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Men's Cologne

Most men want to smell good and be memorable. Cologne for men can help you do that! This is because human’s olfactory senses are very powerful and are linked to memory. So if you want to stand out and smell great doing it, why not consider wearing cologne? Some men prefer to wear cologne only on special occasions, while others wear it every day. Some men change up their fragrance by season or occasion, while others prefer to find one signature scent and stick to it. No matter how you choose to use men’s cologne, we have a fragrance for you! CVS carries a huge variety of the top mens cologne scents to choose from. Read on to learn more about what cologne is, shopping strategies, and how to ultimately find the best cologne for you!

What Is Cologne?

The term cologne can be somewhat confusing. In most cases, the term cologne refers to men’s fragrance in the general sense. However, both men and women’s fragrances are actually classified in French terms according to oil concentration. So the term eau de cologne refers to a specific type of fragrance that has an oil concentration of 2 – 4% and is estimated to last for a few hours before the scent disappears. The French term parfum doesn’t denote a women’s perfume, but rather refers to fragrances with a high concentration of aromatic oils. In fact, many of the products people think of as men’s colognes are technically parfums. When you are shopping for a men’s cologne, don’t let this confusing terminology trip you up! If you want a cologne that lasts all day, look for any men’s scent that is labelled as a parfum, since the high oil concentration will help your scent linger longer. Now that you know what to look out for when shopping for cologne, you’re ready to start shopping for the best men’s fragrance for you!

Men’s Cologne Guide

There are many mens fragrances to choose from, and the process for selecting the best mens cologne for you can be overwhelming. Narrowing down the field can be a great help. But how do you hone in on the best options for you? Shopping colognes by scent family is a great game plan. There are groups of cologne scents or families that share common characteristics. Finding which cologne scents you like and which you may prefer to avoid can help you in your search for the perfect cologne (and the method works equally well if you’re searching for multiple colognes instead of just one signature scent)! Read on to learn about some of the main cologne scent families you are likely to come across in your search for the perfect men’s fragrance!

Men’s Cologne Scents

Woodsy Cologne – Woodsy cologne, sometimes called woody cologne, is a distinctive, masculine choice that is inspired by nature. If you enjoy the outdoors, a woodsy cologne may be a great fit for you. Characterized by notes such as sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, rosewood, and vetiver, woodsy cologne is perfect for the man wants to take the great outdoors with him wherever he goes! If you want a masculine cologne inspired by the natural world, why not try a woodsy cologne? Our Pick: Gentlemen Only by Givenchy

Chypre Cologne – Chypre cologne is a close cousin of the woody scent family, but is based around notes of oakmoss which are then layered with other scents, usually citrus or floral. The end result is a warm mix of scents that brings to mind the mossy, slightly woody scent of a forest floor. Chypre colognes are a great choice for men who enjoy nature or want to go with a traditionally masculine cologne scent. Our Pick: Aramis

Citrus Cologne – An ideal choice for summertime, citrus cologne is light and fresh. Tart, fresh, and playful without being overpowering, citrus cologne is an equally great choice for a summertime date or a day at the office. Characterized by bright notes like lemon, grapefruit, and bergamot, citrus cologne is undeniably energetic and fun. Plus, citrus oils tend to be light and make wonderful top notes that are bright, uplifting, and diffuse well. So next time the sun is shining bright and you want a cologne to match your sunny mood, why not give citrus cologne a try? Our Pick: CK One by Calvin Klein

Leather Cologne – Leather cologne is a unique scent group that does not have a strong counterpart in ladies’ scents. This scent group is unapologetically masculine, and carries an air of sophistication and distinction. These colognes are characterized by animalistic base notes that evoke the scent of a leather jacket or sofa, paired with a wide variety of accompanying notes, ranging from fruity to floral to aromatic. Leather scents are a classic cologne choice and work well if you’re looking for a traditionally masculine scent. So why not try out a leather cologne for yourself? Our Pick: Duel by Annick Goutal

Oriental Cologne – Said to be one of the most sensual scent families, oriental cologne is a great choice for a date night or special occasion. Characterized by notes of musk, vanilla, amber, and exotic resins that are often mixed with notes of wood, spices, and flowers, oriental cologne gives off a spicy, warm, and alluring vibe. These complex, sophisticated fragrances are especially well-suited to wintertime wear, but some men prefer to wear them year-round as a signature scent. If you are looking for a sensual, memorable fragrance, why not try an oriental cologne? Our Pick: Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein

Aromatic Cologne – Slightly spicy and very fresh, aromatic cologne is another scent family that is made with men in mind. Characterized by a strong herbal note, aromatic cologne incorporates herbs with a distinctly grassy, spicy scent – think of cooking herbs such as thyme, tarragon, rosemary, mint, basil, sage, and fennel. While aromatic cologne works well in a variety of situations, it shines especially well in casual settings, such as sporting events and lunch with friends. And because they are often light and airy, aromatic colognes are great for spring and summer wear. If you’re looking for a subtle, spicy, and masculine fragrance, why not try an aromatic cologne? Our Pick: Paco Rabanne Pour Homme by Paco Rabanne

