Everyone is familiar with your classic aftershave spray in a bottle. You may even be one of the few well-informed gentlemen that are aware of the different strengths of aftershave such as eau de toilette, cologne or parfum.
But have you heard of solid colognes?
Rather than using water, solid colognes are usually made from a natural wax like beeswax or shea butter as the medium for the fragrance. The product is then gently rubbed on to the skin, usually at the pulse points such as the neck or wrist. By using these warm areas, the scent is activated throughout the day and also starts to subtly blend with your own natural musk.
What may have at first seemed like a gimmick has become the hottest trend within the fragrance industry, especially for men because of their ease of use and portability.
But solid colognes aren't as new as you might think. It is quite well known that, as far back as Egyptian times, scented oils and animal fats were used in rituals and burials, and were possibly in use even further back.
So why should you be making room in your pocket for a solid cologne?
Portability - The small size and light weight makes it ideal when compared to a spray bottle for carrying with you on the go. You can place it in your gym bag or slide into your breast pocket, allowing you to top up your scent throughout the day when most needed. This also makes it much safer for carrying on flights (or posting abroad). Many airlines don’t allow bottles of liquid or they will specify a maximum capacity but you won’t have any trouble keeping a solid cologne in your hand luggage.
Durability - Speaking of gym bags, a solid cologne won’t smash and leak its contents everywhere if you were to drop your bag or even the cologne itself directly on the floor. Usually housed in a small metal tin, they are much more sturdy.
Privacy - One of the reasons it has perhaps taken off so well within the male grooming industry is its subtle nature. Sometimes, especially in an office environment, it can feel awkward for a man to pull out his aftershave and start spraying himself. The act or sudden waft of fragrance can draw unwanted attention that some may deem unprofessional in a workplace. On the other hand, it’s very easy to subtly rub a little bit of solid cologne on without attracting attention.
Ease Of Use - We’ve all known someone that wears too much perfume/aftershave, the type that you can smell coming before you see them. Another positive with solid colognes is that the scents tend to be milder so you won’t be leaving a trail through the office and subjecting everyone else to your choice of fragrance. They also force you to use them correctly; by applying a small amount to the pulse points to get the most out of them which makes it difficult to smell too strongly. There is an etiquette to applying fragrance because a gentleman knows that his scent should only be apparent from up close, for those with the privilege of being up close.
Kind to the skin - Most aftershaves have a high percentage of alcohol inside which is often touted as a drying ingredient for the skin. Whether the occasional spray on your skin is bad for it or not, using a a solid cologne certainly won’t be as they don’t include any alcohol (or even water) and instead make use of natural moisturising ingredients such as shea butter and essential oils.
Lasting Fragrance - Most solid colognes typically last somewhere between 2-4 hours, which is better than cheaper aftershaves but doesn’t have the lasting effect that a more expensive eau de parfum might have. However, as already mentioned, this is in part made up for by its portability and ease-of-use so, as long as you don’t mind topping up later in the day, this may not be a disadvantage for you.
Availability - At the moment there are just a handful of solid colognes out there meaning your favourite scent probably doesn’t come in solid form. But the options are growing rapidly with many great companies coming up with new fragrances all the time.
We stock a selection of solid colognes in our shop here.
Some great brands that make solid colognes:
Alfred Lane - Well known solid cologne brand from Chicago
Aromantom - Handmade in small batches in Ireland
Fulton and Roark - High-end fragrances presented in a unique tin made in North Carolina
Phoenix and Beau - An independent soap artisan with a growing selection of solid colognes
Solid Cologne UK - Based in London with a varied scent selection
Solid State - Australian brand with strong branding and even stronger scents.