Aftershave vs cologne

Aftershave. Cologne. Aren’t they both things that make a man smell nice? Well, yes. And no. They each have different properties and different purposes. BeautySA investigates the difference…

Aftershave vs Cologne


As the name suggests, aftershave is used after shaving. While running that shiny silver blade down your face, your skin goes through a bit of trauma. Because your skin on that part of your body is delicate, an aftershave helps minimise damage as well as soothes your skin.

Some contain mild antiseptics, which numb your skin while the healing agents work their magic. Most aftershaves also contain an astringent, which helps close your pores and prevents infections. If you feel a sting after you’ve applied it, this is because some astringents contain alcohol. Shaving creams and foams could have a dehydrating effect on your skin, and a dry-shave should never be an option. A few after shaves work as a moisturiser too and may even have a fragrant smell to them. Aftershaves are available in gels, balms (lotion) and liquids.

We recommend: Nivea For Men Sensitive Post Shave Balm, R80, Yardley Gold for Men Aftershave, R149.95, Neutrogena Post Shave Lotion, R74.99.


Originally produced in the German city of Cologne (and short for the word Eau de Cologne), this great smelling guy is another fancy word for a fragrance. A cologne is known to have a lesser concentration of ingredients than an EDP and an EDT, and consists of essential oils – originally based on citrus, tangy scents. These were made to appeal more to the male market (so a lady can wear them). With a cologne, you can also layer your scents but be sure to keep it in the same family and remember that a cologne does not have healing properties. It is merely used to make you smell nice.

We recommend: Gravity by Coty, R149.99 or East.West Horizon, R199


20 Responses

  1. My boyfriend is a cologne snob, but a good to know read nevertheless…

  2. I think aftershave is a winner! Most men smell like they”ve thrown a whole bottle of cologne on themselves when they apply it..clearly too much used…

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