Cologne:Wearing cologne is a chemistry experiment. A bottle of cologne will contain extracts, oils, alcohol, preservatives and water. The wide variety of colognes comes from the differences in the combination of oils and the ratios of the other ingredients. The extracts and oils mix with your own unique bodily oils and heat pattern to evaporate over time and create your own unique scent.
Types: The different type is related to cologne’s strength and lasting power. The higher percentage of aromatic compounds (more chemicals to evaporate), the longer it lasts.
- Eau de Cologne: 3-7% of aromatic compounds: This means that it is much lighter than the concentrated perfume. It is delightfully refreshing in hot weather and because it doesn’t last long, it can be frequently reapplied directly to the skin. It tends to be marketed in large sizes of up to 200 ml and is often applied by spray. Its duration is 2 to 3 hours.
- Eau de Toilette: 7-12% of aromatic compounds: Eau de Toilette is more concentrated than Eau de Cologne. The top notes are dominant, making it refreshing when it is applied, and it evaporates and fades away quite quickly. It is the most common product on the market and its duration is 2 to 4 hours.
- Eau de Perfume (Parfum): 10-20% of aromatic compounds: This solution is more intense and lasts longer. After the top notes have died away, the middle notes or heart notes of a perfume become noticeable. Since it is less intense than perfume extract, it is also cheaper, but it usually lasts well and is sold in small sizes. It usually lasts 3 to 5 hours.
- Perfume (Parfum): >20% of aromatic compounds. This is the most expensive version of any fragrance. This is due to the high concentration of essences. Perfume is applied directly to the skin on pulse spots. Only a tiny amount is needed, which is reflected in the sizes in which it is sold. The scent lasts the longest, normally up to 6 hours.
: At the center of the wheel is the fougere group (not shown). This grouping of fragrances contains elements of all of the other four groupings and is then by definition its own family with both distinctions and commonality. Each of the other four groups occupies equidistant places around the perimeter of the wheel. Each of these families has subheadings, which further describe their scents. Men’s cologne uses combinations of all of the groups
- Floral: This family contains three sub-headings, which are floral, soft floral and floral Oriental. The sub-heading of floral contains the fragrances of fresh flowers, such as gardenia, jasmine, honeysuckle, lilac and orchid. Soft floral contains aldehydes, such as cinnanaldehyde, which gives the color and aroma to cinnamon. It also contains soft notes or powders such as, Russian rose, Moroccan jasmine and amber powder. Floral Oriental contains orange blossoms and sweet spices.
- Oriental: The subheadings are soft Oriental, Oriental and woody Oriental. Soft Oriental is all about incense and amber, whereas the Oriental sub-head features Oriental resins, musks and vanilla. The woody Oriental group contains aromatic woods such as sandalwood and patchouli.
- Fresh: Citrus, fruity, green and water comprise this group. Citrus features lemon, lime and orange oils. Fruity is as it sounds, having fragrances such as tangerine, raspberry, banana and strawberry. Green smells like leaves and grass, whereas water uses a chemical called calone. This compound is described as a fragrance that smells like a strong sea breeze that has a slight floral scent added to it.
- Woody: The sub-heads are wood, mossy woods and dry woods. This family’s wood subhead contains aromatic woods such as frankincense, myrrh and cedar. The mossy woods use fragrances such as oak moss and the dry woods actually have fragrances such as tobacco and leather.
: Most colognes go through a progression: top notes (last a few minutes), heart notes (2-30 minutes to an hour), and base notes (longer than an hour). This is caused by the differences in volality (rate at which compound evaporates) between the essential oils.
- Top (Head) Notes: Perceived immediately upon application of a perfume, top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person’s initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume. The scents of this note class are usually described as “fresh,” “assertive” or “sharp.” The compounds that contribute to top notes are strong in scent, very volatile, and evaporate quickly. Citrus and ginger scents are common top notes. Also called the head notes. If one compares a fragrance with a conversation, then the top notes are the presentations and introduction.
- Middle (Heart) Notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges just prior to when the top notes dissipate. Scents from this note class appear anywhere from two minutes to one hour after the application of a perfume. The middle note compounds form the “heart” or main body of a perfume and emerge in the middle of the perfume’s dispersion process. They serve to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. Not surprisingly, the scent of middle note compounds is usually more mellow and “rounded”. The heart notes of men’s fragrances are often based on combinations of flowers such as lavender and rose. They are also called the “heart notes”.
- Base: The scent of a perfume that appears close to the departure of the middle notes. They usually not perceived until at least 30 minutes after the application of the perfume or during the period of perfume dry-down. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class are often the fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes. Consisting of large, heavy molecules that evaporate slowly, compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and “deep”. The combination of base notes often use species of tree, very varied: birch, sandalwood, oak, cinnamon. Depending on the species, different parts of the tree are used: bark, sap, wood itself.
The Next Step: Buying, Wearing and Storing the Cologne:
Choose the cologne that fits you or your occasion. The amount of cologne to wear is based on the strength of the cologne: Strong smells acquire less cologne. Also, people tend to underestimate how much their cologne smells. If someone can smell you from more than 2 feet away, it is TOO much.
- How to Buy & Try: Maximum to try at once is about 4 (2 suggested). Spray one on each wrist and each inner elbow. While you can use the cards the department store provides to smell the colognes, you will only smell the top notes and not how it smells on you. Between smelling each cologne, refresh your palate with something strong, like coffee beans (usually provided). Smell all the notes! The initial smell isn’t necessarily the one that lingers for the rest of the day (called the “dry down”). Walk around the department store or mall, and smell the colognes at various intervals (1 minute, 5 minute, 30 minutes, 1 hour, etc.)
- How to Store it: Keep in a dry place, away from direct light, heat (especially if it is a clear bottle), and keep the lid closed. Colognes are bottles full of oils, chemicals and extracts, they can go bad!
- Where to Apply:Ideal place to apply cologne is where the body produces the most heat
, typically where the major sweat glands are located. Common areas: wrists, underarms, chest, neck, thighs, back of knees, inner elbows, crotch. This does NOT mean to spray each section! I suggest to always do wrists and neck. These are the areas women most likely will encounter when close to you.
- How to Apply:Spray 2-6 inches away from the skin. If you are applying cologne from a regular bottle, take one finger and press it against the opening of your bottle, and then tip it over gently. Do not splash too much out of the bottle.
- My Standard technique: Spray wrist. Lightly press them together, then press at neck under the jaw. Depending on the cologne, maybe a spray at the crotch or chest, or an extra wrist presses to the underarms. The powerful colognes typically only get the wrist and neck, as it is more than enough.
- Scent Overload: Don’t drown out your cologne with a lot of scented shampoos, shower gels, deordorant, aftershave, etc. Colognes might also come with shower gels, aftershave and shampoos. They don’t necessarily smell exactly the same as the cologne. Overall, be smart with your combinations.
- Tips: Apply cologne to your dry skin, not your clothes. If your body is wet from a shower, the water will disrupt the cologne’s ability to interact with your oils, and also evaporate more quickly. Don’t rub the cologne in: Friction causes it to evaporate more quickly, instead of its natural process. A press or pat together is okay.
- Popular & Trustworthy Colognes: It depends on YOUR BODY. Find your own. My personal favorites that smell good on ME: Light Blue by D&G, Armani Code, 9IX by Rocawear, Aqua Di Gio (although I never wear it anymore).