As men, we use a lot of products that keep us from smelling bad, but why not look at it in another way: how can we make ourselves smell good?
One of the most obvious ways is by using a quality cologne, perfume for men, or Eau de Toilette (we’ll get into the differences later). We’re not talking about the cheap stuff that you splash on and then see how fast you can clear a room.
No, we’re talking about the best colognes – such as Christian Dior Sauvage for Men Eau De Toilette – that are subtle-yet-noticeable, masculine, yet not overpowering.
In this post, we’ll give you our choices for the top men’s fragrances on the market.
We’ll also talk about some things to consider when buying a cologne, how to apply it like a man and not an animal, and the differences between products. Let’s get the show on the road.
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|Sauvage by Christian Dior for Men Eau De Toilette||Check on Amazon →|
|Emporio Armani Stronger With You||Check on Amazon →|
|Nautica Voyage Eau De Toilette Spray for Men||Check on Amazon →|
|Paco Rabanne 1 Million Eau De Toilette Spray for Men||Check on Amazon →|
|Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Profumo Parfum Vapo||Check on Amazon →|
|Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Eau De Toilette Spray||Check on Amazon →|
|Versace Eros Eau De Toilette Spray for Men||Check on Amazon →|
|Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel Cologne For Men||Check on Amazon →|
|Salvatore Ferragamo F Free Time Eau De ToIlette Spray||Check on Amazon →|
Before you buy: 11 Things to consider when purchasing a cologne, perfume, or eau de toilette
Choosing the right cologne for you isn’t quite as difficult as, say, disarming a field of landmines. On the other hand, choosing the wrong cologne can blow up on you in less obvious ways, including the fact that you may offend a roomful of people.
You don’t want to be that guy: the one who creates actual distance between himself and others and ruins a potentially hot evening before the flame ignites. Choose wisely, friends, and we’re here to help.
As they say, knowledge is power, and we hope to provide you with the kind of knowledge that makes your buying choice easier – and appropriate.
1. Do a patch test
Never buy a cologne, perfume, or eau de toilette without first trying it on your skin. It’s one thing to do the bottle-sniff test but another to put it on your skin and allow it to interact with your skin chemistry.
How it smells on your skin is slightly different than how it smells on the next guy’s skin, and the next guy’s, and … you get the picture.
2. Be patient
Put it on your skin and be patient. A quality fragrance needs about 15 minutes to react with your skin and for its essence to come forth fully. As a general rule, the spicier the scent, the stronger it becomes when given time to linger on your skin.
3. Trust your instincts (and your nose and gut)
You can do a ton of research, read reviews, look at labels, and find out plenty of detail about the base notes and top notes of each fragrance. Not that it’s bad information, but how you react to its scent is an emotion – one you won’t find on a label. Trust your instincts.
4. Take someone with you
Even if you do trust your instincts, why not bring someone with you, especially a significant other or trusted female friend? Let’s cut the b.s. – one of the reasons you wear cologne is that it’s a seduction tool.
We’re not saying that cologne guarantees that you’ll get laid, but its good to have every tool (pun intended) at your disposal. Or, bring a man. Just make sure it’s someone you trust enough to tell you that a certain cologne works on your skin or it doesn’t.
5. Release year
Colognes, like wine, go through slight variations every year, so be aware of a cologne’s release year. A certain brand might seem a bit different one year from the next, while some scents were geared to the fashion and style changes of a certain era.
The good ones, however, survived the changes while remaining a popular choice.
6. What’s your fashion?
Cologne experts will tell you that everything from the way you dress to your skin tone should influence the type of fragrance you wear.
Subtler scents work if you prefer a laid-back appearance, such as jeans and a t-shirt, while a spicier scent is more appropriate if you dress in pinstripes and oxford shoes.
“Composition” refers to the different elements that make up a scent, such as notes of leather or sandalwood, and the best colognes typically have a unique composition that separates them from the rest.
It’s tough to judge composition, and what you see on the label often is written by marketers. However, all fragrances contain important elements that combine to make up the scent as a whole:
- Top notes – These are the initial hints of scent that hit the nose immediately after you apply your cologne and then quickly disappear.
