We all understand that smelling bad is a social and sexual turn-off. However, it’s not enough to not smell bad. One must smell good. Humans’ sense of smell is one of our most potent and perceptive senses. We can smell more than 1 trillion scents, and only the most agreeable of them make an impression. As any man would know, impressions count, and the way we smell plays a large part in determining our first impression.
And yet, many men choose not to reach for a bottle of fragrance in their daily life, sometimes reserving it for special occasions, other times not even that. Why is that so?
Some men are intimidated by the terminologies of fragrances and the daunting process of beginning to find their signature scent. Others either don’t know how to wear perfume or are wearing it the wrong way. Let us tell you right now, fragrances should be a staple of your daily routine, and we’ll tell you why in a second. As for the not knowing how to wear perfume part, we’ll cover that too. Keep reading for a complete rundown on fragrances for men.
Why Wear Fragrances
First things first, what is a fragrance? To put it simply, a fragrance is a mixture of ingredients- usually essential oils in solvents like alcohol- that we apply to make something, or someone, smell better. (Remember the part about oils being dissolved in solvents, it’s important). Perfumes, colognes, and Eau de Toilettes are all fragrances. Don’t be put off by the feminine connotation of words like perfume. Fragrances are gender-neutral and are meant to be worn by both men and women.
So why should one learn how to wear perfume instead of applying a deodorant or body spray and calling it a day? We’re glad you asked.
- Wearing perfumes helps men express their unique, personal style and make an impression on people around them, thereby increasing their confidence in themselves. If you smell good, you’re bound to feel good.
- Putting on fragrances is an essential staple of a self-care routine. It reminds you and everyone around you that you mean business and reaffirms your feeling of being put together.
- Women, and people in general, are attracted to people who smell good. In sexual encounters, your smell will impact a woman’s opinion of you more than how you look will. If you play your perfume bottles right, you’ll communicate a strong message of charm and masculinity.
- Our sense of smell is closely linked to our emotions and memory. We remember people and events in terms of smells. By selecting the right fragrance and learning how to wear perfume, you can establish enduring connections with people so that they recall you when they smell your perfume, even years later.
Perfume vs. Toilette vs. Cologne
While words like Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum may seem interchangeable to you, they mark an important distinction. You don’t have to understand the details of the categories, but it is important to remember that these fragrances each have different concentrations of oil. Generally, the higher the concentration, the longer the scent will last (and usually, the pricier the fragrance will be).
- Eau Fraiche– 1-3% concentration of perfume oil in the solvent (usually water). It’s one of the most diluted forms of fragrance and lasts for only around an hour. Therefore, Eau Fraiche is best applied after a shower for a light scent.
- Eau de Cologne or Cologne– 2-4% concentration of perfume oil in the solvent. Even though cologne is synonymous with fragrance for men, it’s one of the lighter forms of fragrance. It is usually available in fresh and fruity tones and lasts for around two hours. Cologne functions well as a summer fragrance.
- Eau de Toilette or Toilette– 5-15% concentration of perfume oil in the solvent. It is significantly more concentrated than cologne, but it only lasts around three or four hours. It won’t last you into the night, so make sure you keep it handy for reapplication or reserve Eau de Toilette for morning applications.
- Eau de Parfum or Perfume– 15-20% concentration of perfume oil in the solvent. Perfume is usually associated with and more commonly worn by women, but this type of fragrance is increasingly adopted by men. It is a bit more expensive than Toilette or Cologne, but that’s a fair price to pay for its five to eight-hour lasting time.
- Parfum– 20-30% concentration of perfume oil in the solvent. Parfum is a heavyweight fragrance that is the most concentrated out of the bunch. It is more expensive but is richer and more long-lasting than other fragrances, easily lasting 24 hours.
Notes of Fragrances
The making of a unique, one in a million signature scent is as complicated as it is striking. The mixture of fragrance oils is a delicate process, as it is not just a singular raw material that results in a scent. Instead, multiple natural or synthetic materials are experimented with and paired to produce a fragrance that appeals to your ‘scentses’. Understanding how to wear perfume includes taking into consideration the notes of scents that create your favorite perfume.
Fragrances consist of a three-layered pyramid of notes that eventually reveal themselves throughout the day. The scents at the top of the pyramid appear first and are usually the deciding factor for most men in a perfume purchase. These are known as the top notes, and do not last very long, being detectable up to 2 hours and may fade in 20 minutes.
Once the top notes have ‘dried down’ or evaporated, this gives way to the second tier of aromas, known as the medium or heart notes. From the name, you can guess these are important and give emotional hints to the fragrance. Key aspects of the medium notes are intimate, soft, and often comprise flowery or fruity tones. The magic here lies with how the residual top note works with the stronger middle note to create a distinctive fragrance.
