The scent of a man

Modern colognes add to the way you present yourself. You should have more than one scent to call upon, writes Vijay Bose

Choose the right scent for the right occasion.
Choose the right scent for the right occasion. ó Photo by Pradeep Tiwari

Let us agree that the word cologne does not convey much to most of Indian men. At the very best it brings in memory of those small bottles of eau de cologne, commercially made by the different pharmaceutical companies and priced at less that Rs 30 per ounce. This is mostly dabbed on the shirt collars and hands by men rushing out for weddings and other social functions. But to compare this cologne with the elite cologne costing hundreds of rupees, used by metrosexual men in the metros, would be like comparing rosewater with attar of roses.

Cologne deodorant and perfume are all alcoholic solutions of fragrance oils but differ in the percentage of oil and the grade of alcohol (percentage of alcohol to water).

A personís occupation mostly dictates the cologne that he wears. It is rarely that you run across a group of construction workers oozing the aroma of a designer fragrance. Those people that come into contact with other people during their job usually wear fragrance. Maybe it is part of how they present themselves to other business people. The truth is modern colognes enhance your sartorial decisions and add dimension to the way you present yourself to the world. Therefore, just as you have more than one pair of shoes, you should have more than one scent to call upon.

Most men make the mistake of thinking they need to choose a single scent for themselves. There are literally hundreds of varieties, and all important masculine cologne brands are classified as sharp and spicy. Besides, there are dozens of types such as lavender, amber citrus, spicy berries and sandalwood. It is important to know that every cologne smells different on every person. The way a scent takes to your body and your skin is a question of chemistry, and has to do with the chemical reaction between you and the particular fragrance. Never assume that what smells good on everyone else will smell good on you. While your friend smells great in the latest Calvin Klein menís cologne, it could make you smell more like a gym locker.

Cologne can be your best friend or your worst enemy. Thatís why, itís always important to try cologne before purchasing it. Just as you would never buy a pair of shoes before trying them, the same goes for your cologne.

Knowing cologne basics so that you choose the right scent for the right occasion is, perhaps, the most underrated of skills. If you choose wisely and apply sparingly, only a few people will know and appreciate your olfactory considerations. Choose poorly and apply liberally and youíll saunter through the day leaving expensive contrails of eau de too much behind you, as others hold their breath.

Go to the cologne shop and spray different types of cologne on a card. Do this if you intend on trying out a bunch of different ones. If you try them all on your arm, by the time you get on to the fourth cologne, your arms and wrists will be drenched by the other scents. You wonít get a good idea of the right fragrance unless you put each one on different cards or pieces of paper.

Smell the different cards and evaluate which cologne you like, and which ones smell more like a bug repellent. Start eliminating the ones you really donít like. After having sniffed and smelled all the colognes you are interested inóor until you feel faint, whichever comes firstótake a breather and walk around the shopping centre or outside the store for a while. You want to give your nose a little bit of a rest so that your sense of smell is rejuvenated before returning to the store to make your final purchase.

Many men prefer to use the aftershave as cologne. The cologne goes on your chest, neck (or you can apply the aftershave there, too) and some men will put the cologne on their wrists or some on the back of their hands so that when they shake hands the fragrance is there.

Find what works with your chemistry as far as spraying is concerned. Start small and then work your way up. The key is not to overpower those around you with the fragrance. It is to be worn for you and for those that you have in your personal space, not the entire office or elevator to enjoy.

Why does one cologne last all day, and another doesnít? This one depends mainly on the acidity of your skin, but the amount of oils used in a fragrance is crucial. Some peopleís skin just destroys anything you put on it, and others will hold the lightest cologne all day. This has to do specifically with how oily, dry or acidic your skin is.

Those with dry skins tend to lose fragrance fairly quickly because thereís not a whole lot of moisture to help keep the cologne locked in. Conversely, oily skin will tend to hold the fragrance much longer, because its the oil in a fragrance that makes it last. So if your skin has a lot of oil, it will work with the fragrance to keep it locked in.ó MF