5 Best Cologne for Black Men in 2020

black man holding a cologne

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best cologne for a black man is, then we recommend the 1 Million by Paco Rabanne as the best one.

Fellas, we need to talk about cologne.

Many of you are using it all wrong. You’re using too much, too little, or simply wearing the wrong type for your body chemistry or the occasion.

Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be like this. Finding the right cologne is easier and more affordable than you probably think. Although cologne is not a topic I expected ever to know much about, I ended up doing tons of research when trying to find the best.

Today, I’m here to help out with a complete guide to the best cologne for black men just like you. Plus, I’ve also gathered up my five favorite picks for 2020.

Ready to up your scent game? Let’s get started!

In this article, we are going to review the following colognes

How to Pick the Best Cologne

Are you not sure where to even start shopping for cologne? I was once just like you! Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to understand. Let’s start with the basics, and then move onto the more complex stuff:

What Factors Influence the Smell?

Did you know that cologne scents vary from person to person? Factors that influence how your cologne smells include:

  • Your unique body chemistry — the combo of water, acids, proteins, and more found in your skin.
  • Diet and medication
  • Stress and general lifestyle

The big takeaway here is that if someone else’s cologne smells good on them, it might not be the right choice for you. To find the best cologne for your body chemistry, you’ll need to do some experimenting (we’ll cover how to do that in just a minute).

Also, keep in mind that your favorite cologne might change scent over time due to a myriad of factors, including:

  • You go on or off a medication
  • You change your diet substantially (for example, you become a vegetarian)
  • You experience prolonged stress or an on-going medical issue

Aside from your physiology, the scent also varies due to the cologne’s chemical construction. Let’s take a closer look at that.

What are Scent Components?

Don’t worry. You don’t need a degree in chemistry to understand cologne and perfumes. However, it’s helpful to understand the basics, which is a concept called “scent components.”

men's cologne

Cologne, and all types of perfumes, go through three stages of scents. That’s right – the smell of your cologne changes while you wear it! I had no idea; knowing the smell changes seriously alters how you should approach wearing cologne.

The three stages of smell, or scent compounds, are:

  • Top Note
  • Middle (or Heart) Note
  • Base Note

The Top Note is the first scent that hits your nostrils. It’s what you smell immediately after opening and applying the cologne. It hits its peak aroma in about 15 minutes.

This first scent is designed to entice. It’s typically made from strong, spicy, and unconventional smells. The idea is to slightly shock your sense of smell for a brief time but not hang around too long. It usually dissipates within about a half-hour.

Next up is the Middle Note, also called the Heart Note. They slowly replace, then eventually overtake, the Top Note. Heart Notes are strongest within three or four hours of application.

They’re the main part of the cologne. Typically, the Middle Note is a deep, complex scent. It’s the smell most people will associate with the cologne, so it’s arguably the most important note.

Finally, we have the Base Note. It’s a subtle scent that eventually fades away completely. The Base Notes are strongest between four and five hours after application.

They play an important role in holding and augmenting the Top and Heart Notes. Typically, Base Notes consist of musky, watery, and woodsy scents.  

Quantity vs. Quality: How to Use the Right Amount

When I first started wearing cologne, I was surprised at how quickly I went through a bottle. It was a conundrum: Should I not wear cologne every day? Should I switch to a cheaper brand?

Fortunately, I found a solution. It was far better to buy a high-end cologne, and use less of it, instead of buying a cheaper brand and using a lot.

So, how do you make your cologne last longer? It’s easy!

Spray once or twice towards your chest and neck area from a distance of about 10 inches. It might feel like you’re not using a lot of cologne but, trust me, it’s enough for all-day coverage.

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Additionally, spray the cologne directly on your skin. Skin is far more absorbent than fabric. I apply cologne after my morning shower (after I dry off).

Now, I did say the best way to apply cologne is a few sprays to your body. However, some guys prefer applying it to the pulse points on their wrists. If that’s how you want to do it, I’m not here to dissuade you, but I do have a few tips:

  • After applying cologne to your wrists, don’t then rub your wrists. The heat and friction created will change the cologne’s smell.
  • However, before applying cologne, first put unscented lotion or Vaseline to your pulse points. It helps the fragrance last longer.

Have you ever heard about putting cologne on tissues, and then placing the tissues in a drawer with your clothes? I’ve tried it and found that it works well. Just spray a light misting on one or two Kleenexes, and then place them near your clothes, such as on a shelf in your closet or drawer.

Finally, another way to increase the lifespan of each bottle is to store it correctly. Keep them somewhere cool and dry. Otherwise, heat and humidity can cause the cologne to evaporate (and also affect the smell).

How to Pick the Best Scent for Yourself

So, you now understand how cologne is divided into three notes. Also, you know how your body chemistry influences specific aromas. With that information under your belt, you’re now ready to select a cologne.

Unfortunately, that’s not always a simple task. You can’t make an accurate determination of a cologne’s scent on your skin in just a few minutes.

That’s worth repeating:

You need to wear cologne for at least 30 minutes to smell it accurately.

Ideally, you want to wear the scent for several hours so that you can experience the full gamut of notes. Remember, the Top Notes will blend into the Heart Notes, which makes up the bulk of the aroma.

Wear the cologne during sampling in the same general conditions you plan to wear it if you buy a bottle. For instance, if it’s cologne meant for a night out on the town, don’t put it on and sit around your house.

Throughout the day, try some nose-clearing techniques. While they might seem simple, they’re a scientific way to clear a familiar scent from your nose. Taking a deep whiff of coffee beans or wool will clear your olfactory senses and allow you to smell your cologne anew.

