Men’s Guide to Fragrance
Gentleman, there’s an open secret regarding scent, and you need to be in-the-know. The scent is your secret weapon and it can seriously upgrade your style and confidence. Ever wonder why a handsome man can draw a crowd, but if he has a faint odor all the amorous affection dies off? It’s because the scent is that powerful. A woman will remember a man’s scent; a gent who’s in control of his fragrances, the aroma he gives off, will be seen as more successful and more in control, so it should always be on your pre-date grooming list. Don’t blame us; blame science.
Women are More Attracted to Strong, Pleasant Scents
It’s not just women though, it’s other men as well. It doesn’t matter what you’re into, it’s all about putting out the right scent out there, and your preferred sex will be attracted to it. On a scientific level, women do have stronger olfactory receptors and more of them.
Part of learning how to wear the right fragrance is knowing what works for your personal style and natural musk. There’s way too much science that goes into this, so we’re going to give you the CliffNotes version of a lot of it.
Our natural sweat actually produces androstenone, which is basically woman repellent. Unless you’re sentient in a perfectly cool room and you don’t move at all, you’re going to sweat throughout the day. It happens. Your hygiene and choice of deodorant help you out, but your cologne becomes your scent. It’s that layer on the surface that sends signals to the fairer sex saying, “Yes, I am a well put-together gentleman.”
Your Deodorant, Beard Oil and Antiperspirant Can Interfere With Cologne
Yes, we did just say that your deodorant is a necessity to ensure people are only getting a whiff of your cologne. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s also not important. You need to get neutral-scented grooming essentials. Let’s go over a few do’s and don’ts with your main manly grooming items in accordance with your fragrance.
Deodorant – You can go for a light scent here, but don’t do spray-on deodorant (yes, there is a difference between deodorant and antiperspirant). Should you sweat excessively that day, should the conditions or unexpected surprises of the weather bring out that musky scent, your deodorant is the last line of defense to make sure you don’t offend? A good cologne is fantastic, but it won’t mask any BO that pops up throughout the day. It’ll just smell like you cover up your BO with cologne, and that’s a huge no-no. Just to be safe, you should be carrying around a Dopp kit each day.
Beard Oil – Beard oil is essential to keep your beard looking healthy, not scraggly. However, since most beard oils are made with 100% essential oils, they give off a very pungent aroma. This can be good if you know how to pair your scents. If you’re not keen on balancing the two, you can always opt for a fragrance-free beard oil, which doesn’t use any natural ingredients with aromas. You’ll still have access to 100% organic products, but it won’t be battling with your cologne for olfactory dominance.
Antiperspirant – It stops you from perspiring, plain and simple. This can be a Godsend, so long as you’re not using Axe and spraying a toxic cloud over your body. We don’t recommend getting a deodorant and antiperspirant combination, because it simply doesn’t do the job properly. Fighting your sweat is the number one way to maintain your cologne’s potency and power throughout the day. Use it, but do so sparingly in combination with a separate deodorant for the best results.
Smelling Flowery vs. Smelling Masculine
Okay, so this is where it gets into what works for you, and it’s tricky. We obviously can’t tell you the perfect aroma that’s going to work for you, although we do have a lot of suggestions and experiences to share with you on the matter, it’s still fairly subjective. What works for us may not work for you, and so on and so forth.
Every guy wants to smell his best, but they lose sight and opt for whatever will make them smell as “the most manly man.” Everyone is different, and that fact can’t be stressed enough. If you’re worried about cologne giving you a non-masculine or feminine scent, know that a first of all, any one of us would rather smell like flowers than the alternative. Secondly, it works for some guys. Don’t have trepidation if a cologne smells a bit perfumey.
But What About Woodsy, Earthy and Natural Scents?
If you’re going for more of the traditional manly scent, you’ll be on the lookout for earthy, woodsy scents that compliment the natural musk that a lot of men have. The goal is not to smell like the lumber department at Home Depot, but instead, have this natural aroma that seems like it was birthed straight from nature’s finest ingredients. You’re aware when something smells artificial or processed, even candles or essential oil diffusers. Sure, they work wonders for a little while, but it just smells fake.
If you’ve never tested a truly woodsy cologne, you’re missing out. It’s like awakening your inner lumberjack: you suddenly want to be outdoors, hiking, camping, enjoying the bounty of nature. You know why? Most colognes for men aren’t made with artificial ingredients, so you’re smelling natural products that set-off this primal impulse in you. Now imagine what that’s going to do to women, right?
