It’s a common misconception that perfumes are for the ladies and colognes are for the guys. In fact, the reason for these different expressions is all about the difference in the concentration of essential oils in each. Neither one is exclusively for men or exclusively for women.
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Cologne has about 2-4% concentrated perfume oil (the rest is mostly alcohol) in contrast to perfume which has a whopping 20-30% perfume or fragrance oil content. As a result, colognes generally lasts for a shorter period of time and is meant to be applied more generously.
However, it is true that colognes are by and large crafted with the masculine in mind, and tend toward fresh, musky, or spicy notes, as opposed to the more feminine floral and fruity notes common in perfumes.
A quick google search on cologne will bring you to various pages referring to Eau de Parfum (EDP) and Eau de Toilette (EDT). EDT’s and EDP’s refer to a perfume’s fragrance oil concentration.
EDP has 15-20% perfume oil, and is generally stronger and longer-lasting. What naturally follows concentration and longevity is the price tag — the longer it lasts the more you should expect to pay.
EDT on the other hand has 5-15% perfume oil and is a lighter fragrance that lasts a good 2-4 hours.
Most colognes are created as lighter scents and are in fact technically EDTs. Today, however, the term cologne is used rather loosely to refer to perfume for men.
How to Pick the Best Cologne for You
Choosing the best cologne for men can be tricky and difficult. Again, the best cologne is one that suits your style. Every man is different. The secret is to figure out what you want the scent to say about you and it doesn’t hurt to play to your strengths and your surroundings.
Top 5 Colognes for Men:
Given that it’s an impossible task for you to test every brand of cologne out there, we’ve done a little groundwork for you. We’ve rounded up some of the best colognes for men based on the most popular fragrance families.
These are light, masculine fragrances with citrus, aqua, chypre, and musky scents. Florals, which exude femininity and romance, are generally not favorite for guys.
Best Fresh Colognes for Men
Fresh fragrances consist of a wide range of scents from citrus and fruity families to herbal, green and aqua families. Generally a male favorite, it offers an energetic, clean and airy summer feel, making it suitable for everyday wear.
Fresh fragrances please the nose with fresh and juicy notes such as like mandarin orange, lemon, pineapple, and herbs like lavender, jasmine, and mint.
Fresh scents are best for fun or relaxed events and environments like when on vacation, after the gym, or on a simple day out. That being said, they’re also suitable for the office.
Best Woody Colognes for Men
Woody fragrances are a combination of earthy, musky, and leather scents which exude sensuality and masculinity. It’s generally a heavier scent, well suited for evenings. This scent conjures up an image of a confident, but down-to-earth man.
Woody scents are built on base notes of musk, sandalwood, amber, and sometimes combined with spice like cinnamon and cumin.
Spray on a woody or musk perfume if you’re going on a special date. However, if you prefer darker or heavier scents, and would like to use them during the day, choose carefully and apply sparingly so as you don’t come off too strong.