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We wanted to start off this week’s two part item on the correct way for men to use scents or colognes by talking to an expert so I slipped into Claridges to talk to Deborah Gayle, General Manager of The Refinery grooming emporium which has its headquarters just opposite the famous Mayfair Hotel.

I started by asking how men should use a scent or cologne. Deborah is “I think there should always be a few choices of scent because I think we have all been in the tube when someone has been wearing a night time scent on during the day and that is really too much so even if they only have 2 they should have a daytime and nighttime scent. The day time should be fresh and not overpowering because it’s not very pleasant and then a different scent for the evening”.

In terms of correctly using a scent Deborah says “The really important thing is to layer so if you particularly want to smell of a specific fragrance, everything else that you put on your body should be as un-fragranced as possible in terms of soap, body lotion deodorant, whatever else you are putting on. Make sure you use unscented ones because otherwise what is going to happen is all the chemicals, which are in these different cleaning products, and the chemicals in the perfume all start heating through your body heat and will start fighting with each other. That will create a quite strong sour smell when it all clashes and I think people forget that and the thing is people at the lower end of the market, there deodorants are heavily chemically perfumed. There is nothing very natural in there.”

Deborah is also a believer in the complete range of bath and body products from one company  “If you are going for a scent which offers the full range of deodorant, shower gel and body lotion you have to make a big commitment to that one scent but you can be sure that there will be no clash of different scents.”

We talked briefly about where a man should apply a scent. “A lot of guys get it wrong and think that a scent, a man’s smell, should be an ‘aftershave’. In my view you should avoid putting spirit based scent directly onto your face after shaving because many have a lot of alcohol in them and that’s when you get the shouts and the pain. Ideally what you should do after you shave is either use an aftershave balm or an oil, something that will calm the face down. Do not spray your face with aftershave or perfume. What you should do you should put the fragrance on your pulse points on your neck area.  One of the nicest things to do is to spray it into the air and then walk into it.  But to have it shovelled onto your face is not clever and not good for your just shaved skin you will find it is much too fierce. “

So finally we moved on to how a man should test or select an aftershave. ” The most important point is not to just spray and buy, spray and go away, have a coffee.  Everyone’s body is different and there are different chemical in our bodies and our bodies have different heats. Our skin is made up of different elements and a fragrance on your skin could smell quite different to  a fragrance on my skin. The smell won’t develop fully until it’s sunk in and the body heat has gone through it, about 20 minutes.

Whatever you do, do not buy on the basis of a scent sprayed on a piece of paper, that is never going to change. There is nothing human about paper. You must always try it on your own skin. I could smell a scent on two different men and it would smell completely different.”

We trust that all of you budding Gentlemen will take Deborah’s advice and smell wonderful.

The Refinery is London’s one-stop Grooming Emporium for men. Established in January 2000 it offers barbering, skincare and spa treatments in exclusive luxury retreats in Mayfair, Harrods and Knightsbridge. It combines the comfort and atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club with the vitality and sense of well-being of a health spa.

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