How to Wear Men’s Cologne | The Ultimate Guide

For most men, cologne is not just a fashion accessory; it is a way that defines one’s signature scent. Fragrances go a long way in making you attractive, as well as boosting your confidence. Like most men, I struggled with the concept of applying the right fragrance in the right way, initiating my pursuit of knowledge on how to wear cologne without putting my personal style in jeopardy.

This guide will provide you with insights on everything that you should know about choosing and applying men’s cologne.

What are Fragrances?

A fragrance is a terminology used in the perfume industry to refer to a mix of perfume oils or specified raw materials, which are extracted from either a synthetic or natural source. These raw materials are then mixed and dissolved in a solvent (typically alcohol) to dilute and preserve a particular mix of scents. The strength of the produced fragrance is directly proportional to the level of concentration of the used raw materials. This means that the higher the concentration of these raw materials, the stronger the fragrance.

It is also essential to note that the strength of a fragrance influences the value and the durability of scent per application. While fragrances that are highly-diluted sell at lower prices, their scents last for a short duration. Highly concentrated fragrances, on the other hand, are expensive, and their scents last longer.

One of the more premium brands in the fragrance world is Creed. If you are interested I have reviewed the best Creed colognes here.

Bottle of golden perfume on white background

Difference Between Various Fragrances

The term fragrance is unisex in its application. It refers to a broad range of scent categories, including perfume, cologne, toilette, parfum, and Eau Fraiche. Here is an outline of the defining factors of each of these fragrance categories

Perfume

Perfume is what most people would refer to as a fragrance. This is because perfume is genderless in its application, with its usage suiting both men and women. Perfumes contain 15 to 20% of the raw materials or perfume oils and can last for as long as five to eight hours.

Toilette

Toilette contains a composition of 5 to 15% perfume oils, lasting for up to about 3 hours.

Cologne


Cologne is one of the most ancient fragrances that was used in North America. It is popularly used for masculine scents, with its usage trending in fragrances for young people. Cologne contains a composition of 2 to 4% raw materials, lasting for about two hours.

The Lifecycle of Fragrances

The lifecycle of fragrances refers to the stages through which fragrance evaporates upon application. Understanding this lifecycle is essential as it explains the unique nature of various fragrances as far as producing scents is concerned.

A fragrance evolves in a three-stage cycle, each of which contains unique scents well known as notes. Here is an overview of the fragrance lifecycle.

Top Notes


The top note is the lighter and initial scent of a fragrance that you smell immediately you apply the cologne on your skin. Top notes last from 15 minutes up to about 2 hours.

Middle Notes

Middle notes last for three to five hours of application, and heavier floral scents often define them. A middle note is defined as the key element of every fragrance.

Base Notes

These are the last scents of a fragrance to develop. Base notes are bolder, and they are usually the critical determinants of how long a fragrance will last. Base notes can last for as long as five to ten hours, and they tend to develop later in the day after application.

How a fragrance smells when you apply it is not the same way it will smell throughout the day. There is more to a fragrance that you are attracted to than just the scent you first encountered. This is why it is essential to put your cologne into a test on your skin before adopting it for regular application.

Note that various fragrances produce unique scents in different people. This can be frustrating for most men. However, with this review, you can be sure of an enjoyable discovery on the best way to go about wearing colognes.

Man looking down at the camera with sky in the background

Preparing to Apply Your Perfume

One of the key reasons why most men misapply their perfume is the lack of knowledge and information on how to go about the application process. Here is a step by step guide on what you should do before wearing your cologne.

Step One: Take a Shower/Bath

Our skins absorb cologne better when warm and refreshed. You need to take a shower with hot water to open the skin pores and keep your skin rejuvenated. Consider using unscented soap or body wash to prevent your cologne from clashing with other scents.

Step Two: Dry Your Skin Off

After taking a shower or bath, it is crucial to dry off your skin to eliminate unnecessary moisture. Moisture prevents cologne from sticking perfectly on the skin, making its scent to fade off sooner than it should. You might want to consider focusing on the pulse points, such as around your neckline or at the back of your knees. Pulse points are places on your skin where cologne receives the highest activity.

Step Three: Hydrate Your Skin

While drying off your skin eliminates moisture and any water on it, hydration ensures that your skin is smooth and soft. Consider applying a lotion, body oil, or petroleum jelly. Your cologne works better on your skin when it is well hydrated. Again, your focus should be on the pulse points.

Step Four: Apply Your Perfume before Putting on Your Clothes

You do not want to have watermarks all over your clothes, which is why you should avoid applying cologne directly to your clothes. Perfumes work best when sprayed on the skin, particularly those magical pulse points I have mentioned before. This is because perfume molecules create a direct interaction with the skin and not with clothes.

man wearing grey suit

Applying Your Perfume

Over application of cologne is dramatic, and it can be annoying sometimes. Every man can avoid this mistake by learning the right procedure of perfectly wearing cologne. Teach yourself how to apply cologne and master this seemingly simple task. If you’d like to practice and find your scent first, have a look at my list of the best cheap colognes.

Hold the Spray Bottle 3-6 Inches from Your Body

The invention of cologne spray has made the application process simpler but to this day it is still not done correctly. If you want optimal saturation of cologne on your skin, you will need to master the ideal distance to do the spraying. Holding the cologne bottle three to six inches from your body is a perfect distance. Holding the bottle too close will see the perfume wet your skin, which is not the right way to go about wearing a cologne. When spraying the perfume, point the bottle’s nozzle towards your body.

