An Idiot's Guide to Choosing Between Cologne and Aftershave

You’ve just finished a hot, clean shave and are ready to get dressed for the big event. You may have a hot date, a wedding, or maybe even a potential life-changing job interview. But there’s a problem: you have a cut on your face from shaving and don’t know what to do. And not only that, you also want to make a positive lasting impression, but don’t know what cologne to wear. Well we’re here to make sure that you never make the wrong decision again.

What is Aftershave?

Aftershave is, you guessed it, what you put on after you shave. When you shave, you’re dragging a piece of sharp metal across very sensitive skin pulling the hairs off your face and opening your pores. If your skin is dry, your razor is dull or if you are half asleep while shaving, you can end up with red bumps and a few nicks and cuts.
Aftershaves help close the pores of your skin to improve its appearance and fight infection if you cut yourself. Some aftershaves also contain moisturizer to help replenish lost oils in your skin after shaving. Aftershaves come in liquids, gels and balms/lotions and have fewer scented oils in them compared with colognes so their scent won’t last as long. The liquids usually have the highest alcohol content, which will sting if you put it on a cut like Macaulay Culkin from “Home Alone. For guys prone to oily skin and blackheads, liquid aftershaves will close your pores. If you have really dry or sensitive skin that is easily irritated, balms are your best choice, and aftershave gels are the best in-between option.
When do I use Aftershave?

– You cut yourself while shaving
– You have very oily skin with clogged pores and blackheads
– You have very dry skin or sensitive skin

What is Cologne?

Cologne on the other hand is a fragrance made to help you smell better. The word cologne is short for Eau de Cologne, a perfume that was created in Cologne, Germany. The assumption that perfume is for women and cologne is for men is actually false as both genders can wear either one. Colognes are activated by your body’s heat, so apply them to your skin and different pulse points — and not your clothes because the chemicals in the fragrance can ruin the fabric or stain your clothes. If you wear jewelry, put on your cologne first as the chemicals can create a milky film on your bling.
Cologne is only made to help you smell better so don’t use it if you cut yourself from shaving or need an antiperspirants. There’s nothing tackier than someone who wears too much cologne, so don’t be that guy from the commercial and have your cologne announce your arrival hours before you get there. Need a more advanced lesson? Check out the five rules on how to properly apply cologne before you decide to bathe in it.
When do I wear cologne?

– You want to smell better and have people remember you by your scent.
– You hate the smell of your B.O.
– You want to have a longer-lasting scent than your aftershave.

When do I NOT wear either?

The only time you wouldn’t want to wear cologne or scented aftershave is duringĀ  a job interview as wearing an overpowering fragrance could distract the interviewer. You also never know if your favorite cologne might be the same scent your interviewer’s ex or arch nemesis wore — which could give off a bad vibe even before you say anything. For a job interview, the less you smell, even if it smells good, the better.

Can I ever wear them both?

You can actually wear both aftershave and cologne as long as they are from the same fragrance line. Applying cologne on top of your aftershave will layer the scent and make it last longer. Also keep in mind that nowadays shampoo, conditioner, body wash and deodorant all have a scent of their own, so pick a cologne that won’t conflict with the other scents.

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