What’s Alum? A Review of The Art of Shaving Alum Block

Background

The Art of Shaving is a retailer of upscale shaving products that was founded in Manhattan in 1996 by Eric Malka and Myriam Zaoui.

It was purchased by Proctor and Gamble in 2007 and its headquarters are now located in Miami, FL.

Alum is a compound in which aluminum and a monovalent cation (usually potassium) form a salt with sulfate; it is an astringent and helps stop small nicks and cuts from bleeding.

Alum is an acidic compound; it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can help decrease the incidence of post-shaving irritation.

When used in wet shaving, alum comes in the form of a block or other solid that can be directly applied to the skin afterward; The Art of Shaving Alum Block can be used after shaving to help prevent post-shaving irritation.

Alum-Block-Case

Specifications:

Type: Solid block.

Texture: Smooth.

Color: Whitish; translucent.

Scent: Unscented.

Finish: Smooth; leaves skin with a “tight” feeling.

Price: Inexpensive ($5.43 per ounce); lasts a long time.

Rating: 5/5 (Ideal)

Retailer: www.amazon.com

Product Overview

The Art of Shaving alum block is packaged in a clear plastic case that is well-suited for traveling.

Inside the case is the product, which is a translucent, whitish crystalline block.

This unscented product is to be used after you have finished shaving, when your face is still wet.

Alum helps to stop small nicks and cuts by constriction of blood vessels; it has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and helps to reduce irritation caused by shaving.Alum-Block

Instructions for Use

  • Rinse your face with cold water after shaving.
  • Wet the alum block with cold water; this will make it somewhat slippery.
  • Rub the block over the freshly shaved skin of the face and neck.
    • Application of the product may cause a brief stinging or burning sensation in places that were cut or irritated by the razor; these are places to which you may need to pay more attention during your next shave.
  • Allow the product to stay on the skin for 30-45 seconds.
  • Rinse your face with cold water again and then pat dry with a towel.
  • Shake excess water from the alum block before placing it back into its case.

Positives:

  • Inexpensive.
  • Solid product; no mess.
  • Easy to use.
  • Stops bleeding from small cuts and nicks.
  • Antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  • Helps to prevent razor burn and post-shave irritation.
  • Acidity may help to normalize skin pH after washing with alkaline soaps.

Negatives:

  • It can be difficult to find, but you can usually find it online if all else fails.
  • Must allow the product to dry after using.
  • Causes a brief burning/stinging sensation when applied to broken or irritated skin.
    Alum-Crystal

My Review

To me, this is truly a great product; it is inexpensive, easy to use, and effective.

I have always suffered from post shaving irritation in the form of ingrown hairs and razor bumps since I started shaving, and I have had no such problems since I have been using this product.

It also works very well for stopping small cuts/nicks from bleeding; I personally can’t say that I have experienced any downside to using it.

Click on the pictures or the amazon link for more information about purchasing your own alum block if you’re interested.

Comments

If you have any experience with this particular product, or if you use alum as part of your shaving routine, please let me know in the “Comments” section below.

14 Replies to “What’s Alum? A Review of The Art of Shaving Alum Block”

  1. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for a well-written and informative review. This looks like a great product. I like the fact that it is affordable and can be easily carried when traveling.

    Regards,
    Joonas

    1. Hi Joonas,

      Thanks for your comment. I had heard of alum before, but it was always in some sort of powder form, and we used it when we bit our tongue or cheek.
      I had never heard of an alum block before, and it’s really simple to use and works really well. I was actually surprised at how well it works because
      I generally have a pretty good amount of irritation after I shave for some reason, and I really haven’t had any since I started using this after I shave.

      Ian

  2. The aftershave irritation can be quite annoying. One time, I even considered to stop shaving altogether but it however, didn’t take long to realize that it was simply not an option. Most of the aftershave products peddled in the market are either too expensive or ineffective. If this alum block is even half as good as advertised, then I just might have found a solution. Thanks for sharing 

    1. Hi Leo,

      I have tried a lot of products that contain various different active ingredients.  The top 3 things that have helped me so far are:

      1.)  A liquid product called Tend Skin.

