Shopping for cologne is brutal. You sniff for woman pleasers until your nose burns out, and then the potions all smell the same.

So know this: Your purchase isn’t all about scent. Men who use cologne are more confident than those who don’t, according to a recent University of Liverpool study. “It’s body armor around his ego,” says Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., who studies emotional links to scent. The smell may fade, but the effect lasts.

The same study found that when women simply see a man apply a scent, they consider him more attractive. Easy as that: Use a scent you like, and your confidence carries you.

Brand matters only in a personal way. “When you wear a scent,” says Martin Lindstrom, the author of Buyology, “you subconsciously buy the com-pany’s image and make it your own.” To help guide you, we asked 200 women what each brand makes them think of. Look to the right for their top answers.

1. Banana Republic Republic of Men 
$45; smells like clementine, herbs
“Clean, traditional”

2. Usher VIP 
$50-$65; bergamot, saffron
“Masculine, mysterious”

3. D&G l’Amoureux 
$65; spice, musk
“Stylish, sexy”

4. Zegna Colonia 
$50-$70; cedar, florals
“Rugged, virile”

5 Axe Instinct 
$5; leather, spice
“Energetic, youthful”

6 Lacoste Challenge 
$40-$60; citrus, woods
“Sporty, cool”

7. Yves Saint Laurent
La Nuit de l’Homme 

$72; woods, lavender
“Sophisticated, elegant”

What 200 Women We Polled Say About Cologne

56% Say wear it every day. . . .
. . . but never apply more than three sprays a day, say nearly 68% of women.

59% Say the cologne of an ex is still a turn-on. . . .
. . . and it can be sexy on you, too, say 63%.

99% Say you shouldn’t smell like cologne from more than a foot away. . . .
. . . and up close, it smells best on your torso, say 51%. Only 9% like it on your wrist.

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