The fashion industry has birthed some pretty ludicrous inventions and trends (heelless heels and #kyliejennerlipchallenge, anyone?).
You’d be forgiven for dismissing solid colognes as one of these farcical fads—after all, what is the point of converting good ol’ traditional, straightforward liquid cologne into solid lumps that do the same thing? If it isn’t broken, right?
Well, solid colognes may be the new rage for more reasons than just being the latest trend. We dove deep into these little solid fragrant chunks, so here are all your questions on the topic—from what solid cologne is to how to use it—answered!
First Things First—What Is Solid Cologne?
Solid cologne is exactly what it sounds like—a solid version of the liquid cologne that’s popularly used.
Unlike liquid colognes, which use alcohol, water, and carrier oils as a base, solid colognes (also known as dry or hard colognes) use natural ingredients such as beeswax, shea butter, food-grade mineral oils, and/or essential oils as the base, resulting in an earthier, sweeter, subtler fragrance and a lip-balm-like texture and consistency that remains solid at room temperature.
Solid colognes are applied directly to the skin, where personal skin chemistry will determine how long the scent lasts and even what it smells like.
You might think that solid cologne is the latest innovation that the world of fashion has thrown out, but some sources indicate that these little fragrance bombs were used long before today’s fashionistas were even born—by the good folks of ancient Egypt.
The advent of their liquid cousins may have banished them to the darkest corners of the caboodles for a good while, but today, solid colognes are experiencing their second coming, reemerging to rightfully regain their “front and center” spots in vanity kits around the world.
Liquid vs Solid Cologne
Some obvious and not-so-obvious differences set liquid and solid colognes apart, such as:
- The ingredients used—as mentioned earlier, liquid colognes use water, alcohol, and essential oils to form a liquid product, while their solid counterparts use a blend of natural essential oils and fragrances in a wax base to form a solid product (which is much safer and less likely to cause allergies)
- The containers they come in—liquid colognes usually come in glass bottles while solid colognes come in tins/cans (which is why the latter is also more portable)
- Whether or not they’re alcohol-free—solid colognes are alcohol-free
- How they work—only the scent remains whilst everything else evaporates when using a liquid cologne, but all the components of solid colognes remain on your skin until wiped/washed away; additionally, the scent of the latter intensifies as if and when the body grows warmer
- The method of application—liquid cologne can be sprayed on while solid colognes need to be rubbed on
- How synthetic they are—solid colognes use more natural ingredients than liquid colognes
- The concentration—solid colognes are more concentrated than liquid colognes
- Classification—unlike solid cologne, liquid colognes can be classified into eau de cologne (light body spray), eau de toilette (10% perfume oil), eau de parfum (15-18% perfume oil), and parfum (25% perfume oil)
Several people who have used solid colognes feel like the sillage is much shorter, but this comes down to personal skin chemistry—the more porous, oily, and warm your skin, the longer the scent remains.
What Are the Benefits of Solid Colognes?
Here are some of the benefits that solid colognes present:
As solid colognes come in cans or tins, you don’t have to worry about the bottle breaking or smashing with a little rough handling. This comes in extremely handy when you’re carrying your cologne around, especially to spots such as the gym or a dance class.
Their solid nature means that there’s absolutely no risk of leakage with solid colognes. It takes extremely high temperatures to melt your cologne (around 145℉ for a beeswax-based solid cologne).
Unless you’re leaving your cologne in a locked car on a fiercely hot day during the peak of a Texan summer, you don’t have much to worry about.
Since solid colognes are more concentrated and come in tinier containers than liquid colognes, portability isn’t an issue. Their lightness and small size make them more convenient and discreet to carry around—you can even carry them around in your pocket!
Additionally, most airports and airlines place restrictions on the quantity of liquid you’re carrying, but not on solids, making solid colognes ideal for travel.
Their high levels of alcohol can cause liquid colognes to dry out skin or aggravate it, especially if you’ve got sensitive skin. Solid colognes, on the other hand, don’t contain alcohol. They also contain naturally moisturizing, hydrating natural oils, butter, and waxes that will have your skin singing arias!
