How to Apply Cologne Without Spray: De-Mist-ifying Facts

how to apply cologne without spraying itWhen you smell terrific, people are more likely to remember, like, and trust you. However, if you walk into a room reeking of cheap cologne, you make a bad impression before you ever say a word. Human memories are often tied to scents, and yours matters. Sprays are okay, but not all cologne comes in mist form.

You need to know how, where, and what sort of cologne to apply if you want to put your best foot forward. It can seem a little frustrating at first but don’t stress. I’ll guide you through the process. It’s not very difficult once you’ve done it a few times.

Where Should I Apply Cologne

Before you ever open your cologne bottle, you need to know where to apply it. Cologne belongs on your pulse points. If you’ve never heard this term before, pulse points are where your body naturally makes more heat. Your blood vessels are closer to the surface in these areas.

Good locations for cologne include the throat, behind your ears, behind your knees, and the inside of your wrist. Make sure you choose just one spot if you wear a strong cologne, and no more than two. Even for a lighter scent, this is plenty.

Using cologne correctly makes a world of difference. The pulse points help diffuse your cologne and literally makes it more effective. Like most forms of grooming, good cologne use makes you more attractive. People think better of you when they enjoy being around you, and smell has a lot to do with that. Of course, you also need to have the right attitude, but that’s manners, which is a different subject.

Where Not To Apply Cologne

It doesn’t matter if you use non-spray cologne or the kind in a spritzer bottle if you apply it wrong. First and foremost, do not apply cologne to try and cover up body odor. For one thing, it doesn’t work, and for another, smelling like B.O. plus cologne is actually worse. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are if people remember you as ‘the cologne and armpits guy,’ it will affect how they see you.

Armpits and Underwear

Second, you don’t want to put cologne down your pants. About half the men who read this are confused and wondering who would do that. The other half have at least considered spraying some cologne ‘down there,’ but we’re not talking about spray cologne.

A fine mist of wasting your money to odorize your nether region is not a very big deal, but splashing an intense scent on your crotch is an awful plan. Especially if you manscape, which you should, getting concentrated cologne anywhere you might have a nick or cut and that many nerve endings is bad news.

Finally, don’t put cologne in your armpits. Armpits are a place you generate a lot of heat, but when you sweat, your cologne will mix with that sweat. Not only will this make it smell funny, but your armpits are an ineffective placement to get the most out of your cologne. Moreover, most deodorant has a scent that will change the cologne. Plus, when you use antiperspirant, it will keep the moisture from the cologne out of your skin. That’s just a waste.


Applying any cologne, non-spray or not, to clothing may seem like a great idea but it’s not. The fragrance is designed to mix and match with your natural skin oils. When you use a spray on your clothing it’s wasted and doesn’t do what scent is meant to do. Especially when you dab on your scent, never pat cologne onto clothing. It could stain.

Choose a Great Cologne

Picking the thrifty faux version of a designer scent does not smell the same. That’s like buying a fake watermelon flavored gum and putting it in fruit salad because it ‘tastes like’ watermelon. Where you apply the cologne doesn’t matter if you don’t choose a pleasant scent.  There are some tremendous cost-effective colognes out there with mass appeal, but it’s worth a few extra dollars, so you’ll smell like a million. Never buy based on price alone.

Most decent colognes cost at least twenty to thirty dollars. Prices for truly designer scents can be even higher. Some fragrances can set you back over a hundred dollars, but they’re worth it if you smell terrific. Plus, you can stretch your product further if necessary. We’ll get back to that.

Eau de Toilette Vs. Eau d’ Parfum: Apply the Right Cologne

The only difference in application is that you can use a little more of a lighter scent. If you worry about smelling too strong, opt for an Eau de Toilette like Versace Eros (which you can get by clicking here). The concentration of the smell is typically a little lighter, around five to ten percent. Eau de toilette is excellent if you don’t want to risk overdoing it. Choose this option if you work in a crowded office or for an intimate date. Anytime you plan to be very close to other people; a lighter smell is best.

Men who work outdoors or in large open spaces should probably go with Eau d’ Parfum. The same goes for guys who drive with the top down in a sports car. The more substantial eight to fifteen percent is detectable from further away because it’s stronger.

There are also a couple of other options you might see on a bottle of cologne. Both are lighter than an EdT option. Eau de Fraiche is only one to three percent made of odorizing agents. Meanwhile, Eau de Cologne is two to five percent on average.

If the bottle says “Parfum,” then it’s usually going to be between twenty and forty percent fragrance. In cologne, everything is mixed into an infusion of alcohol. Going with a pure parfum option is dicey and can go wrong very quickly. Choose a lighter touch with an Edt or EdP instead. You can always reapply easily later.

How (Exactly) to Apply Cologne Without a Spray Bottle

I collected all the tips and tricks for making the most of your cologne application into a straightforward guide. Everything here will help you get all you can from a bottle of Eau de Toilette or Eau d’ Parfum. If you choose a less concentrated form, it fades within an hour or two. Save your time and money by selecting a lasting scent.

