The Perfume Mistakes Everyone Makes (and How to Fix Them)

The Perfume Mistakes Everyone Makes (and How to Fix Them)
Jon Paterson for Marie Claire

Putting on perfume seems like the least complicated part of your beauty routine—simply spritz, rub your wrists together, and go, right? Turns out, not so much.

Here are the six common mistakes you're making with your perfume—and how to fix them.

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    Mistake #1: You Rub Your Wrists Together After Applying

    This mistake seriously limits your scent’s staying power. "Fragrance is built in notes: top note, middle note, and base note," Sarah Horowitz-Thran, owner and chief perfumer of Sarah Horowitz Parfums, says. "The definition of where an ingredient falls is its boiling point—so top notes burn off the most quickly (citrus and fruits), middle notes last a bit longer (usually florals), and the base notes last the longest (woods and resins)." When you start rubbing your wrists together, you create friction and heat that burns through the top notes more quickly, lessening the lifespan of your spritz.

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    Mistake #2: You Only Spray It on Your Wrists

    Perfume is activated by body heat, Horowitz-Thran says. So where should you apply for the most long-lasting results? "Pulse points, baby!" Try spraying it on your wrist, your neck, behind your knees, even your ankles. And Horowitz-Thran says not to forget your biggest pulse point: your heart. Just don't spray all these areas at once, or risk disapproval from coworkers and fellow subway riders.

    "Feel free to spritz on clothes or hair," the fragrance experts at Givaudan, the global leader in fragrance, say. The result will be subtle, because applying to your clothes "doesn't project fragrance as much as applying it to your body [does]." They also say to spray a little perfume on your hairbrush to give your hair a soft scent.

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    Mistake #3: You're Not Moisturizing Before You Apply

    If you want your fragrance to last from dawn to dusk (or at least for as long as possible), make sure to moisturize before misting it on. The Fragrance Experts at Givaudan say, "Moisturized skin keeps fragrance lasting longer."

    "Layering is fabulous," Horowitz-Thran says. She recommends using a moisturizer with the same fragrance as your perfume for extra staying power. If you think that much fragrance would give you a headache, try an unscented moisturizer to help your fragrance last without overpowering your senses.

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    Mistake #4: You Leave the Bottle Out on Your Vanity

    Sure, that adorable bottle of Miss Dior Eau de Parfum ($90) was simply made to be on display, but unless you want to damage what’s inside, the Fragrance Experts at Givaudan say you should put your perfumes in the refrigerator. If the idea of storing your perfume next to your fruits and veggies weirds you out, Horowitz-Thran says to make sure it's out of the heat and the sun. Otherwise, the fragrance can break down faster, get darker, and even go rancid (definitely not the scent you’re going for).

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    Mistake #5: You Steal Your BFF's Scent

    That fabulous perfume your friend always wears? Don’t run out and buy it immediately (and not just because you don't want to be called a copycat). How the perfume smells on her is going to be different from how it smells on you. Why? "Body chemistry is the final ingredient in any fragrance—what smells amazing on you may not work on your friend, sister, or mother—and visa versa," Horowitz-Thran explains. So at least ask if you can try a spray or two before hitting up Sephora.

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    Mistake #6: You're Not Having Fun With It

    Perfume is "all about discovery and fun," the Fragrance Experts at Givaudan say. So try not to take it too seriously. "If you want to purchase a fragrance you never thought was your type, go for it," they say. "Tastes change over time. Getting inventive by wearing fragrances in different ways has always been explored by the trendsetters. Imagine Marilyn [Monroe]'s comment of wearing only a couple drops of Chanel No. 5 to bed instead of pajamas."

    Now that you're up to speed on the perfume mistakes you're making, learn how to create your own signature scent!

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