What were the best colognes for men in the 60s & 70s? Here’s a look!

Vintage best colognes for men in the 60s and 70s

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If the best colognes for men in the middle of the last century were the most popular and heavily advertised, well, we’ve found a few of them for you here!

As one of the gent’s perfume ads below proclaims, men don’t want to smell like a fruit basket (horrors!); they want to smell like men (a value signaled with the brand’s not subtle packaging — the bottles are literally shaped like nuts & bolts). 

The 30+ vintage advertisements below feature some of the best old-school fragrances for men who wanted to smell pleasantly manly in the 1960s and 70s.

Aftershave & men’s colognes from the 1960s

Male Factor from Max Factor — best colognes for men (1960)

Introducing the Male Factor — a new ingredient in men’s toiletries that separates the men from the boys… but not the girls… great gift by Max Factor.

Best colognes for men: Male Factor from Max Factor - Vintage fragrances and grooming products (1960)

Sportsman cologne and aftershave for men (1962)

Best colognes for men: Sportsman cologne and aftershave for men (1962)

Avon for men: Tribute after shave, cologne and more (1963)

Avon has created gifts fit for the gods in this ultra-luxurious series of grooming products. The design… a tribute to the Golden Age of Greece, inspired by the masterpiece epitomizing the strength, valor, and dignity of the elite. The products… the finest known to modern man, in performance, in fragrance, in the feeling of well-being their use will give.

Best colognes for men: Avon Tribute for men (1963)

Vintage Gillette Sun Up cologne, talc and aftershave for men (1964)

Best colognes for men: Vintage Gillette Sun Up cologne and aftershave for men (1964)

Brut for Men – Cologne & aftershave (1965)

“Oh you great big beautiful BRUT.” After shave, after shower, after anything. Brut for men by Faberge.

Brut for Men - Cologne (1965)

ALSO SEE: 1970s men’s shoes came in a variety of bold (and sometimes offbeat) styles

Citation cologne gift set, by Mennen (1965)

Left to right: Shower soap (soap on a rope), aerosol shave cream, aerosol cologne, shave talc, cologne, after shave, stick deodorant, aerosol deodorant 

Best colognes for men: Citation cologne (1965)

Old Spice gift sets from 1966

Vintage Old Spice gift sets could include: After shave lotion, stick deodorant, body talcum – Old Spice Super Smooth Shave, shower soap, cologne, after shave talcum – Deluxe travel case

Best colognes for men: Old Spice gift sets from 1966

Vintage Revlon Top Brass cologne for men (1966)

Best colognes for men: Vintage Revlon Top Brass cologne for men (1966)

Black Watch men’s cologne by Prince Matchabelli (1966)

Best colognes for men: Black Watch men's cologne (1966)

Max Factor Royal Regiment fragrance gift sets for men (1966)

Best colognes for men: Max Factor Royal Regiment fragrance gift sets for men (1966)

Hai Karate vintage aftershave (1967)

New Hai Karate After Shave is so powerful that you have to be careful how you use it. It feels so good and smells so great that you can be tempted to splash on a little too much. And that can be hazardous. Your girl, or even your own wife, can lose her head and get a passionate grip on you.

Hai Karate — be careful how you use it.

Best colognes for men: Hai Karate vintage aftershave (1967)

Numero Uno by Le Mans (1967)

The search for a man’s cologne ends here.

Every man is Numero Uno. With his own style. His own way of moving in the world. And no one cologne can be right for all men. That’s what the Numero Uno collection is all about.

In all the world, there are only four basic masculine scents. With Numero Uno Green, Silver, Red, and Gold — you get the best of each. What are they like? All different. All great. Which one for you? Depends on who you are and what you’re searching for…

Best colognes for men: Numero Uno by Le Mans (1967)

Special Agent, Captiva & Cantique men’s fragrances, from Vanda Cosmetics (1966)

Classic “Cantique” and captivating “Captiva” fragrance lines are designed for wide appeal and incorporate prestige perfume essences and new fragrance forms. Lilting “Call Me Pretty” fragrance is available in the “Ever-Vescent Action” cologne cooler and unique cologne gel.

(Vanda was a direct selling company related to Tupperware and Rexall Drugs)

Best colognes for men: Vanda colognes (1966)

Skin Bracer from Mennen (1967) – Wild Moss & Dry Lime aromas

Mennen skin bracer fragrance ad (1967)

Old Nine Flags shaving cologne ad from 1967

Best colognes for men: Nine Flags shaving cologne ad from 1967

Avon for Men’s aftershave and colognes in unique decanters (1969)

Some Avon scents, launched in the 1960s, like Wild Country, still remain popular today!

