In the 80’s, fashion designers like Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Guy Laroche got men to personalize their style with fragrance—and notes of Eternity, Fahrenheit and Drakkar Noir filled the air. The cologne a man wears signals what he likes and how he wants to be perceived. “Fragrance should reflect your personality and be an extension of your look,” says celebrity stylist Sam Saboura. But before you go spritz-happy, here’s what you need to know before dousing yourself in the wrong aroma.
The Search for the Right Cologne
Flipping through men’s magazines, checking out fragrance websites like osmoz.com, and perusing the men’s fragrance counters at department stores are all good starts. Don’t choose a scent because you like it on someone else. Body chemistry (including hair color and skin type) affects how a scent smells on each person. Men with dark hair and features have oilier skin that intensifies and holds scent longer so they do well with heavy, dramatic oriental scents thanks to their body chemistry; think a blend of woody and musky notes, such as BVLGARI Man by Bulgari. Men with lighter features and hair color have drier skin which cause scents to evaporate quicker and may opt for longer-lasting, multi-floral scents, such as Nautica’s Pure Nautica.
Men’s colognes come in “eau de toilette,” which is made with five to eight percent of perfume oils and lasts about six hours; and “eau de cologne,” is made with at least two percent of perfume oils and only lasts about four hours. Aftershave contains a lower concentration and wears for a shorter time. Knowing the differences between each will help you invest in the right scent and how long it will last—on you and in the bottle.
Test fragrances on your skin, but don’t try more than three at a time to avoid sensory overload. Wait 10 minutes before making your final judgment on the fragrance. This will let the alcohol evaporate and the fragrance to blend with your skin’s chemistry giving a true impression of the scent.
How and When to Wear
Apply two sprays of cologne about a foot away from your body to create a veil of scent, not patches of a strong smell, says Saboura. Use unscented or subtly scented deodorants or aftershaves to allow your cologne to stand out; and never rub the fragrance in or spray on your clothing, because it will alter the scent’s composition. Cologne, which is made for your skin, should be allowed to mix with your body’s chemistry and dry on its own. Get the most wear out of your cologne by applying right after a shower for a cleaner application and not have it layered over sweat; and since fragrance rises, spray your chest and shoulders.