Finding a cologne that’s just right (i.e. your partner likes it, it’s not too strong or weak, and it definitely doesn’t smell like what your dad used) isn’t easy. Once you find the right scent, you stay loyal to it—or at least most men do. But what happens when your old standby starts to smell a little…off? Here are some of the possible causes for your cologne not smelling its best and how to fix them.
You keep it in your hot, steamy bathroom
Heat, humidity, and bright light will break down cologne faster than anything; usually making the top notes mustier and generally changing the composition of the scent through oxidation. Instead, store your cologne in its original box in a cool dry place, like your nightstand drawer instead of your medicine cabinet.
You’ve had it since high school
If your bottle of Obsession is about to celebrate its 17th anniversary, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Your cologne can last, when stored properly, about five years—sometimes less. You’ll know it’s turned when it changes color (usually darker), when it smells sour, or when you need to apply twice as much in order to achieve the right amount of scent.
Your skin is dry AF
Dry skin won’t turn your cologne as much as it will strip it of its top notes immediately. It’ll also cause the scent to wear off more quickly. To get around this, apply cologne after you get out of the shower or after applying unscented lotion in order to protect the integrity of the scent and lock in the aroma for longer.
You’re layering it with another, competing scent
Mixing a citrus body wash with an amber cologne and finishing it off with Old Spice deodorant and a whole bunch of Kiehl’s body lotion might not go over that well. Try to streamline your scented products by buying unscented versions or those infused with the same scent as your cologne.
You’re wearing it during the wrong time of year
A heavy winter cologne might feel cloying during a hot summer night, while a refreshing summer scent might not mingle nicely with winter’s heady aromas (like that roaring fireplace). You don’t have to be strict about switching your cologne up every season, just keep at least two in rotation so you have flexibility.
Your skin chemistry is screwing with things
Your skin is made up of a unique combination of water, acids, fats, proteins, and sugars that can subtly change the way your cologne smells on you. Stress, diet, medication, and even age can also affect how a scent interacts with your skin. If your cologne isn’t sitting well with you anymore, it simply might be time to try something new.
You have bad taste in cologne!
No amount of care or consideration can save “Legend” by Michael Jordan or anything you buy at the drugstore—even if it’s kept under lock and key. If you get the sense that your cheap cologne is rubbing people the wrong way, maybe it’s time to upgrade to one of these.