How to Apply Men’s Aftershave and Cologne


a man holding a perfume in his hand

The essence of grooming for men goes beyond the simple act of shaving. It is an entire process of maintaining one's appearance that often culminates in the application of men's fragrances, ranging from aftershave to cologne or perfume. So whether you're a novice stepping into the world of men’s fragrances or a seasoned perfume enthusiast, knowing how to apply aftershave and cologne can mean the difference between an overpowering whiff and an enticing scent trail. In this guide, we unravel the how-to’s and whys of men’s aftershave and cologne to help you navigate through the nuances of male grooming.

What is an aftershave?

The term ‘aftershave’ can refer to any men’s fragrances in the UK, including colognes, perfumes, eau de toilette, after-shave lotions, and even antiperspirants and deodorants. You can read more about this here.

But traditionally, an aftershave refers to a skincare product designed for use after shaving. It is meant for a post-shaving skincare routine, as it contains different bio extracts and ingredients, such as aloe vera, that help nourish and soothe skin, reducing irritation and treating any cuts or razor burns that may arise from shaving. Aftershaves usually come in many different forms, including balms, lotions, foams, gels, sprays, and so on.

How to apply aftershave correctly

a man wearing aftershave

Applying aftershave is easy. The most important thing is to ensure that your skin benefits from the product and its ingredients. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to apply aftershave correctly:

Step 1: Rinse and pat your skin gently

After shaving, thoroughly wash your face with cold water to get rid of any facial hairs and traces of shaving cream. Then, using a clean towel, gently pat your skin while keeping it moist. This will make it easier to apply and massage the aftershave onto your skin.

Step 2: Pour the aftershave onto your slightly wet hands

Pour a couple of dashes of aftershave onto your slightly wet hands and rub your palms together. If you are using a post-shave spray, the process is similar.

Step 3: Apply the aftershave

Gently rub your hands over your face, making sure to distribute the aftershave evenly. Do not rinse your face afterward.

What is cologne?

A cologne, on the other hand, is a type of men’s fragrance - usually referred to as ‘eau de cologne’. It contains scented essential oils and a blend of different aromatic compounds, making it more sophisticated than aftershave. Colognes are designed to be worn as an everyday fragrance and can significantly contribute to any man’s personal style. They typically contain less scented oil than eau de toilette and men's perfumes, giving them a light, crisp, and clean scent.

A well-chosen cologne can boost your confidence while also making a good impression on those around you, whether at work or in a social setting. However, knowing how to apply it correctly can mean the difference between a subtle scent that lingers attractively and one that is either overpowering or fades quietly into the background.

How to apply cologne properly

a man wearing a cologne

It is generally recommended to spray perfume on your skin rather than your clothes because fragrances are designed to interact with your skin's oils and pH. This helps to prolong and enhance the scent experience. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to apply cologne properly:

Step 1: Clean and hydrate your skin

Cologne is best worn after a bath or shower because perfumes tend to smell great and last longer on clean, moisturised skin.

Step 2: Apply cologne to pulse points

Hold the perfume bottle 3-6 inches away from your body and spray it on either one or multiple pulse points, such as your neck, chest, wrist, or inner elbows. Avoid rubbing the scent when applying it to your wrist or skin, as this makes the scent fade quickly. Instead, wait a few minutes for the fragrance to settle.

Step 3: Start light and re-apply if needed

Start with a dab or spritz, and let it be. Don't be afraid to ask a friend or significant other if they think you need more or less cologne. However, if you notice that the fragrance fades quickly, try wearing it at different or multiple pulse points. Also, colognes are typically light-scented perfumes. So you may need to reapply them at regular intervals for a more lasting scent.

How many sprays of cologne do you need?

While the number of cologne sprays you need can vary depending on the fragrance strength and your personal preferences, it is usually best to start with less and work your way up. Start with one or two sprays of cologne, let it settle, and then move up to three or four sprays if needed. You can also try applying your cologne to different or multiple pulse points for a long-lasting scent.

Final thoughts

All in all, understanding how to properly wear aftershave and cologne can transform men's grooming routines and enhance their personal style. With this guide, we hope you can make the most of your chosen scent with ease and confidence.

Before you leave, have you checked our collection of men’s fragrance samples yet? We’ve got many luxury brands for you to try, including Amouage, Byredo, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and many more. Not sure which scent to try? Browse our starter suggestions for men.