Ahhh the aftershave, the final frontier after my first 6 months of exploring wet shaving. With razors I've gone from the gentle Gillette 40's SS to the crap-your-pants-scary-sharp Feather straight, and worked my way back to the milder end of the spectrum. I've run the cream gamut, trying a nice sample of offerings from Proraso to Castle Forbes, and settled on the mid-range offerings of C&E, Coates, T&H, GFT, and what I consider to be one of the more underrated creams, Creamo Cream (It's hard to go wrong with any of the mid to high end creams). I never fell in love with brushes, I have only one, a Vulfix super badger which has yet to fail me. But the aftershaves....I just can't figure them out.
This summer I thought I had the perfect one for me, GFT limes a/s splash. The alcohol didn't bother me, and it left my skin feeling so smooth with no oilyness (I have oily skin). But, as the cold weather began to dry the air, the alcohol began to cause my skin to burn something terrible and get all red. It's probably not the cold air as much as it is my drier skin, which is a result of the dry air, but either way, I'm just not getting as good of a shave, which means the alcohol is gonna hurt. Which brings me to my first question.
If I have a rough shave, is the aftershave supposed to calm the irritation? It seems that many of the aftershaves I've tried only inflame my skin as opposed to soothing it. Nivea Sensitive, T&H U.C., and Harris' Milk (new formulation) all caused redness and irritation instead of soothing. Are these particular asb's not meant to help skin that is beat up from a rough shave? I chose those particular ones because they appeared to be somewhat moisurizing, but not too much (again, oily skin), and I didn't think they would leave me feeling like I had a coat of paint on my face after a few hours (I borrowed that description from another member on this forum, he described the feeling perfectly and I credit him for that, though I can't remember who it was, thank you). And while they weren't all that "heavy", I also expected them to calm my skin, but the opposite happened, so it was on to something else.
After the poor results of those products I went in a different direction and tried some Baxter's asb the other day (samples from Scotto! ) which seems to be promising, although it too seemed a little "heavy" for my tastes. It is possible, however, that I just used too much and I'm going to back off a little after my next shave. Also from Scotto I got some Proraso asb (not the pre/post) and I'm going to give it a chance, although I'm a little skeptical as it appears to be similar to the others that bothered me. I also have Feather Kanwa asb on my list of items to try (I'm hoping Scotto will offer it soon so I don't have to buy a whole bottle ) as well as CAR's, though it's a little expensive for such a small amount, and it will be a last resort. I also have some C&E Sandalwood from Scotto, but I'm not a big fan of scented a/s, so that one probably won't be what I want either.
The one aftershave that I've neither been impressed or disappointed by is Limes Skin Food. It doesn't irritate my skin at all, but it doesn't soothe it either. It seems to help control oilyness a little bit, but I'm not sure if it's worth it yet, I'll have to wait till I'm about halfway through the bottle to pass a final judgement on it.
All in all, I'm just confused about aftershaves. Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to sort through all the steps I've taken to this point and see where I could go from here. At least with every aftershave that doesn't work I can cross it off my list, and I'm one step closer to having tried every aftershave out there...I really hope I don't have to go through every aftershave