      2.)  A lotion-based product called Veliscio.

      3.)  The block of alum.

      I really hope that it helps for you.  The razors that are marketed to stop razor bumps, etc. are effective; however, they leave my hair a little longer than I would like after shaving.

      Ian

      This is a link to a page with all of the products that I mentioned above:

      What About Men’s Shaving? A Guide

  3. Thank you so much for your review on Alum. I live in Manhattan and I an surprised that I have never heard about this company before. This is great! I always like wet shaving it makes the skin smoother. My husband hates hit because he gets the cut from all the hair and all that jazz. This astringent should help him with that. This will be a perfect gift for him for valentines. 🙂 will go on Amazon and check it now.

    Cheers!

    1. Hi,

      I guess that the links I have on the products are not that apparent; you can find it easily at amazon.com; I’ll go back and check out my page again.

      The Art of Shaving started out in NYC, but it’s now pretty widespread across the US, with several stores located in she shopping malls around the country.  I remember a store in Lenox Mall in Atlanta and I think also in Dallas at Northpark Mall.

      I hope that it helps you and your husband as it really helped me with post-shaving irritation.  The only thing is that it does sting a little bit when applied to the irritated areas, but it’s kind of a small price to pay.

      Cheers,

      Ian

  4. Many thanks to you for sharing such an excellent article with us and I have heard about Alum block .It’s really easy to use and works very well .And I was really surprised to see it work .my husband use this product after washing and her face is wet. The alum helps to stop small noses and cuts by narrowing the blood vessels and has antiseptic and antibacterial properties and helps reduce irritation due to shaving. All in all it is a really great product, it is cheap, easy to use and effective and there is no bad way to use it so my husband will buy it again and will definitely share with you new experiences soon.

    1. That’s really great!  I don’t know of many other guys who use alum, and I have only recently began using it for this purpose.  You really don’t see the powdered form in the drugstores anymore, but the solid blocks that last quite awhile are readily available online.

      I’m glad that your husband likes the alum block as much as I do, and please keep me posted as to any new experiences you have with this product.  I agree, it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to use, and there really isn’t a huge downside to using this product.

      Ian

  5. Thank you for the enlightenment of this product. You’ve really taken the time to write this intensively I must say. This is a great review of this product. Though new to me, but I think that its benefit is something to consider. A lot of people may experience some kind of bleeding from small cut and this can come in handy. I also like the fact that it’s inexpensive to get.

    1. Yes,

      As a kid, I remember if we bit the inside of our mouth, it helped to shrink the area and decrease the swelling so that we were less prone to bite the same area over and over.

      I know that it has antiseptic and astringent properties, so it’s good for right after shaving.  

      It really does stop small cuts and nicks from shaving quite easily; it’s relatively inexpensive, can be easily found online, and one block has lasted me a couple of months already.

      Thanks,

      Ian

  6. I never knew that a product like this will solve a lot of shaving issues. This will really help things out. I read from the “Negatives” that it may be hard to find but well I’ll check to see if it’s something to get online. I thought maybe you had a link to where I could get it. But well, I’m glad that you shared this information with us.

    1. If you click on the pictures, there are links to the products.  I also linked a few pieces of text, but it may not be that apparent.

      I think that I got mine from amazon.com; it’s about $20, and to me, it’s totally worth it.

      Cheers,

      Ian

  7. Thank you so much for sharing with us such a beautiful article review about Alum. I am glad to see your article. I also know about Alum. Alum is a very important thing and it is used for many purposes. But especially men use after shaving. I have seen my Husband use it after shaving. Because after shaving, the irritation is also used to get rid of it. It acts as an antiseptic. I think all the men who haven’t tried it yet should try it. If you don’t mind, I will share this article on my social media account. Your article is really unique and informative.

    1. Yes, by all means, share it!

      I have not always used it; as a kid, we would use it for mouth ulcers, etc.

      I know now that it is used as an antiseptic, and it is extremely useful for post-shaving irritation.

      Thanks for reading,

      Ian

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