Keeping It Fresh: Avoiding Bad Breath, Body Odor, and Cheap Cologne

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 17, 2009 · 84 comments

in Dress & Grooming


Editor’s note: This is a guest post from a fellow Tulsan and friend, Nathan Fifield.

Do you remember when you were a teen and your parents or teachers complained about your terrible breath and body odor?If you were like me, you didn’t care and you probably didn’t do anything about it. After all, you couldn’t smell it, and of course as a teenager you are not supposed to care about anything other people tell you.

Unfortunately, I know far too many grown men who still smell like reeking teens, and whether they know it or not, their odor problem is wreaking havoc on their personal relationships, their business prospects, and the respect people give them. Most of us are too polite to confront a man with an odor problem and some men live completely oblivious to the foul destruction they leave in their wake.We grow accustomed to our own scents and as putrid as they are, we cannot recognize them.Our nose filters out and ignores many background odors, such as the ones in our nasal passages.Some of us also have poor olfactory senses, so bad odors don’t bother us like they do others. Time to wake up and smell the B.O.!

Dealing with Bad Breath

The first step is to recognize the problem. Every man should be aware of the potential horrors of his own breath.You don’t want co-workers to cringe when you sit down next to them and women to turn their cheek when you go in for the smooch.

The best way to test your breath is to ask your spouse or a friend for their feedback. If no one is around, try scraping a bit of scum from the back of your tongue with your fingernail, placing it on the back of your hand, and then smelling it.

Bad breath typically occurs on an empty stomach, after eating certain foods like garlic, when suffering from sinus conditions, smoking, or for other more complicated reasons.To eliminate it, be sure to eat, drink plenty of water, and brush your teeth, tongue, and gums regularly. Using Listerine, hydrogen peroxide or other types of washes may also help. Always keep a steady supply of breath mints. For some cases, Tic-Tacs are just not enough.Try something stronger like Listerine Pocket Packs if you are a smoker or have a chronic breath problem.

If the above remedies don’t cure your bad breath, try a tongue scraper. Your tongue is like a carpet, and bacteria, food particles, and discharge from your sinuses get caught in the fibers, especially at the very back of the tongue, and turn into a bad breath breeding ground. A tongue scraper clears away these bad breath instigators; you’ll be amazed at the instant difference it can make.

If your bad breath persists no matter what you throw at it, pay a visit to your doctor.

lifebuoyIt’s not because you’re old, Grandpa….it’s because you smell.

Dealing with B.O.

Everyone has a problem with body odor.The trick is to manage it correctly.This can be done by staying clean, using proper soaps, shampoos, deodorants, colognes, and washing your clothes regularly.You may think that the jeans you have worn every day for the last two weeks still smell fine, but anyone with a modicum of olfactory awareness, will tell you that you smell like the plague.Wear your jeans twice, at absolute most, three times, and wash them.

Using proper cleaning products is absolutely essential.When mismanaged, certain commercial fragrances create chemical warfare with your b/o.I once got up the courage to tell a friend of mine how horrible his b/o was. The next day, he went out and bought some kind of cheap, spray-on deodorant.The combination of the body odor and the crass deodorant was unbearable.I almost wished I hadn’t told him about his problem.

Avoid spray-on deodorants and body sprays like the overpowering Axe Body Spray. There’s no need to envelop yourself in a cloud of fragrance. Instead, find a subtle, mild, or no-fragrance deodorant or antiperspirant. Many of your typical grocery store deodorants, soaps, and aftershaves have cheap, tacky fragrances that hang on the wearer like an ugly overcoat.Use these products to get clean, and stay free of B.O. But don’t use them for their scents, unless you can find a quality product with a sophisticated scent that works well with your body’s natural odor. Also be aware of the scent of your laundry detergent. Many people find the cheap fragrances in detergent to be unbearable. It is safest to stick with non-scented detergent or a high quality detergent with a non-offensive, mild fragrance.

The only upside of B.O. is that it might attract the attention of a hot spy chick:

Finding a Proper Cologne

Scents, like the clothing we wear and the language we use, inadvertently communicate a lot about us. An overpowering scent can be seen as vain, tacky, or sexually desperate. Of course it is safest to wear no scent at all. However, an appropriate cologne can subtly enhance the image we project to the world.

There are two philosophies with regards to wearing fragrance. According to the first philosophy, people should wear a fragrance like they wear a piece of clothing. When people pass you, they might say, “Wow, that’s a really great scent you are wearing.” In the second approach, a person chooses a fragrance that will subtly enhance their own natural scent. Instead of saying “That’s a great cologne,” they might say “You smell nice today.” I personally prefer this second approach, and would strongly suggest that this is the best approach for daily use. On special occasions, you might find a strong, unique scent that draws attention to itself, but in general, you should find a subtle scent that mildly enhances your aura.

Finding the right scent for you will take some work. Because everyone’s natural smell is different, colognes will react differently to each individual. It is impossible to judge simply from smelling the bottle. You need to wear the scent and see how it reacts with your natural smell over time. Don’t be too eager to pick one out. Go to the department store, find a scent you like and spray a small amount on your arm. Notice how the scent works with your body throughout the day. Many men and women have made the mistake of purchasing a scent, only to abandon it after the first use, simply because they can’t stand the smell of it after a few hours. These are things you should try to find out before you make a purchase. Enlist the help of your spouse or girlfriend. They will appreciate the care you are taking to manage your hygiene, and females are typically far more sensitive to fragrance.

