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What Is a Cologne Spray?

Drue Tibbits
Drue Tibbits

Cologne spray is a fragrance combined with a carrier agent that allows it to disburse evenly when sprayed. The fragrance comes from either essential or fragrance oils, and the carrier agent is usually a combination of water and alcohol. The smell of cologne is much lighter than perfume as cologne has a lower concentration of scented oils. This lower percentage of scented ingredients results in a shorter duration of fragrance. Spray cologne typically lasts only a couple of hours, while high-concentration perfumes may last all day.

The oils that create cologne’s fragrance fall into two groups: natural and synthetic. Essential oils are extracts from natural herbs and botanicals and contain no artificial ingredients. Fragrance oils are manufactured creations that imitate desirable smells. Although fragrance oils may sometimes contain some essential oils, they still contain artificial ingredients and must be labeled as such. Some scents, such as jasmine, are so difficult to extract naturally that they become prohibitively expensive; most of these types of fragrances are usually synthetic.

Many expensive perfumes are also available as a cologne spray.
Many expensive perfumes are also available as a cologne spray.

Many expensive perfumes are also available as a less expensive cologne spray. A carrier agent dilutes the valuable oils that make up the perfume, creating the same scent but in a lighter version. There are cologne sprays tailored to both men and women, and some fragrance sets include soaps, body powders, and cologne sprays. Some stores create custom perfumes and sprays, personalizing the scent to the customer.

Some people choose to create their own custom cologne sprays by combining their favorite scented oils with alcohol and water. To avoid skin irritation, only cosmetic-grade scented oils are safe to use in homemade sprays. The fragrance of cologne consists of top, middle, and base notes. The top note is the first scent; it is easily noticeable and fades quickly. The middle note lasts longer and often overlaps some of the base note — the foundation of the scent and the fragrance that lingers.

There is no correct way to use cologne spray. The user may choose to spray it lightly or heavily, or they may spray it in the air and walk through the scented mist. They may spray their arms, their necks, or their whole bodies. The lighter concentration of oils limits the problem of perfume stains, so a cologne spray can scent clothes or bed linens. A light spray also freshens drawers, closets, and curtains.

Discussion Comments


I had a co-worker who decided he just wasn't wearing enough cologne. Naturally, he sat beside me. I finally had to go to our supervisor and get him to tell my co-worker that marinating in his cologne wasn't cool. He finally cut down on it, but I thought I was going to have to turn a hose on him for him to get the idea. Phew! He reeked!

A little cologne goes a long way, whether it's actual cologne, or parfum. You just don't need nearly as much as you think you do. You may not be able to smell it anymore, but I guarantee everyone else can! They can probably smell you 10 minutes before you arrive and 20 minutes after you leave.

I like nice cologne, but a little goes a long, long way.


I've done the walk through the mist method. It really all depends on the cologne and what effect you're trying to achieve. Usually, I spritz the cologne on my wrists and on my cleavage. That way, my body warmth diffuses the cologne slowly.

The problem with cologne spray is some people think it's not as strong so they use twice as much. Big mistake. A woman came to my desk once and I had to back up about 10 feet from her (not an exaggeration) to talk to her. Her cologne was that strong. It was bad, bad, bad. She went to talk to the boss and closed his office door. You could smell her cologne in there for the rest of the day. It was downright obnoxious.

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    • Many expensive perfumes are also available as a cologne spray.
      By: Liv Friis-larsen
      Many expensive perfumes are also available as a cologne spray.