For many of us, the last step in our daily morning ritual is spraying a bit of fragrance on—some perhaps a lot more than others. We even sometimes take a smaller bottle of our favorite cologne along with us to reapply throughout the day. So what if you find it hard to figure out the right amount to apply, or you don't want to carry a whole bottle of cologne around with you during the day?
If you're looking to make your fragrance routine a bit easier, a great solution may be to switch to a solid cologne. Solid colognes are a perfect alternative to their spray counterparts—made with a high concentration of fragrance ingredients, just a few swipes will keep you smelling fresh all day long. Ahead, we’ll talk more about solid colognes and how to use them, including a few of our favorites.
Meet the Expert
- Anthony Tori is an entrepreneur and co-founder of solid cologne brand Ulio & Jack.
What Is Solid Cologne?
Solid cologne is made from natural ingredients such as beeswax and shea butter forming the base, along with essential oils and other fragrances that give each one a unique scent. The portability problem of regular glass cologne bottles was the reasoning behind many of the solid perfume brands now available—the solid base means these colognes often come in small tins, which makes for easy and discreet usage.
"We started making solid cologne because we were traveling quite a bit and wanted to pack light," says Anthony Tori of solid perfumer Ulio & Jack. "On top of that, our normal cologne bottles would break or even be confiscated at airport security lines, so we created wax colognes that were easy to carry in our pocket." The brand's colognes come in a small, pocket-friendly tin that's only slightly larger than a matchbox. As Tori also points out, the size of most solid cologne means you can take it through airport security without having to worry about having to toss it out.
Solid Cologne vs. Spray Cologne
Besides portability, one of the main differences between solid and spray colognes is the method in which the scent is applied. Spray cologne typically uses a base of alcohol that evaporates, leaving just the scent behind. If you’re looking for an alcohol-free option, then a solid may be great for you. Tori says that Ulio & Jack's solid colognes are made without alcohol, which he says is a big hit with customers. Many solid colognes, like the ones you'll find below, feature more natural ingredients like jojoba oil rather than chemicals or things you can’t pronounce. Solid cologne also tends to be more concentrated than sprays, meaning a little bit can go a long way.
How to Use Solid Cologne
Much like with spray fragrances, solid cologne works best when applied to your pulse points, such as the neck, chest, wrists, and behind your ears. Similar to using a balm, simply rub your fingers gently across the wax and then apply to the aforementioned areas.
As the wax begins to heat up on your body, the scent will become more pronounced, so be careful not to apply too much at first. Like with all colognes, however, your personal body chemistry will determine how much you need to use and how often. "How long the scent lasts will depend on a person's skin. People who tend to have drier skin will notice that the scent will not last as long as someone with oily skin," Tori says.
The Best Solid Colognes
If the portability and ease of use of solid cologne appeals to you, we’ve rounded up 10 favorites that we think are solid choices (pun intended).
This woodsy, spicy scent with notes of nutmeg, sandalwood, and leather is as bold as it sounds. For anyone who likes a scent to have as much swagger as they do, this tiny tin packs a major punch.
Madagascan geranium and oak moss combine with notes of wood and citrus for an outdoorsy fragrance that the company likens to water cascading down a mountainside. Does it get any more outdoors than that?
Ulio & Jack’s bestselling fragrance is a blend of bergamot, jasmine, and Japanese grapefruit with a hint of peppermint. The scent is strong enough for those near you to notice, yet subtle enough to keep its distance from others.
From famed French fragrance house Diptyque comes this solid cologne with hints of rose, blackcurrant, and petitgrain for a fruity, floral aroma.
For a bit more of a luxurious take on solid cologne, Misc. Goods Co. offers scents in a cherry wood case with a brass inlay, which snaps together with magnets for easy travel. Valley of Gold combines 11 ingredients including rose, lavender, and geranium for a floral, earthy scent reminiscent of a garden in bloom.
Inspired by other (far more expensive) sprayed colognes, this balm features notes of pineapple, birch, musk, blackcurrant, and ambergris.
Made with organic beeswax, jojoba oil, and essential oils, Desert Cedar features what Juniper Ridge calls "a sun-baked mixture of brush resin, minerals, and clay" with lots of juniper and cedar notes.
While the solid colognes on our list are alcohol-free, Duke Cannon Supply Co’s Bourbon Solid Cologne is made to at least smell like it. Evoking the scent of the famed Buffalo Trace distillery, Bourbon has a woodsy, oak barrel scent.
Just as the name implies, this understated scent is made for someone classy and confident who doesn’t let the scent wear them, featuring a light blend of citrus and mahogany notes.
This luxurious and bold fragrance demands attention. A fresh blast of mint, amber, and grapefruit greets the wearer upon application before drying down into a spicy mix of patchouli, wood, and leather.