Hawthorne Cologne Review + More: Did They Get It Right For Me?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. We received compensation and courtesy product from Hawthorne in exchange for our honest review only. All opinions expressed here are our own.
By asking the right questions, Hawthorne was able to deliver custom colognes and bathroom essentials at a solid price point, and while I was hesitant to leave my choice of fragrance up to someone else, Hawthorne won my seal of approval on the first spray.
In eighth grade, I liked a girl.
Before our mini-golf date, I bought my first cologne. I gave myself 15-20 good sprays and was ready for my debut.
Recently, at a friend’s house, I noticed the same cologne brand sitting on his dresser.
Cue the flashback.
Technicolor walls of cologne bottles. Sales clerk asking too many questions. Ten thousand samples later, I’m light-headed. I grab a bottle, throw down cash, and run for the door.
I’m still that way—I don’t want a thousand options.
I know what I like, and I know good quality. And a second opinion from an expert never hurt.
So when I heard about Hawthorne’s tailored cologne and bathroom essentials, I knew I had to give them a try.
What was it like letting them take over my good smells? Read on for my full review of Hawthorne’s tailored bathroom.
What Is Hawthorne?
Hawthorne offers a fully tailored bathroom essentials service. Cologne, shampoo, body wash, deodorant—you name it, Hawthorne will customize it for you and your body.
Founded by Brian Jeong and Phil Wong in their early 30’s, Hawthorne aims to do two things:
First, they want you to hand over the Axe bodyspray. Just put it on the floor and walk away.
Second, they want to make it easy to find a great modern fragrance based on your lifestyle.
As guys, we don’t do much shopping for ourselves, so the idea of spending hours at a department store smelling cologne samples is a bit daunting. Hawthorne looks to get rid of that problem for you
When you first land on the Hawthorne site, you’re invited to take a quiz. Questions about your skin, hair, and what you do for leisure give Hawthorne an idea of how they can tailor products specifically for you.
I’ve spent what feels like hours staring blankly at the supermarket isles of shampoo and deodorant. If you’re the same, with this in your life, you may never need to do that again.
Simply answer a few questions and let Hawthorne do the rest.
The Tailored Ordering Process
Hawthorne designed a 22-question quiz to help them get to know what your skin-care and fragrance needs are.
If you’ve done the quiz already, feel free to skip ahead to my unboxing and review.
The questionnaire started by asking a few questions about my skin and hair.
In total, I was asked five questions about what my hair was like and what I needed from my hair-care products. They covered everything.
I’ve always struggled with dry scalp. A few questions addressed this, so I felt taken care of.
After the hair talk, Hawthorne moves through a series of questions on soap. I liked having the option between bar soap and body wash.
I was then asked five questions about what I want in my deodorant.
I’m not a particularly sweaty or smelly guy, but I could tell that they have options available for every type of dude.
My main concern with deodorants are aluminum additives. I was happy to see an opt-out for aluminum antiperspirants.
Up until this point, the questionnaire was simple and straight-forward. I had a good idea of what Hawthorne was going to suggest based on my answers. And a newfound understanding of my own sweat.
And then the cologne questions. This is where the questionnaire became fun.
Some questions were almost hard to answer because I wasn’t sure how it was going to change my fragrance. What should have been a short answer took me much longer than most people, I’m sure.
We can’t choose them all? In that case, gin.
I’m not a smoker, but I’ve worked in close quarters with a few. Smokers play a delicate game with colognes. Trying to mask the smell of cigarettes can end up overpowering, but choosing a cologne with some tobacco and leather fragrance already in it can put a good spin on the scent.
This may have been the toughest question. I noticed myself flip-flopping between answers because I knew it would make a big difference in the cologne I got.
Do I want to smell like someone who enjoys dinner? Or do I want to smell like someone who watches TV?
I want to smell like I eat dinner.
At the end of the quiz, I was paired with my products.
It was cool to see what Hawthorne selected based on my answers. Something led them to believe that I needed to be woody and aromatic at work. I could get behind being the woody and aromatic guy.
I was paired with a cooling shampoo for my dry scalp. Makes sense.
With just a few questions, you tell Hawthorne what you like and what you need, and they give you the product that solves those problems.
Of course, this was all in theory. Yeah, I answered a few questions and they offered a few solutions.
But the solutions had to work. Did I really want to be woody and aromatic at work? Would the shampoo help my dry scalp?
Read on to see what I thought of Hawthorne’s cologne and tailored bathroom experience.
Unboxing & Review
Hawthorne shipped out my tailored bathroom in a hurry. I got the package in the mail just two days after ordering.
At first I thought I was special, but after reading customer reviews, I saw most people got their packages within two days. So really, I’m not all that special (regardless what my Mom says), but kudos to Hawthorne on the quick turnaround.
I don’t say this lightly. Hawthorne’s packaging is awesome.
They’ve covered every detail to make sure you know you’re getting a luxury product. The cologne box has an interesting suede texture and is made of sturdy cardboard.
