How To Apply Cologne Properly

I’ve always loved the feeling of putting on cologne. Why? Because applying cologne can elevate your presence, adding a touch of sophistication to any day.

When you spray cologne, it has to be done on the pulse points of clean skin, at a distance, sparingly, and be allowed to dry naturally. But there’s a little bit more.

In this guide, you’ll discover how to apply cologne the right way, ensuring it lasts throughout your daily activities. If you’ve been seeking the best way to wear a signature scent, look no further.

How to Put on Cologne – So It Lasts All Day

Steps for applying cologne

Trust me, it’s not rocket science. Here’s how to apply cologne to ensure your fragrance lasts as long as possible:

  1. Start with clean skin: Before you even think about how to apply cologne correctly, ensure your skin is in tip-top shape. Showering not only cleanses but also opens your pores, making it the ideal canvas for your fragrance.
    Skin that’s dry, in particular, can make a scent fade faster, so moisturize if necessary. This preparation ensures the cologne melds with your natural oils, enhancing its longevity.
  2. Zero in on pulse points: Pulse points are your fragrance’s best friends. These are spots where your blood vessels are just beneath the skin, radiating warmth and amplifying your scent, so always apply cologne on them. Key areas include the wrists, neck, behind the ears, and inner elbows. When you apply cologne here, you ensure a gradual, enticing release of the fragrance throughout your day.
  3. Master the spray technique: Hold your cologne bottle around 6 inches from your body. This isn’t just a random suggestion, it’s the sweet spot for ensuring an even mist cloud without drenching one area. Remember, the goal is a subtle aura of scent, not a tidal wave.
  4. Quantity matters: When pondering how much cologne to use, always err on the side of caution. Begin with a single spray, especially if you’re new to the fragrance or it’s a stronger scent. Overwhelming others with your scent is a big mistake, it’s always easier to add another spritz than to take one away.
  5. Resist the rub: Post-application, you might feel an urge to rub, especially the wrists. Resist! Rubbing disrupts the fragrance’s molecular structure, potentially altering its top notes and reducing its staying power.
  6. Be patient: After spraying cologne, let it dry naturally. This not only ensures optimal scent absorption but also minimizes the risk of staining your clothing. Remember, a good cologne is like a fine wine, it needs a moment to breathe and settle.

Common Mistakes When Applying Cologne

People tend to make a lot of basic mistakes when they apply cologne. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Overdoing it: One of the most frequent blunders is using too much cologne, especially when you’ve just got your hands on a designer fragrance. Always remember that a fragrance should be discovered, not announced. Overwhelming others with your scent can be off-putting, especially if you’re out on a date or in the office.
    If you’re unsure of whether you’re overdoing it, take a look at my guide on how many sprays you need.
  • Ignoring skin type: Dry skin can cause a scent to fade faster. Moisturizing before applying can help the fragrance last longer, especially if you’re using an eau de toilette or cologne. Also, if you have sensitive skin you may want to opt for a light fragrance that won’t be harsh on the skin. This may be particularly helpful if you plan on applying cologne every day.
  • Sticking to one scent: While having a go-to scent is great, our olfactory senses can experience ‘nose blindness’ over time. It’s beneficial to rotate fragrances to keep your sense of smell sharp. If you’re not a fan of change, then consider trying different fragrances in the same scent family.
  • Storing improperly: Heat and light can break down perfume oils. Always store cologne in a cool, dark place to maintain its original scent profile.
  • Applying to clothes: While it might seem harmless, spraying cologne directly onto clothes can lead to stains and might not emit the fragrance as effectively as when applied to warm pulse points.
  • Impatience: Don’t judge a fragrance by just its top notes. Allow it to evolve on your skin, revealing the middle and base notes, for a complete sensory experience.