I like Boss No.1 from Hugo Boss. The cardamom and sandalwood go well with many men’s body chemistry, and it doesn’t smell like every generic cologne on the market. To grab a bottle, click here.

Before You Apply Cologne

Before you apply your non-spray cologne, there are a couple of steps you should take. First, you always want to make sure your body is clean. Showering right before you put on your scent will help prolong its usefulness. Use unscented soaps to avoid altering the cologne. Your natural body odor won’t mix or overpower the cologne, and the moisture will help the liquid diffuse properly across the skin.

Additionally, because cologne is mostly alcohol, putting it on damp skin means it will dry a little slower. That helps lock the scent into your skin better. If you can’t shower beforehand, for example, when you reapply a light scent later in the day, there’s an easy solution. Use a little bit of unscented lotion on your skin.

Steps to Apply Non-Spray Cologne

Putting on a non-spray cologne is simple. The biggest complaint most men have is that they spill too much in their hands. That’s because you shouldn’t be tipping the bottle to pour it out in the first place. Follow these easy steps for perfect cologne application

  • Next, decide where to put the cologne. If you want a stronger scent or you’re using a very light cologne, then apply it in two different areas. The back of the knee and behind the ear, or the wrist and base of the throat on the neck, are preferable combinations. Otherwise, just put it on one pulse point.
  • Uncap the bottle and place your palm or finger over the neck so it won’t leak. Gently tilt the bottle to moisten the hand or finger.
  • Optional- Use both your hands. Place your hands or fingers together to spread the scent on both sides evenly before applying. Do not rub it into your hands.
  • Pat, don’t rub the cologne onto your chosen pulse points. Use a gentle tapping motion to apply the cologne over the area. This should not cover a large area, just a square inch or so. You don’t need more than that, and you may need less if your cologne is especially strong.
  • Do not cover up the area with clothing until the cologne is dry.
  • Wash your hands with an excellent unscented soap, so you don’t leave any cologne residue on them. You’ll probably end up touching your face, including your mouth and eyes, at some point. That’s not somewhere you want to apply cologne accidentally.

Do I Need Non-Spray Cologne

Learning to put on cologne in the traditional way will help you smell better longer. A diffuse mist fades faster. Moreover, if you ever break the spray nozzle off of expensive cologne, you’ll still be able to use it instead of wasting your money. Skip the spray. It might save you a second or two, but that’s not a good reason to skip over this essential masculine skill. 

You can always apply a spray-on cologne like a non-spray by squirting it in your hand. The advantage of knowing how to use a no-spray scent is partially having an extra skill, though there are other useful reasons to learn. You can save money by knowing how to use a dab-on cologne. There’s no reason to limit yourself when picking up the knack is so easy.

I highly suggest using a genuine splash-on cologne, or at least a high-quality convertible bottle like Paco Rabanne Splash or Spray. You can check out prices and availability here. The advantage of a two-way bottle is that you can use the spray head to give your bed or closet a quick (single) squirt. 

Make Your Non-Spray Cologne Go Further

Once you’ve invested in a great non-spray cologne and learned how to apply it, there are several ways to extend its use. The first and perhaps most apparent is to store it properly. If you know much about alcohol, then you’re probably aware that it can go off.

Storing any form of alcohol in a dark glass container is best. If your cologne isn’t in an opaque bottle, then putting it in the dark is the next best choice. Always keep it somewhere cool and dry to get the most extended shelf life out of your next bottle.

Apply it Again Later

If you plan on having a long day, then you’ll probably need to reapply your cologne. If you have a good place to carry it with you like an insulated lunch bag, then that’s fine. Alternately some men choose to keep a second bottle in the office. However, make sure you don’t ever store cologne in your car.

In freezing temperatures, the liquid can expand and break the container, spilling glass and liquid everywhere. On the flip side, when temperatures rise, your cologne will go bad faster. If your scent uses essential oils for perfume, then those oils can become rancid if kept in hot conditions.

When it’s not convenient to bring the whole bottle, you can still pack an easy refresher. Take cotton balls or even swabs and wet them with your cologne. Place the damp (not drippy) cotton in a plastic ziplock bag. You can take this with you for a quick refresher later in the day. Plus, if you have leftovers, double bag them and keep them in the fridge for the next day.

Final Thoughts

There’s more to applying cologne than you can get in a spray bottle. As I mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with spray-on cologne, but it tends to make you lazy. Proper grooming is excellent self-presentation, and making a good impression is one of the keys to success. Now that you know more about how to apply your non-spry cologne, you won’t be limited to choices with a spritzer nozzle.

Try out different scents until you find the one that mixes with your body chemistry perfectly. You’ll know you have it right because people will notice and comment on how nice you smell. Proper cologne application makes more of a difference than you think. If you’ve ever had to sit next to a guy who reeks of lousy cologne, then you already know how badly scent can go wrong.

Instead of worrying, take these tips and upgrade your cologne application game. You’re worth it.

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