How To Wear And Buy The Best Men’s Cologne
Chances are you’ve caught whiff of that distinctive Old Spice aftershave scent in the wind, and had it bring back some past memories. Perhaps it was your fathers or grandfather’s, or maybe you remember something else like the scent of leather in a car you rode in for years. Whichever it may be, it’s that power of fragrance which triggers one of our five senses.
While our sense of smell might not be as well developed as the other four body senses, it still deserves some recognition. In fact, our sense of smell is the only sense that’s directly hardwired onto our brain. Not to mention it’s so strong it can actually alter a massive list of things including: Our brain chemistry, mood, sleep, confidence, and our physical and cognitive performance.
There’s a ton of research already out there, here’s one study that puts things into perspective. Researchers took oils from sandalwood and frankincense and were able to examine its effect in increasing the brains oxygen levels by 28 percent. Yet what that equates to is a dramatic change in emotions, learning and attitude.
Plus when it comes to fragrance having an effect on our memory, which is often the most notable, here’s how it works. When you get that first drift of scent up your nose, you start to form nerve connections. These nerve connections in the brain link together scents with emotions. Since both smell and emotion reside in limbic system of our brain, they both operate together on the same network. Not to mention there’s another part of the brain called the hippocampus which is also located in the limbic system. What makes this part so unique is that it plays the role of forming new memories in our brain.
1/ Why Do Men Wear Cologne And What Is It?
For men cologne is simply another fashion accessory, yet it’s one that’s unknown to the eye. And while it might appear invisible, it creates an aura around us to clarify our own personal style. These scents create attraction and mystery as we often force ourselves to discover certain smells and indulge in more.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the effect is almost universally the same as with women. Chances are you’ve had women walk up to you in the past and give you some form of compliment on your cologne choice. However if you consider that the medium of cologne is a market largely dominated by women, wearing the right cologne as a man can create a strong appeal. Not to mention, when men wear pleasant fragrances it creates an enjoyable experience that women can also share and take part in.
Yet there’s more to it than just having a distinctive scent that makes people gravitate towards you. The right fragrance will rebrand you as a person as you gain a sense of enjoyment from wearing it. You’ll develop feelings of confidence and strength, similar to the emotions you get when you’re playing with a great hand of cards.
Consider that when you’re playing cards no one can see what you have, however you know what you’re holding, and in this case it’s a strong hand. In return you feel confident, powerful and a winner by all means, even if no one at the table can recognize it from solely what they see from your outer appearance.
2/ Understanding Men’s Cologne And The Differences
With so many choices out there how do you pick the right men’s cologne, or even one that suits you? Shopping at the store might give you a ton of new options; however what you’ll often find is there’s never a fragrance counter just for men. So while you begin your hunt to chase down some samples, let’s talk about what makes each man’s fragrance different. Keep in mind aside from the initial smell, there’s actually quite a bit more to it.
|Cologne Composition: For starters there’s the composition of a men’s cologne. You might have come across the word “notes” in the past such as “sandalwood or bergamot”. Or perhaps you’ve heard the word Gourmand in the past, which refers to scents with food-based notes. Things like mint, cherry, coffee, vanilla, and even chocolate can certainly all be notes that taste edible. Yet what these notes refer to the distinctive breakdown of what is actually smelled within a fragrance, and it happens in three stages. First there’s the top note, followed by the middle note, and finally the base note. The top note which is often the most notable, tends to last anywhere from a couple of minutes to as along as a half hour. Once the top note fades the middle notes take over the spotlight, and rightfully so as they stick around for the longest period. Yet once the middle notes dissipate you’ll be left with the base notes, which are light but cease the cologne’s projection.|
|Cologne Longevity: The oil content determines how long the cologne will last, or otherwise known as the longevity. With Eau de Toilette blends or EDTs, you’ll find these don’t last as long due to their typically 4% to 10% make up of perfume oil. On the hand if you opt for an EDP or Eau de perfume it will last longer thanks to it having 8% to 15% perfume oil.|
|Cologne Projection: The term projection can be summarized as how far the cologne travels, or how far you can walk away from the bar, and still have the woman at the stool sense it. However keep in mind, while you might not be able to smell it anymore, it does not mean she can’t. Yet we’re bringing this up briefly, because Olfactory Fatigue is your nose getting accustomed to the scent, but it doesn’t mean the strength has vanished.|
|Cologne Strength: Some fragrances are very light and remain near the skin, while others project extremely well. With heavy colognes you’ll find yourself needing at the very most one or two sprays. But on the other hand if you have chosen a lighter cologne you’ll want to be more liberal with two of three sprays. However in the end just remember that a handful of sprays may knock out the people around you. So start small, work your way up, and always keep in mind that cologne is something you should experiment with.|
3/ How To Try On, Shop And Buy Fragrances
Most people are overwhelmed by the number of choices when it comes to men’s cologne; however we like to think about it in a different angle. Sure there are thousands of fragrances and scents to smell, but perhaps that’s what makes the art of wearing cologne a great hobby. There’s always something to new to discover and fall in love with.
