There’s something so decadent about spraying perfume. The beautiful bottles, the aromas floating through the room, the memories each of your favorite fragrances evoke with each spritz. But romantic as the experience may be, we’re most concerned with the utility of perfume. We want to smell good, and we want it to last. But not all fragrance application practices are conducive to this goal. (Here’s a little preview: that whole mist-into-the-air-and-walk-through-it technique isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.) Social Diary thought of clarifying a few of the finer points with a concise list of dos and don’ts.
DO Target Areas That Diffuse Heat
If you want your scent to last, target areas of the body that give off heat. These will be areas where the blood vessels are elevated closer to the surface of the skin, like the back of the neck and backs of knees. On days that are especially warm, skip the backs of knees (since they naturally sweat quite a bit), and hit the ankles or calves instead to ensure that your scent rises slowly. The belly and décolletage are two other good spots because the warmth generated in those areas aids the diffusion of your fragrance.
DON’T Forget About Your Clothes And Hair
Ever borrow a friend’s sweater and realize it just smells like her? Well, that’s because the fibers in cloth (especially natural ones, like cotton and wool) trap perfume and hold it there, even after multiple washings. A mist on your clothes (just skip the silk blouses—those will stain) will keep your fragrance with you long after your initial application. A spritz in the hair is another trick that will keep your scent going strong. Just reserve this one for special occasions only, as the alcohol in perfume can dry out hair with regular use.
DO Moisturize First
Prep your skin for lasting scents with a little unscented lotion. Moisturized skin holds fragrance longer than dry skin, so do your spritzing while your lotion is still sinking in
DON’T Dab or Roll
You know those handy rollerball applicators? Sadly, their convenience comes at a cost. Every time you roll, the perfume becomes more and more contaminated with your skin’s oil, which degrades the fragrance over time. The same goes for dabbing—don’t do it.
DO Spritz With Restraint
The best perfume application method is just a good, old-fashioned spritz, kept at close range. That means skip the mist approach—you’re essentially wafting through a cloud of (expensive) wasted product. And remember, the number of sprays you needed to get the strength just right the first time you wore the fragrance (probably one at two or three of aforementioned spots) is exactly how many you’ll need from then on.
Forget About Notes
Don’t forget that fragrance has notes. The top notes that you smell within the first 15 minutes of application are never going to stick around all day. It’s the base notes that will remain with you longest. So for fragrance that will last, choose a perfume with heavier base notes (think: musk and oriental scents), as opposed to citrus notes, which are the lightest and tend to evaporate quickly.
DO Store It Safely
To make what’s still in the bottle lasts as long as possible, store your perfumes out of direct sunlight and away from warm, moist air (meaning: no windowsills or bathroom countertops). Scents exposed to sunlight and other elements can start to lose their fragrance notes or even change composition entirely in as little as a few months
DO: Apply right after you shower.
If you think the best time to spray is at the last possible moment before leaving home—since, logic tells you, that’ll give it less time to disappear before you see people—then think again. In truth, the perfect moment to apply is just as you’re getting out from under the shower. It’s at that point that your pores are at their most open, allowing cologne to seep into the skin and giving you a longer-lasting aroma.
We get why you might think that simply spraying yourself with more cologne will make the smell last longer. Logically, that makes sense. But the truth is, the only thing you’re doing by dousing yourself is front-loading the day; chances are, you’ll still be scentless by the same time, but everyone will hate you for over-odoring their morning. So keep it to a spritz or two, max. You can always double down later.
DON’T: Rub them together.
Contrary to what you might have been taught, rubbing cologne between the wrists can “bruise the scent,” meaning it’ll break down faster. Which is the opposite of what you want.