Ultimate Cologne Guide For Men
Have you ever wanted to know more about picking the best scent? How to understand all of the different terms used when describing cologne? How colognes should be applied and where? Well here at TheClassicMen is our dedicated guide to help you do just that. With the help of our ultimate cologne guide, you can discover the entire process of buying a cologne while making sure you picked the right one for you!
What You Will Learn In Our Guide
- The Origins Of Modern Cologne
- Why You Need To Buy Cologne
- Online vs. In Person
- Why I Choose Amazon
- Understanding Cologne
- Picking A Scent
- Release Year
- Oil Content
- Sillage and Longevity
- Designer Vs Niche
- Where And When To Apply
- How To Store Your Cologne
The Origins Of Modern Cologne
Eau De Cologne. The first modern cologne created in 1709 by an Italian chemist, poet, and if I may, genius, Giovanni Maria Farina. He named his formula after Cologne, Germany; in honor of his current residence at the time. The original Eau De Cologne contained an alcohol fragrance concentration of around 2%-5%. It consisted of notes ranging from orange, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit and neroli. In addition to these, Farina injected snippets of lavender, thyme, rosemary, petitgrain, jasmine, and tobacco. These are all fragrance notes. Farina continued to experiment and create beautiful smelling fragrances. Because of Farina’s success with creating one of the first men’s popular fragrance, It let to the word cologne, being used as a label for all men’s fragrances.
Why You Need To Buy Cologne
So, if you have not realized by now, Cologne is a mixture of essential fragrant oils that gives off an amazing scent. With our noses being able to distinguish between so many smells, it comes as no surprise that everyone has their unique preferences to what they believe are the best scents.
As a staple in men’s grooming, no matter what the reason is, every man should at least own one bottle of cologne. Now some of you may be thinking, why do I need to buy cologne? I have lived without it, so what is the point? Why of all times now?
I offer you this. We live in a digital age where everything can be done online, through a simple click of a button, or through an app. Heck, there’s an app for everything right? Well, guess what. There’s one thing we cannot do online. Smell things. There’s no app for that.
You see, smell is the most powerful sense. It conjures up memories like no other. Right now, think of your favorite smell. Maybe grandma’s Apple Pie. The smell of a burning campfire. What about the smell of freshly baked bread, leather, or even bacon. The smells go on and on. However, didn’t you instantly recreate memories in your mind, perhaps even memories from your childhood?
So I am telling you now, don’t continue to be the man who neglects this powerful way of defining who you are.
As men, we fuss over everything. Clothing, hair, facial hair, We even go to the gym to make ourselves look better. Why? Because We want to look good! We Like to feel good about ourselves, and we want others to feel the same way.
Hell ya let’s do this
Ok, so I convinced you. Better yet you convinced yourself that you were missing out all along. What’s the next step? Buying cologne. Now you may be wondering where is the best place to purchase cologne. Should I buy it in person? Is it better to do research online and hope for the best? If I do buy it online where should I make my purchase? These are all valid questions, and I promise I will get to them one by one.
Online Purchase Vs In Person
If you are not comfortable with blind buying, even after you did a complete and thorough review of the cologne you are interested in, the best thing you can do is buy in person. Figure out where your local department store is located and speak with a sales representative. Alternatively, some stores have “try me” bottles. Here you can experiment with the different scents. Some good places to check out are popular department stores like Sephora, Nordstrom or Polo by Ralph Lauren.
- You get a first nose experience with smelling your cologne
- Do not have to buy anything if you do not like it
- You potentially can find other colognes that you did not know about
- You can ask the ladies around you for their opinion
- If bought, you have access to your cologne right away
- May be able to get free samples
- You have to stop being a couch potato and put a break to your binge watching
- Limited to what the store has available
- Waiting in lines
- Interacting with your fellow mankind
Online shopping is better suited for someone who does not mind waiting a couple of days for the cologne to come in the mail. As well as shopping around to get the best price. Alternatively, if you are someone who already has a signature scent, you know exactly what you are getting and don’t have to go to a store to find it. A signature scent is simply a scent that you wear often enough that it comes to represent you.
