What Do British Call Cologne? A Comprehensive Guide

In Britain, instead of the term “cologne” which is commonly used in America, the British often refer to this fragrant product as “aftershave” or “perfume”. It’s important to note the term “aftershave” is generally used to reference men’s fragrances in the UK, while “perfume” traditionally refers to women’s fragrances. However, the term “perfume” is more encompassing and many British people use it as a catch-all phrase to describe any kind of personal fragrance, regardless of the intended gender. Similar fragrances are universally appreciated in most cultures but referred to using varying terminology which can cause a bit of confusion for those not familiar with the local lingo.

Why Do People Call Perfume Cologne?

While the origins of cologne are based in Germany, the term “cologne” has been adopted worldwide to describe fragrances that share similar characteristics. The term has become synonymous with fragrances that are light and refreshing, often using citrus scents like bergamot or lemon. It can also describe fragrances made specifically for men, as opposed to more feminine perfumes.

This speaks to the widespread influence that the term has had on the fragrance industry.

Despite it’s association with light and refreshing fragrances, cologne doesn’t necessarily need to smell “masculine” or “feminine”.

Differences Between Cologne and Perfume: While the Terms Are Often Used Interchangeably, There Are Distinct Differences Between Cologne and Perfume in Terms of Ingredients, Concentration, and Longevity.

Cologne and perfume are similar but not the same. They’ve varying ingredients, concentration, and longevity, which distinguishes them from each other.

However, the terminology surrounding fragrances varies across different cultures and regions. For instance, the word “cologne” may not be commonly used in England to refer to men’s fragrances. So what exactly do English people call cologne? Let’s explore this further.

What Do English People Call Cologne?

However, in England, the term “cologne” isn’t as commonly used. Instead, they tend to refer to this type of fragrance as “aftershave”. Aftershave is a common term used to describe a variety of fragrances that typically come in a liquid form and are applied to the skin after shaving. While aftershaves can come in different scents, it’s often associated with a distinctive masculine smell that’s both fresh and fragrant.

While aftershaves in England tend to be marketed to men, it’s also not uncommon for women to use them as well. As the trend towards more gender-neutral fragrances continues to grow, many aftershave fragrances are now considered unisex and can be worn by anyone.

One of the reasons why aftershaves have remained such a popular fragrance choice in England is due to the countrys longstanding tradition of wet shaving. In wet shaving, the face is first prepared with hot water and then covered with a lather of shaving cream or soap. The razor is then used to remove the hair, leaving the skin feeling smooth and refreshed.

Source: Eau de Cologne – Wikipedia


This nuanced distinction may seem trivial to some, but it highlights the importance of understanding cultural differences and language usage when communicating with others from different parts of the world. It also serves as a reminder that language is constantly evolving and adapting to local customs and trends, and that one should always stay curious and open-minded in their quest for cross-cultural understanding.

  • Gillian Page

    Gillian Page, perfume enthusiast and the creative mind behind our blog, is a captivating storyteller who has devoted her life to exploring the enchanting world of fragrances.

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