Nobody wants to splash out on fancy fragrance, only to find that the scent has all but disappeared by lunchtime. But there’s a world of difference between dousing yourself in the stuff so everybody and their neighbour can get a whiff of it, and spritzing sporadically for a good but temporary hit.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way: from choosing the perfect base note-heavy scent to spraying but not rubbing fragrance, there are lots of things you can do to enhance your scent to help it linger all day.
When it comes to selecting a fragrance, choose one that works hard for you. Opt for an eau de parfum rather than the lighter eau de toilette. The former contains a higher concentration of oils that will not only last longer on the skin, but is often a more beautiful strength of the original composition.
A long-lasting fragrance will also need to be base note-heavy, says Emmanuelle Moeglin, founder of the Experimental Perfume Club.
“Base notes are the ingredients that stay the longest, and they include woods, amber, leather and musks. Narciso Rodriguez Musc Oil, £75.90,is great for this. It’s a woody musky fragrance that last all day. Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, £120, is another example of a fragrance that is built heavily on the base note; it’s an oriental woody musk fragrance, so by essence will last longer.”
“Top notes such as citrus will stay on the skin for 10-15 minutes (they disappear the quickest) whereas base notes can stay up to days on the skin. So if you like heavy, oriental woody fragrances, you won’t have an issue with keeping your fragrance all day long. On the contrary, if you like light floral fresh and citrus types of fragrance, a trick would be to layer fragrances on top of each other. For instance, if you own a woody fragrance (such as Santal 33 by Le Labo or Escentric Molecules 01) then you can layer it with your summery fresh fragrances. It will give you the impression that you smell your fragrance all day long.”
Molecules in fragrance bind to the oils in your skin when applied, so if you use a body oil or lotion first, then “layer on” your fragrance, it will have a better surface to bind to.
The best time to spray is after a shower or bath. “Well-hydrated skin holds fragrance the best, so I love to spritz my fragrance after getting out of the shower and applying unscented body lotion,” says Christine Luby, co-founder of luxury San Francisco-based fragrance company Pinrose.
Better still, moisturise with the matching body lotion and literally build up a layer of lighter fragrance on the skin before spritzing on your perfume. “You could also dab a touch of lip balm onto the inside of the wrists or on your neck before applying your perfume – the slightly waxy texture helps the fragrance to hold on longer,” says Kate Evans, daughter of late artisan perfumer Angela Flanders, who runs the Angela Flanders Perfumery in east London.
Nina Friede, founder of London-based luxury perfume house, Friedemodin, layers her perfume on her skin during the day too. “With my Friedemodin Jardin Mystique Collection, the fragrances are made to be layered. One way is to spray one perfume in the morning and refresh with another one at a different time of the day – the ingredients start to awaken again and harmonise together. Alternatively you can spray both straight after each other to create your own scent and give a boost to each perfume.”
Don’t rub it in
The best way to wear fragrance is on the skin at the pulse points: the wrist, behind the ears, elbows and on the neck. This is where the fragrance will have the most projection due to the fact that the skin warms up here.
“Women could also dab a bit of perfume on the inner side of their knees,” says Nina.
Apply your perfume sparingly, and, says Kate, “don’t be tempted to rub the fragrance – it’s better to leave it to unfold naturally as it warms up on the skin. If you need to, carry a smaller size bottle with you to top up later in the day – particularly if you are going out for the evening – this will freshen up the top notes again.”
Spray and swish
Many people underestimate the power of scent in the hair. According to Christine: “Another black belt move is to spritz fragrance directly onto your hair. Hair carries scent for a really long time. Applying fragrance directly to your hair creates delicious, mysterious wafts that are bound to get you compliments,” she says.
A fine spray on the hair, or on a favourite scarf is “also a perfect way to add to the overall silage of perfume as any perfume will hold well on textiles and hair,” adds Kate.
Before she leaves the house, Nina always sprays some of her perfume in the air and walks through it. “The perfume settles in your hair and subtly on your clothes and that helps a lot!”
“Just be careful that you don’t spray too much and from very close distance, as the oil in the perfume can stain. I’d also recommend for men to spray a bit of perfume in the inner side of their jacket, because through movement you release the scent.”
Keep it cool
It’s important to store your fragrance bottles in a cool, dark place – so preferably not in the bathroom cabinet – as heat and light can destroy the quality of the perfume.
And be careful not to over-spray; you smell your own perfume less than others do because your nose becomes accustomed to it. “The brain adjusts naturally to surrounding smells after a certain time (it’s called olfactory fatigue) so while you won’t smell it yourself, other people certainly will,” Emmanuelle concludes.