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Difference between Cologne and Aftershave

Difference Between Cologne and Aftershave

Many of us have a big misconception that cologne and aftershave serve similar purposes as both give a good smell and provide a masculine feel. However, you will be surprised to know that there exists a huge difference between cologne and aftershave.

Maybe you are using one thinking both as a similar thing, but suddenly you heard that these cologne and aftershave are not the same and used for 2 different purposes.

Naturally, after knowing they are different, plenty of questions will revolve around your head, such as what is an aftershave and cologne? Which one is the perfect one for me to use? How and when to use?

That’s why to get rid of all types of confusion on your mind, read this article patiently as by the end you will get a clear idea of these 2 vital things.

What’s the Difference between Cologne and Aftershave?

Whether be it the function or essential oils levels, there are several dissimilarities between these two. But the main difference between cologne and aftershave is cologne is created to give an attractive smell that you can apply any time. In contrast, aftershave is a liquid that is applied to the skin right after shaving.

Below is a list of topics that are described briefly for your convenience so that you can understand the differences between cologne and aftershave clearly.


As the name goes by, it is a product used on the man’s skin right after shaving. Normally, a man’s skins are rougher than a woman’s skin. Men need to shave frequently, for which they need to use blades on their skin regularly.

However, using a blade on the skin, one of the most sensitive parts of the body, instantly opens the skin pores by making space for the bacteria to enter into the skin. So, how to stop these from happening as indeed one cannot stop doing shave just for fear of bacteria? There has to be an alternative, right!

Well, the vital answer to these questions is to use aftershave as using these immediately after shaving helps clean and close the skin’s pores, so no bacteria enter. Moreover, it also decreases the chance of infection by closing the accidental scratches and cuts that may occur while shaving. Therefore, it is better to use aftershave because it will protect the skin along with giving a good smell and touch to the skin.


Cologne is a light aromatic smell that lasts for a longer time. An Italian fragrance maker at first made it in the year 1709. Since then, it has been successful in grabbing people’s attention and is expected to continue.

Usually, colognes contain 2-5% of perfume oil. They are mainly applied on the skin so that the oils are captivated and fused with our natural oil for creating an appealing smell. For getting the best outcome, it is best to apply it to the main heat points. Here, the body temperature remains constant, eventually warming the oils and releasing the sweet smell into the air.

Colognes’s main purpose is to get an attractive smell that lasts long. Therefore, they cannot work as an alternative to aftershave. They don’t have any anti-bacterial or anti-oxidant properties like the aftershave. Hence, they cannot protect the skin when there is a cut, unlike aftershave.

Main Ingredients of Aftershave

Alcohol and witch hazel are the 2 main ingredients that are used in aftershave:


It can constrict and close the skin pore so that no bacteria can directly enter the body. That’s why right after using an aftershave, one feels a kind of slight bite.

Witch hazel

It is a natural constringent containing anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-acne, and anti-oxidant features making it another vital ingredient. In fact, it acts as a moisturizer of the skin by enhancing the hydration, elasticity, and smoothness in the outer part of the skin.

Ultimately making these an ideal cure for use in case of shaver injury or irritation. Moreover, its anti-acne properties help in avoiding acne bursting while applying force during shaving.

Main Ingredients of Cologne

There are 3 main ingredients for cologne:

Essential oils

It is generally extracted from flowering plants. The most costly and elite colognes are those that are produced from limited oils.


Colognes contain alcohol but in a slight amount for concentrating the fragrant compounds. Hence, a cologne cannot cleanse the way alcohol can.


This ingredient plays a vital role by acting as a solvent for carrying the oils in the distillation process. In simple words, it captivates and passes the smell when the heat and alcohol break the oils to discharge the aroma.

When and What Type of Aftershave You Must Use?

The right application time for aftershave is always after shaving each time, especially in case an injury occurs while shaving. Although everyone can use aftershave, but it is ideal and well-suited for dry and oily skins with clogged pores. It works the best for releasing the dryness and thus kill the harmful bacteria residing in the pores.

There are various aftershaves available; you must buy only one based on your skin type to get the best outcome. Now the question may arise, which one to buy for your skin. We have made a list, so go through them and purchase one depending on your skin:

  • For normal skin, the ideal one is a gel or liquid aftershave.
  • If you have oily skin, then a cream, gel, or liquid with moisturizer can be a good option for you.
  • For dry skin, the best one to go for is a balm-containing moisturizer in it.

When and What Type of Cologne You Must Use?

The ideal time to use cologne is after taking a shower by drying yourself completely. At this time, the skin pores get open, making a perfect time for applying colognes.

Hence, hold a spray bottle at 3 to 5 inches from the skin to get an equal distribution of smell. The body’s pulse points to get the best and impactful result are shoulder, wrist, neck, inner elbow, forearm, etc.

The type of cologne that you must wear depends on the day’s time, as what suits you in the daytime might not suit the night. For daytime, the best option is to go for a noticeable light tone, like a floral scent with a slight touch of spice or wood. On the other hand, for the night, the ideal one to go for is to use a heavy scent such as musk.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, all your confusion regarding the difference between cologne and aftershave is cleared now. If you want your smell to last for a long time, it is better to go for cologne.

Cologne is mainly created to give an appealing scent throughout the day. On the other hand, if you prefer a more hygienic way to get germ-free and cleaner skin with a good smell, then aftershave is the one to go for.

Therefore, if you compare both and have to choose one, then aftershave has the upper hand as it protects the skin, unlike cologne. However, based on your choice and preference, use one that will serve your purpose.