Fun fact: aftershave was originally invented by Roman barbers to prevent infection caused by dull razor blades. (It is not, in fact, a cologne for masochists, like I always believed.) While the Romans soaked spider webs in oil and vinegar to reap the antibacterial benefits, nowadays we rely on more scientifically backed (and easier to find) ingredients, like witch hazel and grain alcohol, to keep skin clear and healthy. Now, if you’re stumped on what to get Dad for Fathers’ Day, this is great news! Because it’s so simple to make, homemade aftershave is one of my favorite last-minute gift ideas for Dad.
The perfect Father’s Day gift!
This DIY aftershave is made with just three ingredients: Everclear Grain Alcohol, witch hazel and aloe vera. But since many men love aftershave for the scent, I also recommend adding skin-soothing essential oils to the mix. Since you know your dad best, we’ve got three essential oil blends to choose from – one for sensitive skin, one that’s cooling, and one that smells like cologne. Or you can make your own custom scent with oils you have at home.
When it’s time to gift it to Dad, simply pour the aftershave in an amber bottle with an airtight lid. You can give it to him solo or put it in a gift basket along with a towel, fancy razor and some shaving soap.
How to Make Aftershave
As I’m sure any man can testify, shaving is rough on the skin. It zaps moisture, leaves tiny cuts and nicks behind (thanks, dull razor blades!), and if you’re prone to acne or irritation, shaving may make problems worse.
So, to make the perfect aftershave, you need a combination of soothing and antiseptic ingredients.
Homemade Aftershave Ingredients
Witch hazel-based toners have long been used to soothe irritation. Witch hazel bark contains up to 10% tannins, which gives it its astringent properties. And recent studies have shown that witch hazel may even have a protective effect on skin fibroblast cells. [source]
Everclear Grain Alcohol
Everclear Grain Alcohol has both antibacterial and astringent properties, making it a popular ingredient in homemade aftershave recipes. Grain alcohol, like Everclear, also helps bind the essential oils to the witch hazel, evenly dispersing them throughout the aftershave.
When used alone, alcohol can be somewhat drying to skin, which is why we also add aloe vera. Aloe vera is known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and moisturizing properties. Topical application of aloe vera has been shown to improve wound healing and boost skin integrity. [source]
Step 1 | Combine Everclear and essential oils
In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup Everclear Grain Alcohol and essential oils. Whisk to combine.
Try one of these three essential oil blends or feel free to tweak the oils to suit your dad’s needs. Stick to about 20-25 drops of essential oil for a 1% dilution.
Sensitive Skin blend
—15 drops lavender essential oil
—5 drops clary sage essential oil
—5 drops calendula essential oil
—8 drops peppermint essential oil
—8 drops Roman chamomile essential oil
—4 drops ginger essential oil
—12 drops cedarwood essential oil
—4 drops cardamom essential oil
—6 drops rosemary essential oil
If you decide to whip up your own blend, make sure to stay away from phytotoxic oils, which become harmful when exposed to sunlight. These are most commonly citrus oils, like lemon, lime, mandarin, and grapefruit.
Step 2 | Add witch hazel and aloe vera
Next, add the witch hazel and aloe vera gel. Whisk again.
Step 3 | Transfer to glass bottle
Pour the aftershave into a glass amber bottle and replace the lid.
How to Use Homemade Aftershave
If the men in your life aren’t big aftershave users (don’t worry, this gentle aftershave will change that), then you may want to include a tag telling them the best way to use it.
1. Immediately after shaving, rinse your face with cool water to get rid of any shaving cream or soap. Then pat skin dry with a clean towel.
2. Pour a dime-sized amount of aftershave into the palm of your hand and rub your hands together to evenly coat your palms.
3. Gently pat aftershave onto skin, making sure to steer clear of the eyes and mouth.
4. When completely dry, apply moisturizer or any other topical skin products.
5. Store away from heat and direct sunlight. Use within 6 months.
How To Make Your Own Aftershave
- 1 8-ounce amber bottle with lid
- Small bowl
- 1/3 cup Everclear Grain Alcohol
- 2/3 cup witch hazel
- 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel
- 20-25 drops essential oil see notes for blends
- In a small bowl, combine the Everclear Grain Alcohol and essential oils. Whisk to combine.
- Next, add the witch hazel and aloe vera gel. Whisk again.
- Pour the aftershave into a glass amber bottle and replace the lid.