How to use Solid Cologne (So it Lasts More & Smells Great)

Using solid cologne and perfume, requires only a few simple steps:

  • With your fingers, grab a tiny amount of cologne.
  • Warm the cologne by rubbing fingers together.
  • Apply cologne to: wrists, inside elbows, throat, beard.  
  • Close the lid, and store the cologne in a cool place.
Guide made by Lush

Above is the essential information to applying a solid cologne or perfume.

However, solid cologne and perfumes have their own strengths and weaknesses compared to their traditional, liquid counterparts.

Knowing how to navigate around the weaknesses of solid cologne, while playing to its strengths, can help you a lot in getting the most out of your fragrances.

How to get the most out of solid cologne

Solid colognes have been around since ancient times, and are usually made from a combination of essential oils and/or synthetic fragrances mixed with wax, shea butter etc.

In terms of fragrance quality, solid colognes are neither inferior or superior to alcohol based perfumes, but are a distinct and different type of scent.

In terms of popularity, solid colognes and perfumes have fallen behind alcohol perfumes because essential oils and wax have a few weaknesses that makes solids less convenient for everyday use, as well as storing the cologne for long periods of time.

Recently however, technological improvements have made great strides to address some of these issues and partly explains why they’re experiencing such a big comeback nowadays.

Solid colognes don’t project as much

Alcohol in perfume evaporates after coming in touch with your skin, and this evaporation releases the various scents contained within the cologne. This is why perfumes have a cloud of scent around them.

However, this also means the scent is more evenly distributed around you.

By contrast, the scents in solid colognes get absorbed in your skin or hair and the scent they project sticks much closer to the surface where they were applied.

This means the scent doesn’t carry as far as traditional colognes, especially expensive colognes such as Creed, but is more potent at the skin or hair level.

Solid colognes last longer on the skin

While solid colognes don’t project as much as their alcohol counterparts, they do tend to last longer on the skin.

This is generally even more true of solid colognes containing synthetic fragrances, since they are much more stable than essential oils, which are volatile and break down easily.

However, synthetic fragrances are not to everyone’s taste and might irritate some people’s skins.

In any case, the longevity of solid colognes is more of a rule of thumb. Just as some alcohol perfumes can last almost a day while others a couple of hours, some solid colognes last more than others.

Solid cologne is meant to be reapplied frequently

Solid colognes are smaller and more portable than spray perfumes.

This makes them easy to carry around to the point even men can slip them in a pocket, completely unnoticed.

In terms of fragrance, as alcohol evaporates, the scent in spray perfumes generally transitions from one note to another.

Because of this, reapplying a spray perfume after a few hours will sometimes mix up the notes and create a scent that isn’t as nice as the original application.

By comparison, the scent in solid colognes generally stays within the same notes for as long as its active.

This means reapplying solid cologne won’t mix up the notes with the previous application, but instead refreshes and strengthens it.

Combine this with the easy portability, and you have a fragrance product that has the huge advantage of being extremely easy to reapply whenever you feel like it.

Try to protect the cologne from heat

A common problem with solids is that they can melt if the heat exceeds 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 degrees Celsius.

As a result, you always have to be aware to keep the solid cologne cool if you choose to carry it with you.

If you aren’t careful about this, you run the risk of having the solid cologne melt and seep out of its container.

Use solid colognes as a base for spray perfumes

An interesting way to use solid colognes is as a base for spray perfumes, where you essentially apply the solid cologne and then spray over it with traditional perfumes.

This does require some experimentation on your part to find the right combination of notes, but mixing solid and spray perfumes can greatly improve the longevity of the scent, as well as the potency of some notes.

Try to use the cologne in your hair or beard

Hair is more porous than skin, meaning the oils and wax from the solid cologne will linger inside the pores, improving the longevity of the scent.

That being said, it’s best to experiment a bit at home and see how your hair reacts to the solid cologne.

Most of the times your hair shouldn’t really suffer any negative side-effects, but in this case there’s no harm in playing it safe.

If all is well, then the best place to apply is usually on the ends of the hair.

Use unscented shower gel or soap

This applies to both spray and solid colognes, but isn’t really a must.

By using a scentless shower gel or soap, you won’t have to worry about the scents in the perfume mixing with the ones mentioned previously.

Solid colognes degrade much more quickly than alcohol

“Degrade” in this context means that solid colognes lose their fragrance and potency while still in the container.

The fragrance in alcohol colognes can last years with little or no loss in potency.

By comparison, solid colognes lose most of their potency and scent within 2-3 years, and are noticeably less punchy within a year after purchase.

This is because a solid cologne is much more exposed to oxidation and heat than your typical bottle of perfume (which has an almost airtight seal).

What this means in practice is that you should either use up the solid cologne quickly, or buy it in smaller amounts if you want to be cost-effective.

Solid cologne can cause slight irritation for some

Some people find solid cologne irritate their skin. This can happen both to all-natural colognes, as well as those that mix in synthetic fragrances.

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if solid cologne will irritate you or not, so it’s just something you’ll have to find out through trial and error.