How to Wear Cologne: An Introductory Guide

Everybody get your twah-lette

Written by Janet Hu

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 points
Fragrance pulse points:
  • Behind the ear
  • Base of throat
  • Chest
  • Inside elbow
  • Inside wrist
  • Behind the knee

Tips for how to apply men’s
  • 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
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
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.
Janet Hu

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.