Kick the tires before you buy a cologne

Rule 50


Kick the tires before you buy a cologne

The smell of a cologne when you first put it on is actually very different from what it will smell like an hour later, says Carlos Benaim, creator of some of the world's most successful fragrances, including Calvin Klein's Eternity for Men and the new YSL scent, L'Homme Libre. Most scents are divided into three "notes," he explains, each a blend of oils and essences that react to your body's chemistry. The top note is the first, fleeting part of the fragrance. It comes and goes in 15 minutes. The middle note lasts about an hour, and the base note remains for the rest of the day. "It's important to test the fragrance on your own skin," Benaim says. Don't try too many at once. Instead, hit the fragrance counter first, sniff a few bottles to find a scent you like, and give it a squirt on your wrist. Do the rest of your shopping while your sample has time to evolve, and save your final decision until you're ready to leave the store.

Yves Saint Laurent L'Homme Libre ($45 for 1.3 oz), yslbeautyus.com


last updated june 2014