4 Common Perfume Mistakes, Plus How to Make Your Scent Last

perfume bottles on designed background

@theouai / Design by Camden Dechert

Given that really wonderful fragrances are often a bit of an investment, there's nothing more infuriating than spritzing it on as you walk out the door, only for it to be undetectable by the time your commute is over. (You can practically see the dollar signs disappear into thin air, no?)

But don't necessarily blame the perfume itself, because if you want to make it last, there really are right and wrong ways to apply a scent. (Spoiler alert: Dabbing your perfume on your wrists and rubbing them together isn't doing you or your bank account any favors.) What's more, seemingly inconsequential things from the way you store your fragrances to how well you're moisturizing your skin are actually key to making them smell their best—and keeping them from fading quickly.

Keep reading to find out exactly why your scent might not have the staying power it should.

Your Go-To Scent Is Grassy or Floral

Nova Chakra Eau de Parfum Rollerball $60.00

A rule of thumb is that fragrances in the oriental or woody category tend to last much longer than citrus, floral, or green scents. (Of course, if you prefer a lighter scent, then that's cool, too.)

You're Not Applying It in the Right Places

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower Hair Mist $215.00

Important fact: Heat enhances fragrance, so it's best to spray it in places that generate the most body heat, such as the pulse points on the neck and the wrists—even your ankles and the backs of your knees.

We've also found that spraying directly onto your hair is a great hack, since your strands are basically a built-in diffuser (with every hair tousle or flip, some scent particles are released). Better yet? Spring for an actual hair perfume, which is very much a thing. Herbivore Jasmine Hair Perfume Mist ($12) smells so true to the flower.

One thing to note: While it's practically ingrained in us from a young age to rub our wrists together, doing so actually breaks down the scent, making it fade more quickly than you'd probably like. Dab or spray it on, and just let it be!

You Aren't Moisturizing Enough

Byredo Rose of No Man's Land Eau de Parfum $180.00

Surprise! There's actually a direct correlation between your skin regimen and how long your fragrance lasts because scent doesn't mesh well with dry skin. (Just be sure that your moisturizer of choice is unscented so it doesn't compete with your perfume of choice.)

You're Not Storing It Properly

Le Labo Santal 33
Le Labo Santal 33 $192.00

Did you know that fragrances have an expiration date? If the perfume changes color or texture, it's likely aged and lost some of its integrity. Natural ingredients will develop and often get stronger with time, but there's a fine line between a robust scent and something that just smells wrong, so use your best judgment. 

On the other hand, while all fragrances eventually go bad (or at least alter significantly), proper storage is key to making a bottle last. Ideally, keep your scents in a cool, dark place (though not the fridge) and away from air conditioning or heating units.

Related Stories