Solid colognes are like beard balms for clean-shaven guys – they give that long-lasting, refined scent, but you apply them directly to the skin. “Solids go on more subtly and are easier to travel with than their liquid counterparts,” says Chris Chase, owner of Otter Wax, a Portland, Oregon-based company that specializes in wax-based solid colognes, including a popular Spruce Solid Cologne ($29.95 for one ounce). They also last longer: “Liquid colognes evaporate rapidly while solid blends stay on the skin and allow the fragrance to evolve throughout the day while uniquely interacting with your own body temperature and chemistry,” he says.
Solid colognes aren’t exactly new – some cite the Egyptians as the first to wear a crude, solid scent – but they are experiencing a renaissance as a liquid alternative that have less of a punch. They are usually made from a mixture of essential oils, beeswax (for hold), and shea butter, which gives the cologne a sweeter, earthier tone. This is evident in Otter Wax as well as Alfred Lane‘s offerings ($17.95 for 0.5 ounce). Others, like Winston-Salem’s Fulton & Roark, use food-grade mineral oil, which is odorless.
Solid colognes are extremely concentrated, so be sparing. To apply, lightly slide a finger over cologne and dab onto pulse points such as the wrist, or behind the ears and neck.