Listen Live

Check out Allure Magazine’s seven foolproof tips for picking something he’ll actually wear this Valentine’s Day.

1. Know his type.

Most guys fall into two fragrance camps: woody (notes like cedar or oak) or clean (light scents that smell fresh-from-the-shower). So how do you figure that out? You can probably get a good idea by glancing at any colognes he already owns. Google the fragrance to see whether its notes are deep or citrusy, and that should give you a decent idea.

Woody scents we love include DKNY Men (cedarwood and patchouli), Givenchy Very Irresistible Givenchy For Men (mocha and hazelnut), and Burberry Touch for Men (vetiver and nutmeg). As for clean colognes, try Bulgari Eau Parfumée Green Tea (orange blossom and coriander) or L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme (verbena and yuzu).

2. Ask a professional.

You may not know where to begin when you get to the fragrance counter, but the people who work there are always up for a challenge. Describe him to the saleswoman so she can pick something that goes with his personality. If he’s rugged and athletic, he might like a fresh, citrusy cologne such as the lemon-and-teak Lacoste Challenge. If he’s a laid-back surfer type, try Hollister California. And if he’s more of a crisp-suit kind of guy, consider the woody Hermès Terre d’Hermès.

3. Play it safe.

If you’re still not sure of his type, choose a cologne with marine notes—they tend to be universally loved. Try Nautica Oceans (sea salt and citrus) or Kenzo Pour Homme (vetiver and clove). And if he’s a cologne virgin, keep in mind that most guys want to smell manly above all else—hence you can’t really go wrong with notes like cedarwood, musk, and pepper. Try Chanel Allure Homme Édition Blanche or Dior Fahrenheit.

4. Find his comfort zone.

If he can’t face a big meeting without his lucky tie, he’s not going to stray too far from his go-to cologne. The trick to making a switch? Keep the new fragrance somewhat familiar by telling the saleswoman what he already owns. If he’s particularly resistant to change, consider springing for Sephora’s Deluxe Fragrance Sampler for Him. You get to wrap up ten mini vials in a wide range of scents—he gets to redeem the accompanying gift certificate for a full-size bottle of his choice.

5. Have some fun.

If he’s got a sense of humor—and let’s hope, for your sake, he does—go that route. A bottle of Sean John I Am King, accompanied by some dramatic genuflecting, works wonders. If he thinks cologne is for sissies, the macho leather-wrapped flask of Diesel Fuel for Life Men might change his mind. And for literal types, a bottle of Dior Eau Sauvage Untamed, Givenchy Gentleman, or Juicy Couture’s Dirty English could send quite a message (before he even takes his first sniff).

6. Follow the crowd.

With the possible exception of Drakkar Noir, hit colognes are usually popular for a reason. In the end, you probably can’t go wrong with one of these best-sellers at Sephora:

1. Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme, a blend of neroli, patchouli, and marine notes

2. John Varvatos Artisan, a citrusy clementine-and-ginger combo

3. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Pour Homme, a fresh blend of bergamot, pepper, and mandarin

4. and 5. Carolina Herrera 212 Men, which combines sandalwood, guaiac wood, and musk, and its spicy spinoff, 212 Sexy Men, a mix of amber, cardamom, and vanilla

7. Stick to the shower.

If your guy is a sworn cologne-phobe, you’re probably better off giving him a scented shower gel, soap, or aftershave instead. Molton Brown Black Pepper Body Wash, which smells spicy and is the color of aged scotch, is a past Allure Best of Beauty winner both men and women love.

Source: Allure Magazine