- Middle notes – These are notes that last up to one hour after application.
- Base notes – The base notes are the powerhouse of any fragrance and bring up the rear. They’re the notes that last several hours after application.
The composition is another reason to test a fragrance with a sample that you leave on for up to 15 minutes.
By then, the initial notes have gone, and you’re much closer to experiencing the cologne’s overall scent – the scent that’s going to last you through the day.
8. The season
Experts advise that you change your fragrance for each season. For example, summer-appropriate scents are fresh, fruity, and floral, while wood and spice scents – the kind that “warm” you up – are best when the temperatures start to drop.
9. Don’t be afraid of smaller brands
Don’t just reach for a designer brand that is celebrity-endorsed. Smaller brands often concentrate on one thing – colognes and perfumes – and their focus is on making the things they produce the highest quality.
Don’t be distracted by the brand or the name behind it.
10. If cologne isn’t necessarily your thing, but you’d still like to try one …
Some men don’t mind cologne but don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. However, they still may want to try a cologne, and if you fall into that category choose one that’s not too complicated.
Look for a cologne with a small list of ingredients. Many classic – and high-quality – colognes have an ingredient list that’s in the double digits.
11. What you eat may influence what you wear
Experts even suggest that the cologne you wear should complement what you eat: if you eat a lot of spicy food, you probably have a weaker sense of smell and taste than the next guy, so, buy a cologne that has a bit of spice to it.
OK, let’s move on to the best cologne for men in 2020. We’ll review nine colognes – and perfumes and Eau de toilettes – that we think you and others will appreciate.
9 Best colognes, perfumes & eau de toilettes for men 2020
Let’s backtrack a moment. In our “What to look for” buying tips above, we suggested that just because a cologne has a celebrity endorser and millions of dollars of advertising behind it doesn’t make it great.
As many of you know, Sauvage by Christian Dior has the endorsement of the famed actor Johnny Depp.
No, we’re not hypocritical, and we stand by what we said earlier. However, Christian Dior is a big brand name with a big reputation that happens to have a kick-ass product that’s the best Eau de toilette for men. There.
But why is it so good? Let’s have a look.
First, a bit of history: the original Eau Savage fragrance was released in the 1960s. In 2015, Christian Dior launched Sauvage, which drew inspiration from the classic Eau Savage fragrance.
Sauvage for men is said to be a more natural, raw, fierce, and fresh fragrance that takes its inspiration from nature. In short, it’s a fragrance designed for the modern man and is a unique, manly scent, no doubt.
Let’s also talk about composition, something we touched on in our buyer’s guide above, because Christian Dior’s composition is worth noting. Sauvage’s scent begins with bergamot while even leaning to a fruity scent of ambroxide (also known as ambroxan).
It also has a spicy kick to it that’s not uncommon in modern men’s fragrances.
Another thing to think about when buying a cologne is longevity, i.e., how long will its scent last? The good news for Sauvage users is that it lingers for a long time, although how long a cologne lasts may vary from person to person.
Something else that we like about Sauvage is that it’s good for just about any occasion, casual or formal. Sauvage also is an ideal warm weather scent. What it’s not is overpowering, and that’s another good reason to like it.
Some also say that Sauvage is like catnip to the ladies (so to speak). So, if you’re looking for the best cologne to get laid, this should be at or near the top of your list. It is, indeed, unmistakably absent.
Type: Eau de toilette
- A slightly spicy, aromatic masculine scent
- Good for all occasions
- It’s on the expensive side
Christian Dior is a big, well-respected name in fashion and the cologne industry and their 2015 release of Sauvage turned into a big hit. You’ll love the masculine but not overpowering scent and women will love it, too.
Giorgio Armani are, at this point, an institution. So much so, in fact, that it can be easy to forget that they became so famous for a reason: they make really great, truly luxury products!
Their Strong With You range is a his-and-hers collection, which is great for couples. They are warm, sensual scents that – whilst costing a pretty penny – are definitely worth it for lovers of luxury.
