First, a disclaimer: Good hygiene is good manners in salsa dancing. You want a partner who’s clean and doesn’t have body odor. Salsa is a close and often passionate dance. It’s also a major workout, so sweating (and everything that comes with it) is to be expected. However, ask someone with sensitivity to cologne whether they’d prefer body odor or an Axe addict, and they’ll likely say body odor! There are a lot of people with allergies and sensitivities to chemicals, which makes up the majority of perfumes and colognes.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s consider “cologne” to cover both women’s perfumes and men’s colognes. If you shower before dancing, put on deodorant if that’s part of your regimen, and still feel like you could use a “little something extra,” go with a high quality cologne with natural ingredients.
Repeatedly, men say they love the scent of vanilla on a woman. (Really, some might say it’s the comforting idea of baked goods cooking that they really like!). Still, pure vanilla extract has long been a staple for women who like to add a scent but don’t like using harsh chemicals. Women who add natural extracts as their signature scent are much less likely to offend sensitive noses. As an added bonus, it’s very affordable an undeniably smells amazing.
Prefer something a little more high-end? Here are the top-ranked scents for men and women:
According to Best Products, the “best” men’s colognes are
- Tom Ford Tobacco Vanilla Eu de Parfum: Once again, there’s that vanilla! Even vehement non-smokers might admit that they do love the smell of tobacco. Marrying a manly scent like tobacco with a feminine touch of vanilla equates to balance. It also has notes of ginger and cocoa, and is dubbed a fantastic option for autumn and winter.
- Beardbrand Spiced Citrus Solid Cologne: Cloves and citrus blend together in a rare solid cologne that’s subtle enough for the dance floor. The addition of “foodie” scents is comforting and offers a nod to nostalgia.
- Truefitt & Hill Clubman Cologne: The oldest barbershop has come out with a decadent cologne with deep citrus topped with floral notes and hints of wood and musk. It’s the ideal blend that’s suitable for all.
- Hermes Rocabar Cologne: Citrus, greenery and freshness make this an option year-round. It’s lighter than the others on the list, but not so light that it’s a summer-only pick. For the man who wants just a smidge of a scent, this pick is perfect.
- Le Labo Bergamote 22 Liquid Balm: What’s a balm doing on a list of best colognes? It’s the essential oil that made the transition into cologne territory flawlessly. Enjoy grapefruit, cedarwood, and of course bergamote in this luscious mixture. Put it in the fridge for one week prior to use for a little extra kick.
Women depend just as much on scent as men when it comes to dressing to the nines for a night out. However, if you’re not into the extracts, here are the top picks for women from Elle Magazine:
- Byredo Unnamed Perfume: Dubbed “strange and memorable,” it has a unique blend of notes that’s nearly impossible to nail down. All colognes smell differently on different people—it’s how your body mixes with the scent that makes it your own. However, Unnamed is truly an enigma.
- Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Perfume Oil: Orange blossoms, patchouli, incense, and hot sand—is this really a luxe cologne? Yes, because Kagina elevates it. However, using those natural ingredients makes it an addictive and subtle scent.
- Serge Lutens Lis fille de Berlin: Gorgeous notes emit from this strange, cranberry-colored concoction. While most colognes are clear or slightly tinted, the bright hues of this one fly in this face of its light scent.
- Kate Spade Walk on Air: Light, floral and feminine, Spade’s latest offering gives you just the tiniest amount of scent coverage without being overwhelming.
- Annick Goutal Eau de Sud: Somewhere between citrusy and bright, and woodsy and dark, you’ll find this gem that’s a bit androgynous. It’s the every-woman’s scent, and it has staying power.
If you must wear cologne when you dance, wear something memorable—and something that won’t offend. Remember to walk into the mist (don’t spray it directly onto your skin), and that your nose will quickly become immune to it. No more than three spritzes will do the trick and if in doubt, ask someone else if the scent is too strong.