We’d like you to hear your stories.Finding the right scent can be a complicated and highly personal endeavor.What scents have you found that work for you?How do you manage bad breath? What are the best deodorants and colognes for men?

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

1 matthew September 17, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I found the Bay Rum by C.O. Bigelow to be a sophisticated but very manly cologne.

Originally found at Bath and Body Works when they experimented with a men’s section, I’ve found the original purveyors online:

With a base of Bay Leaves (not the ones you cook with, but more closely related to Eucalyptus with it’s spicy, unique, and pleasant smell) steeped in actual Rum and various additives to achieve the desired effect, it’s neither forgettable nor unpleasant.

If you search google you can find recipes for making it and modifying it yourself to achieve the perfect scent for your body.

What could be more manly than to respond to a positive and appreciative comment on your hygiene and scent with “Why thank you, I made the cologne myself”?

Oh, and Old Spice High Endurance Sport is the deodorant my wife most appreciates me in.

2 Cory September 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm

CO Bigelow is great stuff. I’m currently using their shaving cream and Elixir Black aftershave.

3 Regan September 17, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Good advice, except the jeans! I’m really into denim, and you should aim to wash it as little as possible, to prevent mishaping and fading. I have a pair of dry (unfinished/raw material) jeans that I haven’t washed for 6 months, and they’re fine. Storing them properly, and hanging them out for an air inside-out every so often keep the smell away, and gives you a pair of jeans that moulds to your body exactly. Yeah, I know it sounds really gross etc. but don’t decry it ’til you try it.

4 sean.b September 17, 2009 at 11:45 pm

I personally find that American Eagle is a great brand of cologne…

5 Jake September 18, 2009 at 12:05 am

If I don’t wash my jeans for a few days they smell like balls. But maybe that’s just me.

Abercrombie’s Woods was a good cologne. But I think it’s discontinued now.

6 Jan-Hendrik September 18, 2009 at 12:52 am

I found that as a cologne Terre d’Hermès by Hermès (Duh!) suits me very well. It has a very manly yet subtle fragrance, and my female friends frequently tell me how nice I smell :)

7 Mark September 18, 2009 at 1:12 am

Dammit, I wish I could still find Lifebouy! It was the best soap – clean fragrance, cheap, and worked like smelling salts in the morning. Too bad it is only available via mail-order now.

8 Sir Lancelot September 18, 2009 at 2:05 am

You’re making me paranoid now.

9 Playstead September 18, 2009 at 2:23 am

Remember, when you’re applying cologne — ONE squirt. We shouldn’t still smell you 10 minutes after you left the break room. Also, it does not replace deodorant.

10 Dieter September 18, 2009 at 2:42 am

to Playstead,

I thought that was common knowledge. And using so much that you leave a trail of strong scent in your wake is never a good idea.

11 Thad September 18, 2009 at 7:06 am

I have to agree with Regan about washing jeans … while I don’t go six-months, I will wear a pair until they are noticeably dirty or smelly. This means that unless I am working in the garden or on my bike, then I can wear them for at least a week before they need to washed. Like Regan suggested, the key is to not throw them on the floor or across the back of a chair. They need to hang and air overnight/between wears.

12 atroon September 18, 2009 at 8:16 am

I’ve found John Varvatos cologne to work well with my personal chemistry; I think I’m one of only a few because while I receive compliments on it, whenever I’m looking for it, store clerks raise an eyebrow and tell me how ‘daring’ I am. It’s supposedly scented with essences of tamarind, spruce, leather, and citrus. My wife approves.

As for detergent. I can’t use any but Era, it’s got a really nice subtle scent that doesn’t overpower my (or my wife’s!) natural or cologne-accented scents. It’s more expensive than the $6.99-for-50lb box of no-name, but it’s a lot nicer to wear later.
I hadn’t ever tried hanging jeans inside-out vs. washing them…I pretty much wash them after wearing them once or twice, so I’ll have to try that one.
Another tip on denim care: jeans will last MUCH longer if you use a front-loading washer vs. a traditional agitator washer. As will all clothes, actually. But I’ve had jeans now for five years that are still durable but soft and nice to wear. Before we switched to a front loader, I’d get two years, tops, and then they’d be ripped up. I haven’t had a tear in a long time.

13 Robert September 18, 2009 at 9:13 am

I’m of the opinion it’s best to just avoid Cologne. Some people have allergies to the smell of perfumes and Colognes.

This is something to take note of when on a job interview, or dealing with clients… if your trying to impress someone who is getting sick because you’re in the room… your not going to get very far.

For that reason, I’d suggest keeping a very mild scented deodorant around for times where you might be in that situation.

I’ve never heard of someone not hiring a man because he didn’t wear Cologne or have a fragrant deodorant… but I’ve heard of cases where people didn’t hire someone because they had such a strong smell around them.

Something to keep in mind. Just because you like the smell, doesn’t mean your boss, client, coworkers will.

14 Matt McCraw September 18, 2009 at 9:40 am

I use two different colognes/body sprays. I use Old Spice body spray when I’m not around my wife all day. I think it gives me a nice scent, but my wife doesn’t particularly prefer it.
I use a subtle cologne when I’m around my wife. It’s one she picked out for me.
I also use an aftershave balm that she likes. In fact, she really likes it. If she’s happy, then I’m happy.