Solid perfumes don’t create as much waste as liquid colognes, given their dense form and durability, which entails a lesser amount of packaging (no worries of breakage/leakage during shipping). You’re also not wasting any of the product itself via excess spray, thanks to the targeted application.
The metal containers are reusable, easily recyclable, and environmentally friendly, unlike the chunky glass bottles that liquid colognes come in.
Solid colognes don’t evaporate like liquid colognes; combined with their targeted application and concentrated form, this gives solid colognes excellent sillage, and at a fraction of the amount of liquid cologne used for the same intensity of scent.
You can’t really whip out your bottle of liquid cologne and spray it on whenever you please, especially in professional environments (unless you’re okay with the unwanted attention!), but you can absolutely do this with solid cologne, as you just need to subtly rub it on certain points to keep you smelling fresh.
Easy to Use
There are folks who smell absolutely alluring, and then, there are folks who don’t understand the meaning of the word “overkill”—you can smell these walking gardens on steroids way before you see them, and not in a good way!
Solid colognes have much milder fragrances, so even if you do rub on more than you should (which in itself is challenging given how targeted the application is), you’re not going to leave behind a trail of wrinkling noses as you walk through the office!
No filler chemicals, no excessive packaging, and a highly concentrated, long-lasting product—solid colognes provide much better value for your money. Companies are also able to keep their production costs lower and offer these wonderful fragrances at cheaper rates than liquid colognes.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Solid Colognes?
If there are any disadvantages to solid colognes, it’s that they’re not yet as omnipresent as liquid colognes—this can mean that your favorite fragrance is yet to premiere in its solid form.
Additionally, though they can last quite long, solid colognes may not last as long as a high-end eau de toilette. It can also take a while to work your way through to the base and mid notes due to the waxy surface of solid colognes.
How to Use Solid Cologne
With liquid colognes, all you need to do is spray, but with solid colognes, the case is a little different. Here’s how to use solid cologne:
- Slide back/uncover the lid of your cologne tin.
- Rub your index and middle finger together in a circular motion across the surface of the cologne. You could also swipe with both fingers, but the circular motion will also warm the cologne enough, letting you get a sufficient amount onto your fingers.
Some people also prefer to scrape out a tiny amount with the back of the thumbnail, but we advise against digging!
- Now, apply the cologne on your fingers to pulse points such as the sides of your neck, your wrists, and the inside of your elbows. The warmth in these spots, which lie closest to the blood vessels, will help the scent diffuse better, intensify, and last longer.
- Reapply as needed.
It may take a few applications to figure out which spots and how much cologne works best for you.
Should I Use Solid or Liquid Cologne?
It all comes down to your preferences and needs. If you like an obvious fragrance, a liquid cologne works better, but if a subtle scent (one that can only be smelled up close) that’s alcohol-free is your choice, nothing beats a solid cologne.
The great thing about solid colognes is that they’re also quite versatile—they double up very well as mustache and beard conditioners and stylers too! The natural oils used in the cologne can soften and condition facial hair very well, while the wax lets you easily style your hair (facial or otherwise).
This is also what makes them equally great at softening and treating the dead skin around your nails, so you can even use solid colognes as cuticle creams! Their ingredients also make them great moisturizers.
The Final Word
If you’ve stayed with us until the very end, reading through it all, you now know that the popularity that solid colognes enjoy is quite justified! This isn’t just some passing trend, but one that could very well be here to stay.
If you’re yet to jump onto the solid cologne bandwagon, consider doing so with the fresh tropical aroma of Fulton & Roark’s Mahana or with the rich citrusy notes of Jo Malone’s Lime Basil and Mandarin Solid Scent. You could also level it up with Aromi’s Outdoor Guy or Duke Cannon Supply Co. Men’s Solid Cologne.
Whatever you end up choosing, rest assured of convenience, value, and smelling gorgeous with these pocket-friendly fragrance bombs!