Scent or suffocate? That is the question with cologne. The correct answer is scent. You want to have a pleasant scent, perhaps one to be remembered by, not the one that killed someone.

Fragrance should be your signature. It can also elevate your mood, enhance your confidence, increase alertness, or help you relax.

The number of colognes on the market is overwhelming. There are basic categories for fragrances and you may prefer certain ones over others. The true test though is how the fragrance works with your body chemistry. When you go to the store to try out various colognes, you really must spray them on your skin. You can begin your search by smelling the bottle to see if you like the scent. If you do, then spray it on your wrist. It is best to try only two per trial. Otherwise, your nose will get overwhelmed. You might bring a significant other to help you decide. Some people suggest bringing a sack of coffee beans to sniff in between tests to neutralize your nostrils. This may be a good idea if you can not make numerous trips to the mall to test fragrances. The following categories describe the different cologne types available:

Citrus describes fragrances with lemon, lime, and other citrus fruits and is usually associated with men’s cologne.
Fougere means fern in French. These fragrances are mossy and herbal
scents are those from flowers. Many types of flowers are used in preparations.
Oriental describes a spicy fragrance, usually full-bodied.
Marine describes an ocean
Green describes fragrances from plants such as pine, juniper, other leavers, and herbs.
Chypre describes earthy fragrances such as patchouli. Chypre is the French word for Cyprus .

When applying cologne, the key is to be discreet. If you are using spray cologne, use no more than two sprays. If you are using a pour bottle be a “dabber” not a “splasher”: apply it with one finger in various locations such as your neck, elbows, ankles, wrists, behind your knees and ears. These are the points where heat is generated. Applying cologne at these points will make it last longer because these pulse points create a “pump” effect. Spraying your clothes will probably stain them and your scent will be fleeting. Also, do not mix scents, as so many products contain scents – shave creams and gels, aftershave, toners, deodorants/antiperspirants, etc.

Some terms that you might want to know are:

EDC - Eau de cologne is the least concentrated form of a fragrance
           (2 - 5% perfume oil dissolved in water and alcohol)
EDT - Eau de toilette (4 - 10%)
EDP - Eau de parfum (8 - 15%)
PARFUM or Perfume (15 - 25%) is the most concentrated.