How to Apply Perfume Like a Pro

Man in suit spraying cologne

It can be challenging to know how to apply perfume without going overboard, while still getting your fragrance to last as long as possible.

Applying perfume is both an art and a science, and it can take a bit of experimenting to find the routine that fits you perfectly.

We have you covered with expert insights and practical tips to help you learn how to apply perfume with confidence and finesse.

Dive into our comprehensive guide to learn when to apply perfume, the importance of moisturizing, and the possibilities of scent layering. Pinpoint the perfect areas and methods of application, and determine the ideal number of sprays for various fragrances.

Before Applying Perfume – Shower and Moisturize

One easy way to make your fragrance last longer once applied is to apply it to hydrated, moisturized skin. The warmth of your shower opens the pores of your skin, making it absorb perfume oils more readily.

Hydrated skin is important because perfume often evaporates quickly from dry skin. Moisturizing your skin after showering is always a smart practice, as it leaves your skin soft and supple, and this enhances the ability of your fragrances to really lock into the skin. [1]

If you want to enjoy the full experience of your perfume alone, be sure to use an unscented moisturizing lotion, as scented lotions can compete with and change the way your perfume smells.

However, you may also want to consider layering scents by using a scented moisturizer to maximize fragrance longevity.

Frequently, you can buy a moisturizer created by the same brand as your perfume.  For instance, Mugler offers a body lotion infused with the Alien fragrance, perfect for layering under the Alien perfume. This approach can greatly extend the longevity of your fragrance and keep you smelling amazing all day.

You can also select a lotion that complements your perfume and experiment with different combinations. For instance, you could try layering a vanilla body lotion with a fruity or floral perfume. There are many possibilities to explore!

Graphic with tips on how to apply perfume

Apply Perfume to Pulse Points

When you apply perfume, apply it directly to your skin on your pulse points. 

Pulse points are areas where your blood flows close to your skin and you can feel your pulse. The body heat generated by these pulse points can amplify and diffuse your fragrance.

These areas are the inside of your wrists, inner elbows, behind your earlobes, the hollow of your throat, and the back of your knees.

Use targeted sprays, holding the perfume about 3 – 6 inches away from the skin.

Don’t Rub!

When you apply perfume, spray it onto your pulse points, then let it dry. 

Resist the urge to rub it in or to rub your wrists together.

When you rub perfume into the skin, you cause the fragrance’s delicate top notes to evaporate and fade. As a result, you will miss out on the opening of the fragrance, the captivating introduction that sets the tone for the entire olfactory experience.

Instead, allow the fragrance to air dry while slowly mixing with your skin’s oils. This process is important for maximizing the longevity of your fragrance and fully experiencing its complete life cycle.

For more insights into top notes and the life cycle of fragrance, check out our guide on fragrance notes.

Applying Perfume to Clothing and Hair (Use Caution)

Exercise caution when spraying fragrances on clothing, as certain high oil concentration fragrance formulations can lead to fabric staining. Be especially mindful with delicate fabrics like silk, which are more susceptible to damage.

When it’s safe for the fabric, applying fragrances to clothing can be a great way to keep the scent lasting longer throughout the day. Keep in mind that fragrances interact with fabric differently than with skin, so the scent may smell lighter or a bit different, as the fragrance won’t necessarily develop through its full range of notes.

If you like the idea of spraying clothing but don’t want to risk staining your clothing, another option is to spray a scarf. Scarves sit close to your skin and your body’s warmth and can easily be changed out from day to day.

Many women enjoy spraying perfume into their hair, as it can leave a subtle scent trail all day. Before you proceed, be aware that perfumes contain alcohol, which has the potential to be drying and damaging to your hair. 

Many brands do sell hair perfumes, so you can spray away with no worries about damaging your hair. I recently tried out the Ani hair perfume by Nishane and it is quite lovely.

How Many Sprays of Perfume to Apply?

It is always wise to start out light when deciding on how much of a new fragrance to apply.

The various concentrations of fragrances can have very different strengths. For instance, one spray of a powerful Parfum may be enough, while an Eau Fraiche might call for ten sprays. The fragrance family can also have an impact on how many sprays you use. You might opt for five sprays of a light, fresh citrus fragrance and only two sprays of a heavier, dense ambery tobacco fragrance.

To begin, choose one area, such as the neck or wrists and start with one spray. Assess how effective this is, and increase the number of sprays and locations as required. 

When assessing the strength of your fragrance, ask the opinion of a family member or friend, as it is common to become nose-blind to scents when exposed to them for a while. 

Additionally, some individuals find that applying perfume to the neck can also contribute to nose-blindness. Nose-blindness is a phenomenon where you become less sensitive to a scent due to prolonged exposure.

Choosing where to apply perfume and how many sprays to use is a personal choice. The most common areas to spray are the center of the neck, cleavage, chest, behind the ears, behind the neck, each wrist, inside each elbow, the back of knees, and the hair.

Here are some suggestions for how to apply perfume of various concentrations.

  • Parfum
    • Three sprays maximum.
    • One spray on the neck and one spray on each wrist or inside of elbows.
    • Do not spray parfums on clothes, as the high oil concentration can cause staining.
  • Eau de Parfum / Stronger Eau de Toilette
    • Five sprays.
    • Two sprays on the neck, one spray on each wrist or inside of elbows, and one spray on the chest.
  • Weaker Eau de Toilette and lower concentrations
    • Seven sprays.
    • One spray on each side of the neck, one spray behind the neck, one spray on each wrist or inside of elbows, and two sprays on the chest.

Experiment with your fragrances to figure out which locations and how many sprays work for you. 

Fixing Too Much Fragrance

It is easy to mistakenly apply too much perfume. Remember, in most cases, less is often more. This holds especially true in situations like the office, where a subtle scent is preferable to an overpowering cloud.

If you have applied too much perfume, there are a few remedies you can try besides taking another shower to wash it off. Using baby wipes or hand sanitizer can effectively remove the excess fragrance. Alternatively, you can dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and gently dab the areas where you’ve applied too much perfume. Another approach is to use unscented lotion, which can help tone down the strong fragrance.

What Next?

Mastering the art and science of how to apply perfume requires some experimentation to discover your perfect personal technique. 

With an understanding of how to apply perfume, check out our guides on fragrance notes and fragrance concentrations. With this knowledge you will be ready to embrace your aroma authority and leave a lasting impression wherever you go.

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