What Are the Best Scents for Aftershave? [10 Popular Fragrances]

Type “aftershave” into a search box and hundreds of options appear. Where do you start? How do you find your perfect scent? You can buy a bunch and see which one strikes your olfactory nerve, or you can start with our “Best Scents” guide to narrow your search.

The best scents for aftershave are light and masculine. While individual preferences can vary, popular scents include sandalwood, lavender, and bergamot. Admired scent themes are woodsy, floral, and citrus. Aftershave should not be heavily scented but may contain a subtle fragrance that can stand alone or be layered with a cologne.

Read on to learn all about aftershave scents!

What is the best-smelling aftershave of all time?

Did you know that aftershave and cologne are two different things? Cologne is all about the scent, but aftershave offers medicinal properties while leaving behind a pleasant, subtle fragrance that can stand alone or be layered.

The best-smelling aftershave scent of all time is the “woodsy” scent. This natural, masculine fragrance is composed of the smells of nature. Sandalwood, cedar, and lavender are favored woodsy scent notes.

Woodsy scents evoke scenes of chopping wood on a winter day or hiking through a dense forest.

best scents for aftershave

What is the most attractive aftershave for men?

If you are trying to attract the opposite sex, your smell matters. Certain scents make a woman stand up and take notice. While individual preferences can vary, research has uncovered a universal front-runner in the attraction race: vanilla.

According to women, the most attractive aftershave scent for men is vanilla. The vanilla scent is a universally-loved fragrance across cultures and attracts both men and women. It is considered warm and comforting, can increase libido, and decrease stress and anxiety.

vanilla scent is popular for aftershave

Scientific studies have determined that when men smell good as a result of fragrance, they have an increased sense of well-being and confidence. This phenomenon accounts for their attractiveness to women, not solely the woman’s perception of the smell. Add them both together and sparks fly.

What are the most popular scents for aftershave?

One way to gauge the most popular aftershave scents is to follow the money trail. Men (and women) vote for their favorites every time they make a purchase.

Most aftershave scents include a combination of different smells. The best-selling and best-smelling scents include sandalwood, bergamot, lavender, vanilla, and more. Many of the scent notes are clinically proven to affect libido and attraction.

Aftershaves rarely contain just one fragrance in isolation. Instead, they are a combination of various scent notes that complement each other in the form of top notes, heart notes, and base notes made up of:

  • Bergamot
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Frankincense
  • Lavender
  • Menthol
  • Musk
  • Patchouli
  • Sandalwood
  • Vanilla

Let’s take a look at each of these scents and find out what makes them so popular!


Bergamot ranks high because of its citrusy aroma.

The bergamot fruit is a cross between a bitter orange and a lemon. It’s part of the duo that makes up Earl Grey tea’s unique flavor and aroma.

Citrus smells have been proven to lift the mood. They are often described as” fresh and clean.”


Cedar is a favorite woodsy scent for aftershave.

It’s reminiscent of old tobacco-laced cigar boxes and flickering campfires. Cedar matches well with its cousin sandalwood.

Two distinct smells merge to create an olfactory experience.

cedar scent


Peruse shaving forums and the woodsy aroma of sandalwood pops up too many times to count. Sandalwood is an aromatic tree with a diverse olfactory pallet. Testers often use the words floral, spicy, and sweet to describe the unique smell. It brings to mind the masculinity of the rugged wilderness.

sandalwood scent


The slightly spicy smell of cinnamon is another winning aftershave scent note.

It pairs perfectly with woodsy and vanilla themes. Cinnamon is known to expand blood vessels and increase circulation even in the nether regions. The mere smell of cinnamon can inspire feelings of arousal and attraction.

No wonder it’s a champion ingredient!

cinnamon scent


Frankincense performs double duty in aftershave.

Not only does it smell earthy with a hint of pine, but frankincense also has antibacterial and antiviral properties that come in handy on freshly shaved skin.


The smell of lavender is often described as floral, woodsy, or smokey. For this reason, it pairs well with vanilla, sandalwood, and citrus.

Studies have shown that the smell of lavender can increase penile blood flow. This might be a clue as to why it is highly ranked by both men and women.

lavender scent


The minty, clean smell of menthol reminds many of us of days past.

Chances are your dad or grandad used “America’s first aftershave,” Aqua Velva. This uber-popular fragrance became a cult classic and is still used today.


The unique smell of musk can best be described as “earthy.” This bold smell was once harvested from the male musk deer giving it its name.

Surprisingly, women are 1,000 times more sensitive to musk than men making it a popular female-to-male gift. The men wear it, the women like it.

Fun fact: Jaguars are strangely attracted to Obsession for Men by Calvin Klein. Biologists surmise that the musky notes of this cologne are close imitators to animal pheromones. The Bronx Zoo tested over 20 colognes and Obsession kept the cats enthralled for over 11 minutes. 


Patchouli and the hippie generation go hand in hand, but the scent still lingers today in aftershave.

The smell of this plant oil is often described as earthy and herbal.

It’s another arousing scent and a player in the attraction game. Do you see a pattern yet?

Patchouli flowers


Vanilla is the star scent of freshly baked cookies, so no wonder aftershave makers add it to their concoction. Testers describe vanilla as a warm, sweet scent.

Researchers contribute the huge popularity of this smell to its tendency to bring to mind pleasant childhood memories.

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