Wearing a fragrance can be a pain; how much do you wear? What’s the right smell for you? How long will a bottle last? It’s so easy to screw up, and there’s no way to hide it when you do. Unless you enjoy other people’s pain (sicko), you don’t want to be that guy in the elevator who bathed in the foulest stuff imaginable, and makes everyone else want to retch.

Lucky for you, we’ve got some tips for the novice cologne wearer. So strap in and get ready to smell like a price.

What should I buy?

There are several types of fragrances on the market, and some of them you might not even realize belong in the category. They’re classified based on the oil and alcohol they contain. From most potent to least, they are: Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Cologne, Eau de Toilette, After-Shave, After-Shave Balm, and Talc. They all perform a different function, and are best used on different parts of the body. Have you ever tried putting Cologne on your face? Burns like hell, doesn’t it? That’s because the oil in the formula irritates your skin, and it will dry out the skin on your face.
Cologne or Eau de Cologne contains 4% to 8% alcohol, with the men’s version being much more concentrated than the women’s formula. The scent will typically last around 3 hours. The scents themselves will fall into one of a few categories: Citrus, Green, Floral, Oriental (or spicy), Chypre (or woodsy-mossy), Fougere (or fern-like) and Lavender. They generally come in two varieties of application – spray or splash. Spray makes it substantially easier to aim and keep the cologne in the correct area, and it tends to last longer.

To choose cologne that works for you, you have to go out and try them out. I can’t tell you what you’ll like – though I’m sure I could try. When trying out cologne, you have to understand that cologne actually has 3 scents. The “Top Note” is what you smell as soon as the stuff hits your skin, and lasts 5-10 minutes. The “Middle Note” appears after about 10-15 minutes and lasts about an hour. The “Bottom Note” develops after about 45 minutes and can last up to several hours.

When testing out cologne in the store (don’t just buy it!), find one or two scents that appeal to you by spraying the cologne in the air or on little blotter cards provided by the store. Once you’ve found one or two you like, you have to try it out on your own skin – different skin chemistries can make colognes smell wildly different, or your skin could react badly to the formula. Spritz a little on your wrist and sniff it – that’s the high note. After about 10 minutes, smell it again – that’s the middle note. Go shopping, wait about 45 minutes, and sniff again – that’s the bottom note. If you like it, huzzah! If not, try your second choice on the other wrist.

How do I wear it?

When you wake up in the morning and apply your cologne, be VERY careful not to overdo it. Keep in mind your nose is still asleep for an hour or two after you wake, so it becomes oblivious to smells very quickly. It could seem like you’ve put on exactly the right amount of cologne, but you’ll kill everyone you meet that day.

Spray the cologne on the pulse points of your body – wrists, neck, and chest. The heat from your blood will release the scent. While you shouldn’t mix fragrances (you’ll end up smelling like a department store beauty department), wearing the same brand of shower gel/shaving cream/aftershave as your cologne will have a layering effect and compliment the smell.

There you are, gents! Enjoy your days of smelling like royalty, and don’t forget to tell them that LoadedLife sent you!