Is there anything more bittersweet than finding ‘the one’ (after sniffing your fair share of olfactive frogs), only to find your favorite perfume disappearing into the ether like a fragrant lothario?
Even when playing the fragrance field, it can be irksome at the very least to discover your chosen scent fading faster than a reality-show courtship. So how can you ensure that your perfume goes the distance? According to Bruno Jovanovic, senior perfumer at Firmenich (the world’s largest privately owned perfume and taste company), whose creations include Armani My Way and Dries Van Noten Par Frederic Malle, the key is optimizing how you use your fragrance to slow the evaporation rate. Essentially, the greater the ‘volatility’ of the liquid and the higher the temperature, the faster the rate of evaporation. So, we’ve enlisted three perfumers at the frontline of fragrance to help ensure your spritz has more staying power.
The first rule of helping your fragrance to endure is to employ a little perfume prep by creating a base of well-moisturized skin. A healthy, hydrated lipid barrier offers more in the way of natural oils for your fragrance to latch on to, so experts advise applying your perfume post-shower (preferably after you’ve applied body lotion to lock in even more moisture), when your skin is clean and quenched.
Cover all bases
Whilst we may know the sweet spots – aka pulse points – that give our fragrance more sillage (the scent that lingers after the wearer has gone), it stands to reason that avoiding these areas will help to prolong its potency. “The way you apply your perfume is important,” confirms Alexis Grugeon, one of Firmenich’s perfumers. “Any warm surface, such as the skin, makes the perfume diffuse and therefore evaporate quicker, so it is better to apply it to your clothes or hair if you want its effects to last longer.”
If that sounds a little… dry, Jovanovic suggests covering all bases by applying the perfume to strategic points of the body as well as your clothes and hair. “The idea here is to optimize the diffusion of the perfume in order to have a longer perception during the day.”
Dial up the intensity
Do you know your EDT from your EDP? It may be time to get au fait with the different iterations of your favorite scent. “Moving onto a higher concentration generally ensures better wear,” says Jovanovic. “For example, if you wear an eau de toilette, switch to the eau de parfum version, or even a perfume. Some brands also offer even more intense variations for a more persistent scent.”
Go to press
We’ve all done it, but rubbing your wrists together after spritzing your perfume is a no-no, as the friction causes the scent to evaporate more quickly. If you can’t wait for the liquid to dry, gently dab the area or simply press your wrists together.
Fragrances are predominantly made up of alcohol (EDTs contain the most, whilst parfums have the least), so to lock in the scent (the perfume-oil portion), you need an oil. Experts often advise dabbing petroleum jelly (or a botanical-based emollient, such as a nut butter or plant wax) onto the skin before applying your fragrance. “Some perfumes also offer oils, extracts or attars to be applied on the skin at the wrist or neck, which are much more concentrated and will therefore make the perfume last much longer,” says Grugeon.
Ever noticed how a perfume smells totally different depending on the wearer, with some people exuding great wafts while, for others, the same scent translates as a mere whisper? Although there may be a degree of ‘olfactory adaptation’ at play (where our brains associate a fragrance we wear regularly with our own body odor so that we can no longer smell it), fragrance notes can shift depending on the skin’s pH, oil composition and body temperature. “Each fragance is different on everyone’s skin, so it is important to choose a perfume that suits you and your skin,” says Grugeon, who urges everyone to try before they buy.
Put family first
Fragrances can be categorized into different types or ‘olfactive families’, such as citrus or gourmand, but did you know that the one you opt for can affect how long your scent lasts? “Woody, oriental, chypre – these types of perfumes are much more persistent than floral, citrus or fruity floral,” explains Grugeon. “For a more prolonged tenacity, direct your choice towards complex compositions with more bottom notes.”
Layer like a pro
“The most effective way to make your fragrance last all day is to layer products from the same line,” says nose extraordinaire and founder of his eponymous fragrance brand Kilian Hennessy. “Apply your scented body lotion first – moisturized skin will help express your scent longer – then your eau de parfum wherever you want to be kissed and, finally, your hair mist as the final touch to give your perfume longevity.”
Spritz and repeat
“There is nothing like reapplying perfume freely throughout the day,” says Jovanovic. “With each reapplication, you reinstate the head and heart notes that have faded away during the wear, giving it a second or third life and, in addition, we strengthen the base notes. Win-win.”