15 Chris September 18, 2009 at 9:48 am

If you are having a problem with body odor (including bad breath) seriously consider your diet. I’ve found by trimming sugars and going with more whole foods my breath (and teeth) are much, much better. Also working out will improve body odor, some athletes don’t even use deodorant. There have been studies done where women were attracted to the odor of a healthy man without deodorant versus using something obnoxious like AXE.

Look if men are annoyed with your deodorant how much more so a woman, as they have a better sense of smell already?

Something also to consider: if you fast for more than a few days depending on your health you’ll start to get bad breath and body odor. This goes away as your body dumps whatever impurities are in your system.

16 Michael D. Denny September 18, 2009 at 10:43 am

” ….Do you remember when you were a teen and your parents or teachers complained about your terrible breath and body odor?If you were like me, you didn’t care and you probably didn’t do anything about it. After all, you couldn’t smell it, and of course as a teenager you are not supposed to care about anything other people tell you….”

Well, as a matter of fact, no, I do not remember that. Perhaps it is a touch of mysophobia, but I was self conscious about body odor and oral hygiene LONG before I made it to the teen years. In fact I was a little surprised by this article. Forgive me if I sound harsh here, it is not my intention, but if a young Man is still having those kinds of issues into his teen years, there is a developmental issue.

Also if I may, while it is true to a certain extent that colognes and eau D’toilettes react to body chemistry, it is comfortably beyond what a human being is able to detect and the vast majority of the time the problem is not a matter of body chemistry, but the flood of other scents on a person that muddles the cologne.
Let me give ya’ll some hints from my own experience. Your mileage may vary, rinse and repeat, etc.
#1. If you smoke, don’t bother with scent. You’ll stink no matter what.
#2. Match your scents. If your soap, your after shave, your deodorant and your cologne don’t line up together well, then it doesn’t matter what you do, you will smell like grandma just before she heads out for church on Sunday morning.
#3. If you are going to wear cologne, please for the love of Deity, wear it sparingly.
#4. Use an unscented fabric softener, Gentleman.
#5. Brush. Floss. Listerine. In that order. AFTER breakfast.
#6. Gum. (And keep your mouth closed while you chew guys.)
#7. If you use one of those shower gels so popular with the under 25 crowd, (Some of them are actually pretty good, though I myself stay away from them. That new “Instinct” from “axe” smells pretty good, mimicking the scent of a spice/leather combination and goes well with my Truefittandhill Spanish Leather cologne.) you can add a wee dollop of it to your unscented shave gel before you lather up to create a matching shave gel. Not to mention, if you use such a product, use the whole line of matching products. If you buy the instinct shower gel, then buy the deodorant and after shower spray as well. (Use VERY sparingly)
#8. If you want to feel particularly rejuvenated half way through the day, then slip out during lunch and change in to some fresh socks and underwear, and brush your teeth. You’ll be surprised by how fresh it will make you feel.
#9. Details, gentlemen, details. Shoes. Belt, nails, teeth, hair. Most Women will remember that your shoes and belt match and that you do not chew your fingernails long after they have forgotten what colour your shirt was. Your male coworkers are either gay, or won’t remember ANY of those things anyway.
#10. Get a toothbrush with a tongue scrapper on the back. And use the thing.

Ta da !!!!

17 Grant September 18, 2009 at 10:55 am

Recommend the “one spray in the neck area walk in to” technique when it comes to cologne application- Just make sure you avoid clothing. Perfect for only being noticed by those hugging you or shoulder to shoulder appreciation. Currently wearing Burberry London which is always well received.

18 AD Marquez September 18, 2009 at 11:21 am

+ 1 on Co Bigelow Bay Rum Mathew. I totally agree with you, it smells fantastic and is very memorable.

How about a stick deodorant that take the stank out your BO? I was staying at a boutique hotel recently & I forgot to pack my Old Spice. As usual the room was stocked snacks, candy, chips for purchase, but it also had Sharps products. So I got the “Happy Me Pitts”, or something like, which claims to take the smell out of your underarm sweat. I opened it up, and it doesn’t smell, at all, looked at the ingredients, no aluminum, so I used it and I’ll damned, it works. I still sweat, but it doesn’t smell.

Also I have found that as far as body oder goes, what you eat makes a huge difference.

19 MadMolecule September 18, 2009 at 11:22 am

I got fed up with having to choose from the selection of deodorant scents available and started making my own. It’s cheap and aluminum-free, and it lets me make my own decision as to how I want to smell. Here’s the recipe I use:

I put 8-10 drops of oil of bergamot in it for the scent, and it smells terrific and distinctive.

20 Rick September 18, 2009 at 11:24 am

Am I the only guy whose pits sometimes just will not clean up, especially after hard labor like cutting/hauling/splitting a 5,000 lb. load of firewood, which I do 9x a year.
If your pits smell less than great after the shower, or by mid afternoon they are starting to smell, take a little wad of toilet paper soaked in rubbing alcohol (90% solution is best), and scrub up. It drys quick & will knock odor down for days.

21 Alex September 18, 2009 at 11:25 am

On the topic of choosing a cologne, I had a really great experience at Nordstrom (department store). The guy at the counter asked my wife and me a few questions about what I (we) were looking for and started sampling them for us on little strips of paper. In my case, going to a competent salesman definitely helped me choose the right aftershave/cologne for me.

22 Tom September 18, 2009 at 11:30 am

I just really wanted to stress not using too much cologne. If I am walking by you *on the street* and can smell you, you have WAY too much on. Granted, in my experience, women are more guilty of this than men are.

