You’ve seen body sprays in the aisle of the supermarket, while colognes are behind the counter with security tags.
Why is one 10 times the price of the other?
They all smell good- so what’s the difference?
I’ve been using body sprays and colognes for the past decade. In this guide, I’ll help you decide which is best for you, and how to use them both effectively.
Let’s get into it.
What is Body Spray – and What is it Used For?
Body spray is essentially a very light cologne. It’s a mixture of fragrance, water, and alcohol that will keep you smelling fresh throughout the day.
Body spray vs cologne is a little like a Jack and Coke vs whiskey on the rocks. By diluting the fragrance concentrate, body sprays offer a far more subtle pick me up.
So what are some of the reasons you’d use body spray?
Best for Price – Body Spray
Body spray has far less of the “expensive stuff” in it. Technically it’s only about 0.5% perfume oil concentrate. The rest is an alcohol-water mix, which doesn’t cost a fortune.
Because of this, even some of the best body sprays cost less than $10. Some of them are based on high-end designer colognes that can cost 10 times more.
This makes body sprays a great way to try exclusive fragrances if you’re on a budget. Sure, it’s not going to be as powerful as the cologne, but it still will give you an idea of the notes at play.
Best for Staying Fresh – Body Spray
Many popular body sprays are also antiperspirants, designed to help you minimize sweat and body odor.
They’re ideal for wearing pre or post-workout, or on hot days. There’s nothing worse than having sweat circles soak through a crisp and clean shirt.
Colognes are great for helping you smell great, but deodorant body sprays will actively stop you from smelling bad.
So Why Would You Stick with Cologne?
Best for Long-lasting Fragrance – Cologne
In terms of power, colognes pack far more of a punch than body sprays.
Body sprays are a quick pick-me-up. They’re a burst of freshness and last an hour or two.
Colognes on the other hand last up to 12 hours. You can set them once in the morning, and be a beacon of fragrance all day.
It’s not surprising really, given that colognes contain up to 25 times as much fragrance oil as the typical body spray.
Best for Complex Scents- Cologne
Because colognes are more intense and powerful than body sprays, you can notice a lot more subtly in terms of how the fragrance is balanced.
Rather than a general “sense” of fragrance you find in a body spray, you can really pull the notes of a cologne apart.
The superior potency and longevity also means that colognes are more likely to evolve throughout the day. They gradually change, rather than just fading away.
With a cologne, you’ll notice when certain notes reveal themselves and enjoy a variety of combinations rather than a static fragrance.
How to Wear Body Spray and Cologne Together
If you want to wear two fragrances together, they should complement rather than compete with each other.
I’d recommend combining the a neutral antiperspirant body spray with an expressive cologne.
Your body spray should be fresh and clean, perhaps based on uncomplicated notes of aloe vera or shea butter, for example. These sorts of sprays often have an added moisturizing benefit, which is a nice bonus.
Apply the body spray to areas most likely to sweat, like under the arms, or on the lower back and chest.
This will provide a crisp and natural-smelling base on which your cologne will flourish.
Find something bold that reflects your personality, and apply a couple of spritzes to your pulse points (wrists and neck).
These are the regions where your body emits the most heat, which will help your fragrance diffuse through the air and entice those around you.
Best Body Sprays for Men – My Top Picks
The best body sprays achieve one of two things.
- They offer a light, breezy version of a high-end fragrance for a far lower price
- They provide a clean-cut and fresh base for you to express yourself with an exciting cologne
Below, I’ll discuss my personal favorites across both categories. They’re a great place to start if you’re new to body sprays- but there are plenty out there.
Just please, for the love of God, avoid AXE. Unless you want to smell like a 10th grader.
Tom Ford Oud Wood Body Spray
A quick disclaimer: Tom Ford is my favorite designer house, so I’m a little biased.
But Oud Wood is as good an Oud as I’ve been able to find in my decade of fragrance experience.
It’s known for refined woodsy spice, with hints of earthiness that lend masculinity without going overboard.
While the cologne retails at $350 for a 3.4 Oz bottle, the body spray is just 75 bucks for 5 ounces.
Naturally, you won’t project as far or for as long as you would with the full-throttle cologne, but you’ll still smell amazing for a couple of hours.
Once you’ve tried it, there’s every chance you’ll be so hooked you invest in the cologne itself.
CK One Body Spray
Another designer offer, CK One blends citrus, musk, and florals with great balance and poise.
The result is an energizing spicy-sweet medley that will captivate anybody lucky enough to be within a meter or so.
This uplifting cologne is perfect for low-key errands or coffee dates and (like Oud Wood) costs just a fraction as much as its cologne counterpart.
Old Spice Refresh Body Spray
Old Spice Refresh Body Spray helps keep things nice and fresh, with a masculine twist.
It still has the iconic spice of the original colognes but also contains ingredients that will actively fight body odor.
It’s a great choice for a post-workout boost, with effective sweat prevention as well as a timeless character of its own.
Dove Men + Care Extra Fresh
Dove prioritizes cleanliness rather than personality. They are most known for producing neutral soaps that are mindful of skin sensitivity.
Their body spray is primarily an antiperspirant, and probably the most effective I’ve come across. It provides gym-proof, 24-hour sweat prevention.
The aroma is fresh, clean, and the perfect base for you to layer on some more vibrant cologne.
Plus it won’t leave any white marks on your shirts, which is more than can be said for some deodorants!
FAQ- What you Should Know About Body Sprays Vs Cologne
Body Spray vs Cologne- Which is Better?
As you can hopefully see, it’s a bit of a moot point.
A successful body spray provides a short episode of a few key notes, while colognes are a longer journey through a developing theme.
It’s like asking what’s better: a short film, or a Netflix series?
Both tell a story, and both can move you- it simply depends on what you need.
Remember: never overload on fragrance. If you’re going to use a perfumed body spray, use it in isolation. Otherwise, make sure your body spray is just a nice neutral base layer if you want to pair it with cologne.
Check out my recommendations, or drop me a comment with some of your favorite body sprays!