Saturday, March 9, 2013

DIY Aftershave/Tonic

I have been making aftershave for my husband for a year or so. He has been enjoying them and I have enjoyed the fact that these are much safer and healthier for him than his old store-bought tonics. I started with a basic recipe that can be modified with different essential oils. The nice thing is that you can create these for aroma and medicinal properties by using the essential oils. So you can have a very personalized product. My husband likes a little "sting" in his aftershave, but one could easily reduce the alcohol and replace it with more witch hazel if you have very sensitive skin.  These recipes do not include water, which i prefer not to add to any of my beauty products, to decrease contamination.

I made him a Bay Rum cologne for Valentine's day that turned out really well and did not take long to make. Typically, one would use dried leaves and the mixture would have to age. My recipe does not need time to cure and can be used immediately.
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Here is my basic adaptable recipe:


Yield: ⅔ cup (FYI--will fit into cholula hot sauce bottle perfectly)


  • ⅛ cup rum (use white for a clear look, dark for an amber look)
  • witch hazel
  • ¼ cup alcohol (I use 91% for zing)
  • essential oils
  • ⅛ cup glycerin

Preparation:add rum and glycerin to the ¼ line on measuring cup. Add alcohol to the ½ cup line.  add witch hazel to almost the ⅔ cup line. Add oils.

I like to use lemongrass, lime and lemon for an Asian-citrus blend. I like our invigorating blend, "Wake up!", with spearmint, peppermint, eucalyptus and camphor. It is a nice muscle rub as well or to cool off in the heat. You are only limited by your imagination and essential oil budget! Please note that this will need to be shaken at each use, as the ingredients will separate.

Bay Rum Aftershave
1/4 cup Kraken spiced rum (left over from the holidays :)
1/8 cup glycerin
1/4 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol
1/8-1/4 cup witch hazel
12 drops of bay (west indies) essential oil, be sure it is pimenta racemosa
5 drops of allspice essential oil

Just mix the ingredients in a glass measuring cup and decant into a bottle. I keep an old glass measuring cup just for making my DIY beauty products. As for bottles, get creative. I enjoy finding new uses for old items such as vinegar and oil cruets, old glass syrup bottles, Cholula hot sauce bottles and anything else that catches my eye! I generally label them with a tag including which oils were used and advise to shake before using. These seem to age well without problems, even after a few months.

I would love to hear of any scent combinations you have tried and enjoyed! I am looking forward to making a black peppery/vanilla/clove combo. We will see how it turns out!


  1. I'm so glad you make these! I love that the scent fades down to the point where just the person wearing it can really tell it's there. That and the bit about it being better for me, of course!

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