Set those alarms.

By Patricia Shannon
Woman Testing Perfume on Wrist
Credit: Getty

Now that we're all well versed on how to apply perfume the right way, there's something we must discuss—the most ideal time of day for choosing a new scent. Fall is nearly upon us, and that means we're entering prime fragrance season. Soon, if not already, you'll begin to notice all the pretty little bottles primed to add to your collection. (‘Tis the season for gifting, receiving, and finding your seasonal signature.) But, before you hit up Sephora on your way home from work, you might want to think again. The best time of day to test perfume, it turns out, is first thing in the morning.

We're not suggesting you rise before dawn to put this fragrance factoid to good use—all things in moderation, after all—but, there is something to be said for allowing your nose to put its best, er, nostril forward. When you wake up in the morning your sense of smell is heightened and hasn't yet encountered quite so many scents, smells, and odors as it typically would have by the end of the day. Therefore, you've got a little bit more a blank canvas to work with.

Aside from a more refined sense of smell in the a.m. hours, a morning spritz directly on the skin also allows you to experience the top, middle, and base notes as you move throughout your day. For that reason, it's best to skip the testing strips and apply directly to skin (just remember: dab, don't rub). When you're in the store and give those little testing cards a spray or two, you're only really experiencing the top notes. To get the full fragrance, you need to let it breathe. It won't be until a few hours later that you'll understand the depth of the fragrance (base notes) and how well it plays with your skin chemistry—hence the reason perfumes can smell differently from person to person.

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Are you someone that prefers to stick to a signature fragrance, or do you enjoy mixing it up from season to season? We love checking out the latest perfumes, but we're also sticklers for our classic go-tos. As we mentioned earlier, all in moderation.