DNA Magazine - - CONTENT -

Per­sonal scent is one of the most im­por­tant but least un­der­stood as­pects of men’s groom­ing. Will Fennell helps you choose the right one for you.

If you ask me what my favourite fra­grance is, in all hon­esty, I’d have to say it’s the smell of fresh horse ma­nure, per­haps be­cause my first true love was a horse. While brain­storm­ing this fea­ture with my friend Su­san, she sug­gested I should keep this in­for­ma­tion pri­vate, or at least not make it the cen­tral point of the ar­ti­cle.

So I asked her to pro­vide me with a list of ques­tions about fra­grances to make sure I don’t di­verge off topic. Here’s what she sug­gested…

1. When go­ing on a date, do you choose a fra­grance you love or that he loves?

I’m lucky be­cause The Frog (my boyfriend) loves both my fra­grances (the now-deleted Sa­fari by Ralph Lau­ren, and Fico di Al­mafi by Ac­qua di Parma). Come to think of it, I may have first se­duced him while wear­ing Sa­fari. Or did he se­duce me? I don’t re­mem­ber, but I do know that if I put Sa­fari on I am guar­an­teed of a bit of French oh-la-la-lov­ing! Ob­vi­ously, I have tried other fra­grances (for DNA re­search) over the years. Some I have liked and most I have not. If I were hon­est, if The Frog didn’t like one that I liked, I would not wear it. Does that make me his bitch?

2. Is it okay to tell a date you don’t like his fra­grance or that he has been a bit heavy handed with it? Ab­so­lutely! But keep in mind that fra­grance is a very per­sonal thing. He may have his­tory with that par­tic­u­lar fra­grance that you don’t know about, so in­stead of say­ing you loathe it, sug­gest that you like an­other one he wears more. As for wear­ing too much, ask him how many times he spritzes? Then bring up in the con­ver­sa­tion that groom­ing guru, Will Fennell says most men wear too much and sug­gest you both re­duce. Like when The Frog tells me we should “both” go on a diet.

3. When at a friend’s home, do you sneak a look in his bathroom cab­i­net to check out the fra­grances?

I have never done this! I am also ly­ing. I have been do­ing this since I was tall enough to reach into my sis­ter’s bathroom van­ity cab­i­net. My par­ents even threat­ened to put a lock on it to keep my lip-gloss lov­ing fin­gers out. Noth­ing has changed. When I leave the ta­ble at din­ner par­ties you can nor­mally hear the hosts yelling at me to stay out of their cup­boards. The Frog has sug­gested I have a prob­lem; I tend to agree.

4. Hy­po­thet­i­cally, if you opened the cab­i­net by ac­ci­dent, would you sam­ple?

Sam­ple fra­grance, no! It’s too easy to get caught. Only an am­a­teur snooper would sam­ple fra­grance. How­ever, mois­turis­ers, body creams, lip plumpers, these are all fair game. Ac­tu­ally, steer clear of lip plumpers. I once snuck a lit­tle test drive of a girl­friend’s bee st­ing lip gloss. Bad idea. I re­acted badly. The boyfriend was fu­u­u­u­ri­ous but the house party thought it was hi­laaaar­i­ous!

5. Are you in­flu­enced by the bot­tle and pack­ag­ing when pur­chas­ing fra­grance? Like boyfriends, I need to love what’s on the in­side. But, when I’m just out brows­ing, I may oc­ca­sion­ally be se­duced by great pack­ag­ing, just like shop­ping for boyfriends.

6. So many new fra­grances are re­leased each year, do you think it’s okay to never try a new one; mean­ing, should some­one wear the same fra­grance at 50 they wore at 20?

I don’t think it’s okay to never try a new one. You should al­ways be open to new ex­pe­ri­ences, but, find­ing a good fra­grance is like find­ing the Holy Grail. My phi­los­o­phy is: have your fa­vorite, your sig­na­ture; then each sea­son try some­thing new.

Un­for­tu­nately, it’s been a long time since a com­mer­cial fra­grance has stood the test of time. Houses like Calvin Klein seem to sim­ply re­lease new un­der­whelm­ing fra­grances with each pass­ing sea­son. My ad­vice would be to ex­plore the les­sor known houses or bou­tique fra­grances and steer clear of any­thing associated with a celebrity. We use Kylie Minogue’s In­verse as toi­let spray.


