Men’s cologne: How to wear your fragrance correctly

By Shelton Chang | Monday, January 9 2017

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Just as there are rules in fashion, there’s an etiquette to wearing fragrance too. It may not be as complicated as dressing for a black tie event, but smelling great adds the finishing touch to your ensemble. Here’s a quick guide to scents and the olfactory world.  

FRAGRANCE 101

There are essentially four categories of fragrances, each variation with a different strength of scent. The level of concentration also determines how strong the scent of the fragrance is. The stronger it is, the more intense it is, and the longer it will last. Eau de Parfum (EdP) typically contains between 10-20%, Eau de Toilette (EdT) is the most common among men’s fragrance and has 5-15% concentration, while Eau de Cologne (EdC) has 3-8%, and after shave contains between 1-3%.

Notes to remember

Almost all fragrances have three sets of notes – top, middle (or heart) and base. The first whiff that comes immediately after applying a scent is known as the top notes. The fragrance will smell different after it settles in 15 minutes, leading into the middle or the heart notes. The middle notes form the “essence” of a fragrance and sometimes masks the initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. Usually the base and middle notes blend and harmonise to reflect the main theme of a fragrance. Base notes are rich, usually supported by woody scents like sandalwood and oud, come on approximately 30 minutes after application.

Less is more

We get that you love your cologne but use it sparingly. If anyone can smell you from two meters away, you’re going overboard. Apply small amounts regularly rather than spritzing more than 5 times at one go. You want the fragrance to blend with your natural body scent, not overpower it.

Sweet Spots

Concentrate on pulse points. Behind the ears, neck, wrists, areas where the blood circulates more frequently. By applying on pulse points, the heat that emanates from the body would diffuse the fragrance evenly around the body.  

Make It Last

If you want your scent to last longer, try applying some vaseline on the area before you spritz on your fragrance. Vaseline, being an occlusive ointment, allows the fragrance to adhere to the skin longer than if you were to spray directly on dry skin.

Don’t dab

Just like the annoying trend that needs to go, dabbing the fragrance on your wrists after application is a habit that needs to stop too. If you rub your wrists together, the top notes will disappear faster than intended and shorten its lifespan.