Depending on the specific perfume, the middle notes enhance your personality and aura between 3-6 hours, and somewhere in the middle of this cycle, the soul of the scent pyramid makes its appearance. The base notes are stronger, heavier and add a dynamic feel to the experience of a fragrance. In addition, the individual raw material of the base note works with the middle notes to exemplify a new, unique flavor. Often, the base notes are what leave a lasting impression on people and what makes men come back for the second, third, or fourth bottle.
Niche vs. Designer Fragrance
The art is influenced by the artist, and fragrances attest to this claim wholeheartedly. A standard division between types of perfumes is whether they are designer or niche. This has a lot to do with production, as designer perfumes are found in fragrance aisles and counters.
Favorites by Tom Ford, Dior, Armani that we’ve all heard our peers brag about come under the designer category. These are mass-produced, marketed, and advertised, focussing on the luxury experience of wearing a designer or brand. This is what justifies the price tag as well. However, the market has expanded and assimilated.
Niche fragrances are usually produced by companies dedicated to perfumes only and rely on their distinctive and striking scents to attract buyers. Niche fragrances were associated with daring fragrance oil combinations and were assumed to be an acquired taste for fragrance fanatics. Recently though, the lines have been blurred, and branded perfumes offer rich, novel perfume experiences that challenge the niche ones.
Linear vs. Nonlinear Fragrance
The fragrance notes determine how the scent will bloom and evolve, encapsulating it as an experience rather than a product. Once you have that crossed off your ‘how to wear perfume‘ checklist, an overlooked distinction you should go over is linearity.
Fragrances change over time and grow differently according to the person. This experience is not generalizable to all perfumes, however. These types of fragrances are known as nonlinear fragrances due to their evolution. If you would instead stick to a scent that remains exactly how it smelled when you bought it, there is an option for you. Linear fragrances do not dabble in the note pyramid and growth of a scent but instead focus on delivering what is advertised. Once you put it on, it will preserve the same, distinct scent until it dries down or is washed off.
Selecting the Right Fragrance
Before you can master how to wear perfume, you need to choose the right fragrance. We know this probably isn’t what you want to hear, but there is no right answer. What works for one man may not work for another. Just like clothes, your fragrance has to be right for you and compliment your personality.
At the end of the day, it comes down to experimentation and a lot of trial and error. Your personality (whether it is bold or more muted), your mood, the occasion (whether it’s date night or a boardroom meeting), as well as the season (lighter fragrance families, such as citrus and floral, are more suited to daytime and summery weather. Richer tones from oriental and leather fragrance families are best worn at night and in winters) play a part in what fragrance you should select.
So go to a store, apply what you’ve learned from this guide and what you know about yourself, spritz a fragrance on your wrist, and smell away! Your ideal fragrance is out there, it’s just a matter of finding it.
Wearing Fragrances the Right Way
Coming to one of the most essential parts of how to wear perfume, the method. Yeah, there is a right way, and we’ll tell you how. You can select a signature fragrance that compliments your personality and style, be able to explain the science of fragrance composition over a cup of coffee, but if you’re not allowing your perfume to compliment you in the best way, that’s an issue. The placement and how the fragrance is deposited are key factors in making the scent long-lasting but not overbearing.
Rule number one is to apply the fragrance to your skin, not your clothes. If you’re questioning all the wasted, expensive bottles that graced, and probably stained your shirt, it’s okay. The fragrance can be detected while it’s on your clothes, but the skin is where the magic happens. For the true personality of perfume to shine through, it should be applied to the skin, where your natural oils can blend and transform the aroma. It won’t just elevate the fragrance but will also make it personalized. Rule number two is: never rub. No matter how many people rub their wrists and neck with perfume, or tell you how important it is, trust the science. The molecular bond of a fragrance that gives it its distinct smell is meant to be applied, not blended.
Instead of showering in the strong musk, you’re trying out, focus on rule number 3, which says that less is always more. We all know that one guy who seems to overdo their cologne and end up invading everyone’s nasal tract, ultimately gifting you a headache. Always start small, one spray in each spot, and observe how long it lasts and how it develops. Rule number 3.5, ditch the spraying the perfume into the air and walking into it antic. It seems fun and might even come off as a gentler way to absorb the scent, but you’re just wasting it. Instead, stick to rule number 4, which is to apply the fragrance at a distance. We don’t want the skin to be wet, just moist. Hold the bottle 4-6 inches from the designated area, and pump once. If you need to build the scent up, repeat the same procedure.
Finally, the right spots for application will be your guiding light to making your fragrance last to dinner. The principle is simple, apply it to warmer points of your body, specifically pulse points. This causes the scent to linger around your body and waft around you when you walk in or out of the room, becoming your aura. The common points that fragrance applies best to are pulse points like your wrist, inner elbows, neck, behind the ears, shoulders, and armpits. This doesn’t mean you need to douse your upper torso in fragrance, though. Instead, stick to 2 or 3 selected areas, depending on how well the fragrance travels from there.