Can This Men’s Aftershave Replace My Favorite Makeup Primer?

Maybe if they start selling it with nose plugs.
Publish date:
April 14, 2016
Soap & Glory, NIVEA, primer, men's products, aftershave

I've never been super-into face primers. I don't always believe they're necessary when you wear the right foundation, and I was pretty convinced that they're mostly just a ploy to make money — that was until I met my primer love: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot Instant-Perfecting Power Primer. It made my skin feel sticky, it filled in some uneven bits on my face, and it extended the wear of my foundation. I was convinced.

But because we can't have nice things, I ran out of a product that I love and that's not available here in the Netherlands.

Suddenly, the thought of using Nivea Men Post-Shave Balm as a primer popped into my head — not because my Hot Boyfriend uses it, but because NikkieTutorials on YouTube has been using it in almost every single video for the last year. It's very rare for a makeup vlogger on YouTube to stick with a product for longer than two videos, so I figured it must be a truly killer product to use it for an entire year.

Off to the men's aisle of the drugstore I went!

The Nivea Men Post-Shave Balm should be able to function as a primer because it mostly contains glycerin, just like my Soap & Glory primer (and many others). They also both contain vitamin E. My Soap & Glory primer praises itself for being a "multi-action primer," focusing on shine control, hiding imperfections, evening out the skin tone and extending the wear of your makeup. I've never really noticed it evening out my skin tone, but I did like that it made my pores appear smaller and that it created a sticky base for my foundation.

Because you don't put all that information on a product marketed to men, I had no idea what the aftershave balm was supposed to do as a primer. After my short visit to the men's section of the drugstore, I'd already figured out that it's very important for men's products to not have too many words on the packaging. You just say what it's for (your face) and who it's for (MEN).

The primer — aftershave balm, whatever — comes in a plastic bottle, which you have to poor the product out of. It's very thin — not balm-like at all. Putting the primer to the test, I immediately noticed the strong scent. It smells like a typical men's grooming product; I have no idea how to describe it besides just that. It's very strong. I just distributed it all over my face until it became tacky, and then I applied my makeup as per usual.

I've got to say, applying my makeup on top of this primer was very easy. It does feel like a "normal" primer, and I didn't have any issues with it.

The hardest part about using it is that it's very runny and you can easily use too much, which you will notice because it'll pile up and you'll have crumbled foundation on your face. Not cute. However, if you use the right amount of product (start with a pea-sized amount and maybe add more if there are any areas you haven't covered yet) it does work. I don't see any difference in staying power or oil control compared to my Soap & Glory primer. That's really great.

I took a close-up of my skin to show the texture of my skin with this primer. It doesn't really fill up my pores, and I have those weird dents in my forehead, which I usually fill with a super-silicone-y primer. For the sake of this test I didn't do that, and you see that they stand out a little.

As for coming to a conclusion on this product, I'm still undecided whether I love it or loathe it. It has about as many cons at is has pros, so I lined them up for you:


  • It is very cheap
  • It makes your makeup last
  • It is lightweight
  • It helps with dry patches
  • It is alcohol- and silicone-free


  • The strong scent — I even noticed it during the day.
  • The runny texture is a bit messy
  • You'll ruin everything if you apply too much
  • But seriously, it stinks

I'm counting the scent argument twice, because it's just that strong. My feelings are a bit like when I did my ketchup test: it worked, but at what cost?

I would try this product if you easily get used to scents; I feel like I've almost gotten used to it, too. If we're not counting the scent argument, it can be a great product. My other two cons are both things you'll get used to, so I'd conclude it's just a product with somewhat of a learning curve, and depending on your skin type, this can be great for you.

  • Have you tried this as a primer?
  • Are there any other men's products that you have repurposed for your own vanity?