The bottle’s aesthetic is also great: its cap is designed to mimic the rings Giorgio Armani wears, and the bottle is wonderfully balanced and weighted to feel substantial when you go for that first stray in the morning.
The scent itself is a beautiful mixture of spicy and woody; you really can tell this is a higher-end product, as the smells unfold in a gorgeous sequence that seems perfectly structured to work both as a day-to-day work scent that’s perfect around the office, as well as a showstopper in the evenings.
The sweet top notes of pink pepper essence, apple and violet are immediately noticeable and invigorating.
Then you get the heart: lavender, sage, cardamom and cinnamon combine to create a rich, layered scent that follows you through the day, making everything seem fresher.
And finally, you get a thick base of glazed chestnut, cedar, amber wood and guaiac, which really will last all day and gives off a thick, woody air that is super masculine without being overly ‘manly’.
The overall effect is to make you smell musky, mysterious and a little bit raw.
Type: Eau de Toilette
- Very long lasting
- Scent is layered beautifully
- The base notes are very masculine and last a long time
- Armani is always going to cost!
A brilliantly masculine, invitingly mysterious scent. But don’t wear it if you don’t want to get noticed!
Few men’s fragrances get the number of reviews that can match Nautica Voyage Eau De Toilette Spray for men. True, popularity and review statistics don’t always guarantee a great product, but Nautica Voyage does more than just talk the talk.
It’s simply one of the best fragrances for men.
It’s also affordable when compared to many other colognes – not that we’re saying you should automatically go for the cheapest cologne on the shelf.
Don’t be afraid to spend some money on a fragrance, especially if you want to smell something far less than obnoxious, but you won’t have to break the bank to purchase Nautica Voyage.
What’s makes the Nautica Voyage scent unique? For starters, it’s described as “relaxing,” which isn’t far from the truth, because it’s a laid-back scent that isn’t so laid-back that others won’t notice it.
Voyage’s top notes, those that you notice immediately after application, are cooling with a hint of green apple and leaf notes. From there, it opens up to a heart of mimosa that’s blended with lotus and linen.
Finally, you’ll notice hints of cedar, musk, amber, and moss at its base that give it a masculine feel.
Voyage has a definite aquatic feeling to it, which you’d expect from a company named Nautica. It’s also an ideal spring and summertime scent, meant to replicate a day on the open sea. It does so without loading the fragrance with notes of seawater or salt.
Some reviewers suggest that Nautica Voyage is most appropriate for daytime wear, as it isn’t too heavy and doesn’t project obnoxiously. Finally, it has excellent longevity.
Type: Eau de Toilette Spray
- Refreshing, soft scent
- Very popular, with thousands of good reviews
- Masculine but not overpowering
- Scent may be too subtle for some
Many, many men love Nautica Voyage, and with good reason. It’s a subtle, masculine scent that’s affordable and will stay with you throughout the day.
With well over 2,000 reviews on Amazon, Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million is clearly a popular choice for many men, and with good reason.
One Million is a bold scent – not overpowering, mind you – that’s ideal for men who don’t necessarily have to be the center of attention but who don’t mind standing out in a crowd.
Paco Rabanne wants men to smell like style and affluence (like $1 million) without excluding any man. It’s for everyone, although its fragrance will separate you from the rest.
Paco Rabanne also is known for fashion, with its creations appearing on the world’s runways for years, and a gold dress worn by the singer Francoise Hardy in 1967 inspired the fragrance that evolved into 1 Million.
They released their first cologne in 1973, called Pour Homme, and have developed a vast unisex line of perfumes and colognes ever since.
One million upholds Paco Rabanne’s spirit of excellence, thanks to a wondrous blend of fragrances whose notes include grapefruit, cinnamon, and spice. Other notes include rose and blood orange, with base notes of amber and patchouli.
Experts say that 1 million has a woody scent that also includes a touch of the Orient.
The overall impression of 1 Million is one of sweetness, albeit subtle and with a finish that’s intoxicating and a bit oily (which isn’t a bad thing).
A fragrance this strong – one that, again, will allow you to stand out in a crowd – cannot be overpowering or obnoxious; fortunately, 1 Million is neither of those.
