An Indian man’s guide to the difference between cologne and aftershave

Imagine this you’re at the airport, in the duty free area staring at a bunch of designer scents with a sales rep breathing down your throat. The pressure is on you need to pick one quick, do you choose a cologne and use it for going out and shaving or do you buy an aftershave and use it for both? Which is the right answer? None!

The terms aftershave and cologne have been used interchangeably by men and designer brands alike, but the truth is that while both are scented they are used for very different purposes. An aftershave is used after shaving as you might have guessed. They help in fighting infections in any cuts and nicks your blade might cause while shaving. Your skin also loses some oils while shaving, aftershaves can help replenish those. The alcohol it contains (I know what you’re thinking.. no you can’t drink it) will help close skin pores opened by the use of hot water during your shave.


Colognes on the other hand won’t help your post shave routine in any way. It is instead primarily a fragrance created to help you smell better. They are actually often activated by body heat so consider applying them to your skin and different pulse points. Cologne contains a decent amount of perfume oils about 2.5% to 5%. So if you apply cologne in the morning you can be assured it will last for the better part of your day. Even though aftershave contains perfume oils, the amount is very low about 1% to 1.25%. Hence don’t apply it if you’re looking to wow your colleagues with how good you smell, because it will wear off in a few hours.

Remember both cologne and aftershave are very important as long as they are being used for their respective function. Colognes for smell and aftershave to avoid infections and rashes after a good shave.



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