How to apply cologne: 5 essential tips

Apply your manly fragrance… the correct way

How to apply cologne: 5 essential tips
(Image credit: Getty)

Building an effective grooming regime is a lot like working out in the gym. You can have all the best gear at your disposal, but it's knowing how to use it that really counts. 

Take your fragrance: whether or not you're applying it correctly in the first place has a lot to do with how it smells and how long it will stick around. 

Luckily, unlike a pistol squat, it's one skill that you can master quickly. With that in mind, here's how to apply the best men's fragrances… the correct way. 

1. Prep Your Skin

Unless you want the bulk of your olfactory efforts to be enjoyed by the bus diver, it makes sense to do all you can to add precious hours to your parfum. The more hydrated skin is, the longer a fragrance will last. So get into the habit of applying it after a shower, when your body is still slightly damp. In winter, when skin is naturally dryer, you can aid this by also using an oil-based body lotion before spritzing.

2. Amp It Up

Layering different fragrances is an excellent way to create your own bespoke scent without dropping a month's rent to work with a perfumer. However, if you want to make sure your eau de toilette is the only one calling the shots, stick with an unscented deodorant. Even better, take time to build a shower routine using products that feature the same notes — a vetiver body wash, for instance — to create a base that'll amp up your aftershave.

3. Hit The Spot

Location, location, location. A catchphrase that refers not just to the property market but also as a technique for getting the most out of your fragrance. When applying cologne, you want to take aim at the areas of the body that are naturally warm and prone to movement – like the wrists, insides of the elbows and the sides of the neck. Just resist the urge to rub it in, and let the scent dry on its own to allow each layer to properly play its role.

4. Go Easy On The Eau

It's the dream of every well-groomed man to find a signature scent, but you never want it to enter the room before you. To avoid eau-fending the noses of everyone within a mile radius, always limit yourself to two or three sprays from about five inches away. If you find your scent isn't sticking around, check the concentration. Parfums have a higher oil content and are therefore more intense (they last up to eight hours), whereas eau de toilettes have less and are lighter (lasting up to four).

5. Spray, Don't Delay

You know how some people spray a bunch of expensive fragrances up in the air and then walk through it? Yeah, don't do that. Not only is this a waste of product, but the alcohol can also dry out your hair. If you're looking for somewhere other than your skin to spritz, try a light mist on your clothes or a scarf. Just make sure you can wash the fabric and avoid materials like silk that can be easily stained by perfume oils.

If you're shopping for the woman in your life, check out the best women’s perfumes, and if you need more advice on men's fragrance read our guide on how to choose the right cologne or aftershave.

Luke Todd