A Basic Guide to Cologne

Fragrances are fascinating. The right scent can be seductive, comforting, exciting, and nostalgia evoking. The wrong scent, meanwhile, can lead to a very unpleasant experience for the wearer and innocent bystanders.

Cologne is the general term used for masculine scents. However, there are actually several different types of fragrances available to both men and women that you should be aware of.

  1. Parfum – this is the longest lasting fragrance available as it has the highest concentration of perfume oils (15-40%). Parfum fragrances tend to be thick and last all day long.
  2. Eau de Parfum – the perfume oil concentration is 15-20%. It is suitable for all day, every day wear, and has a low enough alcohol content to be safe for those with sensitive skin.
  3. Eau de Toilette – this is the most popular form of daytime fragrance with a concentration of 5-15%. It is said that Eau de Toilettes are better used for daytime wear while Eau de Parfum should be used for the evenings and late nights. Fun fact, the term “Eau de Toilette” came from the French term “faire sa toilette” which means “getting ready”.
  4. Eau de Cologne – while cologne is the umbrella term for male fragrances, this variation is actually used to describe a very light concentration of perfume oils (2-4%). This only lasts for a few hours, so a more generous application is needed unless you are just freshening up.
  5. Eau Fraiche – this is the weakest fragrance with a similar concentration to Eau de Cologne, however contains less alcohol and more water.

Once your preferred fragrance category is selected, it is time to go out and actually buy a bottle of the stuff.

We will not linger long on this topic besides to say that this selection process is done best in person at a store where you can sample fragrances on your skin. Do not buy online if it is your first time with that particular scent, or go by what is trending. This is a very personal purchase that needs to be based off of your own preference, as well as how the fragrances and oils interact with your natural body scents.


After you have purchased the bottle, it is now time to apply!

  • Spray on dry skin, preferably a few minutes after a shower so your open pores can more easily absorb the fragrance.
  • Hold the bottle about 3-6 inches away from your skin when applying.
  • Apply lightly at first if you are trying a fragrance for the first time.
  • Apply to heat areas which include the chest, neck, lower jaw, wrist, forearm, inner elbow, and shoulder. Do not apply to these areas all at once, but only as needed to create an adequate sillage (scent trail).
  • Re-apply only when required, such as during the middle of the day.
  • Do not crush the notes by rubbing your wrists together as it actually makes the scent weaker.
  • Do not waste by doing the “spray and walk”. Most of the fragrance will not have chance to interact with your body this way.
  • Do not spray directly onto clothing as it is your body skin, scent, and heat that helps trigger the different layers of notes of the fragrance. This could also lead to stained clothing.
  • Remember that less is more.

The best way to keep your fragrances in good condition is to store them in a cool and dry place away from the sun or other forms of light.

While there is an overwhelming array of perfumes to choose from in the marketplace, knowing how to properly select, apply, and store your fragrances will help you smell and feel your best!

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