You've Been Applying Your Perfume Wrong for Years

We’ve spelled out how to get the most out of your signature scent.

Getting perfume just right can be a challenge. Put on too much and your perfume will enter the room before you do. Put on too little, and you might as well have saved your money on that French fragrance. The know-how needed doesn’t stop at volume, you also need to know exactly where to spray perfume to get the biggest impact, and how to apply to make it last all day.

Apply to hydrated skin. The best time to apply perfume (or any product for that matter) is directly after the shower. Not only is your skin free of dirt, it is also warm and damp creating the optimum conditions to fully absorbing any topical, including your perfume. If you can't shower before spritzing, apply non-scented lotion first. The better moisturized your skin, the longer your scent will stay on.

Don’t distort your scent. Avoid accidentally altering your signature scent by keeping fragrance-packed body washes and lotions to minimum. Or better yet, cut them out completely. They run the risk of making your perfume come off as too sweet, too intense, or possibly even sour. Leave your skin free of other fragrances, and your perfume will be able to do its best work.

Put on pulse points. The fact that ladies look so demure lightly tapping their wrists and neck with perfume, isn’t the only reason it’s been a long-time beauty tradition. Your neck, wrists, backs of knees, and other pulse points emit more heat than other parts of your body. And that heat actually activates and maximizes your perfume.

Dab, don’t rub. You should avoid spritzing and rubbing for two reasons. First, rubbing your wrists together can dull top notes (or the scents you smell in the first five minutes of applying perfume). Secondly, it mixes the perfume vigorously with your natural oils, which can change the way it smells.

Use the right amount for the fragrance type. If you’ve ever wondered why some perfumes that smell almost identical are named—and priced—differently, you be interested to know that these naming conventions indicate different levels of fragrance concentration. The most concentrated is Perfume, second most, Eau de Perfume, third, Eau de Toilette, and least concentrated is Eau de Cologne. The more concentrated it is, the longer you can expect the scent to last and the less you should use. There is no magic amount to use, but as a rule of thumb, two spritzes directly to skin should always be plenty—sometimes too much. Before wearing a new perfume out, test out its potency at home. Try one spritz on a pulse point, dabbing excess on others, and make note of how strong it is. Then, check in every couple of hours and access how it's holding up.

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