|The Best Men’s Cologne: Before you head on out and start adding new fragrances to your cologne shelf, make sure you check out our own handpicked collection. We covered the best men’s cologne for 2013, and sniffed our way into selection 15 top picks.|
You’ll also need to know where to shop. The most common problem you’ll run into when buying men’s cologne is shopping for a niche versus designer choice. What you’ll often find is that designer colognes can be found at any retail store, and in return are usually more popular. On the other hand niche colognes tend to be harder to track down, and when you do run across them, their typically only for sale online or at boutiques.
Let’s assume you’re keeping your search within the range of the local department store or mall for the moment. For starters, you might be curious to try every fragrance within sight on, yet it’s best to limit this to four, although two would be our ideal recommendation. Remember you can always take home seven samples, and try them each on for everyday of the week.
Keep in mind if you leave with those tester paper cards you’re only going to smell the top notes of the fragrance. And since it’s not being applied to the bodies’ skin, you’re not going to have the real impression you’d have from actually wearing it.
If perhaps you’re interested in walking away and taking a $150 bottle of cologne home, there are a few tips to make it a safe decision. Once you’ve narrowed it down to two fragrances you’d like to wear, simply spray each one on the wrist and inner elbow. Proceed to refresh your palate while in between taking whiffs of different colognes. Typically you’ll want to use an unscented skin surface, or simply smelling some fresh air.
We’ve seen others recommending coffee beans, which are often provided, however the problem is that scent of coffee can get trapped inside of your nose. Not to mention, how often do you think they change out the coffee beans for fresh ones at the fragrance counter? It’s not as frequent as you’d like to think. However moving on down the line, you’ll want to walk around the store and take a moment to indulge in the scent at random times. Usually this falls under the one minute, five minute, thirty minute, and one hour marks.
4/ How To Apply And Wear Cologne For Men
So you’ve got your favorite fragrances picked out, but how do you wear them properly? Everyone knows there’s a fine line between over doing it and not using enough. And no matter how much you may fall in love with your cologne’s scent, the other people in room might not share the same enthusiasm. Remember that wearing cologne is just like the business world, you start slowly and work your way up to the perfect job, or in the case the perfect amount. However let’s get started with a few simple tips so you can master the art of applying cologne.
