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A GENTLEMANS GUIDE TO FRAGRANCE: HOW TO CHOOSE AND WEAR YOUR AFTERSHAVE

On a recent trip to France, I was the last passenger to board the plane (Duty-free had got the better of me this time).

I hurried my way up the steps and onto the plane where I, apologising profusely, presented my boarding card to a rather irritated looking stewardess. Upon seeing my embarrassment, she forced a reassuring smile and quickly checked my boarding card. After a quick thank you and brief direction to my seat, I shuffled past her and started to make my way down the aisle towards my seat 32A (also known as the only empty seat left on the entire plane). However, as I made my way pass, she unexpectedly looked at me and said, “You smell wonderful!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I am in a very happy relationship, but this compliment from a complete stranger had me feeling good for the entire flight.

And that’s why this matters, gentlemen.

A fragrance is an invisible part of our personal style, and it has a powerful effect on how people see and remember you.

Did you know that the sense of smell is your most powerful sense?

It is the sense that is closest linked to your memories as well as your emotions. A scent has the ability to let your body react and your brain make a decision before you’ve even perceived what has happened. This is simply because the sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in the brain. The most primitive part of the brain that controls your feelings and memories. That’s why a scent that you haven’t sensed since being a child may still feel sharper and more familiar than any other sensory form. Or why a scent you really like can thoroughly affect your well-being and mood.

How to chose the correct fragrance?

Scientific studies suggest that a man can naturally select the cologne that works best with his own natural body scent.

So in other words, you are the best person to decide what cologne works best for you. You make the choice, stop letting your partners or mum choose for you — after all, there is a reason why gift scents sit unused for years.

Obviously, it is always advisable to use the opinions of others to reinforce or question your decision. If the entire office compliments your new aftershave, you can be confident you’ve made a pretty good choice. Equally, if Simon from accounts descends into a coughing fit in the elevator, you may want to reconsider.

Before deciding on your signature smell, I would advise that you shop around a little. Don’t just test 2 or 3 options. Instead, go into a cologne store or pharmacy and smell around. Give yourself options.

Another great way to try multiple scents is via an aftershave subscription. If you’re looking for a simple and fun way to try new scents every month, a subscription from Sniph for example is a great option and from only £14 per box, is very affordable too!

How to apply your fragrance

We’ve all been around men who used too much cologne. The scent is overwhelming and off-putting. You can easily avoid this mistake by learning how to apply fragrance properly and judiciously.

  • Spray perfume on dry skin, preferably right after a shower. Hold the spray nozzle 3-6 inches from your skin while applying.
  • Start light. If you’re new to wearing fragrances, start with one single spray on your chest. As you become more comfortable and knowledgeable about how to wear cologne properly, you can branch out to a few more sprays in different areas…
  • Apply fragrance to heat areas. Your body heat will push the scent throughout the day, creating a nice scent trail commonly called sillage. Start with the warmest parts of your body: chest, neck, lower jaw, wrist, forearm, inner elbow, shoulder. Do not spray on all these points at the same time; start with one and then as you learn the scent, spray 2-3 other spots. For the record, I do not recommend spraying your crotch area.
  • Re-spray only when required. You can add more sprays to your wrists  depending on how long the scent lasts. For most this will be in the second half of the day.
  • Don’t kill the noteRubbing the perfume into the skin seems a sensible thing to do. In reality, it breaks the molecular bond, making the scent weaker.
  • Don’t spray and walk. Spraying a fragrance in the air and walking through the mist is worthless. Most of the fragrance drops straight to the floor.
  • Don’t spray fragrance on your clothes. In this case the fragrance isn’t allowed to mix with your oils, and hence it can’t naturally go through the stages of notes like it should. Also, the oils in a fragrance will stain many fabrics.
  • Don’t splash. If you are applying cologne from a regular bottle, take one finger and press it against the opening of your bottle and then tip it over gently.  Dab onto the parts of the body described above.
  • Less is more. Fragrance should be discovered, not announced. People who are close by should be able to smell your cologne, but not be overpowered by it.

So there you have it, I hope this helps in your quest to find the perfect smell. Remember, YOU are the best person to decide what is the best cologne for you, and try not to use half a bottle every time you apply.

Have a particular cologne you champion? I would love to hear what you’re wearing so let me know in the comments and maybe we will add it to one of our future Style Boxes…