- Can still be the couch potatoe you know you are
- You gain access to a larger variety of colognes
- Online stores are never closed 24/7
- Can look at multiple retailers for the best price
- SAVE GAS!!
- Limited view on feedback, meaning, its word of mouth and with everyone having different tastes it is hard to judge what something can smell like really
- When items are back-ordered, you may not find out until later.
- Not always knowing if a site is a legitimate and safe to shop.
- If you have a favorite site, if the price is too high you lose the power to negotiate. However, this can be overcome by looking at other websites.
Ultimately if you are new to buying cologne, I recommend you go in person to at least three different stores and get a feel for different kinds of scents and see what you are attracted too. When you find a certain smell or smells you like, (if available) ask for a sample size and take it home with you. Alternate between the scents, feel them out and decide which one you want to get. If they do not have sample size tubes for you to take home, I recommend spraying the scents you are interested in on your wrists. As the day goes by figure out which one you would prefer.
For others, more experienced, continue to do what works for you. However, if you feel like trying something new, try some niche fragrances. We will talk about this later in this article.
Why I Choose Amazon.com
1) Convenience: Shopping 24/7! You don’t have to wait in a line or wait for any shopping assistant to help with your purchase. Not only that you can be done in minutes even if you are busy!
2) Better Prices: Amazon has excellent prices. Plus, Amazon constantly has promotions and discounts,
3) Variety: Amazon has (if not all) several brands and products at their online store. You can get in on the latest international trends. Amazon offers a far greater selection of colognes that you will find in any department store.
4) Comparison of Prices: Amazon makes comparison and research of products and prices easy as possible. Amazon also gives you the ability to see reviews of the product from other buyers.
Other online stores I check before making my final purchase are Fragrancenet.com, parfum1.com, and perfumania.com. The reason I choose to look at these sites is because at times they are cheaper than Amazon. From my personal experience, I have never had any issues with these three sites, and I have made several purchases from them in the past.
Now be warned, with buying online there is always a risk involved. Make sure you can trust any website before buying from it.
So, you know a little bit more about cologne and are interested in getting yourself some. If you are interested in buying, it is time to learn a thing or two about picking a scent, A basic explanation of popular terms used and what’s the difference between Cologne and Eau de Toilette and all those other weird names? What is that about?
Perfume can be described as containing three distinct “notes” With a good perfumer; these three notes can come together to produce an amazing smell. However, we are not hit with all of the notes at the same time, rather, they unfold over time. What you smell first are known as top notes. What comes after the top notes are middle notes, and what comes last are base notes. Through a good creation process, these notes will seamlessly slip from one stage to the other.
These are the scents that are apparent immediately after spraying cologne. Top notes form a person’s initial impression of Cologne and are known for selling cologne. So make sure when testing a perfume (more on this later) you wait until the top notes wear off before making a purchase. This can be anywhere from two to 60 minutes. I recommend waiting at least 30 minutes before buying a cologne. You would not want to buy a cologne that you do not like after 30 minutes. In top notes, the common scents found can be described as “fresh,” “assertive” or “sharp.”
The middle notes come after the top notes and are mixed in with the base notes. These notes form the central part of the cologne. Sometimes middle notes can act as a “mask.” This is because base notes can come off as unpleasant. Especially the first time you smell it, However, after some time, your nose will get used to it. Thus, making it more pleasant. Middle notes are usually more mellow and “rounded.”
The base notes come after the top notes as well. The base and middle notes are mixed and are the main theme of cologne. Base notes bring depth and solidness to Cologne. This is the part of the Cologne where preservatives are used to hold and strengthen the lighter top and middle notes. These scents are usually rich and “deep” and are not smelled until dry-down.
