The Dos and Don'ts Of Applying Perfume

There’s something so decadent about spraying perfume. The beautiful bottles, the aromas floating through the room, the memories each of your favorite fragrances being evoked 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.) We thought we’d clarify a few of the finer points with a concise list of dos and don’ts.

Flip through to find out exactly what to do and what not to do to achieve the perfect perfume application.

Do Target Areas That Diffuse Heat


In case you hadn’t heard, the good ole spritz-on-the-wrist application fell out of fashion a while ago (and for good reason). 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

blonde model

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. The natural oils in your scalp lock in the fragrance, and the movement of your hair diffuses the scent. 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

perfume bottle

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. Most of us become accustomed to the fragrance we wear day in and day out, so a few extra squirts may feel necessary, but they’re not. Just because you are used to the scent, doesn’t mean the rest of the world around you is too.

Forget About Notes 

chanel perfume

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 

marc jacobs daisy perfume

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.

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