Best colognes for men: Oct 31, 1969 Aftershave - beauty for men

Aftershave & men’s colognes from the 1970s

A Gentleman’s Cologne by Chanel (1970)

Best colognes for men: A Gentlemans Cologne by Chanel (1970)

Nuts and Bolts by The Colton Co. (1969)

New Nuts & Bolts. What a screwy idea!

There are some things in life — that simply defy description.

The design of Nuts & Bolts is one of them. But maybe you’d like to know a little something about what’s inside.

It’s a rather remarkable men’s fragrance. You don’t have to drown yourself in it to smell good all day. A few drops — you’re set. Even when the weather closes in around you like a wooly cocoon.

What does it smell like? Not like a flowerpot. Like a man. Like a man who enjoys the open air and doesn’t relish the idea of coming on like a fruit basket. 

Nuts & Bolts. A wild package. A pleasing smell that doesn’t. make you into something you’re not. 

It just makes you a little more of what you already are. 

Best colognes for men: Nuts and Bolts by The Colton Co (1969)

Pub for men by Revlon (1970)

Best colognes for men: Pub for men by Revlon (1970)

SEE MORE: Soap on a rope: The old-fashioned Father’s Day gift that made a real splash in the 1970s

There is something about an AquaVelva Man! Be one! (1970)

What’s so special about this man? Scratch, then sniff this tape to find out!

He’s an Aqua Velva man! The fragrance you’ve sampled on the tape above is Aqua Velva Redwood after shave. One of four great Aqua Velva fragrances you can choose from… to get a girl’s undivided attention.

Also try famous Ice Blue, cool Frost Lime and bracing Menthol Mist. She’ll love you for it!

Aqua Velva classic after shave (1970)

Wind Drift, by English Leather (1973)

From the MEM company comes Wind Drift, a new fragrance presented in a specially designed box that carries out the product’s sea scent theme with white opaque bottles with real cork caps, cork design paper packaging, and a 3D label replica of the Pacific coast. (1971 text)

Vintage 1970s Wind Drift after shave by English Leather

Jade East by SWANK (1971)

The next time she gives you Jade East (or you get it for yourself) you’ll discover that the classic cologne and aftershave now have exciting new dimensions. Elegant new design outside. And inside, the classic fragrance is longer-lasting than ever before. 

Jade East is all-new, and now you (and she) can enjoy the timeless Jade East fragrance for hours and hours.

Best colognes for men: Jade East by SWANK (1971)

Game Plan grooming set by Latour (1971)

Is someone taking him away from you? It happens every weekend. Especially on Sundays. He goes away and shuts you out of his world.

You wouldn’t mind if the competition was something you could fight. But how do you fight things like Lions Colts, Rams, and big husky Bears?

You can’t. If he loves football, you just have to learn to live with it. But you can help make it a lot nicer to live with.

By giving him something you’ll both love: Game Plan.

Game Plan is a new idea in men’s grooming gear. What does it smell like? Well, think of those clean, crisp autumn days at the stadium. Think of football… rugged . . . exciting. You’ll get the idea. And Game Plan is as refreshing as an after-the-game shower.

That’s the way a real sports lover likes to smell. Not delicate or perfumy.

Give him Game Plan Face Guard After Shave, Power Play Cologne, or Linebacker Soap on a Rope. (Or you can give him the “Kick-Off” Gift Set of After Shave and Cologne.) He’ll understand you understand him. Who knows, it might even make you enjoy body contact sports more. (Don’t after Sunday afternoon… always Sunday night.)

You see, Game Plan is more than a scent, it’s a strategy.

Best colognes for men: Game Plan grooming set by Latour (1971)

Chanel for men (1975)

Best colognes for men: Chanel for men (1975)

Jovan Musk Oil for men – retro locker room ad (1975)

Best colognes for men: Jovan Musk Oil for men vintage ad (1975)

Timberline cologne by English Leather (1976)

Timberline: Because who wants to smell like the city!

Best colognes for men: Timberline cologne by English Leather (1976)

Jovan fragrances, colognes, and aftershave (1976)

Best colognes for men: Jovan fragrances - colognes - aftershave (1976)

Royal Copenhagen (1977)

It is our extreme pleasure to present Royal Copenhagen After Shave and Cologne. An aristocratic new fragrance for men, inspired by the distinguished 200-year tradition of Royal Copenhagen of Denmark.

Royal Copenhagen. The ultimate in a man’s fragrance.

