Does Cologne Last Longer on Skin or Clothes

You are not the only one to ask the golden question: does cologne last longer on your skin or on your clothes? In this article we have gone through the pros and cons of each, and what you should be aware of. Some fabrics can be ruined by using certain types of perfume. More on that below.

Common mistakes that a lot of people tend to make when applying their cologne is rubbing it after applying on the skin, applying in the wrong areas, applying too much, etc. But above all these, probably the biggest dilemma that people tend to face is whether they should apply cologne on their skin or their clothes.

Does Cologne Last Longer on Skin or Clothes

Colognes don’t come cheap, at least not the good ones. When you shell out some serious cash on a product, you obviously want to get the most out of it.

So the big question is, does it last longer on your skin or clothes?

The short answer to this is clothes. Clothing fibers can hold in fragrances far longer than your skin.

By spraying it on your clothes you boost the performance of your cologne. It will allow the fragrance to linger on longer than it would just on your skin, but be mindful. There are certain fragrances that you don’t necessarily want to smell like all the time for years.

Applying cologne is trickier than you may think.

Typically, colognes are formulated to work on the skin. It contains oils that are meant to be absorbed into your skin and melded with your body’s natural oils. They are meant to heat up, cool down, change and evolve, giving out a scent that is uniquely your own.

So if the cologne is sprayed on the fabric of your clothes, it doesn’t really get the chance to do that. This is why most experts do not recommend applying cologne on your clothes.

However, if you have sensitive skin, you would be better off scenting your clothes to avoid any possible skin rashes.

Can You Spray Cologne on Your Clothes

The answer to this is both yes and no. Let’s start with the good side of things.

The Pros

Normally, if you spray your clothes with cologne, it will last longer than it would on your skin. And that’s because your skin absorbs the cologne and also when you perspire, it washes it off basically.

Now if a cologne is sprayed on your clothes, it just sits there. It creates a little patch and then radiates the fragrance.

This sounds fine and dandy, right?

Just spray it on your clothes right before you walk out the door and call it a day!

The Cons

Well, there are a few issues with this method of applying cologne. The first one being the fragrance doesn’t really develop as it should.

It is similar to when you smell the cologne off a card rather than on your skin. It will be a bit different for the most part and because of that lack of development, some fragrances may seem a bit more linear than normal.

It does not get the chance to develop from the top to the mid to the base. It just kind of stays the same.

Does Cologne Ruin the Clothes Fabric?

Another issue with applying fragrances directly on your clothes is that its high concentration of oils and alcohol can damage or deteriorate the fabric if it is delicate. Also with some beefier darker colognes, it will actually stain your clothes.

Oil stains are notoriously hard to get rid of and some stains just won’t come off especially on white or light-colored fabrics.

Now that being said, if you are using a cologne that’s completely transparent, then you won’t really have that issue.

The final thing about spraying colognes on your clothes is that some fragrances will just last forever on the fabric.

So be mindful when you are spraying stuff that you are not going to wash very often like hats, big jackets, etc.

How to Apply cologne the Right Way

Applying cologne is much like an art form. If not done right, you can either end up over-applying or having it fade away shortly after you spray it on.

Here is how you can spray your cologne strategically so that it lasts all day without overpowering.

1. Apply Right After You Step Out of the Shower

When you shower, you cleanse your body of any residuary scent that you previously applied. It also opens up the pores on your skin which helps to absorb the scent.

After stepping out of the shower, completely dry your skin before you spray on your cologne.

The natural chemistry of your body will affect the smell of your cologne and the warmth of your body will naturally disperse the scent, from top to the dry-down notes.

Remember to give it a second to dry up before you put on your clothes.

2. Spray 3-6 Inches Away From Your Body

Spraying your cologne at the right distance is very important. If you hold it too close to your body, you will end up over-applying. Any further from that and you risk under-applying.

Typically, holding your cologne at a distance of 3-6 inches is recommended. Make sure the nozzle is working as intended so that the cologne is properly dispersed into the air.

3. Spray to the Heated Areas of Your Body

Apply your cologne to heated areas of your body like your pulse points, chest, neck, inner elbows and forearms. These warm areas will diffuse the fragrance throughout your entire body.

It will also meld with your body chemistry to give you your own signature scent.

A bonus for men with chest hair is that the hair will trap some of the fragrance oil, increasing the longevity of your fragrance. Giving a little spritz to your calves and ankles will also make the scent rise throughout the day.

4. Rub Vaseline or Unscented Lotion First

Rub Vaseline on the warm areas of your body or moisturize your body with unscented lotion before applying your cologne.

Oilier skin holds the fragrance longer compared to dry skin. By applying an oil-based moisturizer onto your skin it will help lock in the fragrance and make it last all day.

5. Spritz, Don’t Mist

Misting your cologne into the air and then walking right into it has become quite a trend.

Unfortunately, this does not help you in any way. You are only wasting product because the fragrance will evaporate in a short amount of time.

All you need is a direct spritz on your bare skin which will make your cologne last the entire day.

6. Don’t rub After Application

A lot of people tend to rub their cologne on their skin. You may think you are helping spread the cologne but unlike lotion, it isn’t meant to be absorbed into your skin. The goal is to let it sit on top of your skin.

By rubbing it, you’ll only end up losing the notes, forcing the fragrance to disappear faster than intended.

7. Apply it On Top of Your Ears

This may sound weird but trust us, it works like magic. The oilier parts of your skin holds the scent longer and the upper part of your ears is comparatively oilier than the area behind your earlobes.


Remember, the cardinal rule here is “less is more.” As aptly put by Art of Manliness, cologne should not be announced, it should be discovered.

When you overdo it, you will put off everyone around you and probably give them a headache. That said, the purpose of applying cologne is to smell it so don’t be too shy about it either.