Can You Apply Aftershave Without Shaving? (Using It Every Day)

Many men have found a particular aftershave they like but do not shave every day, which brings up the question, can aftershave be used without actually shaving?

It is possible to use aftershave whether or not you shave. Used in small amounts, aftershave can be dabbed on the face and beard for a pleasant scent or a part of your daily skincare regimen. For those who prefer not to use an alcohol-based aftershave every day, you may also consider colognes, post-shave balms and lotions, or other moisturizers.

Read on to learn more about aftershave, some of its properties, and its use for those days when you do not have the time or the inclination to shave, plus some alternatives.

Is it okay to use aftershave without shaving?

If you like the scent, feel, or routine of your aftershave, you may want to use it even on days you don’t shave. Is that okay? It is called “aftershave” after all!

Using an aftershave every day can be drying for your skin (whether you shave or not), but there are no additional concerns about using an aftershave without shaving.

Aftershaves are typically alcohol-based astringents that sanitize the face and help close your pores post-shave. Most aftershaves will also give you a nice – but not overpowering – smell, and many men prefer them to colognes for this reason.

There are better options for long-lasting scent than aftershave

If the primary objective for using aftershave is simply to smell nice – not to heal the skin after shaving – then a light cologne may be a better option

There are many inexpensive options on the market in a vast array of scents. Of course, there are also many high-end fragrances with prices to match, so there should be an option for any budget.

If you are looking for barbershop scents, you are still in luck as there are options with those traditional scents available. You may want to check out Cremo and Taylor of Old Bond Street as they’re both known primarily for their shaving products.

Cremo Silver Water & Birch Cologne Spray

Cremo is known for its incredibly slick shaving cream which is popular with wet shaving enthusiasts. 

Their Silver Water & Birch Cologne comes in a spray, features the scent elements silver water and birch, which the company describes with terms like “mountain lake” and “clean woods” which are scents typically found in traditional barbershops.

At around $20 for 3.4 oz, this cologne gives you a good value for your dollar.

Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Cologne

Taylor of Old Bond Street is a high-end shaving product brand known for its signature sandalwood scent. 

The cologne comes in a splash and the sandalwood scent is complemented by notes of lavender, rosemary, and orange blossom, among others. This brand is known for a consistent scent profile across products, so if you are a fan of their aftershave the cologne may be a great alternative on days you don’t shave.

This offering is pricier than Cremo at about $40 for 3.4 oz, but it features a classic British scent profile that works in just about any situation. 

Potential benefits to using aftershave every day (even without shaving)

Aftershave has many benefits since it is primarily designed to care for the skin and treat any damage caused by a razor blade.  Let’s look at some of those benefits. 

The biggest pros to using aftershave without shaving are:

  • Skin health & repair – Care and repair are aftershave’s primary objectives. Running a sharp blade against your skin, especially if you go too fast or do not use enough shaving cream or soap and cause skin damage in the form of nicks and cuts. Aftershave helps to heal these micro-injuries since it contains alcohol which closes the pores and has antiseptic properties which prevent infections.
  • Scent – Aftershaves come in a plethora of scents, so just about every man should be able to find one that suits him. Since aftershaves are formulated with fewer perfume oils and fragrance elements than colognes, they tend to let their scents live in the background and not present themselves upfront like colognes can.
  • Oil management – Aftershave helps control oily skin since it has astringent properties. When you apply it, it strips away oil and dirt from the skin’s surface.
  • Promotes healthy beard growth – Using a good aftershave reduces skin irritation, which can clog pores and make it difficult for hair follicles to grow. Clean and clear pores will allow your beard hairs to grow unimpeded, leading to the best possible beard growth for your genetics.

Potential problems with using aftershave without shaving

There are some potential drawbacks to using aftershave without shaving. Let’s take a look at some potential disadvantages to aftershave then explore some different types of skincare products.

The biggest cons to using aftershave without shaving are:

  • Over-drying the skin – If overused, the alcohol present in aftershave can cause your skin to tighten and become dry. In situations like this, reducing the amount and frequency of aftershave use and adding a moisturizer to your skin care regimen can be helpful.
  • Shorter-lasting scent – Due to a lower concentration of fragrance elements in the formulas, the scent you get from aftershave usually only lasts a few hours. The perfume oils and fragrance ingredients in aftershave typically make up about 2-4% of the formula, where most colognes have 5% or more. This higher concentration causes colognes to have scents that last most of the day, and can be overpowering if used too liberally.
  • Possibility of skin allergies – Although rare, it is possible that some men may have skin that is extremely sensitive to fragrance oils, and even though aftershave has small amounts of them, it may be enough to trigger an allergic reaction.  Fortunately there are alternatives to aftershave for men with this sensitivity.

Aftershave alternatives to use on non-shaving days

Let’s look at some of the other product types that can be used. For days where you aren’t going to shave there is no shortage of good options.  

The best aftershave alternatives to aftershave on the days you don’t shave are:

  • Colognes
  • Aftershave balms and lotions
  • Other lotions and moisturizers


Cologne’s primary purpose is to provide a scent, not treat the skin following a shave. 

If you find a cologne with a similar scent profile to your favorite aftershave it could be a good option on those days where you don’t shave. The scent will last longer, so if that is your objective cologne should work well.

Aftershave balms and lotions

While the splash is the typical product most men think of when they consider an aftershave, there are other products whose primary function is to care for the skin but come in different formats. 

Aftershave balms are made primarily of oils such as coconut or castor and most do not contain alcohol. Balms will often also have elements such as vitamin E and aloe vera to soothe irritated skin. These products are an excellent choice for men with sensitive skin.

Aftershave lotions are more viscous than their liquid splash counterparts and typically have lower alcohol content. They are meant to be rubbed into the skin and usually contain skin healing and cooling elements like mineral oil and aloe.

Other lotions and moisturizers

For those shavers who want to avoid an alcohol-based aftershave altogether, a lotion whose main function is to hydrate and moisturize the skin is a good choice. 

Traditional lotions won’t typically cool the skin as an aftershave will, but they will be effective in keeping the skin from becoming dry. 

Many skin lotions and moisturizers will also contain an SPF sunscreen element, so these can be ideal for guys who spend time outside.

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