Wearing perfume is easy—a little dab or spritz, and you’re done. But wearing perfume well requires a little more skill and finesse. Just like what Christian Dior quoted,
“Perfume is indispensable complement to the personality of women, the finishing touch of a dress.”
In this article, we are going to give you some tips on how to wear your perfume and where to keep them:
The How’s of Perfume
- Don’t Dab—Just Spray
If you rub your wrists together, the top notes will be forced to disappear quicker than intended, making your fragrance not last if possible. According to Francis Kurkdjian, creator of olfactive hits as Christian Dior Eau Noire, Carven Le Parfum, and those from his own eponymous line out of Paris; “the friction created by rubbing, heats up the skin, which produces natural enzymes that change the course of the scent.” To preserve the integrity of your fragrance (and ensure it lasts longer on your skin), spritz both wrists lightly, let the liquid sink in, and then do absolutely nothing at all, says Kurkdjian.
- Apply an unscented lotion before your fragrance
Oily complexions maintain fragrances longer, so if you have dry skin, use a moisturiser first to help seal the fragrance.
- Spray your perfume right after taking a shower and before getting dressed
Most people think that you must dry yourself first before wearing your perfume, but this is just a myth. Moisture on your skin helps lock in the scent. In addition to this, it will also prevent the fragrance from staining delicate clothes or jewellery.
- Target the ankles, the hair, and other unlikely yet optimal spots on your body when spraying perfume
To make your scent last longer, choose a couple target areas (not all of them at once) from your neck, inside your elbows, below your midriff, behind your knees and on your ankles and calves. For special occasions, Perfumer Frédéric Malle, the man behind the niche fragrance house Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle; suggests targeting the back of the neck. He writes: “The heat rising up your body and the movement of your hair will diffuse the scent, increasing your perfumes “sillage” or scent trail.” Malle also advises spritzing your hair, since the oils in locks keep the fragrance in. “Just don’t do it every day because the alcohol will dry out your hair,” he suggests.
- For a lighter coverage, spray the fragrance in the air and slowly walk into the mist
The spray will evenly spread across your body, leaving you with a hint of fragrance for occasions when you don’t want to smell so intense.
FYI: Familiarise yourself with common fragrance terms so you know exactly what the sales associates are referring to when helping you find a new perfume.
Let’s start from the basics. A perfume has three types of notes, a top note, a middle note, and a base note. A top note is the first scent you ‘experience’ when you first apply the fragrance. Top notes include and can be referred as citrusy, summery, woody, spicy, or floral.
Then, the middle notes, which can also be called heart notes, are the scent results after the top note has faded a little. This scent that you experience consists of the middle notes of the perfume.
Finally, you then have the base note, which are the scents that reveal itself as the perfume sits on your skin and warms up to your body temperature. It can take up to an hour or so for this to occur. So, what is the true and actual scent of the perfume? That would be the mix of the middle notes and base notes.
The Where’s of Perfume
- Don’t store your perfume in the bathroom or other damp, warm places.
Heat, light, and humidity will break down the perfume and lessen the quality of the fragrance. “Perfume doesn’t like going from cold to hot,” Kurkdjian says, adding that such shifts in temperature “set off unexpected chemical reactions within the natural ingredients, and therefore age the perfume faster.” Ultraviolet rays can also alter a perfume’s colour—turning amber tones into green, he warns. “You’d never leave a bottle of Champagne in the sun,” he says. Surprisingly, the best place to store fragrance is the box it originally came in, and at room temperature (or 70 degrees Fahrenheit). If you want to go above and beyond, consider treating it like a great cellar wine: “I know people who store one or two bottles of their signature scents in the refrigerator,” he says.
- The Best Perfumes Come in Small Packages
Precious as it is, perfume should be consumed at a brisk pace. Keeping a half-used bottle on your shelf allows oxygen (the “natural enemy of perfume,” says Kurkdjian) to slowly break down the scent’s molecules, altering its composition. Of course, if you mist on your signature scent daily, a large 6.8-milliliter bottle likely won’t go to waste, he says, but in all other instances, Kurkdjian prefers smaller vessels (in the range of 2.4 to 1.2 millilitres) because they can remain fresh for up to three months. And if you’re faced with only one, rather generously sized bottle at the perfume counter? Assuming it has a screw cap or stopper, you can always decant the liquid into smaller vials or tuck your half-empty fragrances in the fridge to maintain their bloom, he says.