Two squirts on the wrists and a couple on the neck.
Well if it does, that’s probably because it’s the most recognised and adopted aftershave technique in the world and how many men have been altering their olfactory aromas for decades.
But while hitting the pulse points usually hits the spot for most people, getting aftershave application wrong is easier than you might imagine.
Too often a balancing act between meek and overpowering, many blokes go for the latter and end up reeking of a pungent, sickly stank that’s somewhere between letchy lounge lizard and Love Island contestant.
And though you’d assume subtlety is always a winner, even a measured and well meaning spray can disappear within minutes if you don’t know what you’re doing, leaving you to dwell in a disappointing and dull musk for the rest of the day.
Yes, spraying yourself with aftershave may seem like a no brainer, but whether you’re looking to make a good impression with peers or dare we say ensnare the senses of someone you have your eye on, mastering men’s fragrance should be high priority for any modern man.
Because looking good isn’t enough anymore… you’ve got to smell great too.
Picking Your Poison: How To Choose An Aftershave
Whether it’s Eau du this or Eau do that, most fellas are happy to say yes to any sort of aftershave, provided it smells good (anything to make those leery sales lasses in Boots sod off for two minutes).
But neglecting to study the differences between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette is a big mistake, as which one you plump for will have a massive impact on the strength of your scent.
By choosing the right one for you, you’ll be able to better administer the correct dosage for the occasion, as well as the rewards that each type of fragrance can offer.
Eau de Toilette is very much your everyday kind of aftershave, a balanced, light fragrance that lasts a few hours. This is your meet the parents perfume, your office interview aroma or just a simple out-of-the-house aroma – it’s short, sweet and subtle.
Eau de Parfum on the other hand has a reputation for being more suited to evening wear – a deeper, longer-lasting and more enrapturing scent which can last well over 6 hours. This is your date night enticer and on the prowl attractor – distinguished, layered and sensual.
Putting on the wrong one at the wrong time can have disastrous results, which based on the examples we’ve just given could include accidentally getting your partner’s mum hot under the collar or hitting the club whiffing like a disappointingly understated Yankee Candle.
How To Wear Your Aftershave
Once you know exactly what it is you’re working with, the next step is to learn how you can apply aftershave in a way that provides longevity and subtlety.
You’re aiming for an attractive scent that allures rather than catches the back of the throat and there are several ways to ensure you always get the best from your aftershave bottle.
When To Apply Aftershave
If you want your scent to have staying power, you need to ensure it’s effectively absorbed into your pores and that the skin is well hydrated.
The best way to do this is with a hot shower, either first thing when you get up, or before your evening out. This opens up the pores, meaning applying fragrance shortly afterwards allows the scent to sink deeper into the skin where it is released more slowly over the course of the day or night.
It can also help to moisturise before squirting on your aftershave too, this will keep things hydrated and if you use a moisturiser from the same range as your aftershave brand, it will only serve to enhance your olfactory flavour!
How To Apply Aftershave
Going The Distance
As any toilet attendant will attest to, gentlemen have not been gifted with precise aim, which is why too many fellas wrongly spray their fragrances right up to their neck or wrist for a guaranteed hit.
But basking in spray can often be far more effective than a concentrated wet burst in one area, as allowing the spray to properly mist up into a cloud-like miasma is what helps the layers and notes of a parfum sing.
We recommend keeping a 10-15cm distance between yourself and the nozzle before pulling the trigger.
Less Is More
Heavily implied in the previous few paragraphs, you should limit your dosage to around 2-3 sprays of fragrance. This is particularly the case if you’re using aftershave as an attraction aid, as subtler smells invite others to come closer and investigate the source of that intoxicating odour.
Sub The Rub
Especially when it comes to squirting a spot on the wrist, many men tend to rub their hand ankles together in a bid to spread the scent and have it absorbed faster into the skin.
However, rubbing of any kind is a complete cologne killer and just about the worst thing you can do when it comes to crushing your note cycle and longevity.
Aftershave notes work like a pyramid, slowly working their way down the triangle from light top notes to enticing middle notes until they finally emit a deep and pungent base that makes up the heart of your fragrance.
By rubbing the scent into your skin, you’re effectively taking a sledgehammer to that pyramid, creating a lot of rubble and leaving you with a disappointing and ruinous base.
In short, you’re left with the base notes only, with several less hours of layered aroma rubbed out in a second flat.
Where To Apply Aftershave
Okay, now this is the biggie that may cause you to reconsider everything you currently know and hold true.
Pulse points. Pulse points. Pulse Points. This is what we’ve all been told for centuries is the best way for your body to spread and emit the fragrance around you in a nice pleasant cloak.
However, we’re here to tell you different.
The pulse points, a.k.a your neck and wrist, are actually terrible places to put your aftershave if you want a long-lasting scent, as they are consistently exposed to air and so fizzle out far quicker than you’d expect.
The power of a scent comes from it combining with your body heat and so to truly unlock its capabilities we actually recommend applying your aftershave more centrally to the body. This way the smells become trapped between the skin and clothing, harnessing your heat and spreading the scent further.
Areas of ever flexing muscles such as the biceps and the back can also be effective areas and of course, it always helps to add some much needed masking to the armpits!
Learn The Notes
If you’re really having trouble with making your scent last the course of a day, you should consider switching up to an eau de parfum if you haven’t already and then begin looking out for ingredients famed for their deep and pungent qualities.
If the back of your bottle is seriously light on oud, vetiver, amber, patchouli, woods or musk – you might want to upgrade your signature scent of choice to something with more gravitas.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Top Ups
If you’re using eau de toilette and enjoy it’s lighter, less offensive qualities, you shouldn’t be afraid to top up every now and then. Eau de toilettes are only designed to last a few hours and so it wouldn’t hurt to reapply every 4 hours or so.
Investing in a portable, pick-me-up 30ml bottle can be a great way to ensure you remain fresh and fragrant throughout the day.
Store For More
Is that bottle of olfactory heaven that once enraptured the room beginning to turn sour? Or perhaps just losing its enticing effects?
Well, aftershaves aren’t immortal and overtime they can begin to lose their potency. That’s why it’s important to store your bottles in a way that will best increase their longevity and ensure they don’t become spoiled well before their prime.
Like a bottle of rare and expensive wine, they must be kept out of direct sunlight and extreme heats, meaning windowsills and bathrooms full of hot condensation are probably not a good idea.
It’s also a reminder that you shouldn’t just save your aftershave for special occasions only – because if you don’t use it, you’re gonna lose it!