The Proust Phe­nom­e­non is that un­ex­pected mo­ment when a par­tic­u­lar and un­ex­pected smell throws you back in time and you re-ex­pe­ri­ence a long-for­got­ten mem­ory.

Rather than the smell of tea-soaked cakes and the eerie child­hood mem­o­ries it evoked for Mar­cel Proust in In Search of Lost Time, my mem­o­ries are trig­gered by a fra­grance that was pop­u­lar some 20 years ago. Okay, more like 25.

For me, the slight­est hint of Drakkar Noir ini­ti­ates flash­backs so strong that for a mo­ment I am out of time, taken some 20(ish) years back to the arms of my first lover, my en­tire be­ing in­tox­i­cated on love, arousal and ex­cite­ment.

Be­cause our sense of smell is pro­cessed in the part of the brain linked to mem­ory and emo­tions, it is the only sense ca­pa­ble of mak­ing us re-ex­pe­ri­ence such in­tense events.


When you ap­ply fra­grances, spray them onto pulse points such as the crook of your el­bow, the wrist, neck and chest – don’t rub these ar­eas to­gether as this crushes the scent. Spray­ing a lit­tle into the air and walk­ing straight into the mist dif­fuses it nicely over the body.


Keep bot­tles tightly closed. Some per­fumes come in coloured or opaque bot­tles to help pre­serve them but still keep them away from di­rect heat and sun­light. You will know when they have gone off – they change colour (if you can see in­side) and you won’t get that lovely boost of heav­enly scent when you spray.


Ev­ery­one’s smell is very in­di­vid­ual. Don’t make the mis­take of wear­ing a per­fume be­cause it smells great on some­one else – it may not smell the same on you. Test a scent in a store and then walk around for a min­i­mum of ten min­utes. Some per­fumes take be­tween half-an-hour to an hour to truly de­velop, so take the time if you’re not sure. If you’re still not con­vinced ask if they have sam­ple bot­tles to take away and try wear­ing for a few days.


Don’t drench your body in fra­grance; it should never en­ter the room be­fore you do. Ev­ery­one has a per­sonal “scent cir­cle”: ap­prox­i­mately an arm’s length from the body. No one should be aware of your fra­grance un­less he or she steps in­side your cir­cle. Fra­grance should be the sub­tlest per­sonal mes­sage you send. Ap­ply two or three sprays only.


Diet af­fects the way a fra­grance smells and lasts on the skin. A high fat, spicy diet, for ex­am­ple, makes fra­grances more in­tense. A dramatic change in diet can al­ter skin chem­istry, caus­ing fra­grances to smell dif­fer­ently.

Skin type will also af­fect the way a fra­grance smells. Peo­ple with oilier skin should re­mem­ber that fra­grances in­ter­act with the oils in their skin to cre­ate a more in­tense scent. Dry skin does not re­tain fra­grance for as long as oily skin does, re­quir­ing the wearer to re-ap­ply the fra­grance more of­ten. If you do have dry skin, ap­ply­ing a neu­tral skin cream will make the scent last longer.


Fra­grance in skin care prod­ucts has al­ways been a hot topic of de­bate. I asked Chris and Anthony from LQD Skin Care why they don’t use ar­ti­fi­cial fra­grance in their prod­ucts. Here’s what they said…

“Fra­grance is the sin­gle big­gest ir­ri­tant in skin care prod­ucts. Skin ir­ri­ta­tion causes the skin to age pre­ma­turely, so overly fra­grant skin care prod­ucts are caus­ing your skin to age faster. Mel­bourne Uni­ver­sity re­search found that over 30 per cent of Aus­tralians are cur­rently suf­fer­ing from healthre­lated is­sues due to fra­grance ex­po­sure.

“Our mantra is to not add fra­grance to our prod­ucts so we’ve de­vel­oped our Body Wash to have a scent with­out adding a fra­grance. We’ve used Cof­fee Seed Oil and ex­tracts, which is a stronger anti-ox­i­dant than Green Tea and has the unique abil­ity to make the prod­uct smell like a freshly brewed Café Latte.”

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