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The Proper Way to Apply Perfume

July 15, 2010

I’ve only ever treated perfume as an afterthought – a tiny little detail that I may or may not remember after throwing myself together in the morning.

But this weekend I stumbled upon the most wonderful perfume I’ve ever smelled and find myself wanting to wear it all the time! (For those of you scent shopping, it’s called “Field Notes from Paris” by Ineke, an independent perfumer in San Francisco.)

With my new found aroma addiction, I set out to find the proper way to apply perfume so I can make the most of my purchase and extend the life of the bottle. Below are my findings, from the best spritzing spots to the fragrance faux pas I’ve been committing for years.

Eau de Toilet Versus Perfume

Perfume is essentially a mixture of scented oils and an alcohol solvent, most often ethanol. The higher the concentration of scented oils, the stronger (and more expensive) the scent. The composition determines the type of perfume that’s in your bottle, and as you can imagine dictates how much you should apply. Here’s a rundown of the types of perfumes available and their percentage of scented oils:

  • Perfume : 15-40%
  • Eau de Perfume : 10-20%
  • Eau de Toilette : 5-15%
  • Eau de Cologne : 3-8%
  • After shave: 1-3% (no wonder it burns so much…it’s almost all alcohol!)

How to Apply Perfume

Now that you’ve determined exactly what you’re working with, you need to know how, where and when to spritz it. There are as many methods to apply perfume as there are people spraying it; there’s the spritz and run, the dab and dart, and the ever-popular wrist rub just to name a few. While none of these are wrong, per say, they aren’t the best way to make the most of your fragrance. Some things to remember:

  • It’s best to apply perfume before you put on any clothing or jewelry as it may stain fabrics or corrode metals and pearls.
  • Hold the perfume bottle four to five inches away and spritz the body’s pulse points including wrists, base of the throat, behind the ears, the bend in your elbows, and between the breasts. These are areas of heat that will revive and carry the scent throughout the day.
  • Do not dab your wrists together after applying perfume fragrances – this only breaks down the scent and damages the molecules and notes of the scent. Give each wrist its own spray.
  • Along with heat, fragrance vapors rise so it’s best to apply perfume to the back of your knees or inner ankles so that none of the scent is wasted.
  • Some perfume bottles don’t have a spritzing mechanism. Resist the urge to cap the bottle with your fingertip and turn it upside down. Likewise, don’t dab your skin directly with the stopper if it comes with one. Doing so may introduce body oil and skin cells to the perfume that can spoil it. Instead, use a Q-tip.
  • If you want to reapply the scent later on, make sure the first application has completely worn off. Otherwise layering the fragrance will create a warped version of the scent that isn’t as pure or fragrant.
  • Did you apply too much perfume? Simply rub the application spot with some alcohol to dilute the scent.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Krystal Navas permalink
    July 15, 2010 10:00 am

    Thanks for the wonderful tips!! I have a perfume that does not last long, but now I know how to properly apply it thanks to you!

  2. Donna Anne Simmons permalink
    July 16, 2010 1:49 pm

    Bravo! We loved the script. You should be on TV. You’re the best.

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