Also, enlist the help of family and friends. After all, if your loved ones can’t stand the smell, or are allergic to it, that’s probably not the right cologne for you. Likewise, get input from co-workers.

Alright, young grasshopper. You now know everything you need to know about finding the best cologne. Let’s take a look at some options for you to consider:

The 5 Best Cologne Brands

Here are five of the best cologne brands for black men. You’ll find a bit of everything, no matter when and where you want to use cologne:

1 Million by Paco Rabanne

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Fresh and masculine, 1 Million is bold enough for a night out but harmonious enough to wear at the office. It’s one of my top recommendations if you’re looking to buy just one cologne versatile enough for most types of events.

Its top note is a sharp, fresh combination of peppermint and citrus. Next, the heart note introduces spicier scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, and rose. Finally, the base fades into a masculine, leathery fragrance.

Pros:

  • Bold and seductive for a night out
  • Fresh and sophisticated for a professional environment
  • Works well as an all-in-one cologne for almost any occasion
  • The scent is masculine without smelling overpowering

Cons:

  • Strong initial smell
  • Contains alcohol (which can dry skin)

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Gucci Guilty by Gucci for Men

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Gucci cologne is a perennial favorite. My top recommendation from the brand is Gucci Guilty. It’s pleasingly aromatic with slightly seductive undertones.

You can wear this out to the club or on a date. It combines citrus scents like lavender and lemon with cedarwood and a touch of patchouli.

It’s strong at first, so you probably want to put it on about one hour before entering any professional setting. Overall, it’s a long-lasting cologne. It clings effectively to both fabric and skin.  

Additionally, the two-toned silver bottle has a sophisticated, masculine design that looks cool on a countertop or shelf.

Pros:

  • Masculine, seductive scent
  • Ideal for dates and social events
  • Combines citrus and woodsy scents
  • Includes a stylish silver bottle

Cons:

  • Strong top notes
  • Not suitable for every professional environment

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Nautica Voyage by Nautica for Men

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Capture the essence of carefree island living with Nautica Voyage by Nautica for Men. It’s a casual scent meant to evoke the breezy vibes of sand, surf, and fun.

It’s one of my favorite choices for an afternoon barbeque, meeting friends for happy hour, or other informal occasions.

The Top Notes favor aromas related to freshly cut fruits and leafy greens. It eases into the Heart Notes with aquatic elements such as water lotus and mimosa. Finally, it ends with a woodsy mix of cedarwood, amber, and moss.

It’s a long-lasting scent. If you put it on in the morning, it’ll still stay detectable into the afternoon. Personally, its one of my favorites to wear on warm summer days. Overall, it’s light and casual with a distinctly masculine undertone.

Pros:

  • Casual aroma inspired by island living
  • Perfect for informal get-togethers
  • Mixes fruit, woodsy, and aquatic scents
  • Long-lasting

Cons:

  • Bottle is fragile
  • Sprayer is flimsy

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Polo Green by Ralph Lauren

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If you’re looking for a masculine smell, I recommend Polo Green by Ralph Lauren. As with all Polo colognes, Polo Green contains no floral notes.

Instead, it has a grassy aroma with top notes consisting of basil and thyme augmented with cumin, cloves, and coriander. The middle note deepens into a woodsier smell with conifer, oakmoss, and a hint of patchouli.

Finally, the base is notably stronger than many other colognes with a blend of leather, tobacco, and thyme. 

Overall, it’s a classic, masculine scent appropriate for professional and even formal occasions such as job interviews, meetings, weddings, and more. I keep it stocked in my bathroom cabinet for special occasions, usually those requiring a suit.

Pros:

  • A masculine scent with wood, leather, and tobacco notes
  • Suitable for a wide range of formal activities
  • Strong, distinct notes
  • Classic cologne brand for men

Cons:

  • Strong scent
  • Might feel overpowering in casual settings

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Kenneth Cole Black

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Black from Kenneth Cole eschews outdoor scents in favor of a more urban, contemporary aroma. It evokes the feeling of a luxurious city living with a definitive masculine edge.

It’s a mellow aroma consisting of black suede, ambergris, and violet leaf. On top of that is a surprisingly zesty combination of mandarin, watermint, and ginger.

Overall, it’s a soft, sensual scent ideal for dates or a night out. I find it far more suitable for wear in the evening and night, although it could also work during colder days. 

Also, I liked the bottle. Made from heavy, black glass, it’s both subdued but eye-catching. On the downside, it has a bulky shape that might be difficult to take along when traveling.

The only downside is that you’ll probably need to use slightly higher quantities of this cologne compared to other brands. If you plan to wear it daily, you might go through it faster than similarly sized bottles of other colognes.

Pros:

  • The scent is sophisticated and masculine
  • Consists of subdued tones augmented by zesty highlights
  • Heavy-glass bottle has a contemporary style

Cons:

  • Might require excessive sprays
  • The bulky bottle isn’t well-suited for travel

Read other reviews here on Amazon

Final Thoughts

All the cologne brands on the list have lots to like, but if you’re looking for the best cologne for black men, I recommend 1 Million by Paco Rabanne. However, that’s not to discount the other selections.

I’m recommending 1 Million because it’s the most versatile. You can wear to professional, formal, and casual occasions. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for something to wear every day or a bottle to keep in your cabinet for occasional use.

However, if you’re looking for something more specialized, you have plenty of options, too. If you’re looking for a masculine scent suitable for evening and night, check out Gucci Guilty by Gucci for Men or Kenneth Cole Black. For something lighter, go with Nautica Voyage by Nautica for Men. Whether you choose 1 Million by Paco Rabanne or another type, the right cologne enhances your style and boosts your self-confidence both professionally and personally. Try a new cologne today and enjoy the benefits!

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