You’ve probably been applying your cologne all wrong

Applying cologne
Are you applying cologne correctly? Shutterstock

Fragrance is a bit of a conundrum for many.

Much is misunderstood about it, and there hasn’t been much of an effort to clear up the misconceptions (until now).

There are three big mistakes men (and sometimes even women) make when applying fragrance:

  • Applying to the wrong areas
  • Applying too much
  • Rubbing it into the skin after application

Fragrance is tricky. The oils are designed to be absorbed and melded with your skin’s natural oils, creating your own unique scent. That can’t happen when you apply it to your clothing, so never apply fragrance to anything but your skin.

That means you shouldn’t spray it in a cloud and walk through it, either.

However, where you apply it on your skin also matters. You want to apply it somewhere warm, which will heat up and dissipate the oil’s smell throughout the day. Too warm, and the smell might dissipate too quickly. Too cold (like your wrist), and the smells won’t travel as far.

The ideal place to apply cologne is the area between your chest and neck, inclusive of both. A bonus is that some men have chest hair, which can also trap some fragrance oil and increase the amount of time the smell might last on their skin.

As for amount, remember the cardinal rule of applying cologne: less is certainly more. “Cologne should be discovered, not announced,” as Art of Manliness says. Overdo it, and you’ll give everyone around you a headache — and probably yourself, too.

Still, the purpose of wearing cologne is to smell it. So make sure you’re not too shy about it.

Finally, after you apply the cologne, pat it on your skin but do not rub it in. This is not a lotion meant to be absorbed — it is an oil meant to sit on top of your skin and mix with your natural oils. Rubbing it in can cause it to be absorbed by your skin faster, and it can even distort the scent.

As for when you should wear cologne or fragrance? Well, that’s entirely up to you. Be judicious.