How does it make you feel when you walk out of the barber’s? Freshly groomed? Masculine? Uplifted? All of the above?
It’s the characteristics and fragrance notes within a barbershop cologne that bring all of those feelings flooding back. Perfume manufacturers know the importance of feeling fresh, bright, and ready to take on the world and have created a bunch of colognes that smell like barbershops. But can you put your finger on what it is that brings that scent to life?
There are a few things that make the perfect barbershop aftershave; leathery accords, musk, and fresh scents. And when they’re combined, you’ve got something that instantly transports you back into the chair.
What I love about barbershop colognes is the old-school vibe I get when I smell them. What I love about barbershop colognes is the old-school vibe I get when I smell them. There are, of course, some brilliant modern barbershop fragrances coming through, but these still retain that unmistakable essence. I’ll get right into a few of them.
Discover the 15 best barbershop scents in this video:
1. Maison Martin Margiela At The Barbers
With a name like At The Barbers, it’s no wonder that Maison Martin Margiela’s uplifting creation finds its way onto this list. This is an incredibly aromatic fragrance with leathery and musky notes at the base that makes you feel as though you’ve just been given the full works at the local barbers.
What I, and many other fans of this cologne love, is that At The Barbers makes you feel super clean and fresh. There’s almost a soapy feeling to it as if you’ve just stepped out of the shower. Moreover, it’s light enough to wear day to day but will still invigorate anyone who catches a whiff.
2. D.S & Durga Burning Barbershop
Would you believe that Burning Barbershop was actually inspired by the burned remains of a charred bottle found in a fire-stricken barbershop back in the 1800s? Well, it’s true and I think there is no better way to capture that barbershop smell while putting a unique twist on a fragrance like this.
Burning Barbershop is less leather and has a more fresh, uplifting character with mint and lime. There’s a sweet hit of vanilla and the earthiness of lavender which is often found in shaving creams and other grooming products so the cologne feels authentic.
3. Pinaud Clubman
When you discover that a grooming range has been freshening up guys for more than 210 years, it’s easy to understand the reputation it has. Pinaud Clubman was launched in 1810 and has become a well-loved barbershop cologne.
Clubman is fresh, uplifting, and vibrant. If you love citrusy notes and spices, then this aromatic fragrance will be right for you. However, I should point out that this is certainly a more mature scent and one that I consider an old-school barbershop smell. But that doesn’t mean it’s for old men. Oh no, Pinaud Clubman could easily be worn by younger, more refined guys that appreciate a true classic fragrance.
4. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme
People in the 70s went mad for Paco Rabanne Pour Homme and it makes sense because the cologne gives a feeling of freshness and cleanliness just like leaving the barbershop. Pour Homme even looks appealing in its simple green bottle that could easily take pride of place on the barber’s shelf.
Paco Rabanne Pour Homme is an aromatic fragrance that’s slightly different from other barbershop colognes. It’s got earthy notes, sweet accords like honey and musk along with the fresh, herbaceous notes of Brazilian rosewood. It is that, for me, that transports me to the chair and makes me feel groomed and powerful.
5. Penhaligon’s Sartorial
Looking at the bottle, I would think Sartorial was much older than it is. But since its release in 2010, this has been one of the finest modern barbershop fragrances and has been highly regarded. Why is that? I think it’s to do with the distinct scent.
Sartorial is a fougere fragrance that manages to capture that barbershop essence in a cloud of complex notes. Metals, aldehydes, leather, lavender, floral notes, honey, woods, and musk form a rich, characterful scent that makes you feel like you’ve just received a treatment at the most luxurious barbers on the block.
But what’s funny is that it was never intended as a barbershop fragrance and was actually inspired by a tailor on Savile Row, I told you it was luxurious!
6. MDCI Parfums Invasion Barbare
If you want to douse yourself with the finest fougere fragrances, then Invasion Barbare is going to massively appeal to you. It’s not the cheapest option on this list, not by a long shot but it is one of the most elegant and impressive barbershop-like aromas out there.
Invasion Barbare brings together the freshness and adds sweetness and warmth for something that makes us feel manly and attractive.
The fragrance is very smooth and natural. The thing I really love about Invasion Barbare is its intensity. Lovers of loud scents, this one’s definitely for you.
7. Prada Amber Pour Homme
Another beautiful fougere barbershop fragrance is Prada Amber Pour Homme which is just as fresh and clean a feeling as Invasion Barbare. Yet nowhere near as intense. If you like something intimate and delicate, this Prada Amber is going to suit you well.
Bursts of citrus are accompanied by orange blossom, which for me, has always been one of the cleanest notes. That really adds to the freshly groomed feeling. The leathery base notes are perfectly fitting and there are some hits of labdanum that gives that ambery character.
8. Shulton Company Old Spice Original
Oh come on, you didn’t think I was going to write a list of barbershop colognes and not include the almighty Old Spice, did you? There’s no doubt that this classic scent reminds anyone of being under the barber’s blade, but why is that?
Well, for starters, a lot of barbers use Old Spice Original in their shops. However, it’s the fragrance notes that really make this scent. Citrus notes lead the way to clean florals like geranium and then an ambery, musky base. It’s the perfect blend for a vintage barbershop and while it may be an old-school scent, I think it’s the kind that’s going to remain forever popular.
9. Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Pour Homme
Rive Gauche Pour Homme is one of those scents that makes your mind instantly jump to sitting in the barber’s chair. It’s an uplifting and incredibly elegant fragrance that makes anybody feel clean and fresh. There’s a beautiful powdery character without going too over the top and the earthy note compliments this perfectly.
The addition of vetiver at the base lends this to being a more classic cologne so I feel like mature guys would appreciate Rive Gauche Pour Homme more.
While some barbershop colognes have a soapy odor, Rive Gauche Pour Homme isn’t as soapy smelling but possesses a more creamy character. I’d say it reminds me of the moment the barber slathers on the shaving cream.
10. Versace L’Homme By Versace
What really catches my attention about Versace L’Homme is its spiciness. This isn’t a characteristic that all barbershop colognes possess but it’s something that turns a good fragrance into a glorious on, for me at least.
Versace L’Homme is also a warm and woody cologne but with citrus and herbaceous notes at the head, it still makes you feel super fresh. I would say it has everything that should be in a barbershop cologne.
If some of the more intense barbershop fragrances choke you up a little, then you’ll love Versace L’Homme. It’s a much more discreet scent that’s perfect to add to your morning routine for a fresh feeling without offending everyone you pass in the street.
11. Boucheron Jaipur Homme
Jaipur Homme opens with an in your face blast of citrus accords which, when applied after grooming, makes you feel incredibly fresh and invigorated. But as the cologne begins to settle, you get beautiful warm hits of spicy notes.
The perfect blend of these two facets makes Jaipur Homme one of the best amber barbershop colognes. I love how well it projects, filling a room and taking everyone around you on the journey back to the barbershop.
Just like Rive Gauche, Jaipur Homme has a much creamier, richer feel than some other gentleman’s colognes. This makes it feel a little bit more luxurious.
12. 1725 By Histoires De Parfums
There’s a definite uniqueness about 1725 that makes it original without moving too much away from the typical characteristics of a true barbershop scent. It’s got the citrusy notes and the warm dry down but it throws in things like star anise and licorice. If you’re going for a signature barbershop scent, I’d recommend giving this a try.
1725 does have a very similar feel, however, to Invasion Barbare, but there is less intensity and this is a little more affordable. But still not what you’d call a ‘cheap’ cologne; not at all. But that is what I’d call the perfect balance because you’re still getting a long-lasting scent like barbershop fresh from morning until evening.
13. Azzaro Pour Homme
Azzaro is regarded as one of the classic fragrances of the 1970s but it’s also well known for being one of the most beloved fougere barbershop fragrances on the market. People go wild for Azzaro, and rightly so. It’s a hugely complex blend of notes but each in just the right amount.
What really stands out about Azzaro is the muskiness as it dries down. Yes, it’s beautifully fresh and aromatic when you first spray it but that sweet warmth as it settles on the skin is unmistakable.
There are some that would call Azzaro dated. But I have to disagree. While it is an old-school scent, there’s a classic elegance about it that cannot be denied.
14. Amouage Silver Cologne
If you want something that smells fresh and clean then I think it needs to have lashings of orange blossom. And that’s exactly how Amouage Silver opens up. That first spray makes you feel freshly groomed and ready to take on anything.
As Amouage Silver settles, delicate florals, musk, and incense come through and it’s a surprisingly masculine scent. However, it’s not entirely like other barbershop perfumes and has an oriental twist that gives Amouage Silver its uniqueness. For me, that’s what truly sets it apart.
15. Burberry Touch For Men
One of the things that will whack you relentlessly in the face when you first apply Burberry Touch For Men is how clean it smells. It’s as though you’ve just lathered yourself in Dove bar soap and will certainly leave you feeling groomed.
A lot of people aren’t keen on this aspect of the cologne but I think that’s what makes Burberry Touch what it is. And anyway, along with those soapy notes, you’ve got the citrus freshness of mandarin orange and some beautiful spicy accords.
While not considered a true ‘classic’ barbershop scent, I think Burberry Touch has a lot going for it. It’s an excellent everyday fragrance and while noticeable it isn’t over the top.
FAQs On Barbershop Scents
How do barbershops smell?
The smell of a barbershop is unlike anything else and it’s a combination of the products that they use here. You’ll get a lot of fresh citrusy scents along with sweet musks and a lot of people comment on the clean powdery scent that often fills the barbershop.
What does a barbershop scent smell like?
A barbershop scent is one that attempts to replicate the fresh, leathery, clean smell found in barbershops. Some scents have a super fresh citrusy aroma whereas others are more rich, warm and leathery.
What aftershave do barbers use?
Different barbers will use different aftershaves but one of the most well-loved among local barbers is Pinaud Clubman. This iconic scent has been used for decades and is what most guys associate with a trip to be groomed.
What cologne smells like shaving cream?
If you want a cologne that reminds you of being freshly shaved, the YSL Rive Gauche for Men is one of the closest matches. However, Woods by Abercrombie and Fitch also has a scent that’s very close to shaving cream.
What do barbers use after shaving?
A lot of barbers use Pinaud Clubman after they shave you but you may have also been given the Original Old Spice treatment which is common in many local barbershops.
What do barbers spray after a haircut?
Many barbers apply alcohol on the hair after cutting to heal any nicks or cuts. However, the smell you’re probably thinking of is Barbicide which has a clean, fresh, antiseptic scent and is used to disinfect hair tools.