|Where To Apply Cologne: You’ll want to apply cologne anywhere where the body produces the most heat. Areas such as the wrist, chest, neck, behind the ears, inner elbows, etc all have the most sweat glands which makes them ideal locations. Yet it is always best to simply apply cologne on the wrists and neck, because typically two or three points are more than enough. If you personally prefer it, you can apply it directly to your chest.|
|How To Spray Cologne: Ever see someone spray cologne in front of them and then walk through the mist? Please don’t ever do that, as it will only fall onto the ground and the amount that gets left behind on your hair and clothes is marginal. Yet while it may technically last longer if it’s applied directly to your clothes, you’re going to run into two issues. First there’s the chance of staining your clothes, and secondly it’s not being applied to the bodies’ skin, which makes it similar to keeping a paper tester card in your pocket. Instead spray it directly on your skin while keeping a distance of 3 to 6 inches away. While spraying also try to avoid “splashing”, it’s one of the worst ways to overdo it, and could make those feel the need to run away. Just simply glide your index finger over the bottle’s opening, press into it gently and you’re set.|
|Cologne Best Practices: One helpful piece of advice we’ve always liked is to gently rub your wrists together after spraying. Then move your wrists up to your neck and lightly dab them into the jaw. But remember if you create friction while rubbing it will cause evaporation, which can ruin the experience, so keep it light. In the same regard, if you’re just hopping out of the shower keep in mind that the water will also play a factor in affecting the oils on your skin. So it’s always best to apply it to a dry area on the body. And speaking of the shower, since there are so many shampoos and shower gels out there, make sure you choose one that doesn’t mask the cologne’s scent. The same thing goes with deodorants and aftershaves, so choose your combinations wisely.|
5/ Picking The Right Scent For The Right Occasion
Before we talk about wearing the right cologne per each season, let’s first briefly discuss how to choose a men’s cologne for certain occasions. Because perhaps a spicy and sexy cologne might be perfect for that night out, however it’s certainly one you wouldn’t want to wear in the office. As a general rule for the evening, weekends and when you head out on dates aim for a fragrance that’s sensual, mossy, or oriental. In return for everyday uses, try to find cologne that’s light yet still refreshing such as citrus or lavender. However perhaps you’re looking for a few examples, no problems we’ve got you’ve covered.
6/ The Best Men’s Cologne For Office And Business Meetings
Your goal is to be the leader, and if you can look the part, well you’ve got the first base covered. But how about smelling like one? Consider the barbershop, it’s a place of camaraderie and power among men and what often comes to mind is lavender. You’re going to want to use a fragrance that’s based on nature, things like water, wood, and plants are excellent choices.
The perfect men’s cologne for the office will going right along with a relaxed or aggressive appearance, making it a win-win for all office situations. However if in the chance you’re a on-the-go traveler often found looking out of the airplane window, you’ll want to choose a scent everyone can agree on. Perhaps the most neutral and pleasing scent to most people traveling along side you, would be a light citrus.
And as a bonus if you read our scientific report earlier on, you’ll have read about scents being able to increase oxygen levels for better mental and critical thinking. Which is why we recommend trying to add something with a mint note, it will keep you energized and focused.
|Notes To Put Your Nose On: Lavender, cedar wood, grey amber, sandalwood, nutmeg, cypress, basil, grapefruit, rose, lotus, patchouli, cardamom, and mint.|
7/ The Best Men’s Cologne For The Bar, Nightclubs And Date Nights
Now assuming your personal favorite is one you don’t wear to the office or to the gym, go ahead and wear it. Chances are if you’re curious to see a woman you meet a second time, you’ll want her to be around your signature scent. Too many men’s magazines talk about having this ultra-sexy fragrance that will somehow magically lure any woman your way. Sure it helps, but let’s face it personality, charm, and being a real, powerful, and confident guy are still the number one way to close women.
With that said, there’s no harm in creating curiosity and attraction with women through you cologne. You’ll want something sweet, masculine, and spicy. For the sweet aspect look for colognes with notes like citrus, cocoa, or honey. Now move onto the wooden notes, you’ll want a musky scent that’s both manly and pleasing. And finally there are the spicy notes which we classify as being more or less just interesting, and within the oriental family like spice or vanilla. However keep in mind, whatever you plan on wearing should be strong enough to get past all of the smoke, booze and sweat in the air.
|Notes To Put Your Nose On: Sandalwood, cedar wood, white pepper, cloves, anise, juniper, musk fine lavender, ginger, nutmeg, mandarin leaves, peppermint, fig wood, pear, vanilla, cold spices, pear, citrus, and amber.|
8/ The Best Men’s Cologne For The Gym And Sports
Chances are if you’re pumping iron with friends, the only thing you should be worrying about it adding a decent aromatic boost. There’s no need to fine tune what you wear, in fact deodorant body sprays work well enough. However in the event you’re going directly to the bar afterwards to grab a drink, you can always choose to go with a citrus or an oceanic scent. Yet if perhaps you still want to fragrance that can keep up while you play sports, you’ll want to find something on the lighter side, that’s crisp, fresh, energizing and invigorating.
