How to Make Your Own Bay Rum Aftershave

Made + Remade celebrates Movember

If you grew up with some epic gentleman who fancied himself a proper shave, he may have used Bay Rum aftershave. The product has been around for over 100 years and largely smells of rum and West Indian bay leaves. Some searching online turns up many different recipes, so I tried my hand at making it. I had trouble getting true West Indian bay leaves but did get my hands on bay laurel essence which is kinda sorta related.

The recipe I found makes A LOT of aftershave. I pared it back quite a bit. However, this lead to very small quantities of some ingredients. Because of this, I weighed everything. You probably don’t have access to a scientific scale (Why do I have a scientific scale? I promise it’s not for illicit uses.), so just cut the recipe back based on your judgement. Below is the full recipe I used.

  • 1/16 oz of Bay Laurel Oil
  • 4 oz of Rum (your choice)
  • 24 oz of Neutral Alcohol (Everclear or unflavored Vodka)
  • 36 oz of Water
  • 1 oz finely ground Magnesium
  • Bottles to store it in with a dasher or dropper
  • Label (optional)

Two ingredients pop out there as challenging: Bay Laurel Oil and ground Magnesium. Both can be purchased through a major online shopping site, however the magnesium is often in an ingot or bar form. Powder Magnesium is highly flammable and favored by fireworks and explosives makers. You might need special papers to purchase it. I opted for grinding my own from a bar.

I also opted to use a spicy rum to add some more depth but it was overpowered by the laurel. Honestly, the mix wasn’t that much to my liking but I have sent it to the other Movember teammates in Knoxville for their input. Guys, leave some comments below and let me know.


Step 1

 Open Galleryaftershave suppliesPrepare your “Mise en Place.”

Step 2

 Open Gallerydiy aftershaveUse a file to grind your magnesium into filings. This takes a lot of work especially to get 1/16 of an ounce. I used fire-starting blocks from the Army Surplus store.

Step 3

 Open Gallerydiy aftershaveAdd all your ingredients to a container either by weight or by volume. If by weight, adjust the above measurements.

Step 4

Mix with spoon or stirring rod.

Step 5

 Open Gallerydiy aftershaveUsing your funnel and coffee filter (the triangle ones work best), filter out the metal filings.

Step 6

 Open Gallerydiy aftershaveYou may have a lot of metal left depending on how fine your grind was. This will probably affect your final product but it’s not like you are making this to sell… Or are you?

Step 7

 Open Gallerydiy aftershaveBottle your product and you are done. I made custom logos too. You could just print it out and glue them on, too.


  • Bay Laurel Oil
  • Neutral Spirit
  • Rum
  • Water
  • Magnesium
  • Bottle for Storage
  • Label (optional, I used Avery 22806)


  • File
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Funnel
  • Coffee Filter
  • Spoon
  • Measuring Cups or Scale
About Nick Britsky 


I am a digital account executive by day and seeker of new skills by night. Maker Faires are my passion, and I have built projects ranging from giant Twinkie cars ...

More About Nick Britsky

3 Responses

  1. Leo Oubre says:

    this web site is my intake, rattling great style and perfect written content.

  2. Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thanks Nevertheless I’m experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody getting similar rss drawback? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  3. Dan says:

    Thanks for the hook-up Nick! I have to say that I'm not really an aftershave (or cologne) guy. I generally prefer to use a cold wash cloth post-shave and leave it at that.

    The alcohol helps remove the heat from the skin, and the bay laurel provides a subtle earthy aroma. I'm finding it quite relaxing. I don't think I'll make a ritual out of it, but I will most certainly use it again.

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