Take one spray to the inside of your opposite wrist, press wrists together for a few seconds, then press wrists on your neck just below your ears. The “walking through” one spray will also work. Whatever you do, one spray.

23 jon September 18, 2009 at 11:32 am

Like atroon, I use the John Varvatos Vintage fragrance. I went on a long search for a cologne and was disappointed to find 99% of them smell sweet, flowery, or candy-like.

I don’t know what’s going on with men’s fragrances these days but there’s a serious lack of masculinity in most of the smells. The Vintage cologne is woodsy and strong, but not too powerful. I love it.

24 Alex Chebykin September 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

Recently, I’ve worked in an Organic Chemistry Lab. Apart from other chemicals we used Iodine. Let me tell you, the smell has stayed on my hands for a few weeks, despite doing everything short of cutting them off, and is still lingering in my closet today. No cologne or deodorant that I used could get rid of the awful odor. Does anyone have any tips for me to get rid of the smell?

Also I used some Hummer cologne (got it as a birthday gift) and a cheap Gilette deodorant.

25 Lou September 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

“Avoid spray-on deodorants and body sprays like the overpowering Axe Body Spray.”

Amen, this stuff is horrendous. I know too many men who envelope themselves in a cloud of this garbage and you can smell them from 20 feet away. I don’t mean to offend anyone who chooses this fragrance, but please, no more than 1 spray. Keep it reasonable.

26 Mike September 18, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Armani Code EDT is loved by every woman. Everyman Jack cedar wood is a great body wash and CO Bigelow makes great stuff too.

27 Kyle Troop September 18, 2009 at 1:47 pm

I like Burberry London.

And I have to agree with Mike right above me. The Every Man Jack products are fantstic.

28 johnmc September 18, 2009 at 3:10 pm

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with using Axe if you use it properly. Granted, there’s no need to cover yourself from head to foot with a cloud of the stuff, but a quick spray under the pits after a shower is perfectly fine. Their Proximity line works pretty well with some colognes (e.g. Bergamot with Chrome) since they’re fairly subtle. Keep in mind though that I’ve been using the stuff for close to 20 years, having grown up in Europe.

29 emjay September 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

I’ve long been a fan of Lacoste colognes as well as the shirtless spray and walk through technique.

If you are going into scent free environments, I recommend a soft Johnson and Johnson body wash (lavender), it’s light enough to not kill someone and attractive when in close quarters with the ladies/dudes. Whatever your bag may be.

30 Cowboy Bob September 18, 2009 at 6:41 pm

The “one spray” or “walk-through” techniques need to be qualified for colognes that are more potent. I was given some lower-end colognes and was so cautions, it was like I hadn’t bothered to use it. Later on, I found that I needed about three spritzes to have a decent scent level.

I gave up on Axe (Lynx in the UK). It’s marketed as, “use this magic potion and you’ll get laid”, but most of their fragrances are gone in an hour or so. The one I did like and would last a reasonable amount of time was discontinued. I still use the shower gels, however, because I can use them to support some of my better colognes.

31 Craig September 18, 2009 at 7:28 pm

Here’s a tip: don’t wear anything anyone can smell if they’re more than 6 inches away from you.
Make it subtle and for those who are intimate with you.

P.S. Even if *you* like the smell, you stink if I can smell you.

32 robert September 19, 2009 at 12:29 am

floss. it gets rid of the rotting food, particularly meat, that gets stuck between your teeth.

33 Tyler Geske September 20, 2009 at 3:09 am

Axe has its uses, as long as it isn’t overdone. It is actually a decent deodorant, so a quick spray under the arms with a good anti-perspirant like Mitchum can work wonders. And while the name is cheesy as all hell, Axe’s Dark Temptation has garnered compliments from several ladies I know, including a dame I was dating who was several years older than myself WHO DIDN’T LIKE AXE! But I digress. Axe shower gel and a small amount of the spray, combined with a good aftershave balm like something from Truefitt & Hill, can leave you smelling like a million bucks.

34 Hitler September 20, 2009 at 12:36 pm

It’s all about what you eat. What goes in must come out. Eat mostly whole foods, mostly plants and you might not even need deoderant.

35 William Donald Draper September 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

As far as deodorant is concerned:

It’s very important, and many men either wear the wrong kind, or
don’t wear it at all. The worst way to smell as a man, is like a girl.
So please, WEAR deodorant, but don’t wear the gels and sticks
that remind you of a college dorm room on the beach.

Two recommendations for pure manly style deodorant:

1. SPEED STICK ORIGINAL SCENT – The green stick. This is a
masculine scent to the maximum, but slightly sweet and inviting.
Women love it, and it works well with most mens’ natural scent.

expensive, but are classically made for classic men.

My thoughts, to be a real man, the Speed Stick works great. Can’t
go wrong with Old Spice either, but that has some grandpa to it.

36 Fingersoup September 23, 2009 at 10:59 am

@ Rick #20

There are, in fact some people whose sweat can defeat even the strongest antiperspirants and deodorants. Likewise, there are people who have bad breath in spite of brushing 3 times a day, flossing, using mouthwash, etc… Ald we all know what happens when you cover up nasty smells with something sweet… you get sickly sweet nastiness…..

If you are a person for whom the above techniques fail, it is within your interests to see a doctor. Bad breath, especially sickly-sweet smelling breath (verging on the smell of liquor) can be a sign of disease, such as diabetes.

Furthermore, Body odor can also be a sign of some sort of yeast infection, rash, or other malady. your doctor may be able to recommend/prescribe some sort of cream or ointment to solve your odor issues.

