The Do's and Don't of Cologne•
Posted on April 12 2012
Try before you buy
There is only one way to tell how a scent will actually smell, and it doesn’t involve scratching and sniffing a magazine or fragrance-laced piece of card stock from an overly aggressive sales girl at the perfume counter. A self-test on your skin is the single, surefire method for determining its reaction with your body chemistry. That’s why you should try before you buy. Then, wait a day before committing to reveal any potential allergic reactions and ensure the scent will last. If you need more help picking a cologne, we're your resource.
Watch what you eat
Body chemistry is a key factor when considering the dos and don’ts of cologne. The problem: Chemistry isn’t consistent. One trip to the Indian buffet, a gorge-fest of fried chicken or throwing back a beer can make cologne smell stronger -- and not in a good way. We love spicy, fatty man-food just as much as the next guy. So, if you’re going for gastronomic gold, let your scent sit this round out. As for date night, well, we shouldn’t have to tell you that the best you could hope for after a curry dinner is a goodnight handshake.
Reapply if you have dry skin
When it comes to cologne, knowing your skin type is mission critical. Oily complexions maintain scent longer, with fewer and less frequent applications. The additional moisture on the surface of the skin acts as a chemical activator (think of it as a consolation prize for those years spent as a pimple-ridden teenager). Drier skin, on the other hand, is just the opposite -- it’s like a sponge soaking up that sweet scent. Go for an extra squirt and make sure to recharge for a night on the town.
Apply after a hot shower
Like most things in life, timing is everything. So, naturally, there is a prime time for applying fragrance -- like after a hot shower or bath. The water temperature and steam assist in prying pores open, which in turn, sop up scent. They’re what keep you smelling fresh (or not) all day long. And while attempting to scent unshowered skin isn’t the worst cologne crime in the world, you do run the risk of instigating a nasty cover-up.
We all know that guy who has a perpetual trail of saturated scent you can smell from a mile away. It announces his coming and going in the most olfactorily offensive way possible -- the classic case of foul play with a trigger-happy hand as the culprit. Instead of dousing (and needlessly wasting that precious liquid), spraying at the pulse points is a more effective way of application and, honestly, a cologne basic. A dab behind the ears, on the wrists and at the base of the throat -- essentially, anywhere the blood vessels are close to the skin’s surface -- is all you need to maximize your musk. And remember, when in doubt, less is more. No one likes to be assaulted with smell no matter how pleasant you think it is.
Use scented soaps
Cool rain and arctic blast may seem like the perfect pals for shower time. What’s the problem then? Strongly scented soaps and body washes can mix in unintended ways with any cologne applied afterward. At best, the soap smell will overpower any lighter fragrance making it seem as though the cologne is barely there. But more likely, the cool, clean scent of that manly mountain-mist body wash you’ve been using for years will alter the smell of the cologne you just dropped 80 bucks on. We’re not recommending you switch to some new-age fragrance-free brand. Just go for something lighter than normal.
Think one scent is enough
Despite the old advice of finding a signature scent and sticking to it, men must remember the importance of changing things up. This isn’t just for kicks -- there is a method to the madness. As seasons change, cologne must follow suit. A full-bodied fragrance for mid-July doesn’t match the mood and can be overpowering. The opposite is true, too: Lighter scents get lost in colder temperatures come winter time. But the solution isn’t to stock up on your favorite 50 colognes. Instead, opt for just two to complement the seasons. A citrusy scent for spring and summer should give way to woodsy, spicy selections in fall.
Men have a bad habit of hoarding unopened cologne bottles for use at a later date. We tend to stockpile them as though they’d be useful in a nuclear attack. But colognes have a shelf-life: Three years to be exact. After that, the natural oils in the bottle lose their intensity and go rancid. The good news is that three years is a long time, so if it takes you longer than that to use up your stash, it just wasn’t mean to be. And don’t think that a pristine bottle fairs any better. This rule holds true for all colognes whether they’re still wrapped in plastic or on their last drop.
scent of a man
Cologne is a crucial part of being a man. The whole scent thing plays into our primal need to mark our territory. And now, you’ll be able to mark that territory right.
ADAM FOX www.askmen.com