Should You Wear Deodorant with Cologne? (Read This First!)

Deodorant and cologne serve two different purposes.

Wearing deodorant is a given. But if you want to wear cologne, it’s something you wear in addition to deodorant, not instead of it. To avoid smelling two competing fragrances, you can apply an unscented deodorant before spraying on your cologne.

Keep reading for more ideas on how to prevent perspiration and sport your unique fragrance.

Should You Wear Deodorant with Cologne

What’s the Difference Between Deodorant and Cologne?

Similarities exist between deodorants and colognes, but each one exists for a different reason. 

There are a lot of unscented deodorant options but many deodorants have fragrance added to them. Colognes are made of concentrated fragrance formulas. Both are ideally applied to the body only after you’ve showered or bathed.

Fragrance and order of application are two commonalities between deodorant and cologne.

Why Should You Wear Deodorant?

The purpose of deodorant is to mask body odor or prevent those odors from forming in the first place. Deodorants can be applied to armpits, private body parts, and even the feet.

Some deodorants are also antiperspirants. This subcategory of deodorants helps to prevent you from sweating by blocking your sweat glands. Since antiperspirants are still a deodorant, they also mask your body odor if you sweat anyway.

Unless you are one of those rare individuals who doesn’t perspire or release any body odor, you should apply deodorant daily. It’s just good hygiene. 

In some cultures body odor that isn’t kept in check can be offensive to people – including yourself. Have you ever finished a workout, and then mistakenly caught a whiff of the smell in your armpits? 

Even if you haven’t exercised at all, bacteria still accumulates on the body, causing a tart odor in your underarms. 

Cleaning your body daily is essential, but it won’t prevent you from generating body odor throughout the day. So wearing deodorant can help keep you fresher for a longer period of time. Engaging in this practice daily is one way of engaging in self-care. 

Not everyone likes deodorants, and it’s true that some of them are made with questionable ingredients. But there are natural and/or healthier deodorant options on the market nowadays.

Should You Wear Cologne?

Cologne on the other hand is optional; it’s lagniappe, just something extra that isn’t essential. If you’re wearing deodorant, you don’t have to also wear cologne. But many colognes smell wonderful and are more intense than deodorant.

There is nothing wrong with indulging in a good cologne. You simply do not want to use it as the primary solution to mask body odor. Strong body odor plus cologne is usually a bad combination

Every now and then you might squirt on cologne midday to freshen up after your lunch break, or something similar. But that’s only if you aren’t able to freshen up with a shower first.

Cologne is not a replacement for deodorant. It’s more like an accessory and a form of personal expression.

Motivation for wearing cologne is a very personal decision. Some people wear cologne to complete their look or make them appear to be more attractive. Others wear it in order to feel good about themselves. And still others might apply it in order to change their mood. It can be worn daily or solely for special events.

Overall, wearing deodorant should be a daily occurrence but wearing cologne doesn’t have to be. 

Deodorant and Cologne Combinations to Avoid

As mentioned, deodorant and cologne are not the same or intended to be used in the same way. 

Never Apply Cologne to Your Armpits

Deodorant is formulated to be rubbed or sprayed onto your armpits and other sensitive areas of your body. But cologne is not.

Your armpits house more sweat glands than any other part of your body. It is also one of the areas of your body that traps a lot of heat. Those with a full range of motion also tend to move their arms around a lot.

All of these factors combined – the excess moisture, heat, and friction can create an environment that’s prone to irritation and injury.

Adding highly concentrated colognes to this mix can lead to itching, burning, and possibly a rash.

Some people are more sensitive to fragrances than others whether they’re inhaling them or placing them on the skin. If you have an existing skin condition or broken skin in this area, you definitely do not want to spray cologne on your armpits. 

Even without a skin condition, the irritation you might experience isn’t worth the risk. Especially since there are less harsh deodorants on the market that serve a better function in this area of your body.

Instead, spray cologne onto your upper chest area, inner elbow, or wrists. 

Best Deodorants to Wear with Cologne

When you’ve invested in a high quality cologne, it would feel like a waste of money if your deodorant overpowered the more expensive fragrance. 

Scents that smell nice individually might not combine well with one another. Perfumers dedicate a lot of time and expertise to developing fragrance combinations that work well together. So randomly combining scents on your own may not yield desired results.

If you really enjoy your cologne fragrance, you might be hesitant to wear deodorant, but don’t be. Here are a couple suggestions for preventing clashing scents. 

You can either: 

  1. Choose a deodorant that actually complements the fragrance of your cologne
  2. Choose a matching deodorant fragrance made by the same brand as your cologne, or 
  3. Choose a deodorant that has no smell at all

Complementary Deodorants to Wear with Cologne

You don’t have to be a “nose” or fragrance chemist in order to find a deodorant that works well with your cologne. 

Instead, start small. Think about the cologne fragrance you wear the most, and then research its fragrance notes. What are the base notes? Pay closer attention to these because they’re the ones that continue to linger as the day progresses.

But if you can’t find the fragrance layers that make up your cologne, just read the description. 

For instance, this Silver Water & Birch Spray Cologne by Cremo gives me hints of what to expect by its name alone.

But the description mentions “cool moss,” “aquatic dive,” “mountain lake,” “clean woods” and so on. Since birch is in the title, my guess is that the clean woods scent is somehow connected to birchwood. If you already own the fragrance, then you know how it smells.

When choosing a deodorant, highlighting one of these scent references can possibly lead to a really nice complementary fragrance layer.

So if I owned Silver Water & Birch I might consider a deodorant like Dove’s Eucalyptus and Birch plant-based deodorant.

Of course you would have to smell it to confirm, but it also incorporates the scent of birchwood. And eucalyptus has a cool fragrance quality to it, so that might pair well with the cool and clean descriptions used for the Cremo cologne.

This is just an example of how you can look for deodorants made with scents similar to your cologne.

Matching Scent Deodorants to Wear with Cologne

Fragrance brands sometimes offer a full body care line for men. This could include a body wash, deodorant, lotion, and cologne that are all made with the same fragrance notes. 

For example, this gift set by Abercrombie & Fitch includes cologne in multiple sizes, hand soap, body wash, a candle, room spray, body spray, hand sanitizer, and antiperspirant deodorant in one scent, Fierce.

In a smaller gift set, Phantom by Paco Rabanne there are two fragrance sprays and a deodorant spray.

If your favorite cologne brand (or one you’re interested in trying) offers a set such as these, it’s one of the best ways to prevent a scent battle between your cologne and deodorant.

Unscented Deodorants to Wear with Cologne

A more economical way to make sure your cologne remains the dominant fragrance throughout your day is to wear an unscented deodorant.

There are a lot of them on the market, but honestly not all of them are fragrance-free.

Mitchum Power Gel Antiperspirant Deodorant

For instance, Mitchum manufactures an unscented gel deodorant that works really well as an antiperspirant. Even though it’s for men, as a woman, I sometimes use this during warmer months to combat excess perspiration. This is how I know that although it’s categorized as unscented, there is a light, fairly neutral fragrance to it. 

The ingredients list confirms this. The very last ingredient listed is parfum (fragrance) even though it’s an “Unscented” deodorant/antiperspirant.

While the fragrance is subtle, it’s still there and might throw off your cologne choice a little.

More unscented options:

If Mitchum sounds undesirable, here are more suggestions to look into:

Some of these have no scent at all, others a similar to Mitchum. The only way to know which one will work best for you is to try the one that’s most appealing for a few weeks while wearing your cologne.

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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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