Have you ever passed someone on the street and the way they smell made you want to ask what they use? We have all been there. There’s something powerful about people who smell good. If you want to be that person on the street, you have to find the cologne that works for you.

You do not find your signature scent by going to the store, selecting a cologne at random, and deciding it will do. You need to take your time and figure out what works best for you and will leave an impression on the people you meet.

In your search for the right cologne, you will meet new terms that will most likely make you confused and wonder if it is all worth it. Remember the term cologne is mostly used to refer to masculine scents and not a specific type of fragrance.

Terms Used in the Fragrance Industry




It should not be confused with perfume. It is the most expensive and concentrated of all fragrances. It contains 20-30 percent of pure perfume essence. When used, it can last up to 24 hours.




It contains 15-20 percent of pure perfume essence. It can last for up to eight hours from the time it was applied.

Eau de Toilette 

It is sometimes referred to as toilette and has five to 15 percent of pure perfume essence that is dissolved in alcohol. Toilettes are perfect for serious meetings such as interviews and briefings. They can last up to three hours.

Eau de Cologne 

Also called cologne. It is the term associated with masculine scents, especially in North America. It is made up of two to four percent of perfume and dissolved in water and alcohol. This is expected to last for up to two hours.

Eau Fraiche 

It is the most diluted fragrance with one to three percent perfume oil dissolved in water and alcohol. At most, it is expected to last an hour.

What Determines the Smell of a Particular Scent?

The scent of a particular fragrance comes from the three types of notes. That is the base, medium, and top notes. The three notes of the fragrance are what keeps on evaporating and thus determining how long it will last.


Top note


Immediately you apply a fragrance, the initial smell that your node detects is the top note. It is lighter than the other notes and lasts up to two hours. The most common examples of the top note are citrus scents, fruity scents, floral and spicy scents.


Medium note


It is also called the heart note and it develops after the top note has been cleared. This is the main element in the fragrance and lasts up to five hours after application. They are made up of heavy scents such as grass and jasmine.


Base note


These are the bold notes that are noticed later on during the day and can last up to 10 hours. The base note determines the length the fragrance will last on your skin. Examples of base notes are musk, leather, vanilla, sandalwood, and moss. With this knowledge, you can go to the department store or to a store that specializes in fragrances and you will not be confused by something the attendant will say.

The following are ways that will help you choose the right cologne.


Browse Without Spraying


From the information you have gathered, you must have an idea of what you want. With that, browse through the shelves of the store and take note of those that may work for you. According to the men’s grooming magazine, Rooftop Squad, spraying different scents will make it difficult to identify each smell later on. Sometimes, the smells fuse and make it problematic when you have to choose one.


Smell the Atomizer


An atomizer is a part where liquid perfume is sprayed out as mist. Some bottles do not have this so you will have to use the bottle cap. However, in some instances, an attendant from the store will give you a strip of paper.

Spray the scents that you have identified and smell them. You can do this as many times as you want with different bottles, as long as they are testers.


Narrow the List Down


After smelling the list, narrow the list down to a few scents. At most four scents, this means that you have gone through a lot of scents and your senses are on overdrive. This will make it difficult to analyze those that are still standing. If you are torn between a big brand name and a perfumer, go for the perfumer. Perfumers specialize in perfumes only compared to brand names that are a jack of all trades and a master of none.

Ask an attendant if they have something that neutralizes the sense of smell. If they do, use it and you are good to go. If they do not, you can leave the store for a few minutes.


Carry Out a Test


Take the four fragrances and spray them on your inner elbows and wrists. They are easy to smell and they are pulse points. Do not spray on your neck as this would be a difficult area to smell. Make sure you do not spray from a far angle as it lessens the density of the fragrance

After spraying wait for a few minutes and then smell the areas you sprayed. Then leave the store. After some time keep smelling the pulse points, notice if they start smelling different until you get to the base tone. This will help you decide on the best option that lasts longer, smells better over time, and can be worn on many occasions. That is your signature scent 

Picking the right cologne does not have to be an alone job, ask your family or spouse to give recommendations. You can even go with them to the store when you are going to look at the brands. You do not have to go for the most expensive brand thinking that it will have superior quality compared to the others.

Some shops allow you to design the brand you want. You choose the base, medium, and top tone and they just mix it for you. Go for this option if none of the available brands works for you. If you have allergies, they can custom make a cologne for you that does not have the components you are allergic to.