Tips for guys: how to pick the right cologne for you and not break the bank

Tips for guys: how to pick the right cologne for you and not break the bank

There are five basic scents in men’s colognes and Young Post has a few budget-friendly options for your consideration

As you grow older, there will be times when you need to make sure you not only look your best, but smell your best, too – Like, for example, at a job interview, on a date or at the next Christmas party.

Young Post spoke with a couple of cologne experts from Parfumerie Trésor and Atelier Cologne for some tips to keep you smelling on point.

The five scents

There are many scents to choose from. Depending on the mood you’re going for, what kind of event you’ll be going to or the season we’re in, you could go for a warmer spicy or earthy cologne or a more sharp and fresh fragrance. To make it easier for you, we’ve narrowed it down to five main scents and recommended a few of our favourites. All of these colognes are below $350 and can be ordered at FragranceX.

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Look for fragrances with spices such as nutmeg, pepper, coriander blended with woody notes for a warm and cosy air, perfect for colder months. People often either love or hate spicy scents, so make sure you enjoy wearing it before you buy it.

Our recommendation: Guy Laroche’s Drakkar Noir cologne (HK$185 for 100ml). It is a blend of a number of exotic and spicy notes with hints of berries, lavender, citrus and sandalwood (a type of wood with a floral and citrus scent).


Look out for colognes with notes of citrus such as mandarin, bergamot (a citrus fruit commonly used in perfumes), and lemon if you want to stay smelling fresh after a workout. Sport scents are perfect for those who prefer something fuss-free.

Our recommendation: Adidas Team Force cologne (HK$60 for 100ml) has a nice zingy citrus scent mixed with juniper berry and subtle woody notes.

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If you’re going to a more formal event you may want to go for a cologne that’s infused with resin type ingredients (a substance that comes from plants and trees) such as amberwood or frankincense to make you smell like a real gentleman. It's hard to go wrong with this timeless scent.

Our recommendation: Seductive Cologne by Guess (HK$131 for 100ml) has top notes of cardamom milk (a type of spice), mandarin pulp, vanilla flower, amberwood, sandalwood, musk and patchouli (a herb related to the mint family).


You can’t go wrong with a nice and clean scent that makes you smell, well, clean. These scents are also great for complete cologne beginners.

Our recommendation: Clean Men Cologne by Clean (HK$340 for 100ml) is just what it sounds like. It has notes of grapefruit, lavender, raspberry, lime, patchouli and musk, giving you that fresh-out-of-the-shower feeling.

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If you’re looking for a cologne with a more woody or earthy scent look out for any ingredients that end in “wood”, vetiver (a type of grass) and musk. Like the spicy scents, the woody and earthy ones aren't for everyone and very dependent on personality.

Our recommendation: Calvin Klein’s Eternity Aqua men’s perfume (HK$227 for 100ml) has a strong fragrance with musk, cedar wood, pink lady apples, apricot and white peony.

How much do you spray?

The tricky thing about perfumes and colognes is that we often stop being able to smell it on ourselves after a little while, so many people spray too much on because they think it's not strong enough. Trust us, you may not be able to smell it but the fragrance is there. The parts of your body that's best for holding perfume and helping it release its scent throughout the day are: just behind the ears, wrists, inside of your elbows, and behind your knees. But you don't want to spray all these points, because that's overkill. Pick no more than two of those areas, and that's quite enough.

Perfume vs Cologne: What’s the difference?

You may think the difference between perfume and cologne is that perfume is for women and cologne is for men, but there’s a little more to it than that. Alexandra Song, Parfumerie Trésor’s spokesperson explains that the only difference is the amount of perfume oil (which gives the perfume/cologne its scent) that is mixed with the alcohol and water. Perfume has around 40 per cent of perfume oil while cologne only has around 3 per cent and has a lighter scent.

How to pick your scent

The best way to tell if a scent works for you is to try it. Every cologne smells slightly different on each person. So what might work on your friend might not necessarily work on you, so it’s important to spray it on your on skin and not just in the air or on a strip of paper at the store. Perfumes also tend to change throughout the day because of how it reacts to your skin and temperature, so make sure you’re as happy with it at the end of the day as you were when you first sprayed it.

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A guy’s guide to cologne


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