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How to apply cologne correctly on wrist

How to Apply Cologne Correctly

A good scent works wonders, but few know how to apply fragrances correctly. Choosing your own signature scent is the start of your fragrance journey, but knowing how to apply cologne might be the most important step. And while it’s true that cologne is an art form, it’s also very much a science.

Knowing how to wear cologne correctly can be confusing, so we’ve broken it down into five easy steps. We’re also answering some of your burning questions along the way because there’s a good chance you’re wondering how much you should apply. Remember, the goal here is to be ever-so-subtle, highly evocative and always intriguing, not an air horn.

So, if you’re looking to elevate your expertise in the fragrance game, or you just need a refresh (no judgement), this step-by-step guide on how to apply cologne correctly is for you.

RELATED: Looking for a great fragrance? These are our favourites, as chosen by our editors.

Apply your cologne on clean skin
Start by having a shower. | Image: Supplied

1. Apply Cologne on Clean Skin

The very first step in learning how to apply cologne correctly is preparation. Start by having a shower, this is when your skin is warm and so your pores are open. It’s the best way to make sure that your skin absorbs the fragrance.

Expert tip: If you want your cologne’s goodness to last even longer, moisturise your skin after showering and you’ll be smelling delicious all day long.

How to apply cologne correctly on neck 2
Hold the bottle 10cm away from your hot spots. | Image: Sam Mangioni / Man of Many

2. Hold the Bottle 10cm Away

When it comes to the finer details of how to spray cologne, there’s a science. For spray cologne, we recommend holding the bottle around 10 centimetres (4-6 inches) away from you. Don’t hold the bottle all the way up to your wrist or neck as it won’t disperse the fragrance correctly.

Expert tip: Don’t spray the fresh fragrance and walk through the mist like you see in some movies, it doesn’t work.

Spray your cologne in multple areas
Stick to one spray or two sprays at an absolute maximum | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

3. Apply Cologne to Heated Areas of Your Body

The heat helps diffuse scent during the day and allows it to meld with your body chemistry to develop your signature scent. If you’re wondering where to apply cologne, we recommend looking for the warmer parts of your body. Think of areas of your body like your chest, neck, pulse points, inner elbows and forearms, or wherever else your body runs hot.

Expert tip: If you notice that your scent fades quickly, choose another area and spray the cologne there the next time you apply.

4. Spray the Cologne Once on Multiple Areas

With cologne, we like to follow one rule – less is truly more. So, stick to one spray or two sprays at an absolute maximum across a range of areas, like your neck, wrists, etc. Be sure to keep your clothes out of the way in order to make sure the scent disperses correctly onto your skin.

Expert tip: Don’t spray cologne on your clothes, it won’t make the scent last longer.

How we chose this list of woody fragrances
Just because you can’t smell your cologne doesn’t mean that others can’t. | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

5. Re-Apply Throughout the Day if Needed

Our secret tip for how to use cologne is to re-apply. This doesn’t mean reapplying every hour (please, no!) but it does mean you should take into account what you have been doing that day – maybe you’ve gone on a run during lunch and need a refresh. Whatever it is, use your common sense and re-apply if you think a little extra spray is needed. But remember, just because you can’t smell your cologne doesn’t mean that others can’t, as your nose will get ‘scent blind’.

Expert tip: If you’re unsure, ask your friend what they think.

How to apply solid fragrance
Gently swipe one or two fingers across the surface of the wax. | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

How to Apply Solid Cologne

If you’re more of a solid cologne person, you’ll be happy to hear that things are pretty similar when it comes to solid-state fragrances. Just swivel open the lid and then gently swipe one or two fingers across the surface of the wax a few times, don’t dig into the wax. This will ruin your wax and taking out a big chunk isn’t necessary – instead, if you decide you need some more fragrance, just swipe a few more times.

Just like spray cologne, apply solid cologne to your pulse points and other heated areas of the body (however, with wax, pulse points like the wrists and neck are usually best.) Same as a spray, the heat of your body will help the scent diffuse nice and subtly as the day goes on for long-lasting wear.

Once again, remember to avoid applying too much and always re-apply as needed.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Applying Cologne

There are 4 common mistakes we typically find when people apply cologne for the first time.

  1. Don’t Spray on Clothes
  2. Don’t Spray and Walk Through the Mist
  3. Don’t Rub the Perfume Into Your Skin
  4. Don’t Apply Too Much Cologne

Interested in more cologne and fragrance stories? Here are a few stories to get you started:

Best Colognes and Fragrances for Men

Classic, Luxury, and Solid Colognes & Fragrances

Cologne & Fragrance Notes

General FAQs

How many sprays of cologne should you use?

You should use one or two sprays of cologne.

Does applying cologne to clothes help with smell?

It is best to apply cologne directly to your skin, as it absorbs and melds with your skin’s natural oils, creating your own unique scent.

Can you apply cologne to wet skin?

While it is best to apply cologne immediately after showering, ensure your skin is dry first as wet skin means it will rub off easily.

Can you become scent blind?

Yes, scents can lead to nose blindness if overused. Also, the more you are exposed to a particular scent, the less likely you are to notice it.