The Best Aftershave You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted by: on Jun 6, 2011 | 3 Comments

Anyone who’s ever spent time in a drug store or barbershop knows we’re not starved for choices when it comes to grooming products.  There are the seemingly endless shelves of shampoos for this or that type of hair and a plethora of shaving gels, soaps, cremes, and foams that try to tell us we can’t possibly be handsome without them. So, while you can rummage through that mess for some things, you won’t have to if you want the best kept secret in shaving.  In fact, you can’t.  Hydrolast Aftershave Conditioner is not available off any shelf – not even the ones in the apothecary where it’s made.

To back up for a moment, Hydrolast is the house brand of Enchante in Austin, Texas.  Owner Charles Roberts is what you might called obsessed with shaving.  He’s written books on both shaving history and the evolution of shaving technology, and regularly hosts classes and workshops on getting the perfect home shave.  And a number of years ago he decided that the products on the market just weren’t cutting it anymore, if you’ll excuse the pun.  For a guy with a degree in English literature, this wasn’t an easy problem to fix, but Roberts taught himself organic chemistry, studied the physiology of shaving, and reinvented the ritual from the blade up.

His complete system, called “Method Shaving,” is a commitment for real die-hards only, but his “finishing sequence” is the only sure fire way I’ve found to insure a smooth, irritation free face.  Unlike most aftershave balms, Hydrolast uses two products instead of one.  The conditioner is a creamy hand-mixed blend of nutrients, emollients, and anti-irritants that helps skin maintain its proper pH balance, preventing razor burn and calming calms any existing bumps and nicks.  It’s thicker than most cremes, so a little goes a long way, and after smoothing a bit on you hydrate it with a few spritzes of the scented tonic and gently rub it in.  The treatment has a very luxurious barbershop feel to it, and is the part of my morning ritual I look forward to most.

Roberts mixes them up in a variety of scents that you can mix and match as you wish.  Personally, I go for a sandalwood conditioner and vetiver tonic in the winter, while this time of year I stick to things like lime, peppermint, and eucalyptus.  Everything is made fresh to order, and if you live in a climate that is particularly hot, dry, humid, etc. Roberts can compensate for that too.  He’ll even blend scents if you ask politely – bergamot/vetiver tonic is a personal favorite of mine.  But like I said, whether you visit him in Austin or on Enchante’s website, no rummaging required.


  1. Gentleman's Gazette
    June 6, 2011

    Stephen, this sounds fantastic! Also, the pictures has a nice macro effect with the blurred background – well done.

    What other products do you use from him?

    • Stephen
      June 6, 2011

      Glad you like it!

      I was a full method shaver for almost a year, but now only treat myself to a full method shave once every week or two. Other than these two products, the line is really meant to be used as a system and the other products don’t work as stand-alone additions to a regular wet shave.

  2. Marcelene Floros
    June 26, 2011

    I’ve recently began a blog on this subject, the information you have shown on this site has helped me out immensely. Thank you so much for all of your time & hard work.


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