Finally, colognes, soaps and deodorants, or other scented body care items can often cause people skin irritation. I think Old Spice Red Zone deodorant is named after what it did to my armpits… and I’ve heard the same complaint from others. Often, you will have to STOP USING deodorant and other scented items, and instead use some type of cortisone cream for several weeks to kill the resulting rash and infection. Not fun, and it makes you pretty unpopular and self conscious.

In other wordBe careful what you use, and if nothing safe works, talk to a doctor.

37 Fingersoup September 23, 2009 at 11:02 am

Oh, I forgot to mention. Most alcohol based mouthwashes are worse for your breath. The sugars in the mouthwash collect in your mouth, and after the bacteria-killing alcohol is gone, those sugars stick around and start FEEDING the bacteria…

38 T.Lee September 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Here are a few key mens grooming tips for smelling good:

* Professional teeth cleaning every six months will do wonders for your breath.

* Gargling with hydrogen peroxide and water can help gum disease.

* When dining out, eating a leaf of parsley or a lemon rind will help mask garlic and onion breath.

These pointers are found at

It’s amazing how many guys dont give attention to detail, but all these things add up for a womans attraction level to us.

39 mitchel September 23, 2009 at 6:58 pm

This past year I finally put away all the Axe deodorants and spray I had been using and switched my body wash, deodorant and aftershave to classic old spice. I love it, my co-workers seem to like it (when used in moderation), my mom loves it and my girlfriend loves it. Old Spice has the bases covered for me.

40 Bri September 25, 2009 at 8:45 am

I find unscented Mitchem for men great and allows me to use aftershave that won’t have to compete with deoderant. Also Ozeoil shaving oil smells magic – lavender, tea tree oil and menthol – very fresh.

41 Larry Mendizabal October 17, 2009 at 1:07 am

guys the solution to bad breath is very simple. I had been dealing with it for years and I found the best product. It is “TheraBreath” by Dr. Katz. This guy came up with the solution to killing bad breath, Search it on google and you can read up on it on his website. The stuff is a little pricy but you will be so satisfied with it that you will be willing to pay the price. If there ever was a time to trust a stranger on a blog, this is that time

42 Dan October 23, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I’ve never really dealt with bad breath…regular brushing, flossing, and mouthwash have always seemed to do the trick for me. Well, an altoid in a pinch, of course.

However, I’ve always tried to operate under the “Always smell good.” rule. I’m not the best looking bloke, so good hygene is hella important to me. But I think you really hit the nail on the head, Nathan. Subtle is key.

Can I add that having a “signature smell” is a good idea, too? I know that sounds not so manly, but it works for me. The same thing every day. Except maybe on date night with your wife so it feels “special”.

And why didn’t I know that one of my favorite blogs is authored by a Tulsan couple? You guys are awesome…say hello to Brookside for me.

43 Eddie October 27, 2009 at 8:07 am

Here is a challenge…wearing a tight fitting ballistic kevlar vest the majority of waking hours five days/week leaves one to ponder (briefly) whether a sucking chest wound would be less comfortable. Washing the vest and cover regularly helps but at the end of the day no matter the great effort of hygiene and non-scented “Febreze” utilized you stink. The only benefit is it does assist in Command presence as most will not crowd my personal reactionary gap and my sons do not wear my “Underarmour” shirts as they can never smell good again.

44 Dave K October 27, 2009 at 10:20 pm

I used to believe in powerful deodorants and colognes, but now I have to agree more with the subtle approach…much better just to smell ‘nice’.

Also, and I know this will horrify many readers who consider it unmanly, grooming can also play a big role in smelling good. Shaving (or at least trimming) body hairs – especially under the arms – can go a long way toward reducing sweat and unpleasant scents.

45 Dan November 5, 2009 at 12:38 pm

My advise for fragrance: I think often men are not as attuned to scent as women. Bring your significant other or a trusted female friend. If you are close, they will know your “scent” and when they smell the fragrances may know better what goes well with you. In time you’ll get it down :)

I where Aveda Men Pure-Formance. All natural, nice and not overpowering. For shaving I use Aveda Men After-shave balm. Also smells very nice, subtle. Doesn’t have the SPORT smell that so many have now. More a woodsy smell.

Recently switched to Arid XX Original for DO. Not sure the scent qualifies as manly…but still smells good. Plus the higher percentage of active ingredient is good for those prone to sweating more.

46 HAC November 8, 2009 at 12:26 am

The perfect scents? Look no futher than Penhaligon’s line.. Blenheim Boquet, English Fern, Douro, and Hammam Bouquet (possibly the BEST rose scent for men).
Pricey, but oh so worth it. Blenheim Bouquet is my personal favorite. Originally formulated in 1902, it was a favorite of winsot Churchill, and Pope John Paul II . Its starts of with a lemon-citrus, then dries down to pine and pepper…pure stiff upper lip stuff here.

47 Kerry B November 20, 2009 at 12:14 pm

I agree with the concept of “a little goes a long way” when it comes to cologne.
If after shaking hands your friends can smell your cologne on thier hands then it’s to strong and you are using far too much.

48 Mike Daniels November 29, 2009 at 1:58 am

I am allergic to most deodorants and all antiperspirants, I prefer Tom’s Of Maine the Woodspice scent it is subtle and manly without being too strong. Also colognes give my Grandmother asthma attacks so I usually abstain from all cologne wearing.