Aquatic Cologne – Sometimes referred to as oceanic or ozonic, aquatic cologne captures the scent of a day at the beach in a bottle. Aquatic cologne is characterized by fresh, clean, and crisp scents that are reminiscent of the ocean or a hard summer rain. Key notes include calone, a synthetic sea breeze scent, as well as salty scents like driftwood and oakmoss. Aquatic colognes often incorporate citrus and floral notes as well, giving them a light, fresh scent that’s perfect for summertime. While aquatic scents have unisex appeal, most are designed with men in mind. If you love the beach or the smell of fresh rain, aquatic cologne may be the perfect fit for you! Our Pick: Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani

In addition to these popular men’s cologne scent families, you may also come across others, including green, fougere, fruity, and floral. No matter what type of cologne you choose, be sure that it works well with your body chemistry and that you and the people you spend the most time around find it pleasant. Men with long term partners or families may find it helpful to bring loved ones along shopping to ensure that everyone is pleased with the scent. Plus, when searching for the perfect cologne for you, it is always helpful to have a second opinion from someone you trust!

How To Use Cologne

Applying cologne may be considered an art, but it’s also a lot simpler than you might think. Cologne is designed to react with your skin, so experts advise spritzing it directly onto your skin. Right after a shower is an ideal time. Experts say you should focus on your pulse points – your neck, behind your ears, and both your wrists – since these are likely to emanate heat and may help your cologne diffuse better. While it isn’t technically a pulse point, many experts also advocate spraying the center of your chest, so that your fragrance will naturally waft up. While some men like to spray their cologne directly on their clothes, it is important to use caution, because the oils and alcohols in some colognes may damage certain fabrics. Others prefer to spritz the air once or twice and walk through the cloud of fragrance, as they feel it helps their cologne distribute itself more evenly. Everyone has their own preferred method of applying cologne that works best for them. The trick is to find yours – and to ensure that you don’t overdo it, since no one likes overpowering fragrance!

How Long Does Cologne Last?

Like most fragrances, cologne lasts about 3 – 5 years before you really need to replace it. Signs of a cologne gone bad include discoloration of the liquid and an altered scent. If your cologne includes citrus oils or lacks preservatives, you can expect it to expire much sooner than average. But outside of these limits, there are things you can do to improve the shelf life – and even how long your cologne lingers throughout the day. Taking good care of the bottle and applying cologne properly can go a long way! Above all, be sure to store your cologne in a cool, dry place. Consider keeping the bottle in a nightstand or dresser drawer instead of your bathroom cabinet. Be especially careful to avoid exposing the bottle to any heat sources, from sunlight to your radiator. Experts say that doing this will help your cologne stay fresh and usable for much longer than it would otherwise.

How To Make Cologne Last Longer

But what about making your cologne last longer throughout the day? Just like proper storage can help your cologne stay fresh longer, proper application can help your scent linger longer during the day. Experts say that when it comes to applying your cologne, it’s best to do so post-shower, when your pores are open and more able to absorb the fragrance. It may also help to apply a moisturizer just before spritzing your cologne. The moisturizer may help your skin absorb your cologne more effectively, and is especially useful if you live in climate where dry skin is a common issue. You’ll also want to consider the type of fragrance you’re choosing.

Don’t be fooled by confusing terminology. While people typically use the term cologne to refer to any men’s fragrance, the fragrance industry operates a little differently. In fact, the different terms you see on fragrance bottles, such as eau de cologne, eau de toilette, and eau de parfum actually correspond to oil concentration. The higher the oil concentration, the longer your scent is likely to last throughout the day. If you want a long lasting cologne, focus on products labelled as parfum, as these types are the most highly concentrated, with an oil content of 15 – 20% for eau de parfum, and 20 – 30% for parfum fragrances. Products labelled as eau de cologne (and remember, this is different from the colloquial usage of the term as a catch all that refers to men’s fragrances) is a mere 2 – 4% that likely won’t last you more than a few hours before you’ll need to reapply. 

Body Spray vs Cologne

Body spray is inexpensive and contains a very low concentration of fragrance oils (usually around 1 –3%). Body spray scents tend to be lighter and will usually fade more quickly than cologne or perfume. Cologne in the general sense refers to men’s fragrance made from a concentration of aromatic oils paired with alcohol, water, or carrier oils. The fragrance oils used in cologne are usually expensive to produce and fairly potent. Eau de cologne carries a lower oil concentration than parfum or eau de parfum, but still contains more than body sprays. Cologne is a longer lasting choice than body sprays, which may need to be reapplied often. Men’s cologne is also seen as a more sophisticated choice than body spray for men, making it ideal for important situations like dates or meetings. However, the debate of body spray vs cologne really comes down to your own personal preference. And no matter what type of fragrance you choose to use, be sure to pick a scent that works well with your body chemistry and avoid over-applying it!

Where To Buy Cologne

If you are looking to buy cologne online, look no further than your trusted neighborhood retailer, CVS! We have a huge variety of men’s colognes to choose from. Shop top men’s cologne brands to find your favorite scent. Then ship it straight to your home or office! Prefer to shop in person? Many of our stores offer men’s cologne – simply check availability online or call your local store to find out what they carry. If you are looking for a good smelling cologne at an even better price, then check out our men’s cologne selection today!

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