A few weeks back I set out to make my own aftershave, more out of curiosity than anything else. I’m not overly concerned about harmful ingredients – although I am becoming more aware of what I am using on my face – nor am I overly concerned about saving money by making my own aftershave – but saving a buck or two never hurts. The one thing I didn’t want was a complicated process or a list of ingredients that would send me on an adventure across town and the internet trying to secure the necessary items for my aftershave. So, after a bit of searching I found a recipe that allowed me to purchase everything I needed at my local mall.
Having never attempted this, the ingredient list was somewhat interesting:
Witch Hazel 1/4 cup
Apple Cider Vinegar 1/4 cup (don’t stop reading in disgust I’ll expand below)
Distilled Water 1/4
Table spoon of Olive Oil
30 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil (for one batch) Cedar Essential Oil (for the other)
Mix together and put in a dark place for a couple of weeks. Giving it a shake every couple of days.
Using the witch hazel was self explanatory. It would provide the astringent, healing, and anti-inflammatory element to the aftershave. If you are not familiar with witch hazel you can read more about it here.
The Apple Cider Vinegar concerned me somewhat. Opening the bottle I was immediately doubting the whole process, not that it smelled bad, but I couldn’t and didn’t want this smell on my face, especially not mixed with Eucalyptus or Cedar. But I pressed forward and hoped for the best. I can say that the vinegar scent went away after the two weeks of waiting for the mixture to cure, I would imagine due to some neutralizing by the other items. After a bit of research Apple Cider Vinegar apparently is useful in softening your skin and keeping it healthy. This seems to work in harmony with the olive oil that helps with moisturizing.
The recipe called for 30 drops of essential oils, but I toned it back to 25. I had no prior experience with essential oils so I played it safe.
The Eucalyptus Blend
My initial reaction to this mixture was that it was much too strong. The Eucalyptus was overpowering, so much so that I couldn’t really make out anything but the Eucalyptus. I sealed it and put it away, returning every couple of days to give it a stir and a quick smell. What I noticed was that the smell tapered off after each check to the point a few days ago when I first used it and felt that it had a nice balance – scent wise. There was no hint of the vinegar at all. In regards to results, I would have to say that I am more than happy with them. Upon first applying the lotion to my face there was the expected sting, followed by some refreshing relief. I also noticed that my face felt quite soft as well. Perhaps this would have been inevitable with the olive oil and vinegar but still a nice feeling. Overall I will have to say that it was a success.
The Cedar Blend
I made a batch with cedar essential oils as well to try to give me two very different scents. The end result was the same as the Eucalyptus Blend with the biggest difference being the scent itself. To be honest I didn’t care for it all that much. A bit too strong for me. I’m sure it could be corrected with a few less drops but even then I’m not sure if the cedar scent is my thing. I also noticed that the vinegar scent tended to linger a bit longer in the process and there was still a hint of it in the final product which I found a bit strange. Other than that still worked great.
Final thoughts. The biggest argument against making your own aftershave is that it is readily available and fairly inexpensive. On the flip side you do end up saving some cash in making your own, you can control the scent and every other element and tailor it to your needs, and it really isn’t all that difficult to put together.