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Tailor the scent to the man

By Al Varela

Dear Al: With the holiday season approaching I am starting to think about gifts for my husband. I would like to buy him a cologne or after shave--but never know which to get. Can you give me some tips on buying a fragrance for a man?

The most important thing is to be sure that your husband will wear a scent. You don't want your gift to become part of the "elephant's graveyard" of fragrance bottles. If he is a man who can confidently wear a fragrance, there are a few things you should know.

First, not all scented products are the same. The strength of the scent is determined by the ratio of essential oil to alcohol. For example, perfume has the most essential oil and the least alcohol, giving it the strongest fragrance. Next is eau de toilette, followed by cologne and finally after-shave, which has the least amount of oil and the most alcohol.

I recommend that a man use a good skin toner such as the men's Alcohol Free Herbal Toner by Kiehl's instead of a high alcohol after-shave. This is followed by an eau de toilette with the desired fragrance.

Most men's fragrances are not made into perfumes, so the best bet for men is the eau de toilette. It's going to have a higher amount of oil for the fragrance, but a lower level of alcohol.

Men's fragrances are based on the stems rather than the flowers, so you will find woodsy scents such as pine, sandalwood, birch, tobacco, lemon or citrus.

A fragrance will change its scent as the day progresses, so get a sample and wear it all day before you actually buy. It's character in the afternoon might not be what you remember when you splashed it on that morning.

Don't make the mistake of buying a fragrance only by what you smell. Take his profession into consideration since a powerful scent can proceed him before he even walks into the office. That's not something you want. A lighter scent that is citrus or vanilla based is going to be better for the office, as opposed to a fragrance with a heavier scent that might be better for evening wear.

There are a variety of products that contain scents, such as soaps, deodorants, shower gels and shampoos. This can be a way of providing a scent for a person who doesn't like a heavy aroma.

You'll want your fragrance choice to be a pleasant experience, one he will never forget.

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