"What does Michael B. Jordan smell like?" is a very real question people want answers to. Several friends asked after seeing my selfie with the Creed star. Sylvia Wilson, a Temple University student who went viral for successfully sliding into Jordan's DMs last year, was also posed the question multiple times. "Mahogany Teakwood from Bath & Body Works but better," is the answer she gave. I can confirm he does have a woody scent, but it's actually mixed with spicy cardamom, Nashi pear, and vetiver. Basically, he smells cozy.
"I think it's a little more adventurous, more risqué," Jordan, the new face of the Coach for Men, fragrance said when I sat down with him at the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge the day after the Met Gala. "It's more of a nighttime scent for me. I always get complimented—whether it's meetings, or lunches, or a dinner date." Though he was tired from "partying all night and all morning"— Cher's performance was a major highlight for him—he did share several gems about why he calls maintaining his body "unrealistic," the cute story of his first cologne, and his very, very, very low-key grooming routine, ahead.
Fronting a fragrance was always part of his plan.
Last fall, Jordan was announced as a face of Coach menswear. He told us, however, that he "always" wanted to be the face of a fragrance, too. "I wanted that 360 kind of deal with the fashion and fragrance. Sense of smell is so important. Scent is like time travel. You smell things and it reminds you of places you've been, experiences you've had, and people that you've encountered," he said.
As for how he applies his fragrance, there's a special method: "After the shower, I spread it on my body after I moisturize. Then, I get dressed and spray a couple pumps right after I put my clothes on. You don't want too much—I have to layer it underneath my clothes."
He first realized the power of a good cologne as a teen, when a girl noticed him.
"My first cologne wasn't my cologne—It was my best friend's older brother's. He was the cool older brother that I never had" he started his story. "He had tons of cologne in his room with sneakers. He said, 'Never go in my room. Don't touch my shit.' Of course, the second he left the house, we were in his room touching all his shit. I snatched up one of his colognes and I just doused myself with it. I ended up going out and I got a compliment from a girl saying, 'You smell good.' I was like, 'Oh shit, okay. That worked. It was probably some cheap fucking cologne—but I never forgot that it warranted a compliment, and it was a conversation starter. I was like, 'Oh, this little bit of AXE spray is cool!' That was my first little introduction into cologne.'"
As a kid, he loved the smell of rum cake…and Bactine?
When asked about his most nostalgic fragrance, a couple of things came to mind. "I like fresh cut grass and my grandmother's rum cake she used to bake all the time growing up," he said. Weirdly enough, he also liked the medicinal smell of "anti-bacterial hand soap from elementary school." He explained, "I just loved the way that shit smelled—shit like Bactine from getting cuts and from random scrapes of being a kid and being out."
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He grooming routine is incredibly low key…
Aside from doing press or a red carpet, during which he'd "get a groomer to do some anti-shine," Jordan claims his grooming routine is "pretty basic." "I'm super low-maintenance: shower, moisturize, put some cologne on," he shared. He also uses "fucking tweezers to get in-growns" and but leaves his eyebrows alone "I don't touch those. They do their thing."
Perhaps the most shocking revelation of Jordan's routine to a skincare fanatic like myself is that he finds face washing optional."I don't wash my face every day," he admitted. "I might wash it once every two, three days. You've got to give your face a break. You don't want to keep stripping it down all the time and exfoliating every day."
…but he does get some beauty services.
"Self-care? Manicure, pedicure—I'm starting to get more into that," he divulged.
He is stoked about being a hair "influencer" thanks to Black Panther.
When Black Panther came out, Jordan predicted that his character Erik Killmonger's dreads would "set a trend." Turns out he was right—there are now several YouTube tutorials on it with hundreds of thousands of views. "I love it," he said when I told him about the tutorials. "Mission accomplished. We just wanted to do something that was trendy that would pick up, invite people and influence in a cool way. I'm glad it picked up." While Jordan says he "can't" wear the dreads in real life, he'll "definitely get braids again up top and probably keep the sides faded."
He admits his (famously) ripped physique is "unrealistic."
Jordan touched a bit on his strict health and fitness habits, which always "depend on who I'm trying to become and what I'm trying to do. Some roles don't require me to be in shape—if that [character]'s more of a slim person, you're not going to go in there looking like Adonis. It won't make sense." When he did have to look like his Creed character, however, he had a "super important" eating schedule during which an alarm went off every two and a half or three hours depending on the day.
Refreshingly, he acknowledges this is "a thousand percent" not super sustainable for the average person. "To walk around like I do in the movies, it's fucking damn near impossible. You wouldn't have a life," he said. "You wouldn't be able to do a lot of things—like, every time an alarm would go off, you'd be eating."
He continued, "I spend so much time getting in unrealistic shape all the time. When I do have the chance to chill and eat whatever the fuck I want, I do that."
He's pretty hilarious at naming a cologne.
Just for fun, I prompted Jordan to come up with a fragrance name of his own. He came up with…"Ooze." "When you ooze something, you're like oozing goodness. It's like an indulgence, oozing out. Oozing confidence. Oozing charisma. Your exuding—or oozing—whatever it is," he explained. You heard it here first: Michael B. Jordan's Eau de Ooze, coming your way.
Kristina Rodulfo Senior Beauty Editor Kristina Rodulfo is the Senior Beauty Editor of ELLE.com—she oversees beauty across ELLE's digital media platforms and is an expert in product testing, identifying trends, and exploring the intersections of beauty, culture, and identity.