Choosing the Right Cologne

Finding the perfect cologne is more than just picking a pleasant smell, it’s about finding a fragrance that aligns with your personal style and essence. Here’s a mini guide to help you navigate your sensory journey:

  • Discover your fragrance family: Colognes span many different fragrance families, from woody to fresh, floral to oriental. Start exploring these scent profiles to identify which aligns most with your personality.
  • Experience before you commit: It’s essential to visit a fragrance store or a dedicated perfume counter to test multiple men’s fragrances. Remember, a scent that’s a favorite for one might clash with another’s body chemistry. Always test a cologne on your skin to gauge its true essence.
  • Seasonal and occasional scents: Fragrances have their moments. A zesty, citrusy cologne might be your summer fling, while a rich, spicy scent becomes your winter romance. Consider the season and occasion when selecting your fragrance. But also don’t feel restricted as some summer fragrances do well in winter and vice versa.
    Luckily, I’ve done the hard work by covering the best summer colognes and the top winter fragrances for men.
  • Trust but verify: While personal preference is very important, it doesn’t hurt to read online reviews or seek recommendations. Insights from others can often guide you to a fragrance you might have overlooked.

Understanding Cologne Types

An important part of choosing the right cologne is understanding the different types. Here’s a quick breakdown of them:

Eau de cologne (EDC)

Example cologne of Eau de cologne (EDC)

Often the lightest in concentration, cologne is a refreshing choice, ideal for a quick, invigorating spritz. Normally, it contains about 2 to 4% perfume oils, which means it’s subtle and usually lasts for a shorter duration, making it perfect for a post-gym refresh or a midday pick-me-up.

Eau de toilette (EDT)

Example cologne of Eau de toilette (EDT)

A middle-ground in the fragrance world, eau de toilette boasts a perfume oil concentration of around 5 to 15%. It’s versatile, which is why it’s a popular choice for daily wear. Its scent generally lingers for 3 to 4 hours, striking a balance between subtlety and presence.

Eau de parfum (EDP)

Example cologne of Eau de parfum (EDP)

A more concentrated fragrance option, EDP contains 15 to 20% perfume oils. This concentration ensures a longer-lasting scent, often enduring for 5 to 8 hours. It’s the go-to for those seeking a pronounced fragrance trail, ideal for evenings or special events.

Spray cologne

Spray Cologne

This format is all about the application. The atomizer ensures an even mist, allowing the fragrance to settle uniformly on your skin, maximizing the scent distribution and longevity.

Solid cologne

Example cologne of Solid Cologne

Solid colognes are a wax-based option that’s compact, spill-proof, and travel-friendly. They’ll give you a more controlled application, ensuring you wear the scent, and it doesn’t wear you. Perfect for on-the-go touch-ups.


Can I apply cologne directly to my clothes?

While it might seem convenient, applying cologne directly to your attire isn’t recommended. When cologne melds with your body’s natural oils, it creates a unique scent profile tailored to you. Spraying on clothes might not only alter this profile but could also lead to fabric stains or damage. For the true essence of a fragrance, always apply to the skin.

How long does cologne last on the skin?

Cologne’s longevity is influenced by several factors: the concentration of perfume oils, your skin type, and the cologne’s quality. On average, you can expect a cologne to stay pronounced for 4 to 8 hours. For a more enduring presence, consider fragrances with higher oil concentrations, like eau de parfum.

Can I layer different colognes?

Absolutely! Layering can craft a unique signature scent, setting you apart. However, the key lies in ensuring the layered fragrances harmonize. Begin with minimal sprays, and remember: it’s an art, so trust your nose and avoid scent overload.

How should I store my cologne?

Preserve your cologne’s integrity by storing it in a cool, dry place, shielded from direct sunlight. Excessive heat and light can ruin the delicate perfume oils. And, always ensure the cap is secure to prevent unwanted evaporation.

Can I wear cologne every day?

Of course! If wearing cologne boosts your confidence, make it an everyday thing. But, always be considerate. Some environments or people might be sensitive to strong fragrances. In such cases, go for a subdued, lighter fragrance.

Does the concentration of cologne affect its longevity?

Yes, it does. The rule of thumb: the higher the concentration of fragrance oils, the longer the cologne’s lifespan. EDP, with its rich concentration, usually outlasts its counterparts like EDT or cologne. Always bear in mind that your body’s chemistry and skin type play pivotal roles in a fragrance’s endurance.

Also, remember that the goal of wearing cologne is to enhance your confidence and leave a lasting impression. Choose a scent that makes you feel great and apply it with care and intention. Enjoy the process and embrace the olfactory journey!

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