49 kirsten December 7, 2009 at 4:32 pm

good hygiene is a must, and something people forget is the fact that we all become accustomed to our own body odors and our nose “tunes them out” so you seriously may not be able to tell you don’t smell very nice.
brushing the tongue, as well as the teeth, cures most breath problems,
Parsley is placed as a garnish because traditionally it was chewed to freshen breath after a meal…. if you go out for dinner and have anything potentially stinky, use the garnish!
and for travel? a small amount of whole dried cloves can be carried in a tin.. take one ans hold it in your mouth, roll it about, chew on it a bit.. Poof! no more bad breath and its non alcoholic.

as to cologne
sadly i am allergic to something in most commercial perfumes and colognes. they give me migraines :( lucky me i found a company that hand blends their perfume oils, and has over 500 different scents:
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
their best selling men’s scent is Dorian… but almost all of their scents are so mutable on the skin that you don’t know what will work on a man until you try it. they DO have some based on Victorian men’s cologne recipes! but todays men often find them too floral..
many of their scents smell like leather and pipe smoke, or spices…
feeling victorian steampunk? get a scent of ozone gears and copper wires. (yes i know, never mind how it sounds, it SMELLS GREAT!)
like cars? smell like leather and metal and a hint of clean motor oil
there are scents for just about anyone, really..
and umm. guys?
BPAL has legions of female fans…. who live and dream of a guy they can share their BPAL addiction with… who dream of the day they will find a guy who cares enough to select his cologne with the same care she spends on her perfume… and who can wear her favorite men’s scent…. i know a lot of women who have the men’s scent all picked out, they are just hoping for a nicely dressed man to come along who will try it…..

50 karelj December 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm

For me, scented body oils do the trick. They come in a wide variety of scents and the strength of each scent vary. These oils react to body heat and sweat, perfect if you are worried about odor in packed trains and buses.
I put some behind each ear, at the pulse points on my throat, inside my wrist and inner elbow and it lasts until I get home from work.

51 Dennard January 6, 2010 at 7:24 pm

I tend to keep a few different options around as far as deodorants, aftershaves and colognes. I use regular speed stick deodorant most of the time. It smells nice by itself but it’s not strong enough to clash with aftershaves and colonges.

As far as aftershaves, I stay fairly traditional. Old Spice, Clubman and Brut are standards in my arsenal to use when I want to smell good, but I’m not in a cologne mood.

I tend to keep several colognes around at a time. Old Spice, Grey Flannel, Eau Sauvage, Rive Gauche and Guerlain Vetiver are my longstanding favorites. They all smell masculine and clean without smelling weird.

52 Rob M January 19, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I developed a habit of putting on quite a bit of deodorant (after having applied too little and smelling the results). Luckily I didn’t put on so much that it was overpowering and I’ve actually received compliments from my girlfriend on the way I smell.

When I do wear cologne, I walk in to it with my shirt on; my uncle taught me to make sure the scent gets on clothing because it will only last on your skin until you sweat. I have noticed something about cologne reacting with different clothing though: sweaters/wools and the like seem to kick your cologne into overdrive and makes it really strong and unpleasant.

As a final note, use your scent on inner layers (eg: under a sport coat) later on when you take your warm coat off, you’ll still smell good

Just some of my observations

53 Louis March 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Acqua Di Parma, is an amazing cologne.
It’s been around I believe for a 100 years, It was worn by men such as Cary Grant.
It’s strong at first but actually still smells throughout the day, unlike many modern colognes, it’s a personal favorite, and although it’s a little costly it’s worth it.

54 health tips blog April 2, 2010 at 6:48 am

Very informative article. You can also add some points like preventing foot odor, clean nose, ears, and eyes to this article.

55 LMCA April 9, 2010 at 1:34 am

Absolutely hands down Guerlain’s Imperiale for Men, Givenchy’s Rive Gauche, Ralph Lauren’s Polo.

Please stay away from Drakkar Noir.

56 Justin May 1, 2010 at 11:24 am

For deodorant, I use Mitchum Unscented. I just don’t like to smell my own deodorant all day.

I don’t normally wear colonge, but on special occasions I’ll wear Brooks Brothers Classic.

57 Jordan M. Poss May 19, 2010 at 9:52 am

I used Old Spice High Endurance Red Zone (a mouthful of a name) in its “Pure Sport” variety and use Old Spice “After Hours” body wash in the shower. And that’s it. My girlfriends have remarked frequently how good I smell, which is reassuring since I’m one of those guys who is morbidly aware of his own odors. I very rarely use cologne, but the Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy for Men (stop snickering–it was a gift) gets a lot of compliments from ladies.

As for the breath, I’ve found that body chemistry can influence halitosis remedies. I had bad breath for a while that I couldn’t fix no matter how many mints, sticks of gum, or mouthwashes I used. The problem disappeared when I switched toothpastes from Sensodyne to Mentadent. Go figure.

And thanks for pointing out how obnoxious Axe is. I knew guys in college who would practically bathe in the stuff. It’s only proper application is in chemical warfare.

58 Ben May 19, 2010 at 11:16 am

I’m constantly horrified by how many people there are in the world who are utterly unaware of, or else just completely apathetic to, just how offensive their body odor is. My own brother has managed to convince himself that using deodorant is actually what causes your sweat to stink, and that going “au natural ” is preferable. Combined with his other lax hygiene habits and his poor diet… well, let’s just say I go out of my way to avoid sharing enclosed spaces with him.