The body wash, shampoo, and deodorant were all placed into individual bags which I appreciated. Just in case there was a shipping mishap, Hawthorne took steps to make sure I didn’t get a sticky mess.
My only gripe about the packaging is that everything is a fingerprint magnet. Each beautiful box and bottle needed to be wiped down after touching to keep it sleek. But that could also be my OCD.
Overall, even if the packaging picks up fingerprints, it has the look and feel of luxury. If fingerprints bother you, just invest a small amount of time into keeping it that way.
Hawthorne Cologne Review
Cologne is what Hawthorne is best known for. I got two bottles—Work and Play.
Since these colognes were supposedly tailored to my body and my lifestyle, I was excited to give them a try.
I tried Work first. My Work was fresh and aromatic on the first spray.
It’s always a good idea to start with one spray the first time you try a cologne. You want to get a feel for its strength and how it’ll transform throughout the day. If it dies out too quickly, you can always go for two sprays the next day.
With one spray, Work hung on until evening. Eventually, the ‘fresh’ notes died off, but I was left with sandalwood and cedar tones.
The Work formulated for me was my ideal scent. I’m always drawn to sandalwood-heavy cologne, and I really enjoyed the fresh top-notes Work offered.
The next day, while getting ready for some celebration cocktails, I gave Play a try.
Play had more citrus and spice, though there was definitely still a major wood base.
I wasn’t as big a fan of Play as I was of Work, but that’s not saying much. Between two options, you’ll always prefer one over the other.
Play and Work had similar wood base notes, but departed on the mid-tones and top notes. I liked that they weren’t totally different. It makes sense—I’m different at work than I am when I’m out with friends, but the core is the same.
Play wasn’t as powerful as Work due to the lighter nature of the ingredients.
While Work lasted around seven hours, Play lasted between five and six.
I was still happy with Play. I may not use it as an everyday scent like Work, but it’s a great option for a night out on the town.
How Long do Hawthorne Colognes Last?
I was surprised at how long Work lasted the first go-around, so I put it to the ultimate test. I helped a friend with an all-day move in the North Carolina summer heat. Imagine the sweat and smell.
Still, after seven hours there was a lingering hint of sandalwood. It passed.
Since it wasn’t on the bottle, I reached out to the team at Hawthorne to ask the strength of their fragrances. They replied the same day.
Sonya from Hawthorne said that their fragrances are anywhere between 10%-15% concentration of essential oils. This puts both fragrances into the eau-de-toilette range, which strikes a nice balance between making a statement and staying subtle.
That explained why I still smelled great after a long day of moving.
As I mentioned, Work lasted an average of seven hours on the three days I tested it. The fresh notes faded around hour four or five, but the woody midtones and base notes kept on chugging.
Play lasted an average of five and a half hours. The citrus faded in about two hours, while the spice held on to hour four. Hour five featured just the lingering wood base notes.
The three times I tested the scents, I used one spray on my chest. I’m not sure if I’d add more than that with Work because it seemed strong enough, but I will give myself two sprays with Play from here on out.
Who Made my Colognes?
Hawthorne doesn’t give too much information about what’s in their colognes. But they do mention the creator of the scent on the back of the bottle.
My Work was crafted by Olivier Gillotin. I wasn’t familiar with him, so I looked him up. He’s done other scents with Ralph Lauren, Balenciaga, and Dior (which can cost three times more than Hawthorne).
Play was formulated by Rodrigo Flores-Roux, who’s created fragrances with Calvin Klein and Tom Ford in the past.
I loved reading about the backgrounds of the perfumers who created my fragrances. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a note about the strength of the fragrances on either bottle. It’s standard practice to see eau-de-cologne or eau-de-toilette on a bottle.
Hawthorne didn’t mention either, which is surprising given that their fragrances are on the high end of the eau-de-toilette category.
Hawthorne Shampoo Review
It’s time to address the question that I’m sure has been on your mind the whole time you’ve been reading this:
How’s my dry scalp?
After trying out the shampoo for a week, I’m happy to say my dry scalp has been soothed.
Since high school, I’ve used the same major brand of dandruff shampoo (let’s call it Cranium&Scapulas). I still have dandruff.
While my previous brand, Cranium&Scapulas uses synthetic soothers, the peppermint oil in Hawthorne’s shampoo was calmer and felt more natural.
I’ll continue testing out Hawthorne’s shampoo to see if any changes happen over the next few months.
Hawthorne Body Wash & Deodorant Review
Both the deodorant and body wash I got from Hawthorne were designed for sensitive skin. Each is infused with minty oils and smells great.
There wasn’t any lasting fragrance from either the wash or the deodorant, so they didn’t conflict with my cologne.
The body wash had a gentle cooling effect which was soothing without being intense.
As for the deodorant—I used it on the sweaty move day and my pits didn’t turn into the swamplands.
While there were no aluminum antiperspirants (I opted out), the talcum-like texture kept my armpits dry throughout the day.