Making the Pleasure of Scent Endure -- Fragrance -- iVillage Beauty Body Spa

How to best make fragrance last? It all has to do with when, where and how you apply. If you really want your perfume to linger, choose those rich in sensual notes such as chypres with oakmoss and bergamot (Mitsouko, Femme, Miss Dior) or orientals/ambers with vanilla (Shalimar, Samsara, Spellbound, Angel, Coco). For longest-lasting results, follow these suggestions to give your scent staying power:

  • Use fragrance before dressing or applying jewelry -- some fragrances leave indelible stains on clothing and accessories, especially synthetic fibers and pearls. Apply fragrance in layers, starting with soap or shower gel, then body lotion or oil, powder, cologne. Refresh your cologne with a fresh spritz during the day.
  • Apply scent more often if you have fair, dry skin or a high-strung, emotional personality (fragrance evaporates from these skin and personality types more quickly). Oily skin retains scent longer -- more oil glands mean more oil joins with the perfume oils for slower evaporation, greater durability.
  • Vary your fragrance wardrobe from time to time. Try what’s new, experiment, have fun! Otherwise, you might develop "olfactory fatigue" -- a condition where your nose becomes immune to one perfume worn exclusively over a long period of time.
  • If you’re out shopping, sample new fragrances (no more than three at a time) in the morning when you and your nose are rested and "unperfumed."

    Where you apply fragrance is almost as critical as what fragrance you choose to wear. To make sure it lasts, try these tips:
  • Dab fragrance on the pulse points -- wrists, base of throat, behind ear lobes, crooks of arms, between breasts. Skin is warmer here and blood is closer to the surface, so scent is more rapidly diffused into the air. And since heat rises, don’t forget the ankles, calves, behind the knees and the inner thighs.
  • Spray your hairbrush with a favorite scent and run it through your hair.
  • To quote Coco Chanel, "Put perfume where you’d like to be kissed." Excellent advice not to be taken lightly! Madame Chanel also perfumed the hems of the clothes she designed so models would "trail clouds" as they floated down the runway.


How to apply fragrance for maximum results? Here are some secrets you should know:

  • Spray yourself from a distance of 12 inches. Or as Estee Lauder always suggested, spritz a few inches in front of yourself, then step into the fragrant cloud you create.
  • The Fragrance Foundation, the official organization of fragrance professionals, measures the "perfect circle of fragrance" as one that embraces -- from a radius of a few feet -- only those intimates who step within.

Fixatives, or base notes, help bind a scent together. They make it last longer because they have a slow rate of evaporation. They include earthy animal notes, spices, woods, and resins such as musk, amber, vanilla, sandalwood, benzoin, oakmoss and patchouli. By properly storing fragrance, you can extend its life. These tips will help:

  • Store in a cool, dry, dark place. After one opens a bottle of perfume, like a fine wine, oxidation begins -- so protect from excessive heat, light and humidity.
  • Buy in small quantities and use them up!
  • Perfume will last longer if stored in the fridge -- especially true of large bottles or those you buy during the hot, humid months. Place bottles in airtight plastic bags.


Use this handy chart to learn which fragrance formulas/concentrations last longest:

  • Perfume (also known as extract or extrait) contains 20 to 30 percent of fragrance oils in alcohol (high potency) and lasts four to six hours.
  • Eau de parfum contains 10 to 20 percent of fragrance oils in alcohol and lasts about four hours.
  • Eau de cologne contains 5 percent of fragrance oils in alcohol and lasts two to three hours.
  • Eau fraiche (also known as splash) contains 3 percent of fragrance oils in alcohol and lasts one to two hours.
  • Powders contain 9 percent of fragrance oils.
  • Creams contain 8 percent of fragrance oils.
  • Lotions contain 3 to 5 percent of fragrance oils.
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