How to Choose a Cologne to Suit Your Personality

Can a fragrance really reflect your personality? According to the experts, yes it can.  There’s no real need to dive into the whys and wherefores…


Can a fragrance really reflect your personality? According to the experts, yes it can. 

There’s no real need to dive into the whys and wherefores of this. After all, isn’t personality as much about how we consciously want to project ourselves to the outside world as it is what we’re actually like ‘on the inside’?

To that extent, personality is about our mannerisms, our habits of speech, our habits in general. But it’s also about our style of dress, our fashion sense, the way we wear our hair – and yes, the fragrances we choose to wear.

No one doubts that the way we look and present ourselves is deeply tied up in our sense of identity. And there’s more than a touch of wish fulfilment about that. If we want other people to see us the way we see ourselves or want to be seen, we can project that in the clothes we wear and other aspects of our personal style.

What we know about aromas is that they have a very powerful impact on perceptions. Smell is the most primal of our senses and works on our brains in deeply subconscious as well as conscious ways. So the fragrance you wear can leave very strong impressions on the people you interact with, influencing their feelings and thoughts about you in very evocative ways.

So that’s why many fragrance experts urge people to choose products that suit their personality. Or maybe that should be, choose fragrances that project the personality type you want to get across.

When you’re choosing your next cologne, here’s what you need to know about the impressions different types of scent make.

Traditional sophistication

There’s a certain style of cologne that is to men’s fragrances what the black tie or tuxedo is to men’s fashion. By wearing it, you know exactly the impression you are making – and so does everyone else.

While a lot of modern men’s fragrances go big on big, bold scents, there’s a degree of balance and restraint about a classic cologne. Those spicy, woody aromas we pigeonhole as typically ‘masculine’ are there, but they are held in a subtle balance with herb, citrus and even light floral scents. Ingredients like sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver are to the fore, warming and steady, with citrus ingredients such as bergamot and neroli, plus exotic spices like nutmeg and clove, cutting through over the top.

These styles of cologne are tailor made for the understated gentleman, the man of business, the professional. They convey an aura of quiet confidence held in check by a respectful modesty. These are fragrances worn by men who are solid, reliable, trustworthy, who don’t take unnecessary risks, who aren’t interested in being overly ostentatious or flamboyant.

Confident go-getter

On the flipside, some guys have little or no interest in being understated. They wear their confidence on their sleeve and revel in the attention that brings. Unsurprisingly, they prefer big, bold statement fragrances that turn heads.

Those same scent categories mentioned above are very much to the fore again – earthy, woody, spicy, smoky. But with these more in-your-face colognes, the brakes are very much off. Heavily pungent ingredients such as oud, leather, tobacco and musk are often self-consciously brought to the fore, tempered by liberal use of spices such as black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and clove.

These are fragrances that demand attention and exude confidence, with just enough of a hint of risk-taking about them.

Athletic adventurer

There’s an entire sub-category of men’s fragrances dedicated to use during and after sports, mostly in the form of spray-on deodorants and antiperspirants. But in terms of the scent profile of these products, there are plenty of colognes available in a similar vein.

Fragrances targeting sporty, outdoorsy types tend to fall somewhere on a scale between two aroma families – woody, ‘green’ scents that carry with them associations of big open outdoor spaces, and bright, zesty, fresh scents that are all about uplifting energy and vitality. 

Whether your bag is hurtling down wooded mountain sides on a bike or scoring goals for your football team, these types of lighter, cleaner colognes all say a similar thing about you – that you’re a man of action, dynamic and full of zest for life, always looking for your next adventure.

One-off rule breaker

Finally, there are inevitably guys out there who look at the standard categories of ‘masculine’ fragrances and just find the whole thing too obvious. The reserved gentleman, the confident go-getter, the sporty type – it’s all just a little too safe. Where’s the creativity? Where’s the rule breaking?

Luckily, if your personality demands something a little more out-of-the-box, you won’t ever be short of cologne options that offer something different and unique. Fragrance makers simply love experimenting and bending (if not outright smashing) the rules of what kind of scents are supposed to go together, and who for. It’s a highly creative industry, after all.

From unique ingredients to unique combinations, the more experimental side to the cologne industry is fertile ground for creative, adventurous, extrovert personalities. It demands exploration and experimentation. 

But with so much choice out there, where do you start finding your own signature fragrance? A great place to start is with men’s aftershave samples – miniature bottles you can order online at low cost. Make a list of interesting-sounding options, build up a small collection and try them out in your own time. You’ll soon discover that stand-our cologne that perfectly captures your unique personality.

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