5 Easy Ways to Apply Cologne Without Spray (Explained) 

In most cases, you’ll have a sprayer on your cologne bottle. But there are some times, like when purchasing testers, where you may not have a sprayer. Other times, the sprayer is defective or becomes ruined during transport. 

Keep reading to learn of alternative ways to apply your cologne.

Apply Cologne Without Spray

5 Easy Non-Spray Applications of Cologne

There can be a number of reasons why you need to rely on an alternative method for applying cologne. For instance, a strong-scented cologne offers motivation to apply it without a sprayer for a lighter scent experience.

Then there are those with respiratory conditions who enjoy wearing fragrances but experience inflamed or irritated respiratory tract if exposed to fragranced sprays. 

Whatever the case, there’s no need to fret. You can still use your cologne without a sprayer.

1. The Finger Dab Method

This is probably the most familiar way of applying any fragrance without a sprayer. Here are the simple steps.

  1. First, make sure you have a solid grip of your cologne bottle.
  2. Next, cover the opening with your finger.
  3. Tip the bottle over while still covering it with your finger.
  4. Turn the bottle back upright and then dab any of your pulse points with the liquid that’s on your finger.

Repeat as needed, but don’t go overboard.

Also, avoid rubbing the areas where you’ve dabbed on the cologne. For instance, if you chose to apply the cologne to your wrists, don’t rub them together afterwards. Instead, allow the cologne to dry on your skin without any intervention; there are two reasons for this

When you choose not to rub in the cologne, you’re allowing the scent to naturally unfold in whatever manner it was designed to. Allowing it to air dry also prevents you from potentially altering the scent as you force it into your skin cells. 

While this is a super easy method, you might also notice that a lot of fragrance remains on your finger, which can annoy some people. If this bothers you, keep reading for more alternatives. 

2. The Sprayer Dab Method

If your cologne is too intense to spray on – even once – then it might help to use your sprayer as a dabber. This way, the natural oils in the skin of your finger aren’t interfering with scent application. And you won’t have a highly scented finger from using the previous method. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Get a good grip on your cologne bottle.
  2. Unscrew the sprayer base
  3. Lift up the atomizer, and then place the bottom portion of the sprayer stem on one or more of your pulse points. 

The result is a milder scent experience for yourself and those around you.

3. The Decenter Dab Method

Flacon containers are designed with a stopper instead of a sprayer. In such cases, you would hold the container, with the stopper still plugged in, and then tilt it until cologne touches the base of the stopper.


You would then set the container on a level surface, and then dab your skin with the moist stopper. 

Aim for your pulse points (upper neck, wrists, inner elbows, behind the knees, your groin area, or behind your ears) but only choose one or two areas to avoid oversaturation. 

4. The Direct Dab Method

One of the easiest methods to use is to dab the cologne directly onto your skin without using your finger, the sprayer base, or a stopper.

This approach may require extra precaution as you don’t want to unintentionally spill out too much of the cologne. 

  1. With this approach, you’ll want to unscrew and remove the lid. 
  2. Place a body part, like your wrist over the opening of the container. 
  3. Keep the opening close to your wrist as you tilt the bottle over until you feel the cologne touch your skin.
  4. With the bottle remaining close to your wrist, turn it back upright. 

You can carefully repeat this approach on your neck or the back of your knees, etcetera. 

If you happen to go overboard, removal is easy. Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball, and then rub the areas of your skin that have excess cologne. 

5. The Makeshift Dabber Method

If none of the above methods are an option for you, then you might want to select a non-porous object to use as a dabber.

A coated chopstick, a hair stick, or anything that is sanitary and can extend far enough down into your bottle to touch your cologne. 

As long as you don’t choose a cotton swab, an object covered in fabric, or anything else that would absorb the cologne before you’re able to apply it to your body, you should be fine.

  • Just as before, you’d place the container on a stable surface or make sure you have a good grip on it, and then dip the object into the container. 
  • Pull it out and dab the cologne onto a couple of your pulse points.

Allow it to dry without rubbing. Be sure to replace the cap on your bottle.

Read more: How to Get Perfume Out of Bottle with Broken Sprayer

Best Way to Apply the Cologne

For the best results using any of these methods, there are two things to keep in mind. First, 

you only want to apply cologne to a clean body. Secondly, for more lasting fragrance, you want to make sure your skin is aptly moisturized.  

After showering or bathing, fully dry off, and then moisturize your skin. You’ll want to either use an unscented moisturizer or one that compliments your cologne. 

And then use one of the methods above to apply cologne to your body. Let the cologne air dry before getting dressed.

Read more: Should You Shake Perfume & Cologne Before Use


It may seem unconventional to apply cologne without a sprayer, but it’s actually not that odd.

If intensity is your concern, lighter scented colognes can almost always be sprayed on. More saturated scents can be dabbed on using any of these methods. 

Avoid the finger method if you have sensitive skin that might become irritated from absorbing so much cologne.

Hopefully this post helps you feel more comfortable about using your cologne without a sprayer.


Hello and welcome to Fragrance Advice! My name is Grace Young, and I’ve been drawn to fragrances since I was a little girl. There's just something about scent that brings me so much joy! 

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