Fragrance is an invisible part of our personal style, and it has a powerful effect on how people see and remember you.
Fragrance is a unisex, generic term used for perfume. It comes in many forms and is called different names but generally falls into these categories:
- Eau Fraiche. The most diluted version of fragrance, usually with 1-3% perfume oil in alcohol and water. Usually lasts for less than an hour.
- Cologne (Eau de Cologne). Oldest term for perfume, used in North America for masculine scents. Light, fresh, and fruity, typically composed of 2-4% perfume oils in alcohol and water. Tends to be used in fragrances for younger people. Usually lasts for about 2 hours.
- Toilette (Eau de Toilette). A light spray composition with 5-15% pure perfume essence dissolved in alcohol. Usually lasts for about 3 hours.
- Perfume (Eau de Parfum). Historically genderless, used to describe both men’s and women’s products, and is the best term for describing a fragrance. (I’ll be using cologne more in this post though, simply because that’s the term most readers associate with fragrance.) Contains 15-20% pure perfume essence and lasts for about 5 to 8 hours.
- Parfum. A corruption of the Latin phrase per fumum (through smoke). The most concentrated and expensive of all fragrance options. Slightly oilier, parfum (or perfume; you can see how these terms get confusing!) is composed of 20-30% pure perfume essence. A single application can last up to 24 hours.
Why Wear Fragrances
A good cologne offers numerous benefits, from making you more attractive, to helping you feel less stressed and more confident.
How do I know this is right for me?
1. Go with your guts. Try to forget the pretty packaging, the cool designer and the perfect model or celeb fronting the juice for a minute. We know, that’s part of it and makes you feel fabulous too by association but avoid getting influenced by marketing devices. If you love a smell, don’t analyse and just go for it. A fragrance is very physical so if it is love at first spritz, it means you have found your confidence-boosting scent.
2. Road-test your hot contenders. Spritz one of your favorite scents to your skin, let it settle and see if it still feels right at the end of the day. Test it on people you love and hear what they say. But most importantly, check if does boost your confidence and makes you feel fabulous. Remember, it is about your signature scent.
The best method to find a new fragrance is to test if the perfume complements your natural body odor in person over the period of a day.
Department stores are great for this purpose, just ensure you don’t buy until ready (it’s easy to fall for the first note). The maximum number of scents to try at once is four, although I recommend only two (one each arm) if you’re just starting out.
- Spray one scent on each wrist (and each inner elbow if going for four).
- Avoid the cards the department store provides to smell the colognes. They enable you to only smell the top notes and not how it smells on you (remember, this is a chemistry experiment).
- Between smelling each cologne, refresh your palate with something strong, like coffee or tea.
- Try to smell all the notes. As we have explained you can expect the scent to change over the next few hours.
- Walk around the department store and smell the fragrances at various intervals. Take notes on your phone or journal as to which you like and why.
- Purchase a bottle of your winner and start to wear. Wearing a fragrance is a process, not a destination. Many men end up owning and loving dozens of scents, so don’t feel you have to get it perfect with your first (or tenth) buy.
A nice fragrance adds to your overall impression of being a sharp, put-together.
We know that dressing well ups your confidence. You just feel better when you look nice. Wearing a cologne enhances that feeling, as you’ll be confident that you not only look like a million bucks, but smell like it too.