We live in a manufactured society with numerous unpleasant or false smells, things that quite literally reek of inauthenticity. Going with something that’s natural, earthy, woodsy, all those buzzwords you hear when people talk about cologne is going to get you noticed. You’ll be the one turning heads for the right reason, encapsulating that special someone you have your eye on, without even having to say a word.
The Differences Between Fragrance, Cologne, Perfume and Toilette
If you’ve heard these terms thrown around, that’s because you’re dealing with different products. Just like how alcohol has different percentages, colognes and perfumes are different in their actual fragrance concentration. The higher the concentration, the longer it’s going to last. Let’s jump into the five main types that you’ll see on the market.
- Cologne: This is what you came here for, isn’t it? Cologne is the marketed term for manly perfume, plain and simple. Cologne actually sits in the middle of the value scale, usually lasting for two to five hours, and containing a high alcohol percentage rather than the concentration of fragrance.
- Parfum: It sounds like a perfume, but it’s quite different. This is actually the most expensive, concentrated type of fragrance you can buy. One spray of this can last you for a full twenty-four hours or longer. You won’t see flat rates for bottles here, it’s all charged by the ounce.
- Toilette: Right in the middle of the scale. This typically lasts for around four to five hours and gives you a mix of value and staying power. A solid choice.
- Eau Fraiche: Sounds fancy, right? That’s done on purpose. This has the lowest concentration of actual fragrance, and typically only lasts for about two hours. Less if you’re in a humid environment.
- Perfume: Guys can wear perfume, because once upon a time, that’s all it was called. There was no cologne, it was either perfume or simply fragrance. This sits somewhere on the higher end of the scale, lasting for about six to eight hours, and blended with a good percentage of fragrance concentrate.
So when you pick up a bottle of what you think is cologne in the store, take a closer look at what type of fragrance it actually is. Knowing these little differences helps you to avoid being swindled into assuming a brand is expensive and fantastic when it’s actually just Eau Fraiche. Bonus points if you could pronounce that correctly.
How to Apply Your Cologne
Here comes the part where we tell you a bunch of rules regarding fragrance, and you go off on a Googling tirade to determine all the little things. Here are some quick tips on applying your cologne.
- You need to apply it to your hot areas, and we mean that quite literally. The neck, shoulders, chest, wrists, or your armpits. You’re not using this to mask anything, but when your body heats up in those areas (most common places), your cologne activates. This rule goes for the solid colognes, too.
- Only select a maximum of two of those spots we mentioned. You don’t want to overdo it and turn into a walking scent cloud. Too much of a good thing is a waste.
- On that note, too much of a good thing really is a waste. Not only will it make you a bit less approachable, but it’s going to burn through your supply faster. Sometimes it’s difficult to catch aromas off of ourselves because we’re always smelling it, so we become a bit resistant to its potency. Don’t dump a bunch of cologne on until you can smell it without really trying.
- Don’t apply your cologne to your clothes. It’s not meant to cling to the fabric of your suit, it shouldn’t go in your button-up collar or anything of the sort. You’ll end up either oil-staining your shirts and suits or leaving a lingering aroma when you slip on the blazer again. And one of the most crucial things is to avoid pit stains.
- If you’ve ever seen that whole walking through a cloud thing, it’s absolute poppycock. Don’t spray a cloud in front of you and walk through the fragrance. It gets it on your clothes, it doesn’t activate when you need it to, and it’s a waste of product.
How Much is Too Much?
We’ve talked about not wanting to be the toxic fragrance cloud at an event, but how do you actually avoid that? You never, ever want to exceed more than three sprays of your cologne. If you’re using a more expensive, liquid-fed bottle with no sprayer, (the kind that you see gentlemen place on the wrist, turn upside-down, then right side up again), you’ll only want to use one drop, then rub your wrists together to disperse it between your hands.
A little goes a long way, which helps justify the cost of higher-end cologne when you’re looking at it as an investment. Your aroma is your strongest negotiator during a first impression; arm yourself well.
So How do You Find the Right Cologne?
Understand the difference between fragrance volumes and concentrations. Go for a blend of citrus and woodsy, earthy elements to appeal to yourself, and everyone else. Apply it to the right places, and above all else, don’t overdo it. You can also sign on with a service like Scentbird to try out different colognes for a low cost, delivered to your door every single month. Try out new aromas, build a small collection, and never stop impressing.