How to Wear Perfume

“I discovered the importance of ‘perfume prep’ and now my fragrances last all day”

From spritzing scent on the backs of the hands, inside the navel and behind the knees, there’s a lot we don’t know about wearing perfume properly, apparently.

No matter how much perfume I doused myself in, it always seemed to disappear the second I stepped outside. I was perpetually curious why some people could smell amazing for hours on end when my fragrance vanished almost instantly. 

That is until I discovered the importance of perfume preparation. 

Where are we going wrong with our fragrance routines?

It might be surprising to hear that the way many of us apply perfume is actually hindering how long the scent sticks around. 

For example, misting your perfume in the air and shimmying through it is a major mistake: for the best shot at longevity, you should apply it directly to the skin rather than letting the fragrance molecules diffuse through the air.

Another unexpected revelation is that smashing your wrists together when applying perfume also inhibits its lasting power, according to expert perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek.

“The act of rubbing creates friction, which in turn creates heat and means the fragrance evaporates off the skin more quickly,” she explains. 

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How should we be applying perfume?

“Rather than rubbing the wrists together, it’s better to let the fragrance dry naturally in the air,” Mastenbroek advises. But this isn’t her only key to making perfume last longer. As perfume adheres best to oil, she recommends prepping your skin with a moisturiser or body oil, as well as exfoliating regularly. She also suggests using a lotion in the same fragrance as your spray, or one with complementary notes, to enhance the scent.

When applying fragrance, Mastenbroek recommends focusing on the pulse points as “this is where the body’s warmth will help to gently emit the fragrance as it evaporates in the air.” While the wrists and behind the ears are common locations to spritz perfume, you should also douse some on your inner elbows, knees, belly button and the backs of your hands for the maximum effect.

As fragrances can last better on fabrics and other materials compared to skin, don’t feel limited to only applying perfume to your body. “I also recommend spraying onto the fibres of a scarf around the neck area, as this will help the fragrance waft out over a long period of time.”

Does the perfume I’m using make a difference?

Yes, the formula of your fragrance could be to blame. Similarly to how perfume lasts longer when the skin is prepped with oil, the oil concentration in your scent can dictate its longevity.

“Typically, an eau de toilette contains 8-10% of perfume, so you can expect it to last a couple of hours,” Mastenbroek explains. “eau de parfum can contain 10-20% of perfume, and it’s likely to last at least four hours.”

So, before your next perfume purchase double-check the concentration to see if this could be the problem.

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My perfume still won’t last all day – what should I do?

If you’re still struggling, you may be dealing with “scent blindness”. This is when you become accustomed to a specific fragrance and stop smelling it, even if others around you can.

The obvious solution is to switch to a new perfume, but we understand that not everyone will want to abandon their holy grail scent. 

“You can always top up with another spray of your fragrance so that you experience the top notes again,” Mastenbroek suggests. “If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try layering a different, complementary fragrance.” This should help to rejuvenate the experience and refresh your senses.

As a final result, Mastenbroek recommends going outside: “Fresh air can help to neutralise your sense of smell again, so you can once again pick up the scent of the fragrance you’re wearing.” 

That way, both you and everyone around you will be able to reap the benefits of your sumptuous scent for hours on end.

Main image: Getty

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