5 Short-Lasting Colognes That Disappoint: What Not to Buy

It didn’t take me long to realize that not all colognes are created equal, especially when it comes to their staying power.

These colognes on this list should only be avoided if you’re someone who values longevity.

That doesn’t mean that they outright suck. There are two in particular that smell pretty good.

They just don’t stick around.

Now that that’s out the way, let me save you some money and time.

So, Which Short-Lasting Cologne Needs to Be Avoided the Most

The Maurer & Wirtz 4711 Original Eau de Cologne should be avoided the most among short-lasting colognes. It only projects for around 1.5 to 3 hours, making it the least enduring.

You may still like the smell of this cologne but be prepared to make multiple applications throughout the day.

4711 by Muelhens Original Eau de Cologne
$30.00 $26.16 ($1.94 / Fl Oz)
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03/07/2024 04:24 am GMT

Other short-lasting colognes you might want to steer clear of include Guerlain Eau de Cologne du Coq and Cartier Eau de Cartier. The latter has a decent scent profile but it still won’t stay with you for very long.

5 Short-Lasting Colognes To Avoid For Men in 2024 – Full Reviews

1. Maurer & Wirtz 4711 Original Eau de Cologne – 1.5 to 3 hours

Maurer & Wirtz 4711 Original

Many view this scent to be a timeless classic when it comes to unisex fragrances, which I really wonder about considering it generally only lasts for a maximum of 3 hours.

Longevity aside, it does open with a burst of citrus notes that create an invigorating experience. The heart is also quite nice, with its blend of herbal and floral notes.

I think what makes 4711 sell to this day is its historical significance and enduring appeal. It’s a scent that has transcended generations, with a sensory experience that’s quite simple but still somewhat enjoyable.

But, it’s hard to ignore its fleeting nature which leaves you wishing it would stay a bit longer. On the bright side, at least a bottle doesn’t cost that much, so we can’t be that mad at Maurer & Wirtz.

Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Orange
Middle notes: Rosemary, Lavender
Base notes: Petitgrain, Neroli
Occasion: Daytime, Casual
Longevity: 1.5 to 3 hours
Age group: All ages
Projection: Soft
Season: Spring, Summer
Value for money: 3.5 out of 5
4711 by Muelhens Original Eau de Cologne
$30.00 $26.16 ($1.94 / Fl Oz)
Amazon here
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 04:24 am GMT

2. Guerlain Eau de Cologne du Coq – 2 to 3 hours

Guerlain Eau de Cologne du Coq

Eau de Cologne du Coq presents itself as refined and elegant but what’s the point when it only lasts 2 to 3 hours? Ok, to be fair, that length can get you through an important meeting, provided you’re not sweating bullets.

It has a citrusy opening that leads into an atomic heart. The base has a powdery finish but I can’t say it’s anything remarkable. Maybe it could’ve done with some pink peppercorns for spiciness.

I admit, Eau de Cologne du Coq captures the essence of traditional French perfumery quite well but I think many would agree that it’s nothing to write home about. It’s a scent that whispers rather than shouts, fading gently but all too quickly.

Top notes: Neroli, Lemon, Orange, Bergamot
Middle notes: Jasmine, Lavender, Patchouli
Base notes: Sandalwood, Oakmoss
Occasion: Formal, Daytime
Longevity: 2 to 3 hours
Age group: 30+
Projection: Moderate
Season: Spring, Fall
Value for money: 2.5 out of 5

3. Cartier Eau de Cartier – 2 to 4 hours

Cartier Eau de Cartier

This is one of the short-lasting colognes that I have to give credit to. It’s another unisex fragrance that balances elegance and simplicity.

It opens with a fresh, green burst that blends into a soft floral heart. Then, the base gives you a subtle mix of woody notes. The result? A clean, understated finish.

It’s also quite versatile. Rather than overpowering your natural aroma, it complements it. But, it doesn’t last long enough to really satisfy.

Don’t get me wrong, this certainly isn’t the worst among the Cartier colognes but I’m big on longevity and this cologne somewhat disappoints in that department.

Top notes: Yuzu, Coriander, Bergamot
Middle notes: Violet, Lavender
Base notes: White amber, Cedar, Musk, Patchouli
Occasion: Everyday wear, Office
Longevity: 2 to 4 hours
Age group: 25+
Projection: Light to moderate
Season: Spring, Summer
Value for money: 3 out of 5

4. Acqua di Parma Colonia – 4 to 6 hours

Acqua di Parma Colonia

If you’re looking for Italian luxury and sophistication for less, then this scent could be for you, or one of the many other Acqua di Parma colognes. But, don’t expect it to stay with you the whole day.

Colonia has this gripping blend of citrus, herbal, and woody notes that make it super refined. I really didn’t want to put Colonia here but I had to because 4 to 6 hours of longevity just isn’t enough.

Again, this doesn’t mean that it’s a bad scent but it’s certainly something to consider if you have your eye on it.

Top notes: Calabrian bergamot, Lemon, Sweet orange
Middle notes: Lavender, Bulgarian rose, Verbena
Base notes: Woody notes, Patchouli, Sandalwood
Occasion: Versatile, Casual to formal
Longevity: 4 to 6 hours
Age group: 25+
Projection: Moderate
Season: Spring, Summer
Value for money: 4 out of 5
Acqua Di Parma Cologne Spray for Men
$81.77 $74.75 ($21.99 / Fl Oz)
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03/07/2024 09:35 am GMT

5. Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin – 4 to 6 hours

Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin

This scent can transport you to a lush, verdant garden, but you won’t be there for very long.

Its opening of zesty lime and the aromatic freshness of basil are unique and uplifting, but if you like your scent to last all day long, you’re probably better off avoiding this scent.

