A Starting Point for Finding Your New Cologne: 10 Initial Selections

Buying cologne has never been a fun process. I've always had a problem spending $6 for 20 ounces of flavored water at the movie theater, imagine my displeasure when I doll out $70 for TWO ounces of cologne.  It seems like scents have gotten less masculine the farther we get away from 1985. Tons of men's cologne could easily be worn by women, and no one would know the difference.

If you've ever tried to kill some time while your girlfriend is in Sephora, you know the sheer number of colognes out there is daunting.  Unless you rely on branding, the only way to find out which you like is by giving the bottle a sniff.  But are you really going to smell all 60 of them?

I did so you don't have to. Use my top 10 as a starting place the next time you need some overpriced smelly water.

When smelling the different options, you should spray it on a tester stick, holding the bottle at least 6 inches away. Any closer, and all of them are just going to smell like hairspray. The real scents of colognes are subtle, so when testing them that's what you're trying to smell.

I'd recommend picking up a small bottle. Cologne loses its potency over time if not stored in proper conditions. If you're not using more than a spray or two (which you shouldn't be) all your hard earned money and smelly water is going to go to waste. Besides, you're probably going to want to mix it up in a year or two anyway.

I have mixed thoughts on how a man should choose a scent. I know many guys who buy a cologne only because girls tend to like it. That's like letting your girlfriend dress you. I'm sure you'll look okay but it's not you. Are you dressing for her or you? (The correct answer is the latter.)

Women love Acqua di Gio, smell like it and they'll probably compliment you. They'll tell you how much they love Acqua di Gio. Unfortunately, it's pretty flowery. Pick your own scent, one with hints of leather, tobacco, cedar, one that not only you enjoy, but one you feel is a representation of you and she won't be complimenting you to your face – she'll be telling all her girlfriends how good you smell when she lays on your chest. That's memorable.

Wearing your own pick is important, but it's a balance. You don't want to wear something that women are going to hate, or that reminds a girl of her grandfather. Lots of men love the classic smell of Old Spice after shave, unfortunately many women these days don't. What you smell like is a part of your style. It's important to choose it consciously.

Don't feel limited to picking just one. A day in the sun warrants something different than a dark, fancy dinner downtown. As I like to say, different scents for different events.

young men cologne options 

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Andrew Snavely

Andrew is the founder and editor of Primer. He's a graduate of American University and currently lives in Los Angeles. Read more about Primer on our About page. On Instagram: @andrewsnavely and @primermagazine.