Moreover, the fragrance has plenty of longevity and is certainly among the best perfumes for men that last long.
Some say that 1 Million is best suited for winter wear – imagine cold evenings spent in front of a crackling fire – and that it’s perhaps too heavy for summer use. It’s good enough for everyday use but is perhaps best worn at night as a casual fragrance.
Finally, it’s decidedly masculine and not suitable for unisex wear, but Paco Rabanne effectively addresses that issue with a women’s version called Lady Million.
While 1 Million’s overwhelming popularity has created its share of critics (anything that rises above the rest is subject to criticism, no?), it’s still a go-to choice for younger men who are new to fragrances.
And also for men who don’t want to slap on something cheap while they learn the ropes.
You’ll also love the bottle, which looks like a slab of gold. Like the fragrance itself, it stands out amongst fragrance packaging.
Type: Eau de Toilette
- Bold, masculine scent
- Perfect for a casual night out
- Ideal for younger men
- Scent may be too strong for some
Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million is the go-to fragrance for many men around the globe, especially younger men who are new to fragrances and want something classy but not overly sophisticated. It’s masculine, bold, and certain to stand out amongst the crowd.
Giorgio Armani introduced its Acqua di Gio fragrance in 1996, and it was an overnight sensation. Think of the Beatles in their heyday: frantic teens chasing them down streets while their music disappeared from the shelves of record stores.
OK, maybe not quite like that – after all, we’re talking fragrance here – but hopefully you get the picture. Di Gio was an instant hit and even received props as being among the best men’s colognes of all time.
Because remaining stagnant is often fatal in the world of cologne, Giorgio Armani developed Acqua di Gio Profumo in 2015 in conjunction with the famous Spanish perfumer Albert Morillas, who helped create the original di Gio line.
The result was a cologne that’s closely related to the original release but feels a bit more mature (and sensual).
You’ll instantly notice the same herbal and citrus vibe as the original di Gio, but Gio Profumo is a bit heavier without being overpowering. Instead, it’s an intoxicating scent that isn’t too heavy but lets you and people know that you’re wearing something special.
As you’d expect from a fragrance that includes “aqua” in its title, its base notes include salty marine hints along with bergamot, all while creating an aura that many describe as “summery.”
As the reviewer in the video above puts it, it’s like a lovely-smelling beach. Works for us.
Users also say that the di Gio Perfumo lasts longer than its ancestor fragrance, which might fade by the afternoon. Instead, it stays with you throughout the day and even pops back to life when you’re in the midst of a warm workout.
While it’s considered an ideal summer scent because it holds up so well in the heat, di Gio Perfumo is versatile to enough to wear even during the winter months.
Its versatility also extends to whether you intend to wear it for casual occasions or more formal commitments; in either case, it’s a good choice.
The original inspiration for this line of perfume, beginning with the di Gio line, was life around the Mediterranean Sea. Again, think of warm beaches, attractive women, the feeling of the sun on your skin, and a scent that captures all of it.
Type: Eau de Parfum
- The next step in a wildly popular line of fragrances
- Very sensual
- Lasts a long time
- More expensive than the original
This is another intoxicating scent that enables you to stand out from the crowd in a good way. Women love it, and it’s suitable for every occasion.
Jean Paul Gaultier is a renowned French fashion designer who was an understudy of Pierre Cardin, so, he already had some serious street cred before introducing his first cologne in 1995.
That cologne, Le Male Eau de Toilette Spray, was an instant hit among men and is still going strong today. In fact, there’s no indication that it’s going to go out of style anytime soon.
There’s a lot to like about this fragrance, not the least of which is that it manages to blend masculinity and gentleness to create a traditional aroma that never seems out of date.
That makes it ideal for men who don’t mind rubbing shoulders with the elite but who are down-to-earth enough to mingle easily with blue-collar types.
Le Male Eau de Toilette Spray is decidedly sensual and sure to command the attention of others in the room in a positive, not overpowering way. For men who want to make an instant impression, this is a go-to scent.
There is a variety of notes in Gaultier’s fragrance, including mint, vanilla, wormwood, bergamot, lavender, cumin, cinnamon, and orange blossom.