If the longevity doesn’t bother you, then this is the perfect scent for those days when you need a pick-me-up.

Or you can always just keep the bottle on you and make reapplications throughout the day. After all, it’s still one of the best-smelling Jo Malone colognes out there.

Top notes: Lime, Mandarin orange, Bergamot
Middle notes: Basil, Lilac, Iris, Thyme
Base notes: Patchouli, Vetiver
Occasion: Daytime, Any occasion
Longevity: 4 to 6 hours
Age Group: All ages
Projection: Moderate
Season: Spring, Summer
Value for Money: 4.8 out of 5
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin
$165.00 $155.00 ($45.59 / Ounce)
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03/07/2024 01:14 am GMT

Factors to Consider if Buying Short-Lasting Colognes

What occasion, or season, are you wearing it for?

Even if your fragrance is likely to dissipate quickly, wearing it at the right time and for the right occasion is key.

For example, Maurer & Wirtz 4711 Original Eau de Cologne is a light and refreshing aroma that’s perfect for warm summer days.

In contrast, Guerlain Eau de Cologne du Coq offers a classic touch that can work well for daytime events in spring.

Cartier Eau de Cartier has a versatile profile that suits pretty much any occasion. Then, the sophisticated blend of Acqua di Parma Colonia makes it an excellent evening scent, making you come across as elegant on a special night out.

Meanwhile, Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin is a vibrant choice that’s great for lifting spirits in autumn, albeit for not very long.

Stop smelling the same on every single night, and during every single season – you’re giving the rest of us olfactory fatigue. Play around with different scents to enhance to match the mood of various settings.

Skin type

When searching for your signature scent, it’s important to think about your skin type, as your skin could react differently, especially with fleeting colognes.

Dry skin tends to absorb and dissipate scents much quicker, further reducing longevity.

Moisturizing before application can help with this. I’d recommend doing a skin test to see how the scent melds with your natural oils.

Where To Buy Short-Lasting Colognes (If You Insist)

If you’re one of those guys who doesn’t mind the prospect of his cologne going missing as soon as he sprays it on, then here’s how you can go about finding and purchasing a short-lasting cologne.

It’ll come as no surprise that you can buy these colognes the same way you would any other type. One of the best places to start is the brand’s official website and, if they have one near you, their physical store. This gives you a chance to explore their other options and you’re guaranteed to be getting the real product.

If there’s no physical brand store near you or if their online store doesn’t ship to you, there are plenty of dedicated perfume shops out there. It’s a matter of discerning which ones are the most convenient and trustworthy.

Or, you could take the headache of sussing out a supplier by using trusted online platforms like Amazon and FragranceX. They almost always have a wide selection of colognes and they often have some pretty cool deals.

If all of the above fails, then you can always head over to department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s.

How To Apply Short-Lasting Colognes

Applying these sorts of colognes is a delicate balance between ensuring they’re noticed without overwhelming the senses.

You don’t want to spray so much perfume that everyone around you starts to choke, but the fleeting nature of these scents means a slightly different approach is required.

Try this method:

  1. Choose the right spots: Focus on applying it mainly to your pulse points, like your wrists and neck, as these areas emit heat and diffuse the scent. You might also want to consider additional areas like your forearms, chest, and on your clothing, although you should be cautious with the latter.
    If you’re applying it on your clothing, ensure your laundry detergent doesn’t conflict with the scent. Some people even wear fragrance in their hair but I’m not sure about the efficacy of that.
  2. Layer your scent: Before applying the cologne, use a matching or unscented body lotion to help anchor the fragrance. Pro tip: applying a bit of petroleum jelly to spray points before applying cologne can help it last longer.
  3. Adjust the quantity: I normally say that just one spray or two is enough, but in the case of shorter-lasting colognes, consider using three to five sprays. Use your discretion though, as some short-lasting fragrances are still quite potent.
  4. Reapply when necessary: Keep a small bottle with you for a midday refresh, especially if you have a long day ahead.
  5. Don’t rub it: The scent will just break down faster if you rub it, so don’t.


Do cheap colognes last long?

Cheap colognes usually don’t project for that long because of lower quality and synthetic ingredients. They may be able to come close to or match the scent profile of more expensive fragrances, but they typically lack the complexity and depth that contribute to longevity. My advice would be to save up (if money is tight) and invest in a mid-range to high-end cologne.

This is not to say they’re not worth it though, as there are plenty of cheap colognes that are worthwhile.

How long should a cologne last?

The longevity of colognes can vary quite a lot but a good quality cologne should last you about 4 to 8 hours. Do bear in mind that factors like the fragrance’s concentration, the quality of ingredients, and individual skin chemistry play a key role in determining a cologne’s potential staying power.

How can I make a cologne last longer?

To enhance a cologne’s longevity, try applying it to moisturized skin, especially on your pulse points. You could also layer the scent with similar-smelling body products like an aftershave or body lotion. Lastly, don’t rub the scent in, as this can just break down the scent’s molecules and possibly reduce its longevity.

Are long-lasting scents better than short-lasting ones?

This is just a matter of personal preference and occasion. Much like with short-lasting scents, there are plenty of long-lasting colognes out there that just smell bad, so it’s up to you to decide whether a short-lasting but nice-smelling cologne works for you. Or, whether you’d prefer an average-smelling yet long-lasting scent, for example.

Short-lasting scents are typically better for everyday wear, whereas nice long-lasting fragrances can be ideal for all-day wear and special events.

Will an eau de parfum last longer than an eau de toilette?

Yep, an eau de parfum typically lasts longer than an eau de toilette. This is because eau de parfums have a higher concentration of fragrance oils (10-20%) and can offer longevity of around 8 hours or longer. Meanwhile, eau de toilettes have a concentration of around 5-15%, usually lasting an average of 4 to 7 hours.

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