With the growth in the standard of living in most parts of the world as well as the availability of cheap but quality cosmetic items due to strong competition, people have started using them to a great extent. Be it makeup items, lotions, balms, perfumes etc., the number of people who use it have increased a great deal in the past few years. The various cosmetic items come for different types of people depending on their use and features unique to them such as their particular type of skin. Several variants of a similar product may be available in the market based on the different needs of people. Take the example of a face wash; there are those for men and others for women, then there are those for oily skin, tough skin, face-whitening face washes and so on. Similarly aftershave balms and lotions, although only for men, come of various types with some distinctions. However let us first make it clear what aftershave balms and lotions are and how are they different.
Any aftershave cosmetic item such as a lotion, balm or a gel is a liquid or powder that men use once they finish shaving. The purpose is to prevent the possibility of any infection due to cuts from shaving. It also acts as an astringent to reduce the irritation of the skin been shaved. For these purposes, it contains an antiseptic agent such as witch hazel, denatured alcohol or stearate citrate. Sometimes, menthol may also be used in order to numb skin that has been damaged.
Moving on, a balm is a liniment that is a medicated topical preparation which can be applied to the skin. They may be used to reduce pain or stiffness which result from sore muscles or arthritis. On the other hand, a lotion, which is also a topical preparation, is supposed to be applied to unbroken skin. Note that they are mostly without any medication and the only purpose they are used is to make the skin soft and smooth and moisturize it.
Coming to balms and lotions that are used as aftershaves, an aftershave lotion, also referred to as an aftershave splash, is a fragrance that is applied to the skin with bare hands after shaving in order to soothe the skin from any irritation and make it smooth and soft. Opposed to this, an aftershave balm, which is also applied by bare hands to the shaved skin, has a slightly different purpose. Not only does it make the skin smooth but also moisturizes it in addition to soothing it and replenishing it. Any cuts there may be after shaving are also somewhat mended.
Balms are also more effective in trying to reduce the razor burns you get after shaving. They are usually alcohol-free, although not always, unlike lotions. The latter can be distinguished by the fact that when they are first applied to shaved skin, they give you that ‘stinging’ effect. However, they are very effective in tightening the pores of your skin.
Aftershaves in the form of lotions are usually more liquid than their balm counterparts. The balm is more like a gel and is creamier; they are like what lotions would be outside the aftershave world.
The aftershave lotion or splash have a very strong scent that appeals to some men. The scent is long lasting and means that the application of cologne is not needed. It works as a skin toner to tighten the skin and close any pores. Aftershave balms are more advisable to those people who have dry skin or razor bumps as it can hydrate skin in addition to soothing it. A typical aftershave balm has a subtle scent, and therefore is preferred by men who are not interested in fragrances.
Summary of differences expressed in points
1. Balm-a liniment, medicated topical preparation which can be applied to the skin, reduces pain or stiffness which result from sore muscles; lotions, without any medication
2. Aftershave lotion- to soothe the skin from any irritation and make it smooth and soft; aftershave balm- to make the skin smooth, moisturize it, sooth it and replenish it, any cuts are also somewhat mended
3. Balms are more effective in trying to reduce the razor burns you get after shaving
4. Balms are usually alcohol-free, although not always, unlike lotions
5. Aftershave lotions have a very strong scent unlike balms that have a subtle scent