The mint is perhaps the most noticeable note and gives Le Male Eau de Toilette a refreshing feel. It’s strong enough that you don’t need to splash it on. Just a spritz will do.
While it’s bold, it has a softer side that still retains its strong sense of masculinity. Some reviewers report that it’s soft enough for women to use, but there’s no mistaking that it’s a fragrance meant for men.
If anything, it helps accentuate a strong male’s sensitive side, and many women are crazy about a man who isn’t afraid to show a bit of sensitivity.
Le Male Eau de Toilette’s scent makes it ideal for winter use. It may be a bit heavy for the summer months, but you can return to it in the fall when the leaves begin to change color.
Gaultier is a fashion force to be reckoned with. He was the costume designer for rocker Marilyn Manson for many years, released a dance single, and was the first fashion designer to serve as a judge at a Cannes Film Festival.
He’s unconventional and known for using models who aren’t in the norm, including older men and full-figured women.
Still, Gaultier’s signature fragrance – while a cut above the rest – is good for men who fit seamlessly into groups of other men, regardless of status.
Type: Eau de Toilette
- Excellent winter and cooler weather fragrance
- Masculine but soft
- Still a popular scent nearly 25 years later
- Be careful of using too much
Not many fragrances have the staying power of Le Male Eau de Toilette regarding its long-standing popularity. You’ll love this scent’s soft side without worrying whether or not it’s masculine enough.
From its bottle’s color – turquoise, a masculine color of the gods – to its scent, Versace’s Eros Eau de Toilette Spray is all about manliness. As one reviewer put it, it’s a “decadent” fragrance for the sophisticated man.
At the least, it’s worth giving a longer look.
Eros is one of several fragrances in the Versace line, and it’s the best of the lot – certainly a candidate for best-smelling cologne. It smells good, yes, but with a clean scent that’s never overpowering.
It’s also long-lasting, and your morning application should get you through the day without losing all of its fragrance hints.
The trick with this fragrance is nailing down exactly is what it is. If you read five reviews of it, you’re likely to get five different scent descriptions.
The fragrance, it’s said, contains a strong hint of vanilla and tonka bean but also with hints of mint leaves, green apple, Italian lemon zest, cedarwood, oakmoss, amber, and geranium.
While the hints of green apple and lemon zest may lead you to believe that this is more of a citrusy fragrance than other Eau de Toilettes, it’s not – nor is it “minty” (because of the mint leaves), but it is sweeter than many other men’s fragrances.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that – sweet is often considered sexy. If you’re hesitant about sweetness, however, it does tend to burn off earlier than some of the other fragrance’s notes.
Another thing that we like about Versace Eros is that it has a balanced fragrance which doesn’t “hide” in a crowd but is still strong enough that others will notice.
Is it good for every occasion? Perhaps not, but it’s great for a typical, casual office day and superb for date nights. Again, a little goes a long way, so a spray or two should be enough to keep your date interested and wanting to get closer to you.
Also, if you’re a newbie to sophisticated fragrances, Versace Eros is a great fragrance from which to start.
Type: Eau de toilette
- Multi-faceted, sexy scent
- Good longevity
- Excellent for evenings out with your significant other or a date
- Perhaps a bit too sweet for some
With an interesting scent that has good staying power, as well as a subtle, not-overpowering presence, this eau de toilette is an excellent choice for many men. Overall, it’s a quality fragrance from a quality company.
Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene is one of those iconic, seemingly timeless fragrances that retains a strong following 45 years after its introduction.
It was also the first cologne of the Geoffrey Beene design house; Geoffrey Beene was a medical student in 1946 before he moved to New York to study fashion. He set up his own design house in 1962 after working for British fashion designer Edward Molyneaux.
Grey Flannel reached the height of its popularity in the 1980s, but, again, it remains the go-to choice of many men today thanks to its distinctive fragrance.
While one man may interpret a scent differently than another, the Grey Flannel fragrance – according to the team at Geoffrey Beene – opens with robust citrus top notes.
And a combination of floral middle notes and woody base notes expresses elegance and sophistication.
