Men Fragrances

What you Need to Know about Men Fragrances

What you Need to Know about Men Fragrances

We overlook how important our fragrance is in the grand scheme of things. Your smell is simply an unnoticed extension of your personality. And, like first impressions, it has the power to linger and persuade others of your presence in it all. Here is the definitive beginner’s guide to men’s scents.

Fragrances are, strictly speaking, a complicated blend of basic components. These raw materials are derived from synthetic or organic materials. The fragrant oils generated from this are then dissolved in a solvent to preserve the smell, which is typically alcohol. The stronger the aroma, the higher the oil concentration. And the strength decides how long the smell lasts once it is applied to your skin.

Scents react differently to various persons. How it smells after mingling with your natural body odour. How long it stays with you. Etc. So, while what you’re about to read is a good starting point, keep in mind that it is only that. To get it precisely right, you may need to experiment and take notes on specific elements.

In the world of grooming, there are many phrases that are bandied around. Here’s what each entails:

Different Categories of Scents

Even before you get to the scent categories – which are commonly split into ‘fragrance families’ like fugerie (fresh), woody, floral, and gourmand, which are defined by the formula’s distinct top, heart, and base notes — there are a few things to bear in mind. These are the terms you should be familiar with if you want to cut through the noise and zero in on the greatest men’s scents available.

Notes: Simply, notes are the ingredients of a fragrance and they are often the elements that sit behind the marketing of a new fragrance. Rightfully so too; if you’re not considering the notes of a fragrance, then you are aren’t doing your due diligence.

Oil Concentration :The oil-to-alcohol ratio in any given bottle is what’s going to determine just which group if falls into. As a general rule, the higher the oil concentration, the more potent the scent is, and the longer it will last on your skin. A perfume has the highest oil concentration, while an eau fraiche has the least.

Perfume: Historically, perfume had no specific gender attached to it, but throughout the years it has become more associated with something only women wear. Although that’s honestly a load of crap – if it suits you, it suits you. Note that perfumes typically contain the highest concentration of oils, ranging from around 20-30%, making them the most potent and long-lasting of fragrances with a life of about 5-8 hours, although some can last up to 24 hours.

Cologne: A cologne is typically much lower in oil concentration when compared to a perfume, sitting at around 2-4%, meaning the scent will only last for a few hours. It’s important to recognise this as it’ll dictate the optimal time to spray some on before a big event or a date. Colognes will usually last for about two hours.

Eau de Parfum: An Eau de Parfum is only slightly weaker than a perfume, with an oil concentration sitting between 15-20% of the total formula. That also means a lower concentration of alcohol, which helps with skin tolerance and can be much less grating to those around you who may be a bit hyper-sensitive to strong jolts of the ol’ olfactory bulb. Spray an Eau de Parfum on and you can reasonably expect it to last anywhere from 5-8 hours.

Eau de Toilette: Stepping down a bit in oil concentration is an Eau de Toilette, taking up only 5-15% of the formula. It’s one of the more popular types of fragrances regardless of gender. The scent peaks during the final hours of use, but the overall effect lasts for around 3 hours.

Eau Fraiche: Most aftershaves would fall into this group, seeing as Eau Fraiche denotes the lowest concentration of oils. That’s around 1-3%, with the fragrance’s top notes being so fleeting that they can fade within minutes. If you’re dabbing on some Eau Fraiche, expect the scent to wear off in about an hour. The plus side here is that your individual body chemistry – skin type, diet, hormones, sweat – has less time to interact with and alter the scent. Basically, if you’re a sweaty mess who eats burgers every day, a nice aftershave is probably the better choice as the scent, however weak, won’t give a damn that you’re a hot mess.

Top Notes: The top notes are fairly self-explanatory; they sit on the very surface of the fragrance’s profile and are sometimes referred to as ‘opening’ or ‘headnotes. Generally, these are lightest of the listed characteristics of any given fragrance, able to be perceived immediately upon application to the skin. This also means that they are the first to break down, like the front palette of a good dram of whisky, making way for the heart, or middle, notes after taking care of the first impression. Ideally, you want the top notes to be alluring enough to draw people in, before they transition to the heart notes. Typical top notes include lighter fruits like berries, orange and grapefruit, herbs like lavender, and citrus scents like lemon and bergamot.

Heart Notes: This is usually where a fragrance gets interesting, revealing the core characteristics of a profile. As such, these are the notes that should make the longest lasting impression on others, and thankfully they stick around much longer than top notes, while also strongly influencing the finishing base notes. Perfumers obviously save their biggest punch for this point in the show, which often takes the form of hybrid floral and fruit notes, with a bit of spice to keep things lively. On average, you’re looking at pleasant notes like rose, lemongrass, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon and jasmine.

Base Notes: The base notes are the final countdown before your fragrance fades, often representing the absolute death of the top notes and a somewhat inter-mingling with the heart notes. This is what is usually referred to as the drydown period, revealing rich notes like cedarwood, vanilla, amber, oakmoss and musk.

Drydown: More on that drydown period briefly mentioned above. This is when the fragrance is on its way out – the final stage of wear. The amount of time it takes for a fragrance to reach the drydown period depends on the factors listed above, as well as numerous variables that are individual to you and your environment. As such, the drydown is unique to you and tells your story. Think of it as the patina of a fragrance, telling the story of your scent’s journey from top to base.

Accord: Accord is like what happens when you mix two colours and end up with a new one. It’s simply when two or more notes are blended to create something fun and unexpected. Although it’s not too important when deciding what fragrance of the buy. Still, good to know.

Sillage Sillage refers to how a scent can linger long after the wearer is gone, representing that trail of scent that stronger fragrance’s can imprint on a space.

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Sphie Ross

Sophie Ross has written, edited, and produced beauty and fashion content for more than 3 years. She works full-time in the fashion and beauty categories as a copywriter, but she is passionate about all things related to beauty.