How to Apply Cologne: Perfumers Share Their Top Tips for Smelling Great All Day

<p>Anna Tabakova / Stocksy</p>

Anna Tabakova / Stocksy

Wearing a fragrance is a form of self-expression, and finding your signature scent can boost your confidence in a way that's noticeable to yourself and others. When choosing a cologne, think about "what you would like to experience as the wearer and how you wish to present yourself," says Yvan Jacqueline, Parfum de Marly's president of the Americas. "Seek projection, longevity, versatility, uniqueness, how the fragrance makes you feel, and seasonal appropriateness." But choosing the right scent (or a few) is only the first step: To make your scent really shine, a good application technique is also key. Looking to take your fragrance game to the next level? Ahead, we asked Jacqueline and two other expert perfumers for their top tips on choosing the best scent for you, plus how to best apply cologne to maximize its power and longevity.

Meet the Experts

  • Yvan Jacqueline is the president of the Americas division for luxury Parisian fragrance house Parfums de Marly.

  • Frank Voelkl is the principal perfumer at Firmenich, a Swiss company which has created a wide range of fragrances and flavors over the past 130 years.

  • Thierry Wasser is the master perfumer for Guerlain, a Parisian luxury beauty house founded in 1828 that offers a range of fragrances and cosmetics.

How to Choose a Cologne

Guerlain master perfumer Thierry Wasser emphasizes that building a fragrance collection is personal, so choose whichever speaks to you and test your cologne before committing whenever possible. "I think it's a mistake to read too many online reviews or overanalyze a fragrance purchase before actually smelling the options in person," he says. "Fragrance is an emotional choice, not an intellectual one, and one that I think is best made in-person. Experience the scents entirely—the way the bottle looks, the way it feels in your hand, and of course, how the fragrance lasts on your skin."

Firmenich principal perfumer Frank Voelkl agrees, emphasizing that you should consider getting a sample in order to try out the scent extensively: "When searching for a signature scent, it is important to wear the fragrance on your skin because scents develop differently on everyone," he says. "Once you wear the scent and live with it for a few hours or days, and you keep going back for more, you will know you found your signature."

Current Cologne Trends

While picking a fragrance is ultimately a personal choice, checking out today's trending varieties of notes could be a good place to start if you're not sure what you like. "Men are leaning more and more to unexpected notes, including fresh and citrus notes, deep ouds, and gourmand elements," Jacqueline tells us. "We have seen a surge in vanilla and sweeter ingredients that interplay with bases such as musk, oud, and even citrus."

According to Jacqueline, citrus notes are currently popular for their "reenergizing qualities," and include notes of grapefruit, bergamot, and orange blossom. In contrast, "woody fragrances include notes like: cedarwood, sandalwood, agarwood, and vetiver," he says. "Woody fragrances can make you feel sophisticated and confident and are always a top choice when trying to impress."

How to Apply Cologne

Our experts tell us that there are no hard and fast rules about where or how to apply scents, and that you can tailor your method to fit your intent. "There are no real dos and don'ts to applying fragrance," Wasser tells us. "As long as the application feels good to you and the perfume itself doesn't stain your clothes, spritz freely." That being said, our perfumers still have the below tips surrounding storage and technique to maximize your cologne's power and longevity.

  • Store your cologne correctly: Wasser and Voelkl suggest storing your cologne in a cool, dark place to ensure that the fragrance stays fresh, as heat and light can alter the composition.

  • Understand your pulse points: While you can spray cologne wherever you'd like, "there are certain areas on our body that have higher blood circulation to help your fragrance have a stronger effect," Voelkl explains. "Pulse points are the areas of your body that allow for the most even distribution of scent. These points include areas like the neck, knees, wrists, and behind the ears. By applying cologne to these spots, you target the 'warmest' points on your body, which will help your fragrance have a stronger effect—but at the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference."

  • Be strategic about where you spritz: "Applying your fragrance to your neck or behind your ears is an ideal place for the wearer to enjoy their fragrance and for close friends who hug or kiss you hello to experience the fragrance more intimately," Wasser tells Byrdie.

  • Choose your favorite fragrance format: "Fragrances are increasingly available in more formats besides the traditional spray pump, including roll-ons, oils, and splashes," Wasser explains. "I'd argue that the spray allows for a greater variety of applications—whether spraying on skin, clothes, hair, or to fragrance a room."

  • Consider layering multiple scents: If you haven't quite found the perfect scent for you, an option to consider is layering, or combining more than one fragrance to create a unique scent combination you really love. "Layering fragrances also allows for you to express personal creativity and develop your own signature blend," Wasser adds. "I love the concept of layering different perfumes."

Maximizing Your Cologne's Longevity

While how long a scent will last on your body varies from person to person as well as depending on environment, our experts do have a few tips to increase the longevity of a scent.

  • Stay moisturized: It turns out that your skincare routine can also boost the effectiveness of your cologne. "Hydrated skin seems to hold fragrance better than dry skin does, so if you can, apply your fragrance to moisturized skin," Wasser tells us.

  • Spritz scent onto your hair: Voelkl shares that "spraying your hair could be a good idea for the scent to last, but of course, it is a preference." Dedicated hair fragrances are a growing category, but you can also spritz any of your favorite colognes—just know that many fragrances weren't created with hair in mind, so there's a chance the alcohol could be drying if you overuse it.

  • Consider spraying your clothes: Scent often lasts longer on fragrance than on skin, so Voelkl recommends applying the fragrance on both your skin and on your clothes.

  • Layer with other scented products: "Something else you can do is to combine your fragrance with ancillaries such as lotions and shower gels to help keep the scent longer on your skin," Voelkl says. You can do this with a matching fragranced product if it exists, or choose any scent that you enjoy when layered with your cologne of choice.

The Final Takeaway

The market for cologne is wider than ever, with countless fragrances available and just as many ways to wear and combine your favorite scents. You can choose a cologne based on a range of factors, including seasonality, notes, price point, or simply because you love it, and your application method is just as much about doing whatever you prefer—though certain techniques can help you maximize the scent's power and longevity. Regardless of how or why you choose to wear one, trying out different cologne before choosing your favorite and refining your application method will go a long way in discovering a fragrance routine that enhances your self-expression.

Read the original article on Byrdie.