The middle notes feature violet, sage, and iris, before revealing the rose scent, while the base notes consist of oakmoss, tonka beans, and cedarwood. It’s recommended for daytime wear.
Overall, Grey Flannel has an oriental, woody fragrance with just the right hints of orange and lemon. It’s one that remains relevant among men today.
Type: Eau de Toilette
- The fragrance lasts a long time.
- Excellent for daytime wear.
- Iconic product that’s maintained its relevancy.
- Some think the fragrance lasts too long.
Grey Flannel Cologne is and has been the choice of many men over the years, and with good reason. It’s luxurious, sophisticated fragrance is hard to beat.
Competition is fierce at the Ferragamo company – where only three family members can work in the business at one time.
When you consider that company founder Salvatore Ferragamo, who passed away in 1960, had five children, 23 grandchildren, and a host of other relatives, the competition isn’t for the fainthearted.
What does that have to do with cologne? Well, maybe not a lot, but competition often does result in better products, and Salvatore Ferragamo’s F Free Time Eau De Toilette Spray is a quality fragrance that many men adore.
It’s also a fragrance that’s pretty damn affordable when you compare its price to those of other top-notch colognes and Eau de toilettes. Don’t let the price tag fool you, however, because it’s certainly one of the best-smelling affordable scents for men.
Ferragamo’s F Free Time has an interesting blend of florals, fruits, and spices that others will notice. Its top notes are citrusy before the fragrance turns into a mix of lavender and tonka bean. The scent also is longer-lasting when compared to other fragrances.
All in all, it’s an ideal fragrance for the workplace while also perfectly suitable for the close contact of a date or an evening at your favorite nightclub, and it’s certainly masculine.
Ferragamo started as a footwear company that gained fame thanks to film stars and celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, who favored its products (and continue to do so today).
Like many high-end fashion companies, they expanded into other luxury goods, not the least of which is the series of colognes.
Type: Eau de Toilette
- Perfect scent for the workplace
- Good longevity
- Affordable when compared to other colognes
- Some reviewers say the scent isn’t unique enough
Ferragamo’s F Free Time is a good all-around cologne that fits into most men’s budgets. Its fragrance is masculine and good for both work and a night on the town.
Don’t be an animal: How to apply your cologne like a man (A simple, illustrated guide)
Let’s say you buy an expensive car. Let’s also say that you don’t maximize its potential: you drive recklessly, you don’t perform routine maintenance, and you let it sit outside in the harshest weather conditions.
In the end, you have a cool car that’s diminished by your use of it.
The analogy above applies to using your cologne properly, i.e., you can have the best fragrance in the world, but not applying it with the proper care and technique will spoil its effect.
You might as well leave your bottle on the bathroom shelf if you’re not going to use it correctly.
That said, your new cologne isn’t a car, and the dangers of using it recklessly are far less than the potential dangers of getting behind the wheel. Still, just slapping on your cologne mindlessly in the morning isn’t going to do you any favors socially.
So, let’s step back, take a breath, and consider the right methods for applying your favorite cologne before you act hastily and spoil its positive effects:
STEP 1: First, you should be aware that cologne consists of molecules that break down over time. It evaporates in layers, starting with its top notes and working its way until the base notes have vanished.
Your goal is to apply it in a way that takes a longer time to break down.
STEP 2: The best time to apply cologne is after you shower. That’s when your skin’s pores are opened the most, allowing the skin to “trap” as much cologne as possible.
You’ll also waste less cologne. Putting your cologne on when you haven’t showered is rarely a good idea.
STEP 4: Know your skin type. A cologne’s fragrance tends to last longer for men with oily skin, while drier skin tends to soak up the scent more rapidly. If you have dry skin, you can apply a little extra cologne than men with oily skin, but don’t go overboard!
Cologne isn’t intended to be used as a marinade.
STEP 5: Make sure that you’ve properly dried your skin before applying cologne.
STEP 6: Identify your pulse points. Your pulse points are the areas of your skin that give off the most heat, because they have blood vessels nearest to the surface of your skin. Applying cologne to these areas will help its fragrance last through the day.
