How to Wear Cologne: An Introductory Guide Everybody get your twah-lette on.

Eau Du McSexy Cologne

All hail the power of scent. A single whiff can take you home, or to an exotic new land. One inhale can also break your will. It can obstruct three weeks of dieting progress, seizing you with the overwhelming desire for one thing and one thing only: just a taste! What if your scent, the “smell of you,” had that degree of influence? Here’s how to wear cologne so that you can cast a spell on everyone around you.

First, How To Apply Cologne

Chances are, you already have a bottle sitting around somewhere. This graphic depicts where to spray cologne on the body. The body’s pulse points are areas where veins flow close to the skin’s surface. These points emit heat, which helps fragrance develop faster.

how to wear cologne mens fragrance guide pulse pointsFragrance pulse points:

  • Behind the ear
  • Base of throat
  • Chest
  • Inside elbow
  • Inside wrist
  • Behind the knee

Tips for how to apply men’s fragrance:

  • Spray cologne directly onto your skin (not on your clothes)
  • Start with 1/2 – 1 spray. You can always add on later
  • Apply fragrance to moist skin
  • Don’t rub into skin

Cologne scent mixes best with body chemistry when your skin is moist. Dry skin isn’t as effective in absorbing fragrance oils, so to bring out the depth and longevity of men’s perfume, you’ll want to spray on moist areas. One tip is to apply cologne right after toweling off from a shower. Another is to use unscented moisturizer before applying your fragrance.

Don’t spray your cologne and then walk into it. Walking into a mist of pleasantries may sound fun, but it’s a complete waste of your expensive men’s perfume, especially if you’re working with Chanel or Tom Ford. Also, manhandling your fragrance by scrubbing it into your skin will destroy its delicate notes. Just spray and let it settle.

How To Choose A Cologne Type

Let’s say you haven’t yet ventured past Axe Body Spray. So what’s the difference between Eau Fraiche, Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum, and Perfume?

how to wear cologne mens fragrance concentration guide
Men’s fragrance is really just a mixture of oils extracted from raw ingredients, some alcohol, and water. These fragrances have varying degrees of strength based on how diluted with water they are. For example, “Eau Fraiche” translates literally to “fresh water,” the most diluted type of men’s fragrance.

Eau Fraiche: 1%-3% essential oils; lasts 30 minutes to an hour
Eau de Cologne: 2%-7% essential oils; lasts 2-3 hours
Eau de Toilette: 7%-12% essential oils; lasts 3-4 hours
Eau de Parfum: 10%-20% essential oils; lasts 4-5 hours
Parfum: 20%-30% essential oils; lasts 5-7 hours

For the most part, perfumes with higher concentrations of essential oils will be priced higher than more diluted forms.

Wearing Cologne: Fragrance Notes, Scents and Longevity

How Does Perfume Scent Change Over Time?

The fragrance pyramid explains how scents evolve over time, from high notes to middle notes, to base notes. This diagram demonstrates the perfume life cycle.

how to wear cologne men's fragrance notes

As you may already know, the best colognes are praised for their depth. But what does it mean for a men’s fragrance to have depth? It means there are different levels of scents which emerge and fade and develop over time.

First, there are the top notes, also known as “head notes.” These are the first smells that appear when you spray perfume, and they often only last for 15-20 minutes before evaporating. They are referred to as having “high volatility” because they enter immediately and fade quickly.

Top notes attributes:

  • Fresh, sharp, assertive
  • Common scents include bergamot, citrus, basil, light florals, spices such as cinnamon
  • Generally categorized as “Fresh” scents

Then there are the middle notes, also known as “heart notes.” These comprise the main body of the cologne. Non-detectable at first, middle notes emerge about 20 minutes after application, and they last 3-5 hours. These scents kick in once the top notes begin to fade.

Middle notes attributes:

  • Mellow, rounded, full-bodied
  • Common scents include clove, lavender, black pepper, and florals like geranium and jasmine
  • Generally categorized as “Oriental” scents

Last, there are the base notes. These are bold, deep notes that develop later in the day. Base notes are the foundation of your fragrance; they bolster top and middle notes, and they determine how long the cologne lasts. These scents appear 30 minutes after application and can last 5-10 hours.

Base notes attributes:

  • Rich, deep, solid
  • Common scents include cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, musk, tar, leather, and smoke
  • Generally categorized as “Woody” scents

For a more extensive look at fragrance notes, you can check out a cologne expert site like Fragrantica.

An easy way to identify cheap cologne is its lack of complexity and depth. If a man’s perfume has a single scent for an entire day, chances are its notes are flat, or “linear.” However, that’s not to say there aren’t a few quality linear fragrances out there. Maybe you’re going for a fresh, energizing scent that maintains throughout the day.

How To Find the Right Men’s Cologne Scent

Everybody has a unique scent, and each perfume blends differently with an individual’s body chemistry. You can read up on blogs or source recommendations from friends to gather general options. You’ll learn what types of scents or implied vibes you might like. However, in order to choose the right cologne, you’ll have to smell it on yourself.

If you’re testing out scents at a store, make sure to spritz your skin and not a perfume card. With cards, you’ll only receive the fragrance’s top notes. You can wear up to four scents at a time. We recommend giving each of your wrists and inner elbows a quick spritz with a different scent before roaming around and allowing the colognes to settle into your skin. Observe how the men’s perfumes blend with your unique scent. In between smells, you may wish to sniff nasal palate cleansers like coffee beans or tea leaves.

When trying a new cologne, go for a smaller bottle size, like 1 oz. If you decide you still like the scent after more wearing, you can go back for the 3.4 oz bottle or an even bigger one.

Some popular men’s perfume brands include Versace, Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Dior Sauvage. But you can always explore Sephora for yourself or browse Macy’s perfume for men.

How To Store Cologne

Do you know what destroys a perfectly nice cologne? Leaving it out in the blistering heat. Heat causes a chemical reaction that could make your men’s perfumes smell funky. It’s best to store fragrance in a dark, cool area. It’s worst to store fragrance by a sunny window, or in a 300 degrees oven.

So there you have it, pretty much everything you could want to know about fragrance for men. What are some of your favorite scents and recommendations? Let us know in the comments.

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