The Healthiest Aftershave
Whether you are a DIY type, just like I am, or you want to make your loved one a handmade surprise, you arrived at the right place!
What's in an aftershave?First, let's understand the basics of a good homemade herbal aftershave.
When men shave, they generally use warm water to soften their facial hair. This heat causes the pores to open. If left this way, they are prone to the intrusion of dirt and oil, which can cause breakouts. Also, any cuts that occur during shaving can become infected unless they are sterilized.
When aftershave is applied, it causes the pores to shrink back to normal size. Not only is this important for healthy skin, but it also looks better because the pores are less visible. When the right ingredients are added to an aftershave, it can clean and seal cuts, soothe the beard area, and replenish moisture that heat and shaving remove.
The Right IngredientsIn order to make the healthiest homemade herbal aftershave, it is necessary to include ingredients with astringent power (Astringents are substances that can dry, tighten, and harden tissues. You may use an astringent on your skin to tighten pores and remove excess oil - Latin adstringere, means to bind fast).
Alcohol (dark rum, vodka, not rubbing alcohol) is great to use in this capacity. It has also an antiseptic role to prevent infections from cuts as well as to numb damaged skin. Be aware because it can sting if you happen to nick yourself. So you will need to cut it with another astringent.
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) is the most common and easily found option (it grows in North America – US and Canada), so I would highly recommend it. The bark, leaves, and twigs of witch hazel are all high in tannins, giving this plant astringent properties. It is used in eau de toilettes, face and body lotions and mouth washes.
An alternative to Witch Hazel is Sage leaves (Salvia officinalis - The Latin name for sage, salvia, means to heal)
The combination of these two items (alcohol and witch hazel / sage) will make a basic aftershave, to which you can add extra ingredients to create a soothing and aromatic blend.
To replenish moisture and give the face a smooth feel, you can add glycerine to your recipe. This ingredient is available both in the baking aisle of grocery stores and at craft shops.
Aluminum sulfate, commonly known as alum, is perfect in aftershaves because it tones the skin and staunches bleeding from accidental cuts. Look for alum at your local drug store.
Recipe* one-half cup of alcohol
* one-quarter cup of witch hazel
* one tablespoon of glycerine
* a pinch of alum.
Put the ingredients in a clean glass bowl. Blend the mixture until the powder has dissolved completely.
At this stage, if you are more aventurous, add one or two teaspoons of spices. Place the blend in a tightly closed jar for ten days so that it can absorb the fragrance of the herbs. Strain with a coffee filter or fine strainer and rebottle.
If you want to use fragrance oils, simply add five to six drops (more or less depending on your preferences), stir, and bottle the mixture. Now your homemade aftershave is ready to use.
How to Use ItAfter shaving, pour a small amount of aftershave (approximately one teaspoon) into the palms and apply it to the beard area. The scent should remain on the skin for approximately three hours depending on how strong it is.
If the recipe is too strong, add one-quarter cup of water for sensitive skin types. Use the aftershave daily after shaving for healthier skin.
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