For the best explanation of notes, I recommend looking at fragranticas note dictionary. It has every category and lists every single note that falls under it. This is a very useful resource if you want to understand more about a specific cologne. Plus you can look through their massive database of colognes to get more information on any cologne you want. Click here.
Eau De Cologne
Eau de Cologne are used to describe colognes that have a fragrance concentration level ranging from 5% to 8%.This is the cheapest version of cologne you can get. This kind of cologne is best used in hot weather because of its low concentration level. Plus, you can reapply multiple times.
Eau De Toilette
Eau De Toilette are used to describe colognes that have a fragrance concentration level ranging from 5% to 20%. This is the most typical version of cologne sold today. This is best used for any kind of weather.
Eau de Perfume or Parfum
Eau de perfume are used to describe colognes that have a fragrance concentration level ranging from 10% to 30%. The focus of Eau de perfume is to make the middle notes become more noticeable and last longer.
Perfume or Parfum
Perfume also called perfume extract, is the most expensive version of cologne. These colognes have a fragrance concentration level of 20% to 40%. They contain the whole package when it comes to scents.Only a tiny amount is needed because of the concentration levels.
- Accord: Refers to the overall smell of the fragrance.
- Longevity: Refers to how long the cologne will last on your skin.
- Sillage: Refers to how far the cologne will be smelled away from your body.
Picking A Scent
Now that you have a basic understanding of cologne. Let’s figure out some things that you should keep in mind when picking a scent.
This refers to the different elements that make up the cologne. When you see, something phrased as “this cologne has notes of sandalwood” this is what they are referring too. The top colognes tend to have a unique composition which sets them apart from competition or imitators.
This is more for people looking to rebuy a particular cologne. Every batch of cologne created will be different. Why? It is very hard to recreate the same blend. Because something may become slightly sharper, or maybe have something that is so slight that you miss it. Perfumers may also correlate their scents based on the styles and attitudes of their present day.
As addressed previously, the fragrance concentration determines how long your cologne lasts. When picking a cologne, figure out what exactly you are looking for and determine which kind will best suit your needs. Just remember, as you go up in the concentration, the less you need. Avoid an overwhelming smell.
Sillage and Longevity
The strength of the cologne affects its “sillage,” or how far the scent travels. A stronger cologne can be smelled several steps away, while a milder one is only noticeable by someone in a close embrace. How long the cologne lasts is also something you want to keep in mind. Granted, each cologne lasts a different amount of time for different people. This is something you will figure out after you purchased. However, a quick review online will give you a general idea.
Important Tip: the more you pay for a fragrance, the more you should demand from it.
However, be aware, you do not always get what you pay for. The most expensive perfume is not always the best. And sometimes the cheapest cologne might be the best cologne you ever smelled. Test before you wear and if you can not, look up some reviews online.
Designer Vs Niche
These scents are the ones you find in almost any department store. For example, Armani, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, and D&G. These large fashion brands release their products in large quantities and are distributed around the world. The downside to buying a designer cologne is simple. Due to their immense popularity, the exclusivity is gone. Anyone could have it, and it is totally possible to run into someone with them. However, as a beginner, experimenting with these colognes and figuring out what you like can later lead you to purchase the brands limited editions, or their exclusive lines. These are rarer and are extremely expensive. But are worth it if you grow into the whole cologne thing. You can take a different approach and dabble into the niche colognes.
Niche colognes are very different. It is something you do not see everywhere, extremely rare and hard to find. In some ways, it can be looked like the opposite of a designer brand cologne. It is extremely exclusive and is constructed in an entirely different way. This class of colognes is tailored to the person who is interested in trying things that are not mass produced. For the ones passionate in colognes and is part of their hobby.
Where And When To Apply Your Cologne
Once you bought your cologne the next step is to learn where, how and when to apply it.
