Taking its name from its birthplace of Cologne, Germany, men’s cologne has blossomed into a giant industry with varieties of fragrances spanning entire shelves at department stores worldwide. Fragrances from high-end luxury brands such as Versace and Gucci top bestseller lists at major retailers including Macy’s, Sephora and Bloomingdale’s.
Cologne is an investment. Prices of designer brands can be steep so it is important to make the right choice and know how to wear it.
When sampling cologne, stick to applying a single scent and make sure you give the fragrance time to settle into your skin and mix with your body’s natural pheromones before making a decision.
Ever wonder why there are coffee beans at the cologne counter? Those are not simply for decor — smelling the beans in between scents works to clear the nose and ensures you smell each fragrance individually.
Keep in mind that cologne should always be used sparingly, as most of us can relate to having had the unpleasant experience of sitting behind someone who has been over-ambitious with his cologne. You do not want to be that guy.
To keep your scent from becoming overpowering, apply your cologne at just two pulse points rather than spraying your entire body. Major pulse points are located on the insides of the wrists, the front of the neck, the back of the neck and the inner elbows. These pulse points have blood vessels located close to the skin, causing the skin to be warmer and allowing the scent to spread and last longer.
Men’s colognes generally fall into one of four main categories: fresh, woody, oriental and fougere.
Fresh scents are light, citrusy and perfect for daytime. Try the popular Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme by Giorgio Armani for a simple, modern and sophisticated scent ($46).
Darker and stronger than fresh scents, woody fragrances have notes of cedar, sandalwood and patchouli, making them masculine and rich. For a woody scent that is not too heavy, try Yves Saint Laurent’s L’homme, a scent that is well-balanced and versatile ($43).
Infused with exotic spices such as cardamom and ginger, oriental scents tend to be bold and intense, making them great for special occasions. Check out a popular Dolce and Gabbana cologne, The One for Men, for something that makes a statement ($43).
Meaning “fern” in French, the fougere fragrance family consists of scents that have a unique mix of lavender, citrus and moss notes. Fougere fragrances are usually green, earthy and versatile. Versace’s Pour Homme is a best-selling fougere fragrance ($36).
Be sure to make an investment once the perfect scent is discovered. The right cologne can become a signature piece in one’s style routine.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 12 print edition. Rebecca Riddle is a contributing writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.