A well-dressed gent knows that a signature scent is crucial to feeling at the top of his game. Like a nice belt or fresh haircut, it gives your style a little extra polish and a special finishing touch. But we also all know that cologne can be dangerous when not applied properly. There definitely can be too much, and you don’t want to overpower. Today, we’re giving you all the 411 on how to apply cologne the right way so you smell your absolute best.
Step 1: Start with a High-Quality Cologne
Guys, can we all agree that our days of buying drugstore cologne are behind us? You want to start with a high-quality fragrance that offers a subtle but distinct scent. You actually want a cologne labeled as an EDP (Eau de Parfum) rather than an EDC (Eau de Cologne) or EDT (Eau de Toilette) because EDP has a higher concentration of aromatic essential oils, meaning the scent will be bold but not overpowering and will linger for several hours.
When you’re selecting a cologne, make sure it’s something that honors your personality and blends in with your lifestyle. If you’re into flannels and the outdoors or simply prefer a seductive, masculine vibe, go for a woodsy cologne that evokes feelings of chilling in a log cabin sipping cognac (cigar optional). Aromas of musk, citrus, spice and a little bit of fruit and floral always create an alluring vibe that the spicy señoritas will pick up on.
Step 2: Gently Dab It on Your Pulse Points
OK, now that you’ve got your signature scent and are ready to spritz your way to smelling amazing, here’s how to get that perfect, understated application so that people will be pleasantly surprised when they get close to you.
- Apply cologne to clean, dry skin. The best time to apply your cologne is when you’re fresh out of the shower and fully dry but you haven’t gotten dressed yet. You don’t want to spray any cologne on your clothes because the oils in the cologne can actually damage your clothes and coat your jewelry in a film. And, whatever you do, don’t use cologne to mask your smelly B.O. It’ll only make things worse.
- Target your pulse points. You want to spray cologne between three and six inches away from the skin on your pulse points, such as the inner wrist and neck. Pulse points are the warmer spots on the body where the blood flows, so they’re going to mix with your natural scent and project the cologne better.
- Don’t go overboard. We can’t overstate this one enough. Don’t go overboard on the cologne. One or two spritzes is generally enough, especially with a high-quality EDP cologne. The last thing you’d want is for people to wince when you walk by.
- Refresh as necessary. Even with more concentrated fragrances, the strength of the aroma will fade slightly throughout the day. If you have a long day or are going from work to play, toss a refillable cologne bottle in your glove box or briefcase so you can freshen up after the initial spray has faded.
Bonus: Know What Not to Do
Part of learning how to apply cologne like a gentleman involves unlearning how to apply cologne like a savage. Don’t worry—we’ve all done these no-no application methods a time or two, but what matters is that we know the right way now. Master these tricks so you’re always the best-smelling dude in the room.
- Don’t do the spray-and-walk. That method of cologne application where you aggressively spray your cologne into the air and then run through is actually a bad way to go. It puts the cologne in all the wrong places (nowhere near your pulse points) and coats the room rather than your body.
- Don’t do the pour-and-dab. Cologne is not aftershave. Whatever you do, do not pour it into your hands and dab it onto the skin. The aromatic oils are meant to be distributed in small doses via a spritzer, and any kind of pouring will only leave the skin over-concentrated with cologne. Side note: Don’t put cologne on your face.
Experiment as Needed
The thing about cologne is that it reacts with every dude differently, and that’s what makes your smell a total original. You may want to consider experimenting with different fragrances and application methods to find a strategy that properly jives with your body chemistry.