Do Guys Wear Perfume Or Cologne?

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Most of the world’s perfumes are marketed towards women, we think that is something that everyone can agree on.

Do guys wear perfume or cologne?

Although this wasn’t always the case, it is certainly the case in the modern day and the perfume industry has built itself into a massive global entity based on the idea that they are going to market perfume towards women.

However, cologne is often left out of this marketing equation. It is generally not marketed towards women at all, despite the fact that most other perfume brands are. In fact, the cologne section of the industry normally markets itself towards men.

So, why is this the case? Why is cologne supposedly for men and perfume for women? And, honestly, is there any truth to this stereotype at all? In this article, we seek to find this out for you.

Difference Between Perfume And Cologne

As we said earlier, the difference between perfume and cologne is typically perfume is for women and cologne is for men.

However, this difference is actually a fairly modern invention and, to take it a step further, it is a particularly American invention. That’s right, we came up with that idea.

Now, this idea of colognes being for men has spread around the western world, but honestly, that was never the difference between the two nor is it really the difference today. There are in fact two differences between perfume and cologne.

The first is that cologne originates in Cologne, Germany, where an Italian perfumer name Giovanni Maria Farina invented cologne in 1709, whereas perfume dates all the way back to the earliest forms of civilization in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and potentially even Ancient China.

The second difference is the main one, and it depends on how much perfume essence there is in a bottle and how long the smell of the substance lingers.

Perfumes contain around 15 to 20 percent of the concentration of perfume essence in a bottle, and cologne tends to contain around 2 to 4 percent of the concentration of perfume essence.

This means that the smell of perfume on a person will linger for up to 5 or 6 hours, whereas a colognes scent will last for around 2 to 3 hours. Colognes also tend to be less costly, due to this, and come in bigger bottles to compensate for the lack of linger time.

Nowadays, there is another difference, but this is because of how the industry operates. Scents that are considered more feminine are labeled as perfumes and scents that are considered more masculine are labeled as cologne, ignoring the original distinction of perfume essence percentage completely.

This makes the whole endeavor of choosing a perfume or cologne confusing, as arbitrary decisions and personal taste have decided what scent goes with which sex, rather than letting consumers choose themselves.

Do Guys Wear Perfume Or Cologne?

The stereotype, unfortunately, is that men wear cologne and women wear perfume. The reason for this is very simple: clever marketing. We can say all we want that that has always been the case and men have always worn cologne, but it is simply not true.

The perfume craze started in the 60s and 70s in America, and companies began to market perfumes towards women. Unlike women, men weren’t really targeted by these campaigns, and so they felt left out, paving the way for a market niche to open up.

Do guys wear perfume or cologne?

Since cologne was technically different from perfume, due to the composition of the solutions, it was easy to place it as the male version of perfume and target marketing for cologne at men.

In the 90s, celebrities started releasing their own brands of perfume and because female celebrities were releasing perfumes, male celebrities felt the need to release colognes.

As such, the idea of men wearing cologne and women wearing perfume came to be, along with divided toiletries – like the shower gel for men or the razors for women.

However, before this there were no such ideas. Napoleon was said to wear lots of perfume, and even Tom Jones wears the same perfume he has worn since childhood today.

Which Should I Wear?

Whatever you like, honestly go nuts. For starters, who is exactly going to know if you wear a perfume marketed towards women or men?

You own the bottle, and what kind of people are rooting around your bedroom looking for what scent you put on? Lunatics, that’s who, and if they are doing that, you don’t want them in your life.

If you like the scent of something and want that as your scent, you should just buy it and wear it. The other thing is discarding the idea of what scent belongs where, frees you up to shop around.

Your options are far more open now, and one thing to consider is that now you can buy something that will truly suit you.

Say, you want a scent that will last a whole evening, but you only have cologne. By disregarding the stereotype, you can go out and buy a perfume, which will leave you smelling like roses until the end of the evening, unlike a cologne which will last half as long.

This idea of shopping around is also incredibly cost-effective, as now you have twice as many cheap options for perfume or colognes, instead of just the ones that are in your one section.

It may feel weird at first, but honestly, your wallet will thank you, and you will thank yourself for not restricting what you smell like.


Stereotypically, guys wear cologne and girls wear perfume, but historically this is a very recent idea, and it completely disregards the nuances between perfume and cologne.

They are not different because of which sex uses them, rather they are different because of chemical compositions and the linger smell lasting effect that they have. As such, anyone can use perfume and cologne.

The only thing you need to consider before buying either is whether you like the smell, whether you want it to last a short or long time, and whether you can afford it.