Can I Use Hand Sanitizer As Aftershave?

Aftershave is designed to soothe and protect the skin after shaving. It contains alcohol which has antiseptic properties to clean any nicks or cuts that may have occurred during a shave. This prevents any infections from developing in the wounds.

Can you use hand sanitizer as aftershave? The quick answer is yes, as hand sanitizer contains alcohol or witch hazel it can be used to soothe and protect skin in a similar way to aftershave. However, some hand sanitizers may not be as effective – as you are about to find out.

Can I use hand sanitizer as aftershave? Face wash

Hand Sanitizer vs Aftershave

Most aftershave is a combination of ethanol and fragrance. Ethanol is 95% alcohol by volume (ABV), a strength that is necessary to dissolve the essential oils that make up the fragrance and to preserve it. This strength is very effective at destroying bacteria on the skin.

Most over-the-counter hand sanitizers have less than 60% alcohol which is not as effective at killing bacteria as an aftershave. That said, it still has soothing qualities and is better than using nothing at all.

How To Use Hand Sanitizer As Aftershave

You can apply a hand sanitizer to your face in the same way as an aftershave. There a few things to bear in mind before splashing it on.

  • Avoid your eyes as it can irritate them
  • You may find it quite harsh and drying on your skin
  • Some hand sanitizers contain irritating fragrances if you have sensitive skin
  • The fragrance of some hand sanitizers may be a little pungent to use on your face
  • If you choose a hand sanitizer with antibacterial properties other than alcohol, it may irritate the skin of you face
  • Hand sanitizer may not close your pores in the same way that aftershave does.

The Different Types of Hand Sanitizer

There are two main types of hand sanitizers: alcohol-based and alcohol-free. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers usually contain between 60% and 95% alcohol, either isopropyl alcohol, ethanol (ethyl alcohol) or n-propanol. Alcohol-based sanitizer is more effective at cleaning small wounds.

The following two are recommended here because they have a high enough alcohol content to effectively protect skin after shaving, are moisturizing, and have light citrus fragrances.

Purell Naturals

Can I use hand sanitizer a aftershave? Purell

Purell hand sanitizer is a safe choice to use as an aftershave balm. It is designed to use frequently, throughout the day without causing irritation to hands so if it’s applied occasionally to the face in place of aftershave, it shouldn’t have any adverse effects.

It contains naturally derived ethyl alcohol (70%), has a fresh citrus fragrance and is paraben-free. Its consistency makes it is easy to apply without fear of splashing it everywhere or getting it in your eyes.

You can find lots more product information, the current price and customer reviews at Amazon.

Hempz Triple Moisture Herbal Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

Can I use hand sanitizer a aftershave? Hempz

HEMPZ is a triple moisturizing serum with antibacterial properties that leaves skin soft. It is enriched with coconut and hemp seed oil to reduce itchiness and dryness.

Another plus point is it is 100% vegan and is paraben-free. Find lots more information about HEMPZ hand sanitizer, customer reviews, and the current price at Amazon.

6 Great Aftershave Alternatives

You’ve run out of aftershave, have no hand sanitizer, and need something to splash on after a shave. What else can you use?

Here are some excellent aftershave alternatives that you may have in your home:

Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol

There’s no point using the alcohol you drink at home as the percentage alcohol in this isn’t high enough to cleanse your skin of bacteria.

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl is about 99% alcohol and is OK as an aftershave substitute because it will kill bacteria on your skin and close your pores – but undiluted it is actually too strong to kill bacteria and it will leave your skin feeling tight and dry.

Dilute this type of alcohol with aloe vera gel to create your own hand sanitizer or aftershave substitute. The ideal mix is 3 parts alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to give it a nice fragrance.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Many people use apple cider vinegar as a facial astringent so there’s no reason why it can’t double as an aftershave. The best variety to use is organic.

I would dilute it with an equal amount of water to ensure it doesn’t smell too strong or sting your skin. Any vinegar content will naturally evaporate fairly quickly.

You might want to avoid getting this on your clothes as it may smell a bit strange all day long!

Skin Toner

Skin toner is often applied as part of a beauty regime because it tightens the pores. Women, in particular, like to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. If you share your home with a female, try using her skin toner as an aftershave – if she’ll let you!

Can I use hand sanitizer as aftershave? Aloe vera plant

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that is fantastic for the skin because of its natural anti-inflammatory qualities. You can literally break a piece from a plant and use the fluid from it to soothe any shaving nicks or cuts.

Aloe vera gel is also ideal as a shaving balm amongst many other uses so it’s a good idea to always keep a bottle handy.

This organic Aloe Vera Gel also includes tea tree oil and together these ingredients soothe and help to restore dry and damaged skin. You can find more details and the current price at Amazon.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree has natural cleansing properties and is great if you are prone to spots. Add a few drops to cold water and splash it on after a shave to give your skin an extra clean feel.


Don’t overlook the power of using water instead of aftershave. Most shaving lotions are soap-based and if you rinse with warm water once you’ve finished with the razor you will open and thoroughly cleanse your pores.

Continue to rinse your face with warm water until all traces of soap and loose whiskers are gone. Then run the tap until the water is very cold and thoroughly splash your face to tighten your pores and prevent new dirt from entering them.

Pat your face dry with a clean towel and apply face cream if your skin feels tight and dry.

Witch Hazel Based Hand Sanitizer

Witch Hazel is a plant that is used in astringents and hand sanitizers. It is soothing but does not have antibacterial properties. It is believed to close pores and soothe irritated skin by reducing inflammation.

Can I Use Aftershave As Hand Sanitizer?

As aftershave has a high alcohol content, it will clean hands in the same way as hand sanitizer so if it’s all you have to hand then, by all means, use it.

The smell may be a bit overpowering though! If you have access to soap and warm water, this is a far superior (and cheaper) way to cleanse your hands than using any type of hand sanitizer or aftershave.

Can I Use Hand Sanitizer As Aftershave? – Conclusion

You can use hand sanitizer in place of aftershave but I would only do so if you’ve run out of aftershave. After all, aftershave has been specifically designed and tested to be used on faces and hand sanitizer has been designed to clean hands.

Jane Pettitt

Hi, I'm Jane. I've had a passion for perfume since the age of 18. answers popular fragrance-related questions and contains guides to all sorts of perfumes, colognes, and fragrances for men and women. I write at home surrounded by cats (we have 4 at the moment) and also blog about these and other pets on

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