How to Smell Good

How you smell is one of the first things people notice about you, so it’s important to make sure you smell your best.

From head to toes, we wanted to share a few grooming tips so you can make sure you’re always putting your best foot (and smell) forward.

What Causes Body Odor

Body odor is caused by sweat and the bacteria that live on your skin (source). While sweat by itself doesn’t smell, when it’s mixed with the bacteria on your skin, it can cause an unpleasant odor.

There are two types of sweat glands in your skin: eccrine and apocrine.

  • Eccrine Glands: These are located all over your body and produce a clear, odorless sweat that cools your body down.
  • Apocrine Glands: These are primarily located in your armpits and groin and produce a thicker, milky sweat high in fats and proteins. This sweat mixes with bacteria on your skin to create body odor (source).

If you’re looking to reduce body odor, you’ll need to pay special attention to these areas. Now that we know what causes body odor, let’s look at how you can prevent it.

1. Shower Daily – and Don’t Skimp on the Soap

A shower cleanses your body and helps to rejuvenate your skin and hair. And while you’re at it, make sure you’re using a quality soap that will leave you feeling clean and smelling great.

Choose one that’s formulated for your hair type for your shampoo – whether it’s dry, oily, or somewhere in between. Consider going with a natural shampoo that’s free of harsh chemicals.

And don’t forget to scrub behind your ears and between your toes! These areas can often get neglected but are important in keeping your body odor under control.

2. Invest in a Good Deodorant or Antiperspirant

This one is a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s important. First, find a deodorant or antiperspirant that works for you and can rely on to keep you smelling fresh all day long.

There are many options out there, so experiment until you find one that you like. For example, if you have sensitive skin, natural deodorants might be a better option.

Next Level Tip: Do you know the difference between deodorant and antiperspirant? Deodorant masks body odor while antiperspirant prevents sweating. So if you’re someone who tends to sweat a lot, you might want to consider an antiperspirant.

3. Use Fragrance Sparingly

A little goes a long way when it comes to fragrance. You don’t want to be the guy who smells like he doused himself in cologne – that’s a surefire way to turn people off.

A cologne should be discovered, not announced.

Pick a scent that you like and smells good on your skin, then apply it to your pulse points – behind your ears, wrists, and neck. A general rule of thumb is to start with one spray and go from there. Of course, you can always add more if you need to, but you can’t take it away once it’s on.

Body sprays are a great way to keep your scent fresh throughout the day without the potency of cologne. Just a few spritzes will do the trick.

4. Don’t Overdo It With the Aftershave

An aftershave splash is meant to be used sparingly, so don’t go overboard. A light coating on your face after you shave is all you need.

Aftershave balms are typically more muted in scent and do a great job of also moisturizing and soothing your skin after you shave. We like to recommend the NIVEA Post Shave Balm; it soothes your skin and leaves you smelling great.

5. Do You Have Facial Hair? Consider Beard Oil

If you have facial hair, it’s essential to keep it well-groomed and looking its best. In addition, good beard oil can help to keep your beard soft, healthy, and smelling great.

It’s also a good idea to wash your facial hair regularly – just like the rest of your hair. Use a gentle, sulfate-free beard shampoo and conditioner to avoid stripping away the natural oils that keep your beard healthy.

6. Keep Your Teeth and Tongue Fresh

Your mouth is full of bacteria, so keep it clean to avoid bad breath. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly. In addition, consider using a tongue scraper to help remove bacteria from your tongue.

And don’t forget to brush your gums! They need just as much attention as your teeth do.

Lastly, rinse out your mouth with a quality mouthwash. This will help to kill any remaining bacteria and leave your mouth feeling refreshed.

7. Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is important for overall health, but it also helps to keep your body odor under control. When you’re properly hydrated, your sweat will smell less intense.

So drink up – aim for eight glasses of water a day.

8. Avoid Sulfur-Rich Foods

Sulfur-rich foods like garlic, onions, and brussels sprouts can make your sweat smell bad. So if you’re trying to avoid body odor, you might want to cut back on these foods or avoid them altogether.

9. Eat More Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges can help to mask body odor. So if you’re looking for a natural way to keep your body smelling fresh, try incorporating more citrus into your diet.

10. Get Your Sweat On

Sweating is good for you! It helps to flush out toxins and bacteria that can cause body odor.

So hit the gym, go for a run, or do whatever else gets you sweating. Just shower afterward so you don’t walk around smelling like a gym!

11. Keep Your Clothes Clean

This one should be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s so important.

Wash your clothes regularly – especially your workout gear and any other clothing that gets a lot of use. Bacteria cause body odor, so the more you can do to keep your clothes bacteria-free, the better.

12. Let Your Shoes Breathe

Your shoes can harbor a lot of bacteria, which can lead to foot odor. So it’s important to give them a break now and then.

Take them off whenever you can – at home, at work, even in the car. And consider investing in a good pair of socks – they can help absorb sweat and keep your feet dry.

Shoe sprays are also an excellent way to keep your shoes smelling fresh. Just give them a quick spritz after you wear them, and they’ll be good as new.

13. Change Your Bed Sheets Regularly

Your bedsheets can also harbor bacteria, so it’s important to wash them regularly. Aim for once a week, but more often if you sweat a lot at night or if you have pets that sleep in your bed.

Some guys may even add a bit of fabric softener or cologne to their sheets to help them smell even fresher.

14. Give Your Genitals Special Attention

The skin on your genitals is very sensitive while also having a large concentration of apocrine glands, so take good care of it. Wash regularly with mild soap and water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard.

And be sure to dry thoroughly – moisture creates a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. If you’re uncircumcised, it’s crucial to pay attention to hygiene. The foreskin can trap bacteria and sweat, so clean it regularly.

15. Manscaping Reduces Hair-Trapping Sweat

If you have a lot of body hair, you might want to consider manscaping. Trimming or shaving your body hair reduces the amount of surface area that odor-causing bacteria can cling to.

It also makes it easier to keep your skin clean and dry. So if you’re struggling with body odor, manscaping might be the answer.

16. Talk to a Doctor

If you’re still struggling with body odor, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor even after taking all of these steps. They can help identify any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your body odor and recommend the best course of treatment.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more. When Adam isn't working, he enjoys spending time with his two little kids who keep him both on his toes and young at heart.

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