our top 5 post shave balms:

REN Skincare Multi-Tasking Aftershave Balm
A light cream with pumpkin and shea butter. It’s absorbed quickly and leaves the skin feeling hydrated. REN is a cult label in women’s cosmetics, but the firm also do a very small men’s range. Was the editor’s one luxury for two tours of Afghanistan. Only comes in 50ml size but a great washbag staple.

Algenist Regenerative Anti-aging Moisturiser SPF 20
A US brand, Algenist uses microalgae and alguronic acid. Though targeted to the female market the products are designed for both genders. As a post shave balm, it’s excellent soaking in the skin extremely quickly and leaving it very smooth and supple for hours afterwards (review here). It is though a pricier option at £68 for 60ml.

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel
A cult product for some years now, this is a very light cream with chestnut extract, soy and caffeine. The caffeine gives a pleasing burst of freshness on application and the skin absorbs it quickly with no sticky residue. At £33 for 125ml good value for money.

Sukin Facial Moisturiser
An Australian sulphate and paraben free skincare brand, this light moisturiser is for either gender but I’ve bought it several times as a post shave balm. With aloe vera, horsetail, avocado oil and burdock it’s more or less scent free and it was absorbed fast into the skin leaving it extremely smooth. A steal at £6.50 for 125ml.

Bad Norwegian Revitalise Moisturiser
Founded by an ex Norwegian Army soldier, the brand is paraben, silicon and aluminium free (review here). The moisturiser contains shea butter and squalene – a lightly antiseptic oil – and leaves the face soft and supple. At £69 for 50ml though fairly pricy.

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