“Best” bay rum aftershaves: what you should know

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As some of our readers might already know, I’m a huge fan of witch hazel. It has helped me tame my vicious razor burn problems that would drive me mad before that.

Now, bay rum aftershaves actually contain witch hazel too. They basically serve the same purpose – splash a bit of an astringent to cool your skin post-shave, and prevent any irritation.

There are two main differences between a quality bay rum splash – the best for me is the legendary Ogallala Sandalwood, and pure witch hazel:

  • Bay rum aftershaves contain alcohol

  • And they have a more prominent, lingering smell

Sure, I currently use a scented Thayers’ witch hazel:

But if I’m to be objective, the manly, eclectic aroma of a good quality bay rum aftershave for men goes well beyond any scented witch hazel.

Here’s my problem: with the years, my face decided it doesn’t like getting alcohol splashed on it.

Numerous other men, however, have no such issue. If you’re one of them, go ahead. Draw the manly, fragrant benefits of an amazing bay rum aftershave!

If you have bad blood with astringents that include alcohol, however, stick to clean witch hazel or similar lotions. That’s why I used quotation marks in the title, actually. “Best” is a relative term.

The 3 best bay rum aftershaves I recommend you

1. Best variety bay rum after shave:
Ogallala Sandalwood

Ogallala is, hands down, the best thing ever in the bay rum aftershave world. One of the reasons, obviously, is the outstanding quality of their products.

The other is the amazing selection of various bay rum lotions they have. Their Sandalwood one is probably the best smelling and reasonably long lingering fragrance. 5 ingredients take care of its strong anti-inflammatory and cooling action:

  • Witch hazel

  • Purified water

  • Bay oil

  • Alcohol

  • Sandalwood fragrance oil

Packed in a 8 oz vintage looking bottle, they give a manly, yet not too overbearing scent. Both the old-fashioned bottle and the smell will transport you on a quick trip to an barbershop from ye ole’ times.

If you’re a fan of more refreshing, summer scents, try their Limes and Peppercorn bay rum aftershave. It’s a bit bolder in terms of smell, with some fruity notes – not sweet, but full on citrus-powered!

Run away from the scorching summer days and dive right into a blissful feeling of total invigoration!

Note: Be careful with the Double Strength Ogallala. For me, it ruined the manly balance bay rum aftershaves usually exhibit. It narrows on being too strong, too overbearing and while it certainly cools your skin, it can be too aggressive for people’s noses.

2. Bay rum lotion with more witch hazel notes:
Captain’s Choice

Witch hazel usually has some more neutral tones, but for some reason I love its aroma. Captain’s Choice is a bay rum aftershave that bridges slight spiciness with a stronger witch hazel scent.

I want to point out a very important ingredient you’ll see here. Can you guess which is it? Let’s see:

  • Witch hazel

  • Alcohol

  • Essential oils & extracts

  • Glycerin

That’s right: it’s the glycerin. Glycerin helps a bit more with moisturizing, so Captain’s Choice will perform a bit better in this regard.

As I mentioned, you’re getting a tang of spiciness here. This product is also cooler than the sandalwood Ogallala – it might sting just a little when applied.

A possible reason to nitpick would be the smaller 4 oz bottle. It would’ve been great to have Captain’s Choice in at least an 8oz bottle. You can always get two of them, true, but still…

The Captain of bay rum splashes trades the stronger witch hazel scent for a subdued aroma of the essential oils included in it.

So, if you’re leaning more towards the classic bay rum scent with oil fragrances, it might be a bit too weak for you.

3. Best exotic/woody bay rum splash:
Clubman Pinaud

We’re used to have more woody, earthy notes in colognes or, sometimes – in whiskey, the nectar of Gods.

Clubman Pinaud has this woodsy scent to it, which is an absolute hit once it mixes with the bay rum aroma. Add a hint of spiciness – more subdued than the Captain, I feel, and you’re in heaven.

This combination comes at a small price: the “bite” once you apply it. If you don’t like astringents stinging your skin a bit, the Pinaud won’t be your perfect fit.

However, I’ve yet to meet a man who minded a little bit of a “kick” after a darn good shave.

As the bay rum cherry on top, the Pinaud lasts long enough to make an impression. This could be my limited experience, but from all of the bay rum splashes, the Pinaud has lasted me the longest.

The catch? You’ve got some synthetics here, as well as coloring agents. I’m not sure how much of a fan you are of organic aftershaves, but the Pinaud isn’t one.

Keep this in mind if you have allergies/extra sensitive skin, and stick to the previous choices!

Can I use bay rum aftershave as a cologne too?

Honestly?

That wouldn’t work that well.

Most bay rum splashes are designed to be pure aftershaves that calm your skin and linger for some minutes.

Note: minutes, not hours.

Their scent can be rich and pleasant, but it’ll diffuse into thin air after a short while. You’d do better if you stuck to traditional colognes for men.

That said, Ogallala actually have a designated Cologne Bay Rum variety. It might be worth a shot, though I haven’t tried it out yet.

If you want to check out some other options to treat razor burn, check our extensive article on preventing razor burn/bumps for black men. A lot of the razor burn parts there are applicable even for straighter hair (and beards.)

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