How to Choose a Cologne
Published April 20 2018
Out of 700 Europeans tested, the women overwhelmingly said they were more sexually attracted to men because of their scent. Basically what eyes are to men (as far as attraction goes), the nose is to women. That’s important, because our noses are literally 150,000 times more acute even than sight.
It’s time to kick the idea that scents are not manly. The right kind of scent could be just the key to increasing your confidence levels--and your popularity.
However, you need to pick the right kind of cologne for you. Here, let’s talk about how to choose a cologne that achieves your goal.
How to Choose a Cologne: Finding Preference
Strong vs. Subtle
First, let’s look at what a cologne is made of in the first place. The scent really comes from the raw materials. These raw materials are essential oils, either natural (harvested from plants or animals) or synthetic (created by chemists in labs). The oils are then mixed with alcohol to make the compound we all know as cologne.
Cologne is actually only 3-5% essential oils. Water makes up around 10%, and alcohol composes the other 80-90%. All in all, it tends to last about 2 hours, at least for the main or most obvious scent. Warning: You might be tempted to put as much cologne as you can on as many places as you can.
Women are more likely to be overwhelmed by a scent that is too powerful, since we have very sensitive noses, and women are more sensitive to scent than men. Choose 1 or 2 scent points carefully (along the jaw, on the wrists, inside your elbows), and concentrate your cologne application there.
A subtle scent deliberately goes for “natural,” such as citrus, fresh (green, like growing plants), or aquatic (reminds one of the sea or a body of water). Stronger scents, however, go for spices, flowery scents, or even vanilla tones. Subtle scents do well for workdays, to feel fresh and clean at the office. Stronger scents declare your awareness of a special occasion and make you hard to ignore.
Linear vs. Non-linear
There’s no real short way to talk about this. Basically, colognes are made of oil blends that fade over time. The most carefully-crafted colognes have three scents that fade to give way to each other. You smell the top note first, breathe in the heart note later, and are left with the base note at the end of the day.
This now depends on both preference and occasion. Do you want a subtle top note to give way to a strong base note? Do you want the tone to only subtly change over the day? Do you want a loud top note and an alluring base note? Any cologne that changes scent is non-linear.
Linear, on the other hand, is “monotone”--it stays one scent throughout the day. It is the characteristic of some cheaper scents, but it can be practical. Again, you can want a nice citrus spray throughout an entire workday, or a non-linear blend for a date night. Pick your scent.
Branded vs. Niche
When you buy a branded cologne, you are partly paying for the well-funded science behind the cologne blending, and for the brand and marketing it has. To distinguish themselves, different cologne producers have a certain “family” of scents that are distinctive to those who prefer a specific brand.
This is not a bad thing. Since we’re on the topic of choosing a cologne, you may purchase or find small samples of each brand and try them out, one a day. In that way, you can find which you would definitely want to buy a larger bottle of. With solid science behind the chemistry, branded colognes are usually better for all skin types, while staying a bit weak in scent.
However, when choosing a personalized cologne, there are certain shops that help you make your own specific blend, and these are niche colognes. Rows and rows of essential oils call your attention. By investing a certain amount of time, you can assemble your own unique, preferred scent. On the other hand, you can invest time in going through ready-made niche colognes.
Niche colognes include colognes with a specific advocacy or goal that accompanies the scent collection (all-natural, no animal testing, pheromone chemistry, no animal oils). If you don’t want the brands, and you don’t feel the need to personalize your own cologne blend, start trying out niche colognes instead. They are often unique scents in themselves.
How to Choose a Cologne: The Practical Side
Test vs. Try
As you can see when we talked about linear and non-linear cologne notes, you can’t just take a sniff and make your decision. Even in the department store or shopping center, make good use of their tester scents. Pick one at a time, and place it on one or two scent points (the wrists are the most subtle).
After that, take a walk around the mall. Every half-an-hour or so, check on the scent. Is it the same as the one you smelled earlier? Has it already begun to change scent? Is it linear? Do you want it that way? Is it so strong it makes others uncomfortable? You need to know all this to choose the right cologne.
Another thing you can’t learn by sniffing and buying is how your skin reacts to the cologne. You might like the scent, but your date won’t be able to concentrate if you’re trying to scratch a rash on your wrist without her noticing. Better to test that out too.
Expensive vs. Affordable
Expensive does not always mean better. It can mean the brand is better-known, or that more was spent on marketing. What you really hope is that they spent just about as much on the science behind the chemistry. You also hope they used more natural ingredients, as those are less likely to hurt your skin and to damage the environment.
This is where the importance of test vs. try comes in. Expensive colognes can make you feel more sophisticated or mainstream. However, if they’re not the scent you really want, you might even dislike them at the end of a long day or a tiring night. Review your budget, and then run through niche colognes for affordable alternatives you like more.
How to Choose a Cologne: By Objective
Strictly speaking, because colognes are scent-based representations of you, it’s smart to choose colognes by objective. Our personal recommendation on date nights? Pick a strong scent that your date will pick up and comment on, appreciating your effort. Linear is okay if you want her to specifically look for that scent on your next date night.
Go for niche brands, they are more unique and you will stand out from men who wear the better-known branded colognes. Go for affordable over expensive, you sometimes make the better and more surprising finds that way. And don’t forget the objective, from start to finish, is to make an impression that lasts.
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