The Male Stylist’s Aftershave Guide: Common Mistakes, Tips & Advice

The Male Stylist: Aftershave Guide

Men’s fragrance is a tricky topic to navigate, there’s a whole host of different ingredients, types of scent, language and common problems men face when finding a new aftershave which can often lead to disaster without the right kind of knowledge. So I’ve put together a few tips to help you get to grips with how to find a great signature scent, style it the right way and avoid some of the most common pitfalls. That way you can make the most of your fragrance and ensure you hit the right tone every time.

1. Do Your Research

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The first thing to do when you’re finding a fragrance is make sure you get to grips with the details of what you’re looking for. If you can, find a fragrance that a friend or colleague wears that you like and get the name of it. Then search for it on Fragrantica, this is a great website that breaks down the individual ingredients of fragrances and collates similar scents together so you can get a better idea of what elements you like in you aftershave.

If you don’t want to buy the same fragrance as your friend/colleague, the site shows similar fragrances alongside facts like longevity, types of smells and the individual notes as well as consumer reviews for you to get an idea of how well people receive the scent. Getting a feel for what you like will give you a great foundation of knowledge to build on later as you begin to experiment and find new scents to enjoy.

2. Work With Your Age, Not Against It

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Guys, we’re all getting older. It’s a harsh truth but one we all have to live with and, with that in mind, it’s time to get rid of that aftershave you’ve been wearing since you were 17. You’re not the same man you were back then and your scent should be a reflection of who you are. With that in mind, look for fragrances that work with your character and personal style. Are you sporty and energetic? Perhaps more subdued and quiet? Or maybe you consider yourself a rugged man of the outdoors? Regardless of who you are, there will be a scent that matches who you are as an individual.

3. In Application, Location is Everything

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When applying cologne or aftershave, knowing where to apply it can help increase its longevity and ensure you have a fragrance that lasts the entire day, rather than simply a few hours. By applying it to areas where there is increased blood flow near the skin, you ensure you have a constant source of low level heat, which keeps the cologne’s evaporation rate stable thus releasing more of the scent for longer.

Some of the best areas to apply it are below:

  • Chest – Centre of the rib cage, commonly called the “sternum”
  • Lower neck
  • Forearms/Wrists

You can also spray  a little onto your hair as I find, when brushed/combed through, it gives a much more even scent around the head area without being overpowering.

4. Less Is SO Much More

OK, I’m only going to say this once…

1-3 sprays of aftershave MAXIMUM!

I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve been on the tube, at work or on a night out and it smells like someone has been bathing in their own aftershave for the day. It is incredibly overpowering, does a disservice to the aftershave you’re wearing and, ultimately, puts people off coming and talking to you. On a slightly different note, it also means your aftershave won’t last as long which means you won’t get value for your money.

Seriously, there is no need for “liberal application” here. Instead, rely on the strength of the cologne itself and apply to 2-3 sprays at the most. One on the chest, one on the neck and one on the forearm (which you then rub together to evenly distribute the fragrance). Trust me, the people around you will thank you for a more subtle approach.

5. Variety is the Spice of Life

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It’s an old saying but here it is particularly true. It is very easy to get used to an aftershave and then get bored of it, after a few weeks you no longer smell it and so you fall out of love with your choice or try and apply more (which as I mentioned before is a disastrous idea). Instead try and have 3 or 4 different fragrances that you can swap in after a few days and develop a rotation with.

Try and have a variety of fragrance types to ensure you don’t buy similar fragrances that you can’t distinguish from one another. My advice is to have these 4 different aftershave types at any time in your collection:

  1. A fresh/citrusy cologne – good for fresh days
  2. A spicy/warm cologne – great for colder evenings and nights out
  3. A musky/classic cologne – works well with smarter looks
  4. A clean, crisp cologne – good for “cleansing the palate” when taking a break from the other fragrances

In short, don’t rely on one aftershave even if you consider it your signature scent. Make sure you have a rota of different colognes to keep you appreciating your fragrances, as well as add variety to your everyday routine.

That just about wraps up my aftershave guide, thank you for checking it out. If you have any questions or tips you would like to add, don’t hesitate to comment below and i’ll be happy to answer/discuss them. In the meantime, you can also sign-up to be notified of new posts and follow The Male Stylist activity. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for style inspiration, gentleman’s musings and general fun.

Adam Walker - The Male Stylist