Can Cologne be Used as Aftershave: Insider Tips and Tricks

Written By: Ahmed Farah
Reviewed By: Antoine Ashraf
Updated On:

Read Our Review Guidelines

We’ve all been there, right? You’re getting ready for a night out or a big day at work, and you wonder, can we use our favorite cologne as an aftershave? After all, who wouldn’t want the benefits of skincare combined with the lingering aroma of our preferred fragrance?

While cologne is not specifically formulated for use after shaving like an aftershave is, it can be used as an aftershave in a pinch. Cologne contains fragrance oils and alcohol that give it a stronger scent than aftershave, and the alcohol functions as an antiseptic to prevent infections from small nicks. However, colognes lack the soothing ingredients like aloe or witch hazel found in aftershaves that help reduce irritation. Using cologne as an aftershave may cause dryness or irritation for some, especially those with sensitive skin. So it can work as an aftershave, but a traditional aftershave would provide better skin care benefits after shaving.

That being said, it’s important to consider that colognes aren’t specifically formulated for post-shave skincare, so they may lack some of the healing and soothing properties found in dedicated aftershaves. However, when we’re in a pinch and want to enjoy a unified fragrance experience, using cologne as an aftershave might be just the ticket to achieve that ideal skincare and scent combination!

Understanding Cologne and Aftershave

Composition Differences

When discussing cologne and aftershave, it’s essential to understand the differences in their composition. Cologne typically has a higher concentration of fragrance oils (about 2-5%), mixed with water and alcohol. Aftershave, on the other hand, has a lower fragrance concentration and contains ingredients like aloe, witch hazel, or other soothing agents. This difference in composition leads to different intended purposes for each product.

Intended Purposes

Cologne is primarily designed as a fragrance product to enhance one’s personal scent. It aims to provide a pleasant and lasting aroma throughout the day-to-day. Aftershave’s primary function is to soothe and calm the skin after shaving, minimizing irritation and redness. The antiseptic properties of alcohol-based aftershaves help prevent infections and promote the healing process.

Product Variants

There is a variety of male grooming products available in the market, such as eau de toilette, eau de cologne, parfum, aftershave splash, balm, gel, and lotion. Eau de toilette has a fragrance concentration of 5-15%, while eau de cologne has 2-4%. Parfum boasts the highest concentration, ranging between 20-30%. Aftershaves come in various textures: splashes are more liquid and alcohol-based, balms have a thicker consistency, and gels and lotions are intermediate in texture.

ProductFragrance ConcentrationMain Purpose
Eau de Toilette5-15%Fragrance
Eau de Cologne2-4%Fragrance
Parfum20-30%Fragrance with higher longevity
Aftershave SplashVariableSoothing and antiseptic
Aftershave BalmVariableSoothing and moisturizing
Aftershave GelVariableSoothing and mild antiseptic
Aftershave LotionVariableSoothing and light antiseptic

Effect on Skin

Cologne, with its higher concentration of alcohol and fragrance, may not be the best option to use directly on freshly shaved skin. Using cologne as an aftershave could cause irritation or dryness, especially for those with sensitive skin. On the other hand, aftershaves are designed to refresh and soothe the skin after shaving, with ingredients like aloe or witch hazel that provide additional healing properties. These soothing ingredients help close pores and prevent irritation, making aftershave the preferred option after a shave.

Make sure you also understand the difference between colognes and body sprays!

Practical Guide to Using Cologne as Aftershave

Application Techniques

So, can we use cologne as aftershave? Absolutely! We’ve been doing it for years, and here’s how. When applying cologne as aftershave, we found that it’s essential to focus on these techniques:

  1. Splash Technique: Pour a small amount of cologne onto our palms and gently pat it onto the shaved area. This allows the scent to distribute evenly, minimizing any potential irritation.
  2. Wrist Technique: Dab a small amount of cologne onto our wrists and softly press them against the shaved area. This transfers the fragrance to our skin without causing too much friction.
  3. Pulse Points: Remember to apply cologne to pulse points like the neck and behind the ears, where the natural body heat will help to enhance the fragrance.

