No man’s grooming is complete without the dash of Old Spice after shaving. This ritual of adding a dash of aftershave actually started as a preventive measure against infections. Razors of yore weren’t as sharp or as well-made as today’s blades, nicks and cuts were a common occurrence. Often these cuts would get infected due to the unhygienic conditions of the era. A single razor cut was the cause of many a death!
As the demand for a clean-shaven man strengthened the need for an antiseptic after each shaving was required. Barbers in particular started looking for ways to keep their customers happy. In Roman times, the barbers came up with a therapeutic plaster that would soothe the skin after a shave. The plaster was made by soaking a spider web in oil and vinegar. The acid in the vinegar would burn the bacteria, while the oil would moisturize the skin.
During Victorian times, men’s grooming came to the fore. Special shaving soaps and cherry laurel water were used in the houses, but the need for a generalized product was demanded by the masses. Perfume has been in existence ever since the Egyptians, some 4000 years back. Although the use of perfumes up until now was strictly for women, men started warming to the idea of a scented aftershave. Hungary was the first country to experiment with men’s scents, different lotion textures, aromatic waters, etc. Soon the other European countries followed suit.
It has been noted that by 1770, aftershave was a part of a barber’s routine. The book “The Art of Learning to Shave Oneself” was written by French barber Jean-Jacques Perret. In it, he gives advice on the best technique to shave, the different shaving equipment, how to minimize cuts, and the importance of using aftershave colognes.
Aftershave consists of three things, the first is antiseptic. This can be stearate citrate, denatured alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol. This not only protects the skin from infection but also closes the pores and thus prevents pimples in normal skin. The second is the oil that moisturizes the skin and gives it a smooth finish. The trend now is to use olive oil, which doesn’t just moisturize, but also nourishes the skin. The third is perfume, a combination of masculine scents.
The very popular Eau de Cologne isn’t just an aftershave, but a complete beauty regime for the man as it contains all three components, namely, antiseptic, moisturizer, and perfume.
Aftershave has indeed come a long way, today there are 1000′s of fragrances to choose from.
Also Read: Why Kids Should Have Limited Sugar