Can Cologne Replace a Shower?

No, you stinky monster, and don’t you ever try it again.


Cologne is not deodorant. You know this, and yet you — be honest — have at some point probably committed the unspeakable crime of trying to use cologne to get away with not taking a shower. Let’s take a look at why that really, really didn’t work out.

Contrary to some people’s incredibly incorrect belief, cologne won’t mask your musk. If you have some body stank, here’s what spraying yourself with a few spritzes will do: It will make you smell like cologne and body stank. Obviously, cologne doesn’t wash away grime and bacteria like a shower does, but cologne also doesn’t have the special ingredients found in deodorants that eradicate the stink-causing bacteria in your pits (and elsewhere). Sure, colognes smell nice, but they don’t stop the bad smells wafting out from underneath.

Trying to compensate in this way can have other bad effects, too — a 2016 study by the University of Melbourne found that when people wear way too much cologne indoors, it can lead to issues like migraines and respiratory problems in others. So that time you realized you didn’t have your shower things at the gym and hosed yourself down with cologne instead, well, safe to say you may have been pretty unpopular at work that day.

What’s that you say? You’ve never tried to use cologne in lieu of a shower, and would never dream of doing so? Well, then never mind. But watch yourself: We’ve got our eyes — and nose — on you.