Apply Cologne to Heated Areas of Your Body/Pulse Points

Many men ask where to spray cologne? And the answer is pulse points. Parts of the body where the blood vessels are in close contact with the skin are known as pulse points. There is more heat around pulse points. Spraying your cologne on these parts ensures that you get a perfect scent. Examples of pulse points include, and are not limited to the neckline, at the back of your knees, around the wrist, and inside your elbow.

Let Your Pulse Point Dry Without Rubbing It

As I earlier indicated, spray your cologne before putting your clothes on. Ensure that the area where you wore your cologne has dried up before dressing up. One of the most common mistakes men make when wearing their cologne is rubbing together their wrists after spraying. This only breaks down the perfume molecules, leaving the scent damp.

Start with a Light Application

When it comes to wearing a cologne, a light application goes a long way in having a perfect scent for the day. You might want to consider choosing one pulse point for a start, primarily if you are new to using colognes. If you realise that your scent fades off easily and quickly, you can resort to another pulse point the next time you do some spraying. You can always reapply your cologne later in the day.

Reapply if Needed

You should only reapply your cologne when necessary, particularly around the second half of the day. Consider reapplying little amounts around your wrists. You might want to avoid parts that are already covered with clothes to prevent having a damp scent.

Older gentleman using spray bottle on neck in mirror

Common Mistakes When Applying Cologne

There are common mistakes that most men commit when it comes to wearing cologne. Unfortunately, making these mistakes consistently robs you of the chance to make the most out of your cologne.

Spraying the Fragrance on Your Clothing

The unique quality of your cologne is produced when the perfume mix with your body’s natural oils. However, this is hindered when you apply the fragrance to your clothes directly. Also, the scent released by fragrances is supposed to undergo specified scent stages, a process that is interfered with when you spray the cologne on your clothes. It is also essential to know that fragrances can be damaging to certain clothing fabrics.

Splashing the Cologne on Your Skin

When the spray nozzle is lost or damaged, most men resort to splashing the cologne on their skin. Splashing cologne on your skin not only leaves your skin wet, but it also results in over-application of the perfume. Over applying cologne can be irritating to people sitting or walking beside you, especially people who are allergic to strong scents. If you lose or damage the spray nozzle, consider placing a finger over the bottle’s opening then tip it upside down to dab the perfume on your skin.

Spraying a Mist Cloud and Walking Through It

There are plenty of recommendations over the internet on how to wear cologne, including spraying a mist cloud of the fragrance and walking through it. Online tutorials lure men into thinking that this method is effective in preventing the over application of the cologne. However, while it may appear to be so, this method renders your cologne useless, as most of it is left for the floor. As I earlier indicated, cologne is most effective when applied directly to your skin, notably the highlighted pulse points.

Rubbing the Perfume onto the Skin

The other common mistake that men make when wearing cologne is rubbing the fragrance on their skins. While most people may consider this method to be effective, it actually makes the scent of your cologne to fade faster than its required duration. This is because rubbing cologne on the skin breaks its molecular bond, altering with the various scent stages. If you are not the kind that loves spraying perfume, then you might want to consider dabbing it on your skin instead of rubbing it off.

Applying Too Much Cologne

Your cologne as a man is a signature of your personal style, personality, and self-image. When it comes to wearing a cologne, too much of it might put your personality in the limelight as one who is overpowering. Go for a light application of your spray. You may ask your spouse, friend, or family member to tell you how strong they find your cologne to be. It is also essential to know that some colognes might be stronger than others for your skin. Experiment with cologne hours or a day before an event, dinner, or work. You do not want to walk out of your house with a cologne that does not define you.

Perfume with tie nd cufflinks on wooden table

How to Make Your Cologne Last

Just like any other body product, colognes are designed for optimal use over a specified duration. However, some factors can expose your cologne to deterioration. If you’re wondering how to make cologne last longer, consider doing the following;

Keep Your Perfume Cool and Out of Sunlight

The value of your fragrance will deteriorate when exposed to sunlight regularly. When not in use, consider storing your cologne in its original box. If possible, have a darker cabinet or drawer where you can keep all your fragrances. This will not only help you in keeping your cologne cool, but it will also enable you to control temperatures. You might want to avoid keeping your cologne in the bathroom or your car. This is because such places are characterised by temperature changes, which are catalysts to shortening your cologne’s shelf life.

Check the Expiration Date on Your Perfume

There is an expiration date encrypted at the bottom of every bottle holding cologne. It is fundamental for you to check this date. The expiration date gives you an overview of how long you should expect your cologne to last. The further the expiration date is from your date of purchase, the higher the chances of having your cologne last for long.

Store Your Cologne Properly

While most fragrances come with a longer shelf life, how good you store your cologne impacts on how long your cologne will last. Weather elements such as humidity are severely harsh to the molecular structure of your cologne.

Perfume or cologne mist spray

Summary

Cologne is notably a fashion accessory that men might want to use on a day to day basis. However, while some men misapply cologne, most men will shy away from using cologne regularly for lack of knowledge on how to go about it.

The good thing is wearing cologne is simple and straightforward, provided you follow the necessary guidelines. Such guidelines include knowing the difference in the various fragrances, understanding how to prepare for cologne application, and the right methods of applying your cologne. With this knowledge, you can stand out with your perfect signature scent wherever you go.

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