Selection Tips

As avid cologne enthusiasts, we know that choosing the right fragrance can make a world of difference. When selecting a cologne to use as aftershave, we consider these factors:

  • Fragrance Concentration: Opt for a cologne with moderate strength, as it typically offers a pleasant scent without being overpowering.
  • Longevity: Check for colognes that have a decent lasting power, to ensure that the scent stays with us throughout the day.
  • Skin-friendly Ingredients: Look for colognes that contain soothing ingredients like aloe, witch hazel, and essential oils. These can help with potential irritation and inflammation.

Skin Reactions and Precautions

Following years of cologne adventures, we learned a thing or two about skin reactions. When using cologne as aftershave, keep these precautions in mind:

  • Alcohol Content: Some colognes have high alcohol content, which might be too harsh for freshly shaved skin. We prefer to go for colognes with lower alcohol content to avoid irritation.
  • Patch Test: Before applying a new cologne as aftershave, test it on a small area of skin to ensure that there’s no adverse reaction.
  • Know Your Skin: We always remind ourselves to be aware of any skin sensitivities or allergies to specific fragrance ingredients that might cause problems.

By keeping these tips and techniques in mind, we can effectively use cologne as aftershave while enjoying the aromatic benefits it brings to our grooming routine.

Remember, if you are someone who has skin sensitivity issues, applying cologne on your clothes is also an option, but be sure to know weather your bottle can cause stains.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it cool to swap out aftershave for my favorite cologne, or will that irritate my skin?

Sure, using cologne as aftershave is actually a common practice among us guys because it provides a similar scent and can help reduce irritation after shaving. Colognes typically contain alcohol, which acts as an antiseptic to prevent infections caused by razor cuts. Moreover, some cologne/aftershaves even include skincare ingredients like aloe vera, glycerin, and seaweed extract to improve their performance.

Hit the gym and forgot my aftershave; can I dab on some Eau de Toilette instead?

In a pinch, Eau de Toilette can be used as an aftershave, but be mindful of the fact that it usually has a higher concentration of alcohol. To avoid irritation, you can dilute it with ingredients like distilled water, witch hazel, and aloe vera gel. Just remember, this is more like a temporary solution, so it’s still better to have your regular aftershave handy for optimal skincare.

My buddy claims aftershave and cologne are twins – true story or is he sniffing too much of his perfume?

Your buddy isn’t entirely wrong, but aftershave and cologne serve different purposes. The primary goal of aftershave is to minimize skin irritation and promote healthier skin after shaving, whereas cologne’s main focus is providing a pleasant, alluring fragrance to enhance your personal appeal. Cologne also has a higher alcohol concentration to make the scent last longer.

Can I just roll with cologne after shaving, or am I asking for a face on fire?

Rolling with cologne after shaving generally won’t cause a “face on fire” situation, but it’s important to choose a cologne with skin-friendly ingredients if you’re using it as aftershave. Look for colognes that contain skincare components to help reduce irritation and enjoy the best of both worlds!

If I’m fresh out of aftershave, what’s a guy’s go-to for a post-shave zing?

If you have run out of aftershave, using cologne can definitely be a reasonable alternative for that post-shave zing. Alternatively, you can experiment with natural alternatives like witch hazel, aloe vera, or essential oils to soothe your skin. Just remember to be careful with essential oils and dilute them properly to avoid skin irritation.

So which one will make me the man, stronger aftershave or smoother cologne?

Honestly, it’s about personal preference and the impression you want to make. A stronger aftershave can help with skincare and provide a subtle fragrance, while a smoother cologne focuses on creating an enticing, long-lasting scent. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, whether you want to prioritize post-shave skincare or a more powerful presence!

Photo of author

About The Author

A cologne lover and reviewer, Ahmed has reviewed over 45 colognes on the site. Finding the best perfumes and colognes for our audience, review and ranking them as well as looking at all types of data, from price, longevity, silage to uniqueness.

Leave a Comment