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How To Apply Solid Cologne: The Complete Guide

Wax-based scents are an awesome alternative to spray colognes, but what if you don’t know how to apply solid cologne? Thankfully, it’s a fast and easy process — as long as you’re properly informed.

In this guide, we’ll give you the complete rundown on how to apply solid cologne, from choosing your scent style and brand, to applying to the most useful “pulse points” on your body for maximum effect. Then, we’ll answer a handful of frequently asked questions about how to apply solid cologne — so let’s get right into it.

Table of Contents

Step #1: Choose Your Scent

The first step in applying a solid cologne is also the most exciting: Choosing your scent from among the wide world of aromatic styles. This is your chance to personalize your solid cologne to your individual aesthetic, or just choose something you love the smell of.

Whereas a handful of designers tend to dominate the field of spray colognes — with the best Christian Dior colognes and the best Creed colognes selling millions of bottles each year — solid colognes are a relatively new addition to the popular fragrance world. Because of this, you’ll find plenty of smaller producers, as well as notable solid versions of some of the best Jo Malone colognes.

Try taking a trip to your local department store to try solid colognes in person, or do a quick search for some of the best solid colognes for men to get a clear picture on the wide variety of fragrances available today.

Step #2: Swipe Your Solid Cologne

Once you’ve chosen your solid cologne, it’s time to get it properly warmed up. 

Because solid colognes are made with a wax base, they’ll be harder to apply if they’re cold — but you definitely don’t want to go overboard and have your solid cologne melt, either. Keeping it at a comfortable room temperature is the best way to maintain the integrity of your solid cologne while also keeping it easy to work with.

This is key, because you don’t want to dig into your solid cologne. Aim to perform a gentle swiping motion across the surface of the waxy cologne, keeping in mind that less is more when applying solid cologne. If you do happen to go too far and grab too much solid cologne, gently replace it by sliding your fingers against the edge of the tin and depositing the excess cologne.

Step #3: Apply To Your Pulse Points

To get the best qualities out of your solid colognes (and your spray or oil colognes as well, for that matter), you should always apply your fragrance to your pulse points. But what is a pulse point, anyway?

True to their name, pulse points are the places on your body where you can most easily feel the pulse of your heart as it pumps blood through your veins. Because the blood is close to the surface of your skin at these points, it will help to warm the essential oils in your cologne, allowing it to mix with your skin chemistry and display its best qualities.

We stick with a simple three-point process for applying solid colognes: Once you’ve swiped correctly as outlined above, apply your cologne gently behind your ears, on your wrists, and at the base of your neck (the same goes for applying regular cologne without a spray). Occasionally, people enjoy applying a small amount to the insides of their elbows and backs of their knees too, though we think this might be a bit too much for most.

Is Solid Cologne Good?

Solid cologne has a lot of things going for it, with three positive qualities making it a major standout:

First, solid cologne is exceptionally portable. It’s easy to carry with you any time of day, but especially excels when carried along while traveling. It’s completely TSA-safe, too, making it a natural choice for anyone who uses frequent air travel.

Second, solid cologne can have a long and pleasant development on the skin that makes it gentler than spray cologne at first, but potentially longer lasting depending on individual skin chemistry and the temperature of your environment.

Third, solid cologne is quite affordable — with an average tin retailing for around $20. So overall, solid cologne is definitely worth adding to your collection.

What Is A Solid Cologne Used For?

Solid colognes can be used and applied in almost any situation you’d use a spray cologne for, but they’re especially useful to carry with you while traveling. Their small size, portable carrying cases, and TSA-friendly compositions make them a versatile choice that’s easy to toss in your backpack or briefcase for anytime, anywhere use.

Do Solid Colognes Last Longer?

In the case of solid colognes vs spray colognes, the question of which lasts longer can be a tricky one — and it mainly comes down to which colognes you’re comparing, as well as matters of skin chemistry and ambient temperature.

At their best, solid colognes can last for up to 8 hours, making them a strong competitor for most spray colognes. They’re quite affordable, too. But in the case of luxury and high-end colognes, spray colognes will always have greater longevity thanks to their inclusion of rare, exotic, and expensive ingredients (like oud and sandalwood) that can last for a full day or more.

Where Do You Put Solid Cologne?

The best places to apply solid cologne happen to be the same as the best places to apply spray cologne for maximum effect: The pulse points.

As described above, pulse points are the places on your body where your blood flow is closest to the surface of your skin, making the temperature consistently warmer than other parts of your body. This allows cologne applied to these points to gently meld with your natural skin chemistry, growing and developing into its best aromatics.

To keep it simple, apply solid cologne to three pulse points: The base of your neck, your wrists, and behind your ears. That’ll keep you smelling great all day long.

Should You Rub In Solid Cologne?

Despite its initially hard nature, solid cologne’s waxy base will quickly melt into an easily pliable cream when you’ve warmed it with your fingertips. Because of this, you won’t need to really rub it into your skin — just swipe it onto your pulse points and let your body heat do the work of bringing out its best aromatics. In fact, you’ll want to avoid rubbing solid cologne in too aggressively, as it can remove some of the natural complexity of the more delicate aromatics. 

Why Do You Put Cologne On Wrists?

If you’ve watched someone else apply cologne, you’ll often see them focus on three spots: The insides of the wrists, around the base of the neck, and behind the ears. But why?

Each of these locations is a pulse point, a place on your body where your blood flow is closer to the skin. The warmth of that blood flow helps the cologne on your skin to warm and release its aromatics, making for a better smell all day long. 

If you only want to apply a small amount of cologne, go for just the wrists; they’re a great place to create a gentle aroma throughout the day.

How Do You Apply Solid Cologne So That It Lasts All Day?

The exact composition of a solid cologne will be a big determinant in its longevity, but individual skin chemistry and ambient temperature can affect your fragrance as well. So while there’s no hard and fast answer for how to increase the longevity of your solid colognes, we have a few tips.

If you’re looking to make your solid cologne last all day, the best place to start is by applying a small amount to each of your pulse points (covered in the sections above). The warmth of these areas will help to develop your fragrance’s aromatics throughout the entire day.

However, this isn’t always enough to keep your scent all day. The solution? Pack your solid cologne with you — they’re easy to carry along no matter where you’re going, and simple to reapply.

Brian has been fascinated with fragrances since his 8th birthday, when his Dad gifted him a bottle of Acqua di Gio. Since then, he has become a men's grooming & style aficionado who teaches men how to look sharp. Backed by personal experience, Brian's articles are known for his no-holds-barred style where he holds nothing back. You will get his real opinions on the latest men's grooming products and best practices where he reveals the best (and worst) style advice every man should know.