You've Been Applying Your Perfume Wrong for Years—Here's What You Need To Know

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

1. A Signature Scent
The earliest American perfume was known as Florida Water: a mixture of eau de cologne, cloves, lavender, and bergamot. And iconic Southern flowers—from jasmine to gardenia—have been making their way into fragrances ever since.

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 it to make it last all day. Here, tips for how to wear perfume.

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, but it is also warm and damp creating the optimum conditions to fully absorb any topical, including your perfume. If you can't shower before spritzing, apply non-scented lotion first. The better moisturized your skin is, 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 a 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 may have learned to rub your perfumed wrists together from your grandmother, mother, or old movies. As glamorous as it looks, don't. 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.

Let the scent soak into your skin instead, or lightly dab your wrists together or dab your wrists to other pulse points. Just don't rub.

Don't Spray on Clothes

If you're in a hurry, don't be tempted to spray perfume onto your clothes. Even a quick spritz may damage clothing, leaving stains. And the scent won't last. Let perfume dry before putting on your clothes if they will cover the pulse points where you wear your fragrance.

Use the Right Amount

If you've ever wondered why some perfumes that smell almost identical are named—and priced—differently, you will be interested to know that these naming conventions indicate different levels of fragrance concentration. The most concentrated is Perfume, second most is Eau de Perfume, third is Eau de Toilette, and the 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 the skin should always be plenty—sometimes too much. Before wearing a new perfume out, test 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 assess how it's holding up.

Spritz Your Hair

Your pulse points may be the hot spots for applying perfume every day, but try a spritz in your hair for a long-lasting scent. Your movement will help diffuse the perfume throughout the day. Because perfume could dry your scalp, this trick is best saved for special occasions.

Fix Too Much Fragrance

One spray too many? A scent that's too strong? Even if it's the characteristic scent you're known for, you don't want to overwhelm everyone around you. Overdoing fragrance is easy to do. Thankfully you can tone down too much perfume with a dab of rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and apply it over the areas where you sprayed or dabbed your perfume. Baby wipes or non-scented lotion will also fix an overpowering scent.

Find Your Scent

Even if you've only ever worn the same scent your mother bought you for graduation, a new scent can brighten the change of seasons or add a distinctive touch to special occasions. Floral may be a favorite all year, but try fragrances with warm and woody notes for fall or a spritz of spice for winter. If you have trouble choosing, classic fragrances have stood the test of time for a reason.

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