What are your pulse points? Your neck, wrists, and behind your ears. Your shoulders and inner elbows are other heat points.
STEP 7: Spray your cologne on your pulse points from a distance – typically three to six inches away. Test the nozzle by spraying some cologne into the air first; there’s nothing worse than a faulty nozzle that acts like a squirt gun.
One spray per area should do – especially if it’s a high-quality cologne like those we’ve reviewed above.
STEP 8: Don’t spread cologne on areas of the body where you tend to sweat more than in other areas. If you do, your fragrance will fade while your day is far from over.
STEP 9: Depending on the cologne’s longevity and how well you apply it, the fragrance should last you through your workday. However, there’s nothing wrong with re-applying it as long as, again, you don’t overdo it.
STEP 10: Feel free to experiment with where you apply your cologne, but don’t go crazy.
Additionally, there’s a school of thought that says you can apply cologne to your clothes, but be careful not to apply too much, since it may stain your clothing. In fact, you may want to avoid applying it to your clothes altogether.
How is cologne different from perfumes and eau de toilettes?
We’ve tossed a lot of product descriptions around in this post: cologne, perfume, Eau de Toilette. You may be thinking “What the hell’s the difference?” and we wouldn’t blame you.
Indeed, fragrances come in a wide range of formats and concentrations, and, in some cases, the differences aren’t that great. The major difference comes down to the concentration or amount of oils in the fragrance. Let’s take a closer look.
Cologne and Eau de Toilette are fairly interchangeable, especially when it comes to men’s fragrances.
Yes, cologne isn’t just for men. Cologne’s concentration of scented oil comes in at about 2-5%, which is lower than other types of fragrance, and their scents tend to be lighter and include citrus smells without strong base notes.
- Eau de Toilette
Yes, we’re guilty of using “cologne” when discussing an Eau de Toilette, but they do have the same purpose and may be referenced to one another without confusing consumers too much.
Eau de Toilettes represent the most common fragrances, however, and range in oil concentration from 5-10% – the most frequently used concentration in high-end fragrances.
The scent will peak at about two or three hours before starting to fade, which is helpful if you work in a crowded office in which your colleagues may not want to breathe in a strong scent all day.
Perfume is the most concentrated form of fragrance, with scented oil making up 20-40% of its consistency. It’s no surprise, then, that a perfume’s scent should last you the entire day, if not more.
Buyer beware, however, because there’s a big difference between cheap perfumes and better brands.
- Eau de Parfum
Perfume and Parfum aren’t the same, although they’re certainly from the same family.
Eau de Parfums have a lower concentration of fragrant oils (12-15%) than perfumes and provide a scent that should last four to eight hours. Essential oils give parfums their actual scent, while other ingredients help to lock its scent into your skin.
Something else worth noting about Eau de Parfum: it’s traditionally genderless and used by men and women.
- Body Mists, Eau Fraiche, and Others
Body sprays, mists, splashes, and aftershaves certainly command a decent chunk of the fragrance market, and their concentration of oil is typically only around 1-3%.
Eau Fraiche, meanwhile, is a scented spray worn in a similar way to perfumes. Eau Fraiches are cheaper, however, and contain only about 1-3% of oil. It doesn’t last as long on the skin but is still very popular with many folks who find true perfumes cost prohibitive.
Finally, there are perfume sticks, a relatively newer type of application that comes in a perfumed wax form. The major benefit of a perfume stick is that you get the full-body scent without worrying about how alcohol affects the scent’s drying process.
Choosing the best fragrances for men
Colognes, perfumes, Eau de Toilettes – it all comes down to the scent. If a fragrance is unique, subtle, and doesn’t make your colleagues wonder what’s wrong with the guy wearing the obnoxious scent, then you’re off to a very good start.
In choosing the best products for this review, the fragrance came first and trumped all other factors.
However, we considered a variety of others – including longevity, price (many colognes are expensive, so we wanted to include a couple of more affordable ones), and how users feel about it.
What’s your favorite cologne? Have you tried any of those on our list? We’d love to hear from you and always welcome your suggestions and comments.
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