We’re all familiar with that individual – the one who enters a room, enveloping it in a cloud of cologne or perfume (usually not a pleasant one), creating an overpowering presence that lingers even after they’ve departed. Don’t become that person!
This raises the question: How do you properly apply and wear perfume or cologne? There are numerous methods—almost as many as there are fragrances available. We’ve heard about various ‘correct’ techniques: the cloud method, the spray-in-your-hair method, the pulse point method.
While none of these methods are inherently wrong, none of them are universally applicable. Fortunately, we’ve gathered expert advice from a panel of perfumers and fragrance experts, and their insights may be surprising. Consider this your definitive guide on how to wear cologne or perfume.
The primary guideline: Embrace the absence of strict rules
Starting a list of rules by asserting the absence of rules may seem like a cop-out, but when it comes to something as individualistic as fragrance, it holds true. Fragrance is an inherently personal matter, both in the selection of what you wear and how you choose to wear it. Therefore, perhaps the best approach is to apply perfume where you want to be kissed.
Setting boundaries… to some extent.
The prevalent question that arises when dealing with cologne or perfume is, “How much is too much?” This is a valid inquiry but not one with a straightforward answer. What constitutes too much or too little is undeniably subjective.
For instance, a recommendation might be to apply two sprays on your neck, one on the back, one on each arm, and a final one on your chest (for men). That totals six sprays. However, what suits one person may not suit another.
Determining the ideal number of sprays may involve some trial and error. The goal is for the fragrance to be noticeable without being overwhelming. As for where to spray, choose areas where you can smell and appreciate the scent yourself.
Recall your spray count
Once you’ve identified the right number of sprays for your preference, commit it to memory. People often use excessive perfume because, after wearing a particular scent for a few weeks, they become less aware of it, akin to going ‘nose-blind’ to a smell within your home.
Over time, you may not notice it as much or at all. The remedy is to stick to the same number of sprays, irrespective of whether the fragrance still appears as potent to you. The perfume or cologne hasn’t changed, but your olfactory senses have.
Adjust according to fragrance category
To add a layer of complexity, your optimal number of sprays may vary depending on the type of fragrance you choose. This consideration is especially pertinent if you prefer alternating between different colognes rather than sticking to the same one daily.
Fragrances are classified as Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, and Eau de Parfum based on their concentration, which also determines their intensity when worn.
Eau de Cologne, being less concentrated and more volatile, can be sprayed liberally without overwhelming. Eau de Toilette falls in between, while Eau de Parfum, being more concentrated, requires a lighter application.
Avoid rubbing it in
The common practice of spraying cologne on wrists and then rubbing them together is not recommended. While a gentle pat to transfer a bit of fragrance between wrists is acceptable, rubbing is discouraged. This action can ‘bruise’ and ‘crush’ the fragrance molecules, negatively affecting both the scent and its longevity.
Spritz on clothes with confidence
Contrary to the old-school notion that fragrances should not be sprayed directly on clothes, it is indeed a viable option. If you prefer the fragrance to be close to the skin but not directly on it, applying it to your clothes is a suitable alternative. Many appreciate the fact that when fragrance is worn on clothes, traces of it linger for days, unlike on the skin where washing removes the scent.
Ditch the cloud method
Dispelling a common misconception, the theory that suggests spraying perfume in front of you and walking through the resulting cloud is not advisable. This method risks scenting not only yourself but also your surroundings, particularly carpets. It’s best to apply fragrance directly rather than adopting the ‘cloud’ approach.
Prolong its duration instead of reapplying
The endurance of a perfume or cologne is influenced by its concentration and ingredients. Fragrances with citrus and light florals are typically short-lived, while those containing woods, resins, and balsams such as incense and vanilla tend to last longer. However, there are ways to extend the longevity of your cologne without resorting to additional sprays.
For instance, well-hydrated skin can enhance the lasting power of perfume, as can applying an additional layer of the fragrance to increase its presence on your skin. Using complementary products with the same scent, such as a lotion or moisturizer, can also contribute to prolonging its effects. Since fragrances evaporate more slowly on clothing due to less body heat, spritzing your clothes is another effective method for extending longevity.