Best colognes for men: Royal Copenhagen (1977)

English Leather for men (1977)

Some men have it. Some men always manage to come up winners. At everything. And they all seem to share a very special quality: they’re not vague or wishy-washy. Everything they do makes a clear, definitive statement about them.

One man, one scent

Which explains why so many of them subscribe to English Leather’s philosophy of grooming: one man with one great scent all over. And since no scent is more definitively masculine than English Leather,” they wear English Leather… or nothing at all.

Best colognes for men: English Leather for men (1977)

Bogart cologne (1977)

Best colognes for men: Bogart cologne (1977)

Embracing retro cologne by English Leather (1977)

Best colognes for men: Embracing vintage perfume (1977)

Woman by Jovan and Man by Jovan 70s fragrances (1977)

Best colognes for men: Woman by Jovan and Many by Jovan fragrances (1977)

Racquet Club cologne (1978)

Crisp. Stylish. Exhilarating. It’s more than a cologne. Well placed, it’s your most effective weapon. Racquet Club. Grooming Gear for Men. (By English Leather)

Best colognes for men: Racquet Club cologne (1978)

Macho Musk Oil for men (1978)

Macho Musk Oil is for men who want to exercise their natural powers. It takes its cue from your mood chemistry.

When your signal is low-key, Macho Musk Oil will be subtle. When you’re in high gear, Macho Musk Oil sends the message, unmistakably.

Try Macho Musk Oil on your next encounter. After that, you’ll never go it alone. There is a time to be a Macho Man.

SEE MORE MACHO! Macho cologne in the 70s was ‘the powerful scent for men’

Retro Macho Musk Oil for men (1978)

Vintage Chaps cologne for men, by Ralph Lauren (1979)

The West. It’s not just stagecoaches and sagebrush. It’s an image of men who are real and proud. Of the freedom and independence we all would like to feel.

Now, Ralph Lauren has expressed these feelings, in Chaps, his new men’s cologne. Chaps is a cologne a man can put on as naturally as a worn leather jacket or a pair of jeans. Chaps. It’s the West. The West you would like to feel inside of yourself.

Chaps. The new men’s cologne by Ralph Lauren.

Vintage Chaps cologne for men, by Ralph Lauren (1979)

Mennen Millionaire (1979)

The very first bottle was worth a million dollars.

This was The Mennen Challenge, to the greatest fragrance creators from around the world: If you can create the ultimate male fragrance, you will earn one million dollars.

The result? The gold standard of men’s colognes was made exclusively for Mennen.

Introducing Mennen Millionaire. A fragrance so rich, so masculine, it makes you feel like a million bucks.

Best colognes for men: Mennen Millionaire (1979)

Oleg Cassini fragrances for women and men by Jovan (1979)

Jovan introduces the signature fragrance of Oleg Cassini.

“Of all my creations the most exciting are these…my fragrances. Because they capture the most sensuous, memorable moments of my life.

Her fragrance is delicate and beautiful.
His …dangerously masculine.

“Wear one. Give one. And create your own most memorable moments.”

Created by Cassini to be worn by some of the world’s most beautiful people. Presented by Jovan to be worn by some of the world’s smartest.

Best colognes for men: Oleg Cassini fragrances for women and men by Jovan (1979)

Skin Bracer from Mennen (1979)

And here’s actor Jon Goodman in a Skin Bracer TV commercial (“Thanks – I needed that!”)

YouTube video

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Comments on this story

8 Responses

  1. My mother would order Avon Wild Country scent for my dad. This cologne was always in a snazzy decanter and I think that was more of the appeal than anything.

    1. Yes, those are some odd omissions. If you were a guy in the ’70s, someone along the line surely gave you a bottle of Brut, Old Spice or English Leather for some occasion — in part because they were relatively cheap and available pretty much everywhere. The gift that says “it was Christmas Eve and five minutes till store closing!”

    2. Thank you so much for letting us know what we were missing! (Brut was supposed to be here.) Added them both, and another one, too.

  2. Are you familiar with a men’s cologne called Andromeda? The bottle was very unique and it came in a wooden box. I’m looking for it.

  3. I have a 4 FL OZ bottle of Lucien Lelong “desperado” from the 1970s. I can’t find info on it anywhere. The fluid is green in color in a “signature” Lucien Lelong bottle, such as the “Indiscreet” cologne bottle. It has a gold metal chain wrapped around the neck with a medallion hanging down against the bottle. “desperado MEN’S COLOGNE” is stamped on the gold medallion.

    Any info that you have would be appreciated.

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