|Notes To Put Your Nose On: Lemon, tonka, lime, orange, mint, marine, coriander, cedar wood, bergamot, grapefruit, neroli, atlas cedar, ginger, sea water, juniper berries, and white musk.|
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
With cellphones so ubiquitous, your watch choice can be less about telling time and more about personal style. However, a watch is not ‘just’ a watch. For example, the vast majority are made for right-handed people, but a select few cater to the lefties among us. There is a wide range in functionality and size.
The wristwatch is also one of the few socially acceptable accessories for men, so why not have a small selection? If you’re not cashing a CEO’s paycheck just yet, here are the top 28 most handsome watches for men that retail for under $500.
Got a bigger budget? Then check out our guide to the best men’s watches under $1000 instead.
Top 29 Best Watches Under $500 For Men
1. Tommy Hilfiger Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
If you like the feel of a pliable, non-metal band but aren’t comfortable with genuine leather, this watch comes equipped with a handsome synthetic band. At 46mm in diameter, this watch is perfect for men of smaller stature, as it will not overpower your hand or make it look like you’re wearing your father’s watch. With bold Arabic numerals, a stainless steel case, and classic styling, this watch is an outstanding choice for an everyday watch and the man on a budget.
2. Nordgreen Pioneer – Black Dial
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Not everyone has an endless amount of cash to drop on a luxury timepiece. If you’re money-conscious but want something high-end, then why not consider the Nordgreen Pioneer.
An inspired take on a classic Chronograph, Nordgreen celebrates the Danish with what they call a timepiece “that captures the sustainable future.” Available in various dial colors from blue, black, and white. There’s even the choice of three case colors – gunmetal, silver, and rose gold. A perfect addition to the collection of any watch enthusiast.
3. Fossil Grant Brown Leather WatchCheck Price
This lovely offering by Fossil features slim Roman numeral hour markers and delicate cut-out hands. The casing is stainless steel and is water-resistant to 165 feet, making it a great dive watch. The band is made of supple, soft calfskin leather and uses a buckle closure.
Of course, this timepiece also comes with the generous 11-year warranty and it’s own fun tin. This watch oozes class and is great for nearly every occasion in your life.
4. Citizen Sport Stainless Steel Men’s Watch With Brown Leather Band
If you don’t want to deal with changing out a battery in a digital watch, this watch is powered by either natural or indoor lighting. The mineral crystal face and stainless steel case make this watch water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for swimmers and snorkelers.
Handsome and utilitarian, this is a great watch for everyday wear. It’s one of the best watches for men who are always on the go.
5. Fossil Men’s Machine Chronograph Silicone Watch
This watch was designed with the active man in mind. The knurled silicone band stands up to sweat and oils without issue, and the timepiece itself is water-resistant to 165 feet.
The patterned bezel and quality craftsmanship of the black dial is excellent, as is to be expected from a Fossil watch. It even comes in the iconic and collectible tin!
6. Citizen Men’s Eco-Drive Watch
This men’s watch features Japanese quartz movement that charges itself indoors or out when exposed to light, making it a great choice for those who don’t want to change out the battery too often. The stitched canvas strap is soft against your skin and will wick away moisture, while the mineral crystal face stands up to the rigors of your everyday life.
Water-resistant to 330 feet, this dive watch is a classic and simple design you’ll be proud of for years to come.
7. Invicta Pro Diver Chronograph Men’s Watch
Another gorgeous offering by Invicta, this watch features a bold design with a slightly nautical feel to it. It will look at home whether you’re wearing a business suit or are going for a dive of less than 660 feet. This piece is also covered by a one-year warranty as a matter of course. The luminosity feature and magnified date window make it a great choice if you work or play in low light.
If you want something that looks like a Tag Heuer but without the luxury watch brand price tag, this is a good option!
