The Best Vintage Aftershaves Of The ’70S, ’80S And ’90S

Where did aftershave originate from and what was its purpose?

The first aftershave originated from Roman times and was used as an anaesthetic and antiseptic and was made from medicinal herbs and spices. This was used to prevent infection after shaving and even worse... death.

Following on from this in the 1500s a spiced aromatic Bay Rum scent was used by sailors to cover up body odour. The first vintage eau de cologne named ‘4711’ was created in 1709 by Wilhelm Muelhens. It was promoted as miracle water both for internal and external use. This old-fashioned aftershave is still available today but is strictly NOT for consumption. 




The razors of the time were very basic and blunt which lead to a painful shaving experience. This would have meant that cuts and nicks were commonplace following visits to the barbers. There was little known about sterilisation and the living conditions were unsanitary in most places at that time.

The aftershave was used to calm and soothe the skin and often contained large volumes of alcohol. This kept some of the infection-causing bacteria under control. 

It was also claimed that some of the alcohol was absorbed into the skin or inhaled. Some men complained about feeling lightheaded and dizzy after getting a shave but they were most likely a little drunk.


Is Aftershave a luxury or a necessity?

For men that shave it is absolutely necessary to use either an aftershave or an eau de cologne afterwards. It will disinfect freshly shaven skin and the alcohol will constrict the blood vessels, and speed up the healing process. Your skin will feel toned, refreshed and lightly scented. 

You can use an aftershave alongside an eau de toilette for a more prominent and long-lasting scent.

Times have changed and the desire for personal grooming is definitely high on the agenda for most modern men. What could be sexier than a man who likes to look and smell fantastic?


What is meant by Vintage Aftershave?

Some classic aftershaves are even more popular today than when they were first marketed. 

Although lots of male fragrances were heavily promoted back in the day by famous sporting and TV personalities. Such as Henry Cooper in the “Splash it all over” campaign for Brut aftershave. The overall demand for aftershave has increased significantly over the last four decades.

Smelling good is no longer taboo. Lots of older men have continued to buy the same fragrance for the last 30 or 40 years. A vintage perfume or aftershave could be considered as any fragrance over ten years old or since it was originally launched.

Here are our top picks from the 70s, 80s and 90s Fragrances for men. Which of these retro aftershaves is your all-time favourite?


Old Spice


Best Aftershaves from the 1970s


Blue Stratos

Is a fresh masculine fragrance, with top notes of grapefruit, bergamot and lemon. With mid notes of rosewood, geranium and patchouli above base notes of musk, pine, basil and woody notes.


Paco Rabanne Pour Homme

This classic aftershave has a refined and modern edge. It’s an aromatic and woody fragrance with slight notes of spice. The top notes of Brazilian rosewood, clary sage and rosemary are followed by the floral mid notes of geranium, lavender and tonka bean.


Shulton Old Spice for men.

This retro aftershave could be viewed as an old man’s fragrance these days, as many men have been wearing it since it was first launched back in 1937.

However, its popularity is on the rise again. This is mainly due to the introduction in the 2000s of many other products to the range, including deodorant, body wash and body sprays. 

The top notes are nutmeg, star anise, aldehydes, orange and lemon. The floral and spicy mid notes consist of cinnamon, carnation, pimento, geranium, heliotrope and jasmine. The base notes are benzoin, vanilla, musk, tonka bean, cedar and ambergris.


Aramis by Aramis

This traditional aftershave, with its sharp woody notes, is one of our all-time favourites. It is very popular in America where stronger-smelling fragrances are preferred.

The top notes are aldehydes, myrrh, Artemisia, clover, thyme, bergamot and gardenia. The middle notes are patchouli, sage, jasmine, cardamom and orris root. The base notes fall to a masculine concoction of leather, oakmoss, musk, vetiver, sandalwood, amber and coconut.



CK Obession

80’s Aftershaves that are too good to resist.


Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche

Launched in 1982 this fragrance is fresh and masculine. This is mainly due to the top notes of basil, rosemary, green mint, verbena, lavender and lemon. The heart notes are angelica, wormwood, juniper and coriander. With fragrant and musky base notes of oak moss, patchouli, cedar, pine needle and balsam.


Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent.

This is an old-fashioned aftershave but a classic in its own right, launched back in 1981. It is said to reflect masculinity and strength, bringing out the hero in any man that wears it.

The top notes in this vintage aftershave are bay leaf, mace and sage. The middle or heart notes are composed of cinnamon, coriander, bergamot, geranium and jasmine. The base notes are vetiver, patchouli, amber and musk.


Cool Water by Davidoff.

This original marine fragrance for men was inspired by the freshness of the ocean. Unfolding with notes of mint and mid notes of lavender with base notes of sensual amber. 


Obsession by Calvin Klein

This fragrance is a timeless classic. It is an intensely provocative fragrance with a blend of balsamic, spices and rare woods. The top notes start with a bergamot-mandarin mix proceeding to a spicy heart with lavender and sage. The fragrance really captures the 80’s glamour and decadence.


JPG Le Male

Classic 90’s Aftershaves - Fan Favourites.


Eternity for Men by Calvin Klein

In 1990 CK launched Eternity as their latest aromatic fragrance for men. It combines top notes of lavender, lemon, bergamot and mandarin orange for a fresh, clean scent. Followed by mid notes of sage, juniper berries, basil, geranium, coriander, jasmine orange blossom and lily. These fade to reveal base notes of sandalwood, vetiver, musk, Brazilian rosewood and amber.


Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier

We have to include the one with the sailor-shaped bottle and the risqué ad campaign to our list of must have’s. This fragrance is still going strong today as it was when launched in 1995. Described as a ‘macho’ scent, it is a fresh and masculine fragrance. First the top notes of mint hit you then mid notes of lavender with the warm base notes of cinnamon and cumin.


Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani

This is a captivating scent which is adored by both fragrance lovers and collectors. Imagine a warm day by the beach, this is the mood that this aftershave is trying to recreate.

The initial top notes of bergamot, neroli and tangerine are quickly followed by ozonic marine mid notes, jasmine essence, rock rose and persimmon. The warm and earthy base notes of cedarwood, patchouli and musk complement each other perfectly.


Issey Pour Homme Issey Miyake for men

This fragrance was launched in 1994 and is woody and aquatic. Top notes are yuzu, lemon, bergamot, lemon verbena, mandarin orange, cypress, calone, coriander, tarragon and sage. With middle notes of blue lotus, nutmeg, lily of the valley, saffron, bourbon geranium, and cinnamon; base notes are Tahitian vetiver, musk, cedar, sandalwood, tobacco and amber.

We hope you enjoyed our selection of what we believe to be some of the best vintage aftershaves available today.

If you need any further information about our more modern popular men’s fragrance range then try our Best Loved Male Fragrances Article here. Or for more information on our Top Ten Sexy Male Fragrances click here