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A guide to fragrances for him

Illustration of an aftershave bottle
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Many people think all male fragrances are cologne but that’s not always the case. There’s also aftershave, eau de parfum and eau de toilette to consider.

Here we share a simple guide to men’s fragrance including what the difference is between each type, how to make your fragrance last longer and how to pick a scent to suit you.

What is a cologne?

Cologne is an everyday fragrance that is less concentrated than perfume. It’s often used to describe masculine scents; however, it is actually the term for lighter fragrances with a concentration of perfume oils of 2-4%. This means it will last a few hours on the skin, rather than all day.

Cologne and aftershave are often thought to be the same product, however aftershave is intended as a lotion to soothe the skin after shaving rather than fragrance.

What is the difference between cologne, perfume, aftershave, and eau de toilette?

Fragrance type About Concentration of perfume oils Lasting time
Eau de Parfum The most concentrated fragrance available, for both men and women. 10-20% Up to 8 hours
Eau de Toilette A slightly strong scent that is best used for a set occasion such as a day out or evening party. 5-15% 4-7 hours
Cologne A refreshing fragrance that contains a lighter mix of alcohol and oils. 2-4% 2-3 hours
Aftershave A lotion used to clean and calm skin after shaving with a subtle scent. 1-2% 1-2 hours


Fragrance concentration guide infographic

Differences between scents and notes

There are many different types of scents that each have their own distinct aroma. Most can be categorised into the below four fragrance families. Naturally there is some crossover however understanding which family you prefer can help you to identify your favourite fragrance.

Fragrance family About Subfamilies Popular notes
Floral Often used in women’s fragrances and worn in spring and summer. Green, Fruity, Floral, Soft Floral, Floral Oriental Fresh-cut flowers and sweet fruits such as rose, lily, jasmine and apple.
Oriental Opulent, deeper fragrances that are often thought of as seductive and luxurious. Floral Oriental, Soft Oriental, Oriental, Woody Oriental Rich, warm spices and herbs such as cinnamon, musk, vanilla and patchouli.
Woody Earthy fragrances that are often used in male scents. Woody Oriental, Woods, Mossy Woods, Dry Woods Aromatic and dry scents such as oakmoss, leather, sandalwood and vetiver.
Fresh The most refreshing category that’s often inspired by the ocean and citrus fruits. Aromatic, Citrus, Water, Green Clean, light herbs, zesty fruits and aquatic notes such as sea spray, mandarin, lavender and basil.


Fragrance wheel infographic

Can I use cologne as aftershave?

Cologne and aftershave are often mistaken for each other, however each have a different purpose. Aftershave is intended to be used after shaving to calm skin whilst cologne is a lightly concentrated fragrance. Therefore, it’s not recommended to use cologne in place of aftershave as it won’t provide the same soothing benefits and could irritate your skin.

Looking to upgrade your shaving routine? Discover our men’s beard care range of balms, conditioners and masks.

How to apply cologne?

Knowing how to apply cologne will help you make the most of your chosen scent. You don’t want it to be too powerful, nor too subtle so that it fades moments later. Cologne should be a part of your everyday routine, rather than an afterthought as you leave the house.

Here’s how to apply cologne so your scent lasts longer:

  • Apply straight after you shower once dry. A hot shower or bath opens your pores, making it easier for your skin to absorb the scent.
  • Spritz 10-15 cm from your body. This will stop you over-applying the scent.
  • Apply your cologne to warm pulse points. Your neck, lower jaw, chest, wrist and inner elbow are some of the warmer places on your body. Spritzing your scent here will help it to last longer.
  • Start with one spray. Too many people make the mistake of spritzing multiple times creating a heavy haze of scent. Instead, spray once and reapply once the scent fades.

Our best-selling men's fragrances

Best-selling woody fragrances for him

  • Hugo Boss Bottled Tonic - This elegant, masculine fragrance by Hugo Boss combines a simple yet bold woody base with sharp vibrant notes of ginger and citrus.
  • Ted Baker Au GoldTed Baker presents Au Gold, a warm and woody aroma that matches bergamot, clove and jasmine with a sweet strong finish of vanilla and musk.
  • Calvin Klein Obsession NightEnter the night with Calvin Klein’s deep, dark scent. This powerful fragrance mixes exotic patchouli, musk and vetiver with alluring spices and fruity notes. 

Best-selling fresh fragrances for him

  • Yves St Laurent YIntroducing Y for men by Yves Saint Laurent. A scent for a creative, passionate soul with bright, fresh notes of lavender and geranium, finished by sensual fir and tonka bean.
  • Ralph Lauren Ralph's ClubEnter the club of Ralph Lauren with this iconic, stylish scent. Fresh lavandin combines with warm cedarwood and aromatic sage for a seductive, long-lasting aroma.
  • Paco Rabanne Invictus VictoryBe unstoppable, be victorious. Invictus Victory by Paco Rabanne clashes zesty lemon with sensual tonka to create this magnetic, fresh fragrance that oozes power. 

Best-selling oriental fragrances for him

  • Paco Rabanne Pure XSA bold fragrance inspired by revolutionary fashion. Be bold with this heady spiced scent of thyme, ginger and myrrh presented in a polished glass bottle.
  • Hugo Boss Dark BlueIntrigue those around you with this sophisticated mix of spices and citrus fruits. Ginger, grapefruit and lemon compose a top layer of notes, followed by mahogany, sage, vetiver and patchouli for a deep sensual finish.
  • Hugo Boss The Scent for HimHugo Boss for Him never goes out of style. This classic scent infuses leather, ginger and calming lavender for an irresistible aroma that provokes all five senses. 

Best-selling floral fragrances for him

  • Jasper Conran Aegean ManDiscover the new eau de toilette for men by Jasper Conran. This crisp floral scent captures the wonders of the Aegean Sea with notes of mandarin, lemon, orange flowers and rose. Finishing with an elegant blend of amber and musk.
  • Burberry Brit SplashInspired by the eclectic energy of the city of London, Burberry’s Brit Splash is an aromatic scent combining rosemary, galbanum and melon with earthy tones of vetiver and moss. A bright and refreshing scent for men.
  • Calvin Klein Eternity AirFeel the vibrancy of Eternity Air, a sophisticated fragrance that opens with fresh mandarin and juniper, before delving into apple, violet and patchouli. 


“We are always working to bring the best fragrance collection to our customers, including Lloyd’s exclusives and products that are specially crafted with our customers in mind. The fragrance offer is being elevated with the introduction of more premium products to allow our customers to purchase from a wider portfolio of brands. Finally, with the introduction of all year-round gifting, there is always the opportunity to find the perfect present for someone special”.
LloydsPharmacy Fragrance Team

Shop men's fragrances

Many of us enjoy wearing fragrance but don’t truly know how to apply it or pick a scent we love. Now you do! Discover our range of men’s fragrance and aftershave, the perfect addition to our men’s toiletries and skincare range.