Although both cologne and after shave have a pleasing, long-lasting fragrance, they are not the same. There are differences in strength, purpose and cost, as well as the location where they are used. Some men prefer one over the other, while some prefer to use both.
Personal care products manufacturer, Colgate, says men should use an after shave to soothe skin irritated by shaving, relieve dryness and protect against the elements. Perfume website, Fragrancenet.com, says men wanting a longer lasting fragrance should choose a cologne.
While both after shave and colognes contain fragrance and alcohol, most after shaves contain a higher percentage of alcohol in addition to skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera and allantoin.
After shave is generally restricted to application at shaving sites like the face and neck, whereas cologne is usually applied to the neck and wrists.
After shave is often less expensive that cologne because of its lower fragrance concentration. The ingredients that give a product its fragrance are usually more expensive than the carrier, usually alcohol.
Fragrancenet.com says that some men prefer to use both after shave and cologne, which offers skin-soothing benefits as well as long-lasting fragrance.