I’m handcrafting all my holiday gifts this year. For the guys on my list (if any of my family is reading this, shhhhh…. don’t tell!) I’m making a luxurious soothing herbal aftershave. It’s so easy to make, but boy is it great for his skin!
Many men hate to shave because every time they do their faces get extremely irritated. We have paid lots of money for some of those commercial aftershave lotions, but this recipe is pretty inexpensive and so much more soothing.
Here’s what you do.
Step 1 – Gather the herbs and materials
Get some either fresh or dried sage and lavender blossoms/ leaves. You can use other herbs, too, but I chose these because together they smell rather “manly” and they are fairly easy to get. There are many other herbs that also smell manly or are soothing to skin, so feel free to substitute here. A good one to add is calendula blossoms — very good for skin. If you have the herbs you need growing in your garden that’s great! Just pick a few large handfuls of each. Otherwise, you can likely get what you need at any health food store that sells dried bulk herbs, or you can order them from Mountain Rose Herbs. For dried herbs you need less than fresh, maybe about a cup of each (or more for a stronger scent, it doesn’t have to be exact).
Buy a couple of bottles of witch hazel extract from your local drug store (or order from Mountain Rose Herbs). This is a gentle toner for the skin. If your man’s skin is less sensitive and you want a more “bracing” after shave, you can substitute rubbing alcohol for the witch hazel.
Buy some aloe vera gel. I ordered mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, but I believe you can also buy this at most health food stores as well.
Make sure you have a little apple cider vinegar on hand (probably already in your kitchen cupboard)
Step 2 – Infuse the herbs in the witch hazel (or rubbing alcohol)
Put the herbs in a quart size jar (canning jars work great for this). You can use a bigger or smaller jar, just adjust the amount of herb you add accordingly. None of it has to be exact.
Pour witch hazel over to cover.
Add 2 Tbs vinegar (this helps with the extraction of the herbal essence).
Stir and then pour more witch hazel to cover again.
Cap and let sit for 1-2 weeks, shaking the jar whenever you think about it.
Step 3 – Put it all together
After it has extracted for a week or two, strain the herb out of your witch hazel.
Add an equal amount of aloe vera gel, then stir or shake. The amount of aloe can be adjusted, using more or less, for varying degrees of moisturizing quality. For mostly toning, you would use more herbal infused witch hazel and only a little aloe, say 2 cups of witch hazel to 1/2 cup aloe. For more moisture, you could use, say, 2 cups of aloe to 1 cup of witch hazel. Or any combination in between! But half and half is a good place to start.
Pour into bottles. You could recycle old cologne bottles for this, or you can buy those plastic travel bottles from any discount store. You can also order a variety of different sized bottles in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Make sure whatever bottle you use is very clean. Pour boiling water over and in them and let dry thoroughly before filling to make sure they are sterile. Also, to prevent germs getting into the mixture after your man begins to use it, it is best to use either a pump type bottle, a spray bottle, or one with a flip type lid — this prevents germs from being introduced by hands making contact with it every day. The alcohol in the witch hazel acts as a preservative, and if you are careful of the type of bottle you use to prevent germs, it should be good until he uses it all up. This recipe makes about 2 quarts, which is a lot. If making for just one person, I would half or quarter the recipe to be sure it stays fresh until he uses it all, then you can make up another batch.
Infusing the herbs adds a lot of subtle soothing and nourishing essence to the aftershave, but in a pinch you could skip the herbal infusion and just mix the witch hazel and aloe, which makes an even easier alternative that he will also appreciate for its soothing aftershave properties.
That’s all there is to it. That was easy!!