8. Casio Edifice Multi-Function Men’s Watch
This watch has three sub-dials for 12 hour, 60 minute and 60-second displays, in addition to the standard time. It also features a fold-over, push-down clasp on the stainless strap, keeping it secure throughout your activities. If you’re looking for a classy timepiece that shrieks sophistication, this is a great choice.
9. Fossil Machine Three Hand Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This quality watch is a chameleon piece. It looks at home as a dress watch riding below the cuff of your best suit, and it also looks great paired with jeans and a t-shirt. Backed by Fossil’s 11-year warranty as a matter of course and beautifully crafted, this smoke-colored piece is guaranteed to become the go-to accessory for nearly every occasion.
10. MVMT Watches Black Face Men’s Watch
If you like the look of a simple watch, this minimalist offering from MVMT is right up your alley. With just a plain black face, tick marks to denote the hours and a single date window, there is nothing overdone or extravagant about this design. The is understated and suited to the simple design. It’s definitely a classy, low-key piece for the budget-conscious.
11. Timex Weekender Watch
If you’re looking for a fun watch to pair with casual outfits, this is a great option. The band is blue and yellow woven nylon, and the face features both civilian and military timekeeping. An Indiglo night light is also included. This watch is water-resistant to 99 feet, meaning it can withstand splashes of water or exposure to rain but you won’t want to submerge it.
12. PUMA Ultrasize Black Sport Men’s Watch
Boasting a 50mm diameter, this piece is perfect for the large-framed man or one who likes to wear his accessories oversized. A true fashion statement, this sports watch comes in eight different colors schemes to match your favorite hues.
Do be aware, however, that the dial knob is configure for left-handed men!
13. Timex Easy Reader Men’s Watch
Another dress watch designed with the older gentleman in mind, this watch features a white dial with generously sized numerals that do not appear comical to the casual observer.
It’s also an excellent choice if you take your contacts out at night and still want to be able to check the time. With classic lines and a simple white face, the watch would not be out of place at any casual gathering. It comes with Timex’s one-year warranty at no additional charge.
14. Fossil Nate Men’s Chronograph Watch
For men who like a more gritty, industrial feel to their accessories, this Fossil watch is right on point. The bezel is gear-edged and the face is utilitarian black and gray. Water-resistant to 165 feet, this watch is a great choice if you like your adornments to be understated yet add visual interest.
It’s definitely a stand-out piece, for those who would take notice!
15. Timex Expedition Field Chronograph Men’s Watch
Featuring an indigo night light, tachymeter, a date window and a buckle closure, this watch is perfect for men who like to work or play outdoors. It is also water-resistant to 330 feet, making it a great choice for snorkeling or swimming.
You won’t want to wear it for diving, however. With classic, black styling and a genuine crystal face, this is a timepiece that will stand the test of time in both form and function.
16. Seiko 5 Automatic Stainless Steel Men’s Watch
This Seiko automatic watch has all the bells and whistles you need, but presents it all in a plain and strikingly attractive manner. It features a date window in either English or Spanish, sword-shaped hands, a sweeping second hand and a mineral dial window. This is a great option for the man on the go. The canvas strap can be removed and hand-washed if sweat or other odors become an issue.
This watch is not water-resistant, so you’ll only want to wear it when you won’t be popping by the pool for a swim!
17. Invicta Pro Diver Collection Silver-Tone Men’s Watch
For those who prefer an all-metal timepiece, the stainless steel Invicta fits the bill nicely. It has a similar aesthetic to a Tag Heuer watch, but at a more affordable price. Equipped with a unilateral bezel and removable links, the band can be customized to fit your wrist perfectly. The face is flame fusion crystal and features a magnifier to highlight the date window.
It’s also water-resistant to 660 feet. If you’re looking for a gorgeous watch that stands up to an active lifestyle, this is an excellent choice.
18. Seiko Men’s Adventure-Solar Classic Casual Watch
This Seiko watch derives its power from either natural or indoor light and can withstand water depths of up to 330 feet. The supple brown leather strap and timeless brushed steel give this piece an attractive look, and the alarm chronograph is easy to set.
If you’re looking for a watch that can serve as a backup for your wake-up call while traveling, stand up to the elements and look awesome, this casual wrist watch is a winner.
