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How To Choose The Right Type Of Aftershave

How To Choose The Right Type Of Aftershave

Many widely available aftershaves are pretty good–maybe because many widely available razors and shave creams are so bad. But the wide variety of aftershave products can be confusing, especially with all the different terminology that gets listed without much explanation.  Lets look at a general overview of aftershaves with how to choose the right one.

What Is An Aftershave?

“Aftershave” can mean different things to different people.  I am talking about products that are applied immediately after shaving to provide some combination of irritation relief, skin moisturizing, and protection from the elements.  Select an aftershave based on how that combination addresses the needs of your skin.

Aftershaves can be divided into two broad categories: balms and splashes. Balms are heavier-feeling on the skin and typically provide more irritation relief and more moisture to the skin, particularly in cold or dry climates.   Splashes are more watery-feeling and generally contain a combination of toners, astringents, and hydrosols to cleanse and provide a degree of antiseptic or antibacterial protection to the skin.  They are more popular with those who have oily skin or live in hot, humid climates.  Both balms and splashes often use some kind of humectant to increase the effectiveness of other ingredients.  There are also “cross-over” ingredients that might be used in either a balm or a splash.  Let’s take a closer look at some of those ingredients.

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Toners and Astringents

Toners and astringents are designed to cleanse the skin and temporarily shrink the appearance of pores.  Toners are used in the relief of minor skin irritations, like superficial cuts, rashes from allergies, insect bites, and fungal infections like athlete’s foot. They can also help heal scars.  Astringents are the strongest form of toner, containing a high proportion of alcohol (20-60%).  They are commonly recommended for oily skin as they tend to dry out the skin, but keep in mind that the removal of oil from the skin can lead to excess oil production as the skin tries to compensate and prevent moisture loss.  Topically applied astringents cause mild coagulation of skin proteins and will dry, harden, and protect the skin. Astringents are best applied only to problem areas of skin to prevent excessive drying (except pure witch hazel distillate which can be applied broadly to the skin).  Some common ingredients include:

  • alum
  • oatmeal
  • acacia
  • yarrow
  • witch hazel
  • distilled vinegar
  • alcohol

Astringent preparations include:

  • silver nitrate
  • potassium permanganate
  • zinc oxide
  • zinc sulfate

Hydrosols

Hydrosols are the product of steam distillation from aromatic plants. Hydrosols go by other names like floral water, herbal distillates, hydrolate, herbal water or essential water.  Hydrosols are produced in the same manner as essential oils but essential oils will float to the top of the distillate where they are removed, leaving behind the watery distillate. In the past, hydrosols were considered a byproduct of distillation, but now they’re considered an important product in their own right. The science of distillation is based on the fact that different substances vaporize at different temperatures.

So hydrosols contain diluted essential oils. Because hydrosols are produced at high temperatures and are somewhat acidic, they tend to inhibit bacterial growth (but they are NOT “sterile”). Hydrosols can also help the skin get back a normal pH by being more acidic, where soaps may be more alkaline.  Rose distillates are known to be mildly antibacterial, while lavender distillates are mildly antiseptic.  By the way, its a good idea to keep hydrosols refrigerated.  They’ll last longer, and they can feel nice in the heat of the summer.

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Moisturizers

Moisturizers are combinations of ingredients specially designed to make the external layers of the skin softer and more pliable by increasing the skin’s water content.  It does that not by putting water into the skin, but by reducing evaporation.

Humectants

Humectants are ingredients used to increase the skin penetration and activity time of another ingredient. They are also used to minimize the dehydrating effects of some other active ingredient.  Examples of humectants include:

  • glycerol
  • propylene glycol
  • sorbitol
  • lactic acid
  • urea

Skin Types

Now that you have some background on what aftershaves are composed of, the question still remains: how should you use them?  The answer to that depends partly on what kind of skin you have.  How do you know what type of skin you have?  Here are some guidelines.

Normal skin

Appears evenly-textured, smooth, clear and healthy, with barely visible pores and without blemishes or spots.  You could probably use any mild aftershave splash or balm in this case.  To maintain clear skin, be sure to use a good quality facial wash with a facial scrub once or twice a week.

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Sensitive skin

Will itch, sting or break out in a rash when you use certain shaving and skincare products.  You’ll need to try to use aftershave and other products specifically made for sensitive skin.

Dry skin

Appears rough, dull or cracked with lines and wrinkles, and prone to peeling. A moisturizing aftershave balm would work well here.  Using a moisturizer just before bed might be useful here too.  Be sure to use a gentle face wash and if you use a facial scrub, use it only once a week. Make sure you drink plenty of water.

Oily skin

Looks shiny, particularly on the forehead, nose and chin (the “T-Zone”), and feels, well, oily to the touch.  The skin appears to have large or open pores and is prone to blackheads, whiteheads, spots and pimples.  An aftershave splash with a toner would probably be your best bet.  Oily skin attracts dust and dirt so it might also be useful to use a facial cleanser twice daily, a facial scrub 2 or 3 times a week and use an oil-free moisturiser.

Combination skin

Will have a central greasy area around the forehead, nose & chin but will be dry around the cheeks.  Its also prone to blackheads, especially around the nose.  The best way of dealing with combination skin is either to use products designed specifically for combination skin, or to simply apply the correct products to the relevant area of your face‒dry skin products for the dry areas, and oil-free products for the T-Zone.

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Ingredients

Some ingredients to look for in aftershaves:

  • aloe vera
  • chamomile
  • tea tree oil
  • calendula
  • witch hazel
  • lavender
  • jojoba oil
  • grapefruit seed extract
  • rose oil distillate
  • various vitamins

Some ingredients to avoid:

  • high concentrations of alcohol or camphor
  • grapefruit (if you’re going to be outdoors a lot)
  • lemon oil or eucalyptus (if you have sensitive skin)

Applying Multiple Aftershave Products

This could not be simpler: apply the thinnest product first followed by thicker products.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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