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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

What aftershave did men use in the 1940s?  I couldn't find any info on line.

Thank you so much


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Most men didn't use aftershave . 

 Thanks.  When you went to the barber did they put on aftershave?   


My grandfather had an ancient bottle of Aqua Velva in his bathroom that he said he got during the war, although he was in the merchant navy so could have picked it up on his travels.  I think Old Spice was around in the 40s.

Bay Rum, perhaps?

I understand that people used to use alum/salt blocks post shaving historically.


I agree. The alum block, as used by the barber, was my father's and uncle's aftershave of choice. 

My grandfather and father used to use an alum block, or styptic pencil, but this was to soothe the skin and stop any post-shave bleeding from nicks! They don't have any scent as such, so they weren't used as aftershave in the scented sense. 

Men did use colognes in the 1940s, e.g. the standard Eau de Cologne, and I know that Acqua di Parma has been around for a while. Floris and Penhaligons have been around for centuries! However, I believe these gentlemen's colognes were used much as women use perfumes, sparingly, rather than slapped around ones chops post shave. 

I took it Julia's enquiry about 1940's 'aftershave' meant just that - 'aftershave' - not necessarily scented stuff. Men were men back then.

My late father always used to use "Old Spice" aftershave even going back to the 1950's and I understand this particular fragrance dates back even further to the 1940's:


This product is still on the market to this day so I bought some a couple of years ago and the aroma took me so vividly back to when as a small boy my dad would give me a big hug before he went off to work at Gestetners Duplicaters in Tottenham each morning.

I always associate the smell of 'Old Spice' with my amazing father who passed just 3 years ago last month at the age of 96.

Thank you everyone. Great info learnt a lot about aftershave and the Alum block.  My uncle had a barber's shop, I wished I'd paid more attention to watching him shaving men.  The leather belt where he sharpened his shaving instrument put me off.

My grandfather used Old Spice and I just wondered whether it was available in the early 1940s.  I was surprised to find Old Spice came from the US.  


Rather lovely post about your memories of your old dad, David Parnell.   What did he do and when did he work at Gestetners ??  I worked there aged about 17 for around 18 months 1965/66 time.  We may have crossed paths albeit differing generation.



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