If you are like me when first starting out wearing aftershaves and colognes, you really didn’t understand the differences between the two or know why both existed and you had (have) questions about them and their intended use or even how to use them correctly. I mean aftershave is pretty much self explanatory but do you use cologne on top of an aftershave? Why doesn’t aftershave last as long as cologne? Why do some aftershaves have a scent and some don’t? Why do aftershaves sting when you put them on? Which is better, a liquid, gel or balm? Why are colognes so strong? Where does cologne get applied? A lot of questions that hopefully I can answer. We will discuss aftershaves then colognes and then end with how to buy the right one for you and your body chemistry and hopefully through all of that, some of those questions above have been answered.
Aftershave. The main purpose of aftershave is to sooth and heal the skin after shaving. They generally have an astringent to help close and tighten the pores of the skin which gives the feeling of having your face all nice and toned, making it feel tighter after you have shaved. If the aftershave has a lot of alcohol in it, as most liquid aftershaves do, then you will experience stinging on the face where you shaved. Also, Most aftershaves have some sort of fragrance added to them so if you have sensitive skin, you might want to find one without a fragrance. Also, gels and balms generally have less powerful astringents in them so those would be an option as well.
Cologne. Colognes have one purpose and one purpose only; to make you smell good. There is no benefit for your skin when using it. When compared to aftershaves, colognes have much more fragrance in its content and thus are much stronger. They last longer than aftershaves too (generally all day, especially true for newer colognes). If you use a cologne after applying an aftershave, remember to take it easy. Also, remember that our noses get accustomed to the smell and we can’t smell it or it is a very faint smell, but it’s there, even at the end of the day. So be careful when reapplying before heading out at night after work. You don’t need as much (if any). If you are planning on using another cologne then please, take a shower and wash off the cologne from earlier. Mixing colognes is a no-no. As far as applying cologne well, there is no hard and fast rule of how to. I personally apply a little to either wrist, on each side of my neck then as strange as it sounds, a shot down the back inside the shirt, if it’s a spray bottle. If it’s a liquid, then only on my neck and not on my wrists as I have it all over my hands to begin with and of course, not inside the shirt. I know of some men who wipe the remainder off their hands onto the upper shoulders of their suit coat so that when they offer their coat to a lady who is chilled, they can smell him even when he’s off getting another drink for her. Something to think about if you are single I guess.
A cautionary word about using the two together. Aftershaves are generally known for not lasting very long, especially those that have a lot of alcohol in them as well as generally not having the same amount of fragrance as the cologne but that is not always the case. So be cautious when you add cologne after you have splashed on aftershave. The aftershave may be all that is required for your normal work day. You would rather go through your day with too little than too much. You never want to be ‘that guy’ in your office (or classroom). Also, if you plan to use a scented aftershave and a cologne together, make sure you use an aftershave and a cologne from the same line. I cannot stress this enough. No need to have competing odors emanating from your person. Don’t want people thinking you have a split personality and can’t make up your mind if you are a sea breezy fresh and clean guy or an outdoorsy, earthy woodsman. Pick one and stick with it for the day.
Buying Aftershave/Cologne. Although you (and me) wear the aftershave/cologne (cologne) you cannot forget that the ultimate purpose of it is to satisfy those special people in your life or at the very least, not offend those you are with day in and day out. So it stands to reason that you are essentially wearing this stuff for their benefit, not yours. The reason I say this is because you may find a cologne you really like but it does nothing for you or worse, ends up smelling like a rotting barrel of fish and eggs when you put it on and that is not doing anyone any favors, least of all, you. Remember, how a cologne interacts with you is based on your body chemistry. What works for you may not work for me. Conversely is true as well. Also, you may not really like the smell of a certain cologne from the bottle or even when it’s applied but everyone else loves it. Personal example, I don’t necessarily like Brut (yes, you read that correctly, Brut as in the Essence of Man) on me, it’s “okay” I guess but I get quite a few compliments every time I wear it.So I break it out every now-and-then. So, how do we go about buying the right cologne? One that we know works well with our body chemistry? Simple really. My oldest brother taught me this and he was taught by a friend of his who bought and sold perfumes and colognes for a living. It actually has scientific backing as 80% to 95% of TASTE is brought about by the sense of smell as research in Great Britain has found. Wait, did I just say taste? Yes, yes I did. Am I saying to taste the cologne before you buy it? Not directly. Here’s what I mean and how to use this method. Spray a little cologne on a sample card then smell deeply WITH YOUR MOUTH OPEN. You will ‘taste’ the aroma of the cologne and based on how well you like or dislike the ‘taste’ in your mouth can help you determine whether or not the cologne will work with your body chemistry or won’t work with it. Obviously, if you like it it should work for you and if you don’t like it, it will not. This of course is not 100% but it has worked well for those who have employed this method. Give it a go with what’s sitting on your vanity now and see if this method is viable for you.
I hope I have answered any questions you may have concerning this matter. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or leave a comment and come back soon as I will be posting a couple more blogs about older colognes and newer ones.