Tips on Selecting Your Own Men's Cologne

Men's cologne is frequently an afterthought when you are heading out the door in the morning or getting ready for a night on the town. You might even have your wife pick out your cologne, or you use whatever you are given during the holidays. Whatever the case, men's cologne can be confusing when you don't know how to select the proper fragrance.

Perfume Versus Cologne
There aren't many guys in the world who would ask what type of perfume they should buy because cologne has become associated with men, just as perfume is commonly associated with women. In reality, however, perfume and cologne are two different types of fragrances and are not gender specific at all.

Cologne is simply a weaker blend of essential oils. It is much more diluted than perfume. For that reason, men prefer cologne because it isn't as strong. Of course, colognes for men are generally classified as such. You usually won't encounter other names for men's fragrance unless you look at the fine print on the back of the box.

Scent of Deception
When choosing a cologne, it is important that you don't just look at a bottle or take a whiff and head to the cash register. Appearances can be deceiving. The chemistry of cologne is more complex than most men think. All fragrances consist of three notes-the top note, the middle note and the base note--that are "uncovered" in layers as time passes.

This is arguably the most difficult part of searching for the right cologne, essentially because the first whiff doesn't tell you how you will smell four hours from now. The top note usually dissipates within 15 minutes of application; the base note surfaces about three hours later.

Trust in Chemistry
Consider scent bases before you choose cologne. Most fragrances are made up of certain scent bases: floral, chypre, woody, citrus, fougere, leather and oriental. Men's fragrances commonly rely on two of these bases, fougere, which has a mossy scent, and leather.

When trying out different types of cologne at the store, you should make sure to spray it on yourself rather than just on the tester cards, as fragrances will smell differently on one person than they will on another. Also try not to mix up scents. If you can try a cologne and step out of the store for a few minutes, you'll have a better sense of what the cologne smells like since fewer odors will compete for your nose's attention.

Different As Day and Night
Many men prefer to choose two different types of cologne: one for daytime activities, such as going to work or meeting friends for lunch; and one to wear at night. During the day, for example, you are most likely to be working in situations where you are in close physical proximity to others, which means that your cologne should not be overpowering. At night, however, dance clubs and bars can detract from the scent you're wearing, and you might need something stronger.

You should also consider the occasion when selecting cologne. For instance, it is never a good idea to wear a pungent fragrance when embarking upon a first date. Not only might you turn your date off if she isn't impressed by your choice, but nervousness leads to sweat, which means that the scent will be naturally enhanced and perhaps overpowering.

How Much Is Too Much?
If you put on too much cologne, chances are you're going to see evidence of it everywhere you go. When you get within 10 feet of people and they violently recoil, you've seen your first sign that you've overdone it. If you want to avoid that stage entirely, however, you can monitor the amount of cologne that you apply.

With most traditional spray bottles of cologne, one or two short sprays is usually sufficient to get the job done. Use it in areas where the blood vessels are elevated beneath the skin, such as your chest, neck and wrists, for the best results. Also try to put on your cologne before you get dressed, as the oils can stain your clothes.

Additionally, it is important to remember that you don't need to continuously apply cologne. Your sense of smell adjusts to the fragrances in the air and on your person. After 20 minutes or so of application, you won't notice it anymore. However, everyone else will smell it, so don't keep adding new layers as the day wears on.

The Price of Fragrance
As a final note, the price of cologne is not always indicative of how good it smells. Keep that in mind as you shop. A $75 bottle of cologne might not smell as good to you as a $30 bottle, in which case you might want to go for the cheaper fragrance. This doesn't mean that you're cheap. It means you're focused on quality.

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