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How to make Bay Rum Aftershave

bay leaves


Bay Rum has been the aftershave of choice for many barbers throughout the years. The nostalgic scent of citrus and spice can vary from one version to the next; the best way to guarantee that your favorite notes are the strongest, is to make your own. 


I tend to make my products in the same way that I cook meals. Not enough salt? Add more. Not enough garlic? Add more. That’s the approach I often utilize when making a batch of Bay Rum. 


I’ve tried many Bay Rum recipes (available through a quick Google search), and have found that a combination of techniques work best for me. I made my first test batches in mason jars and have since graduated to much larger containers. I’d recommend starting small, small batches equal less waste if you are unhappy with the outcome. 

Note, I have found that even a batch that doesn’t come out right can be corrected - by dilution and distribution.


Let’s start with some ingredients for your home made Bay Rum aftershave recipe.



You may find you prefer to substitute some ingredients with essential oils; therefore, I will include my recommendations for those as well. Essential oils can be used in lieu of fresh ingredients to speed the process or to assist in modifying the fragrance to your liking.



1- Vodka (I like to use an inexpensive local brand)

2- Caribbean Rum (can be spiced or regular)

3- Turkish Bay Leaves

4- Cinnamon Sticks

5- Cloves

6- Allspice

7- Citrus Rind (Orange preferably)

8- Vanilla


Essential Oils:







You have gathered all your ingredients and a container, now its time to make some Bay Rum aftershave.


One cup Vodka and 2/3 cups rum to your container

Three whole cinnamon sticks 

1/2 cup of bay leaves

1/4 cup of cloves

2 tbls Vanilla Extract

1 tbls ground Allspice

3 or 4 citrus rinds

(if you have dry skin, you can also add a dash of glycerin)

For a stronger Bay scent I like to add a few drops of Bay oil to the initial formula

Store your closed container in a cool dark place for three weeks so that the liquid may soak up the essential oils from your ingredients.

After three weeks you can use a coffee strainer and separate the liquid from the solid ingredients. At this point you may be pleased with the outcome, or you may find that there are too many or not enough of a particular note. 

If you are a patient person this is where you will add the ingredients you want to strengthen in the fragrance and let the liquid sit for another two weeks. If you are an impatient person, you can utilize essential oils to modify your Bay Rum.


I suggest starting with just a few drops and slowly adding more until you have achieved your desired result. (Be sure to shake the liquid thoroughly as you add drops of essential oil before determining the final outcome). Good luck and I hope to hear from some of you with any of your own tips, tricks or recommendations for your favorite Bay Rum recipe.

If you would like to try mine, it is available on our webstore and our Etsy store. 


This article contains affiliate links, where we may receive a small commission if you purchase a listed item. It is important to note that we only advocate for items we have personally used and recommend and these links are included for your convenience. 

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Adudew/adrybeard February 4 2022

I’ve never used aftershave. Should I?And why…Thoughts?

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