As far as my own experience goes… a few years back when I was shopping around for deodorants, my first instinct was to go for Old Spice. Within a couple days my pits were itchy all the time and started welting… it took me a while to figure out that I was having an allergic reaction to my deodorant. Apparently there’s a relatively high percentage of men who react to something in Old Spice.

The best thing I’ve found so far is Degree Cool Comfort with Aloe Vera. Not only does it not irritate my underarms, but the scent is surprisingly subtle and interesting for a $2 stick of deodorant.

But after seeing the link someone posted to make their own homemade deodorant, I’m a little tempted to try that for myself.

59 bova June 5, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Someone mentioned that working out can improve your natural body oder. I find that very interesting because I play football for my high school and I hardly ever use deodorant, and girls do comment that i smell good. I also sometimes use a small amount of old spice body spray, pure sport is very good but my favorite is coral reef, when I can find it. On those occasions when I want to make a very good impression, I use Arm and Hammer Essentials natural deodorant. I dont really have a favorite body wash or shampoo, I just try to find one that doesnt have very much fragrance.
Anyway, I think everyone should just continue to try out different products until they find one that works with their natural scent. Eating right and working out helps a lot too.

60 kirsten June 18, 2010 at 6:54 am

In addition to the mentioned problem with cheap scents in deodorants some people’s body chemistry reacts with some body products to produce a different, but equally bad, smell to the original BO. my mother and i both have had to stop using many deodorants (even some “unscented” because they reacted with our skin chemistry. don’t give up, try different brands!)

a very old trick for bad breath (really old, medieval in fact) is to chew on, or rinse yoru mouth out with, spices. a couple of cloves will knock bad breath out in no time, but are rather strong if you are not used to it! same thing with dried ginger…
and if you dont like spices? well Myrrh has been used as a natural anti septic and mouthwash since the Egyptians… you can get myrrh mouthwash, or just chew on some myrrh pieces as if it was really hard brittle gum.

61 Ian June 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm

The first time I ever purchased cologne, I took my time to find one that I thought suited a man. I didn’t want anything fruity and flowery. I found John Varvatos Vintage and I’ve used it since. I get a lot of compliments wearing it, so I definitely recommend it.

62 Cyg July 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Two funny Old Spice commericals:

“I’m on a horse.”

63 Delilah Decimal July 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Every woman I’ve ever talked to likes the original Old Spice. Don’t know what it is, but it just screams sexy. It’s always made me just want to melt…

64 Quincy Bones August 10, 2010 at 2:23 am

. To properly try on a fragrance you must first understand how a fragrance works. A fragrance will only last about three and a half hours on the skin, top notes last ten minutes, heart notes last about half an hour after that, from that point to the three hour mark the scent you get will be the dry down notes. So when you first spray on the fragrance it will react like a scent explosion, top notes will rush at you (particularily citrus notes), so you basically want to disregard wants happening the first ten minutes of it. After the ten minute mark it “blooms” into the heart note, this is when it reveils its true self. It is supposed to be when the fragrance is the strongest and best smelling on you, so if it doesnt smell good by 15-20 minutes you can just wash it off because it will never smell any better. My top masculine scents, Dior Homme(leather,sage,patchouli,violet), Gucci pour homme(Award winning rustic Italian scent, dry woods), Tom Ford Tuscan Leather( supposedly smells like cocaine), DSquared He Wood Rocky Mountain Woods Edition ( incense, pepper,cedarwood, vetiver.)

65 Austin August 15, 2010 at 10:06 am

I think that using mouthwash to clean your tongue is like using a hose to clean a carpet. I have found that tongue scrapers work pretty well and you’ll feel it the first time you use one. I highly recommend using a tongue scraper :)

66 Bill Maxwell November 16, 2012 at 4:08 pm

One easy way to keep the private areas of men fresh is to apply baby powder in the morning after drying from your shower. It will keep you fresh, dry and great smelling all day long. Your wife/gf will really appreciate it.

67 Giuseppe November 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

good reminder- need to start using the tongue scraper again—especially with 3 cups of coffee per day! Also, I need to get another Sonicare toothbrush. Those things do a GREAT job- and fast. Unfortunately they are not all that durable- I burned through two in a year and a half. The Pro line, not the cheaper Kmart one.

I generally have avoided cologne. too much risk. I think you HAVE to ask your main squeeze what she thinks. Let her apply it- let her offer an opinion after it’s been on half the day. It’s practically impossible to gauge this yourself.

In my case I am lucky enough that my excellent wife bought me what she thought was going to be good for me. I trusted her and I wear it. I like it fine- and she likes it. Marc Jacob. I tend to wear it like a nice sweater. Not everyday, but when I need to feel a bit of an extra boost or when we are going on a date or on vacation. that way there’s a lot of positive reinforcement that goes with the scent- such as going to the nice restaurant, or that great day on the Cape.

I also wore Burts Bees Bay Rum for a while. The aftershave slap-on was kind of nice.

I use Old Spice Pacific Surge- jsut because it’s the least offensive of any of the men’s deodorants. I have no need for anti-perspirant. I’d love to find a deodorant that really worked and was scent-less. There’s a lot of competition that goes on between your shampoo, conditioner, soap and deodorant! Add cologne to the mix and whoo-boy- there could be some funky conflicts.

I am amused by the names of mens deodorants which are so aggressive! Surge…Blast…Attack!

