Tips for Choosing and Wearing Mens Cologne

by suranee69

Read about the history and tips on how to choose and wear mens colognes.

Men have been using fragrances since ancient times to smell good from herbs and spices to essential oils. It was not uncommon for men of ancient Rome and Greece to bathe themselves in baths which had flowers, scented oils and herbs added to it. Lavender, rose petals and jasmine were popular flowers used including scented oils made from myrtle and patchouli.

The first cologne was claimed to have been made around the early 1700's. But history gives two different accounts on who was its actual inventor.

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Who Invented Cologne?

In one story a man named Giovanni Maria Farina of Italian descent who lived in Köln, Germany is said to have created the first cologne in 1709. He named it ‘Eau de Cologne’ (water from Cologne) after the city of Köln in which he was living.

Giovanni is said to have used a variety of citrus oils and flowers of lavender and jasmine including herbs such as rosemary and thyme in making the cologne. It was mainly the rich who were able to afford it and even the great Napoleon is said to have used it.

*Giovanni Maria Farina's 'germanized' name was Johann Maria Farina.

Another story reveals it was actually Giovanni’s uncle Gian Paolo Feminis who first invented cologne for men.

The story goes that Feminis left Italy and settled down in Germany where he worked as a barber. Soon after he invented eau de cologne made from a combination of ‘grape spirits’ and oils taken from lavender, rosemary, neroli and bergamot. He named the cologne ‘Aqua Admirabilis’ and released it in 1709.

The new invention became such a hit Feminis was unable to keep up with the demand from customers and had to hire his nephew Giovanni Maria Farina from Italy to help with production.

Nearly 3 decades later in 1732 Giovanni is said to have taken over his uncle’s business and began selling eau de cologne as a remedy for stomach ailments and ‘bleeding gums.’

What are Fragrance Notes?

Cologne is made up of fragrance notes.

Notes are layers of scent which are made up of oils taken from herbs, flowers, fruits and woods.

Notes are divided into 3 types: top notes, middle notes (also known as heart notes) and base notes.

  • Top notes - Known as the ‘opening notes’ of the fragrance since it’s the first smell released when the cologne touches the skin. The smell lasts for a short while and is made from citruses like lemon, mandarin and bergamot.
  • Middle Notes – also called ‘heart notes’ is the fragrance present once the top notes fade away. Middle notes lasts longer than the top notes and are composed of floral oils like geranium, rose, lemongrass, ylang ylang, lavender, coriander, nutmeg, neroli and jasmine.
  • Base notes – Once the scents from the middle notes disappear the base notes take over. Base notes last the longest and is made up of rich and strong scents release from wood accords like cedar wood, sandalwood, amber, patchouli, oak moss and musk.


How to Choose a Cologne

Choose a cologne which fits the occasion.

For example, for daytime wear pick a fragrance which does not give out a strong scent. We tend to be more active during the day and are susceptible to sweating more often. When sweat mixes with cologne it can give out an overpowering smell especially if the cologne is a heavy scented one.

According to Michael Edward's fragrance wheel (1983) floral notes and fresh notes give out light to medium fragrances.

Colognes having fragrances listed under the floral and fresh notes would be ideal for daytime wear.

Colognes with fragrances listed under oriental and woody notes tend to give out strong and powerful scents and would be a good choice for night time wear.

How to Wear Cologne

  • Apply cologne on the ‘pulse point’ areas of the body: wrists, chest and neck. The heat released from the pulse beats help to activate the scents from the cologne.
  • Apply cologne on moist skin as it will last longer. Scents tend to die out faster when applied on dry skin.
  • Use cologne sparingly. Applying too much will give out an overpowering smell.
Updated: 12/23/2012, suranee69
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