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How to Apply Cologne: A Guide to How to Wear Cologne the Right Way

A good cologne should make a man feel both confident and attractive, but without the proper application technique, your scent may be overwhelming or could dissipate almost immediately. Knowing how to use cologne effectively is truly a skill. There’s no better time than now for you to learn the essentials of applying cologne with the finesse of a gentleman.

How To Put on Cologne

Most men fear applying too much fragrance and making the wrong first impression. The key to using a luxurious men's fragrance, like our Bay Rum® or No. 77 colognes, is being strategic, so the scent lasts all day without overpowering those around you. These five easy steps will guide you through how and where to apply cologne for just the right strength and staying power.

  1. Apply your fragrance after showering.

Always start with a clean slate and apply your scent after showering, once your skin in dry. Bathing washes away lingering odors while opening up your pores, which allows your skin to absorb the scent better. Consider using a bath and shower soap in the same scent as your cologne to create a fragrant foundation.

  1. Focus on your body's hot spots.

One of the most common questions when using men's fragrance is where to apply cologne for the most impact and longest lasting scent. Apply cologne to the warmest or most heated areas of your body. Your natural body heat helps diffuse the scent throughout the day. 

Applying cologne in these hot spots also allows the fragrance to interact with your unique body chemistry, in the process developing a signature scent that's unique to you. Hot spots can include your chest, forearms, inner elbows, lower jaw, neck, shoulders and wrists. We suggest choosing just one or two locations to apply your cologne to ensure your scent doesn't become overpoweringly irresistible.

  1. Spray cologne from the right distance.

If you spritz cologne directly onto your skin at point-blank range, you may find the scent too strong. Instead, hold the bottle 3 to 6 inches from your body. If you spray any farther away, you may find that the scent dissipates too quickly. A good rule of thumb is to hold the bottle no closer than the width of your palm.

  1. Begin with a light application.

How many squirts of cologne is enough? Start light with a single spritz on one or two warm locations. Then, give it a moment for the scent to settle.

If you notice that the scent seems to fade quickly, choose another hot spot area and spray the cologne there. We tend to become nose-blind to scents we wear often, so don't be afraid to ask a close friend or family member if the strength of your fragrance is appropriate.

  1. Reapply as needed.

Depending on how strong your scent is, or if you're going from day to night, you may want to reapply your cologne. When doing so, simply dab a small amount onto your pulse points, like your neck or wrists.

Common Mistakes When Applying Cologne

When applying cologne, there is a fine line between precision and misfortune, especially when precious St Johns Fragrance Company products are on the line. Get the most out of your favorite cologne by avoiding these common application errors: 

  • Applying too much cologne. A man's cologne should be subtle and understated. Men's scents, like our signature Bay Rum® and Vetiver colognes, should complement and enhance your style, not overpower it. Remember that with fragrance, less is more. It is best to start light and reapply as needed.
  • Rubbing cologne into your skin. When you spritz your skin with cologne, don't aggressively rub it in. The friction can make the scent fade faster and the heat you generate while massaging your skin can change how the fragrance blends with your natural aroma. If your fragrance doesn't have a spray applicator, gently dab the cologne onto your skin and give it time to dry.
  • Splashing cologne onto your skin. When using a cologne that does not have a spray nozzle, you should also avoid splashing it onto your skin. Instead, place one finger over the bottle's opening and carefully tip it upside down to apply it using a dabbing motion. This method gives you much more control over the amount of cologne you use.
  • Walking through the scent. Another all-too-common mistake is spraying a mist cloud of your fragrance and quickly walking through it. While it seems like this method prevents over-application, it is incredibly wasteful and comes with minimal payoff. To get the most out of your cologne, it must be applied directly to the skin. By spraying it in the air, most of the scent will just wind up on the floor.
  • Spraying cologne onto your clothing. Cologne only works when it's on your skin. By spraying it onto your clothing, you're preventing it from mixing with your natural oils, which is what gives scents their unique quality. Spraying cologne not only leaves you with a flat, single-note scent, but could also inadvertently fade or damage your fabric.

Men's cologne is a luxury, so you should treat it with the respect it deserves. With a little thought, patience and practice, it’s a breeze to master the art of applying cologne.

Find Your Perfect Scent at St Johns Fragrance Company

Of course, a perfect cologne application begins with the perfect fragrance. At St Johns Fragrance Company, we have dedicated decades to becoming an essential part of every man's grooming routine. There's a reason we've been the go-to fragrance company for men for over 75 years.

From aftershave cologne to fragrance gift sets, you'll find everything you or the sharp lad in your life needs. Shop our site to find your favorite scents, like our popular Bay Rum® or West Indian Lime, or discover our other signature colognes, soaps and aftershaves to round out your bespoke grooming regimen. Have a question or need additional information? Reach out today.


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