68 John Hoke December 15, 2012 at 1:49 am

I think its important to find out what your “base” smell is going to be and then make sure that you accent it with everything else. For example, if you really like the smell of your body wash, then use a lighter fragrance deodorant or non-scented. I think that non or mild scented detergent is the way to go, and personally I don’t use fabric softener. Its like cheap cologne and makes your clothes all greasy feeling. They also fall apart quicker and many types actually recommend that you don’t use them, like nike dry-fit and underarmor. Its ok to use fabric softener, liquid or sheets, with your towels or linen, but wash your jeans inside out in cold water with no softener, and you can wash them every time you wear them and they’ll last just as long as if you don’t wash them for 6 months (gross, man).

69 MJ December 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

A major cause of bad breath is food particles caught between the teeth. Brush twice a day, floss several times a week before bed and use Listerine mouth wash. Problem solved.

70 MJ December 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Also, a word on foot odor. Scrub your feet in the shower every day with soap and shower brush. Change your socks everyday. Don’t wear shoes in the house – let your feet breathe. Use odor eater inserts in your shoes and spray the insides of your shoes with a good foot odor spray each day.

71 FeatherBlade February 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm

@43 Eddie: The easiest, cheapest and most effective way to de-scent garments that you can’t wash frequently is to spray them with vodka and let them air-dry overnight.

It’s an old theatre trick for freshening costumes – though they usually (at least in the costume shops I’ve been in)add detergent to the spray bottle to keep the dressers from drinking it ^_^. It works like a charm on carpets and drapes too.

72 Matt February 24, 2013 at 10:36 pm

I’ve got a few standbys for these problems. Cologne wise, it’s either Hugo Boss, Girgio Armani, and Victorinox Classic or Mountain Water. I also wear Adidas Dynamic Pulse cologne and aftershave, along with Clubman.

Breath wise, it’s the new Crest in the blue and white tube. Mouthwash is usually Listerine cavity control. It may be purple, but it burns like lava. And then I’m also a devotee to Altoids Smalls and Wrigley’s 5ive gum.

73 Micro Touch Max March 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Good read. There seem to be a lot of factors that can cause bad breath and recognizing the cause is the first step. Thanks for sharing.

74 Justin April 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Instead of cologne I use Bath and Body Works Oak scented lotion. Great suttle smell, not overpowering.

75 Ted June 28, 2013 at 7:00 pm

If you’ve tried all types of diets, deodorants, and hygiene routines and you’re still stinky, then try out Lavilin. I heard about it in the news – it’s this all-natural deodorant that supposedly lasts up to 7 days. Sounds crazy, but I did a lot of research on the brand and, based on user reviews, story seems to check out. Interesting brand!

76 Max Foster July 9, 2013 at 7:39 pm

One way to take care of B.O. is to periodically wash your armpits with a combination of soap and Betadine (or a generic equivalent). It does wonders. Of course also wash every day, wear clean clothes, etc. I would recommend not using an antiperspirant with aluminum but use a good body powder with corn starch.

77 Danny July 24, 2013 at 2:46 am

I’ve been using Lavilin forever and it’s awesome in so many ways – lasts almost a week per application, smells fresh, and it’s all-natural.

78 Lewiss August 28, 2013 at 11:35 am

When I was in morocco, after sweating all day I used to go to the hammam ( arrabic version of a day spa ) and you get out of there all cleaned up. I tried couple of products back home after that and found that the best ones are from
Give it a try, stay clean…

79 Derek September 1, 2013 at 3:14 am

This article and the comments have been highly informative to me. I realize I had succumb to a period of neglect in the area of personal hygiene and presentation. This read has been life changing. I just bought everything I will need after I read each comment carefully and synthesized the information to suit me individually. From tongue scraping to matching scents to odor eaters and allowing feet to breathe to diet, cleaning nails – it’s all here in this relatively small body of text. This website is now on my bookmarks toolbar. AoM is going to be an everyday resource for me.

80 Cliff November 9, 2013 at 7:56 am

Hugo Boss Red is my fragrance right now. Another one that works for me is Kenneth Cole Reaction. Old Spice High Endurance Pure Sport has been my go-to deodorant for years now.

81 Cliff November 9, 2013 at 8:00 am

Also, I put my jeans in the cleaners to keep the form/color. It can get expensive, but I have 7 year-old jeans that are still in great condition.

82 Simon December 31, 2013 at 9:25 am

I started to use Fresh Richie. I really like it. It helps me out down there.

83 Baron February 20, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Bathing daily, sometimes twice a day during the summer when it is hot and/or after a workout where you’ve sweated should take care of any body odor problem. Don’t forget the deodorant that will hold for you and a little bit of body spray or cologne will do wonders for you. It all depends on your body type and chemistry; therefore, find the one that works for you. For example, I use Bath and Body works white citrus which has a clean smell. Once I used it, I was addicted and I don’t use anything else. You don’t have to use a lot to lather up and it may cost you a little bit more but it is worth it. There are other scents as well and their staff is wonderful in assisting you and take your wife or significant other or female friend to help as well. Wear clean clothes daily. My shirts, tee shirts,socks, underwear are washed after one wearing. I used to wash my pants after one wearing except for my dress pants. Dress pants usually washed or dry cleaned after two day of wearing. Now I dry clean my khakis and jeans and I love it. And I wear them twice or three times before I take them to the cleaners unless they are filthy or noticeably stained. Brush daily as well. If you do those things and care about your body and health, your outlook can go a long way in impressing someone and be the subject of embarrassing comments.

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