19. Nautica Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Blue Resin Band
Featuring a plethora of options and a smart, snappy style, this a great casual watch with a eye-catching blue dial. The hardy resin band is adjustable, and the face is protected by a mineral window. Whether for work or play, this bold blue design is handsome and substantial on the wrist. It comes with Nautica’s five-year warranty at no additional charge.
20. Citizen Sport Men’s Stainless Steel Watch with Black Leather Band
The black, red and white face of this piece eschews the traditional two-tone color scheme so often employed in other watches, and the contrasting stitching on the band adds creative flair. It comes backed by Citizen’s five-year warranty and will compliment any casual outfit.
21. Alessi Tic15 Analog Display Analog Quartz Black Men’s Watch
Another not-quite-round offering on our list, the curved square casing of this piece gives it instant visual appeal. Sleek and clean, this unfussy design will be a compliment to almost any occasion. It has quartz movement and is water-resistant to 99 feet, making it a great choice for everyday wear.
22. Invicta 1517 I Force Collection Watch
Another on our list designed for left-handed men, this watch is something special. Water-resistant to 330 feet and featuring oversize stenciled numbers and a sub dial, this watch is great for any casual outfit. The cloth band is extremely durable and stands up to dirt, sweat and grime.
If you lead an active lifestyle, this watch will be right at home in your collection.
23. TRIWA Blue Steel Nevil Canvas Watch
This watch comes in a whopping 14 color variations, all of them beautiful. You may decide to add more than one to your collection!
Designed in Sweden, this watch features Japanese quartz movement, a stainless steel casing and a strap made from Tärnsjö organic leather. TRIWA, which stands for Transforming the Industry of Watches, believes in the artistry of fine jewelry and it shows in their product.
24. Victorinox Swiss Army Alliance Watch
Another fine dress watch from the makers of the Swiss Army knife, this watch is emblazoned with the internally recognized cross and shield emblem. It has no sub-dials, tachymeter or other add-ons to detract from its simple and appealing style.
This watch will be at home with all but the most formal of outfits and carries a two-year warranty.
25. Ingersoll Automatic Stainless Steel Bull Run Watch
Again, Ingersoll remakes the classics and brings them into the present day. With a highly polished stainless steel casing, two sub-dials, a date aperture and arrow-shaped hands, this quartz watch is beautiful.
The band features contrasting stitching on the fine-grain leather, adding depth and detail to the workmanship. This watch will compliment any casual occasion and can be relied upon for years to come.
26. Tissot Quickster Chronograph Black Leather Men’s Watch
Made with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and Swiss automatic movement, this watch is a smart and utilitarian choice. If you’re looking for a solid Swiss watch that isn’t flashy, this is an excellent option. It’s also guaranteed for two years.
27. Seiko Sport Solar Men’s Beige Watch
Are you getting tired of squinting down at your watch or holding it closer and closer to your face? Don’t worry, we all get a bit nearsighted with age, especially over the age of 40.
If you’re not quite ready for reading glasses or a comically huge watch, this is a great choice from Seiko. The numerals, indices and luminous hands stand out in stark white against a black background, and the numerals are generous in size. It’s a perfect casual watch for the older gentleman.
28. Seiko Men’s 5 Watch Blue Canvas Band
This simple and affordable watch has a clean, crisp aesthetic to it and doesn’t bog down its design with a ton of bells and whistles. It’s time and date, end of.
If you want a watch for casual wear, this Seiko is a shoo-in. The band is forgiving and comfortable against your wrist, and it’s blue color will likely compliment your existing wardrobe. The price is also extremely affordable.
29. Tommy Hilfiger Men’s Stainless Steel Watch With Brown Leather Band
Featuring the Hilfiger logo at the three o’clock position, this wrist watch is a statement piece. It is a bright, shiny stainless steel work of art that you’ll be proud to wear at all but the most stuffy of workplaces. The calfskin leather band uses a buckle closure and the date window is beside the logo at three o’clock.
If you’re a fan of Tommy clothing, cologne or luggage, you can complete your look with this stunning accessory.