Alum was the first, post-shave treatment introduced to me by my father.
This is an old fashion way to heal minor razor cuts and burns and was commonly used by the Egyptians centuries ago. Alum is moistened and rubbed gently on to your skin after shaving to cool, soothe and heal the damaged skin.
Alum (Potassium or Ammonium) is commonly used for after-shave treatment because of its antiseptic and constricting properties. It is not a complete alternative to using balm, however Alum is commonly used for after-shave treatment for these reasons. There are some who prefer to use Alum to Balm.
What is Alum?
Alum is a crystal-like mineral salt with antiseptic agents, which is made of naturally extracted Alum and potassium.
It is used for nicks and cuts and fresh razor cuts and burns. Alum helps stop bleeding by constricting the blood vessels and contracting tiny open pores. It seals razor cuts and soothes razor burns.
Some alum comes in Ammonium alum, however most users prefer potassium Aluminum Alum. Alum not only acts as an antiseptic agent to sterilize the skin but also act as a balm. Alum is both antiseptic and astringent.
How to use an Alum block for shaving
Wet the alum in cold water and rub on your moist skin for about a minute.
Wet Alum, when rubbed on your skin gives you a sharp sting, indicating that it is healing the wounds.
If you have oily skin it is quite safe to use Alum as an aftershave, rather than rinsing it off, but I usually wash it off after 1 or 2 minutes of thorough application on the shaved areas.
Due to its astringent property you might want use it for straight shaving, to tighten your skin for better shaves. Wet your fingers and generously rub on the Alum and then stretch your Skin for easy reach while shaving.
Although Alcohol dries and evaporates pretty quickly, many people suggest avoiding alcohol-based aftershave, after the application of Alum, as both products are astringent, and will both have the effect of drying your skin.
Advantages and drawbacks of using Alum
It helps stop bleeding, tones and heals the damaged skin very quickly.
Some people used it as a natural deodorant. It is a perfect natural antiperspirant
Alum is recommended for those with oily skin.
It is not recommended for use if you have very dry skin. Just like an alcohol-based aftershave it dries up your skin if you use it excessively.
Don’t leave it on sensitive skin any longer than 2 minutes or so. You may want to rinse off and apply light moisturizer.