The best place to apply cologne is at the pulse points. The reason we spray at the pulse points is because these are places on your body that your blood vessels are closer to your skin. Because of this, the extra heat emitting from the body helps project the fragrance. Your pulse points are behind the ear lobes. As well as on your wrists, the crooks of your elbows, behind your knees, and the base of the neck. The neck is a good place for sillage. Spraying on your hair is also good. Another good spot is at the base of your throat. However, don’t use a strong cologne at this spot. It is under your nose and can mess you up for the rest of your day. Don’t do the side of your neck if you are expecting a kiss on your neck. Cologne does not taste good.
How to apply
At these pulse points, you want to hold the bottle anywhere from 4-6inches from the body so that it can lay on the skin. When it lays on your skin is can dry well. You do not want it to become a puddle and you do now want it to drip on your skin. Make sure not to rub it because if you do, it will ruin your top notes, mid notes, and bottom notes. Do not put on cologne if you are dirty. Cologne is not febreeze and will not cover up any bad smells you currently have on you, and in fact, it can make the smell worse. Make sure you bathe for the most optimal smell.
Tip: If you find you have problem with sillage and longevity, moisturizing your skin before spraying can help.
When to apply it
You can apply your cologne pretty much anywhere and wear it whenever you feel like it. I think it will be more important to touch upon the places where cologne is better kept at home.
An international flight – Don’t be that guy who reeks for 12 hours straight.
At a Funeral – This one is self-explanatory.
At the gym – Sure I get it, you want to smell good when you are putting in a workout. However, trust me, this one is a bad idea.
A job interview – Too risky, don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression.
Camping – Bears can smell scents up to 50 miles away. And that’s only one of the many animals in the wild. Wanna try your luck?
In general, if you have to question whether or not you should wear cologne, then chances are, you should not wear cologne.
Storing Your Cologne
Usually, buying cologne is an expensive purchase, and you want it to last for a long time. No matter the price spent on your cologne. You never want it to go bad. Not only that, cologne is delicate, and the fragrance concentration can easily break down, resulting in an altered smell. Sure, maybe it will not smell too different, but for enthusiastic cologne buyers, it will make all the difference. Fortunately, here are some tips to help make sure you do not accidently ruin your favorite smell.
Keep Perfume Bottles Away from Direct Light
It may be tempting to show off your new cologne bottle if it has a unique design. However, make sure to keep it out of direct light. This is because direct sunlight can quickly alter the perfume. You may be able to get away with an opaque bottle design, but other than that do not try it. Some good places to store your cologne bottle will be in a dark area. Something like the bathroom or your closet can do the trick.
Keep Cologne Bottles away from Heat
For the same reason as keeping your cologne bottle out of light, heat will also quickly alter the smell of your cologne by possibly breaking down the precious chemical bonds that make your cologne unique. Keep away especially from radiating heat sources, like heat vents or radiators. The best temperature to keep your cologne bottle is one of constant and consistent temperature. A dry, dark and cool environment are best. Now I know some people like to store their cologne bottle in the fridge, but I do not agree with that. Simple because anything that is significantly colder than room temperature can alter the cologne smell as well. Aim for 50 – 60 Fahrenheit.
Do not Open/Close or shake cologne Excessively
Try to keep the seal on the cologne bottle on as much as possible. The more ways you can keep your cologne sealed away from air and humidity, the better off it will be. Some people believe that you have to shake your cologne bottle before applying, but this is wrong. Colognes are made to be used ready and are evenly mixed when you buy it. Doing this can lead to damage of that perfect balance, and possibly form air bubbles which would lead to degradation of your cologne.
Don’t Store Fragile Bottles on High Shelves
This one may be a no-brainer, but I cannot tell you how many times I heard about someone’s cologne getting destroyed because it was accidently knocked off a shelf. This happens because cologne bottles are small and light and are easily knocked over if you are not careful. At best, if you are lucky, the bottle won’t break or a tiny piece will break off, but at worst, there goes your money down the drain, and that will suck if you just bought your favorite cologne.
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Now go out there and buy some cologne!