Getting a hint of your perfume during the day is one of the few simple pleasures we can enjoy these days. However, having to get up and reapply your favorite fragrance every hour isn't exactly ideal.
Thankfully, there are several ways to ensure your scent lasts all day. But whether or not you're applying it correctly in the first place has a lot to do with how long it will stay put.
That's why we reached out to a handful of master perfumers to get their expert insight on how to properly spray on your go-to perfumes, so you'll only have to do it once.
All of their best tips, ahead.
“Perfume is designed to interact with your own body’s chemistry and the warmth from your body,” explains Ixchel Leigh, a 40-year and counting master perfumer, founder of Artisan Parfums, and author of the fragrance anthology, Aromatic Alchemy.
In other words, to apply fragrance anywhere other than onto skin directly actually disrupts and works against how the formulation was built and intended to be used.
“How long the scent lasts on your skin is dependent on the perfume and how dry your skin is," Gerard Camme, president of the fragrance house, Atelier Cologne adds. "If your skin is dry, the scent will fade more quickly. So if you want it to last longer, moisturize prior to application." This is exactly why everything smells more fragrant (for better or worse) in the summer.
We’re all guilty of the mist-and-walk-through strategy at one time or another, which Leigh considers not only an absolute waste, but can also impact the surrounding furniture or decor.
“With spritzing perfumes into the air, it will also drop onto your clothes and the floor or furniture and can stain from the residue,” she cautions. “I’m not a fan of spraying it in your hair either, particularly if your fragrance is in alcohol, because it dries the hair.”
So let’s all agree to stop spraying expensive things into thin air.
“Pulse points are the warmest parts of your body and heat lends to the dry down process and helps to emit the scent," says Camme.
The wrists and neck are the go-to spots for most people, but there are also plenty of other lesser-known pulse points on your body that will maximize the perfume’s intensity and longevity. Camme suggests giving your elbow creases and behind the knees a whirl, while Leigh reminds us of the sneaky pulse points behind the ear, in the hollow of the throat (near the clavicle) and abdomen above the pubic bone. But definitely skip areas with broken or sensitive skin, as perfume may be irritating.
With all the spots to choose from, “it’s up to people to decide for themselves,” says David Moltz, perfumer and co-founder of D.S. & Durga, who personally prefers applying fragrance to the top of the wrist, “where there’s a little hair,” to help the scent last.
Above all, abide by the golden rule: “Do you,” he says. “If you apply somewhere once and don’t like it, don’t do it again. Like anything else.”
Perhaps the biggest faux pas - and most widely used - of perfume application is spritzing and then rubbing the wrists together.
“We suggest to never do this,” explains Gerard. "[Instead,] allow the fragrance to dry down naturally. You won’t crush the top notes, but rather you will allow the layers of fragrance to properly play their role.”
But if you don’t have the patience to let it dry on its own, Moltz recommends gently tapping any excess on another easy pulse point, like the neck.
Putting on the right amount is a challenge for everyone. And if you’ve ever wondered why perfume prices have quite the range, it’s because they contain different levels of fragrance concentration, meaning they will have a different intensity when applied. So pay attention to how your fragrance is named and labeled, as that will indicate how much to apply and how often.
Fragrances with a “perfume” label have the highest fragrance concentration, followed by eau de parfum and lastly, eau de toilette, the lightest variety, explains Laura Slatkin, founder of NEST New York. The more concentrated the fragrance, the longer it will last and the less you’ll need to apply.
A true perfume should only need two spritzes tops, while an eau de toilette is “more like a body splash to be applied more liberally,” explains Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn. For the in-between eau de parfum, trust your nose, but don’t get too spritz-happy, anywhere in the three-to-four pump range should be plenty.
Dry shampoo, lotions, and oils are often dripping with super sweet fragrance, which can accidentally distort your pricey perfume - in a negative way!
Swap the outlying fragrance-based products for unscented varieties so you (and everyone around you) experience the fragrance exactly as you intended.
“Perfumes are meant to tantalize someone close to you, not to stay for hours in the air after you’re gone - that is invasive perfumery!” jokes Leigh, who adds in that when we wear a fragrance regularly, we become nose blind to it.
Although if you applied in the morning and then worked out or sweated a bit throughout the day, it wouldn’t be overwhelming to re-apply using less than you did in the morning to that same location.
However, when shopping for a new perfume, it’s important to remember that every fragrance’s intensity will fade as the day wears on, so “don’t be attached to the first 10 minutes of a fragrance,” says Moltz.
“Hopefully the perfumer created a blend to take you on a journey that is interesting after those 10 minutes are gone," the expert continues. "Respray it later in the day if you want to relive the top notes, but like most things, subtly is a sign of good taste.”
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