5 Perfume Mistakes Most Women Make—and How to Correct Them
It’s simple to put on fragrance—just a spritz and you’re done. However, properly wearing fragrance needs a little more dexterity and finesse. Consider the following scenario: Did you know that proper placement is entirely dependent on the setting in which it is worn as well as the outfit it accessorizes? And what about your habit of putting on your wristbands and then rubbing them together? “Very terrible,” says Francis Kurkdjian, the award-winning French-Armenian perfumer behind such sophisticated olfactory blockbusters as Christian Dior Eau Noire, Carven Le Parfum, and his own namesake Paris line. While a bottle of Chanel No. 5 may appear to be the ideal accessory for any stylish bathroom vanity, the daily stream of steam from the shower may be eroding its freshness (and, in turn, yours). Fortunately, a few minor adjustments can get you back on track in the olfactory department. Here are five frequent mistakes women make while purchasing and wearing perfume, as well as how to quickly correct them.
Spray instead of rubbing
According to Kurkdjian, the almost unconscious application practice of spraying a little aroma on your wrists and then pressing them together before going for your neck is “extremely awful.” Why? “Rubbing heats up the skin, which produces natural enzymes that modify the path of the fragrance,” he goes on to say. The top and middle notes, as well as the dry-down, or the last and longest phase of your fragrance’s unfolding, are the most influenced. “Heat, for example, warms up everything in a flower, causing it to lose its sharpness,” he explains. Spritz both wrists softly, let the liquid sink in, and then do nothing, suggests Kurkdjian, to protect the integrity of your scent (and ensuring it lasts longer on your skin).
The Environment Is Crucial
When it comes to storage, scent is similar to a living thing in that it is particularly sensitive to changes in the environment. “Perfume doesn’t enjoy traveling from cold to hot,” explains Kurkdjian, who adds that such temperature changes “trigger off unanticipated chemical reactions inside the natural ingredients, causing the perfume to age faster.” Leaving a citrus aroma in a humid bathroom, for example, “affects the freshness” and can cause a raw material, such as patchouli, to smell off. Ultraviolet radiation can also change the hue of a perfume, turning amber tones green, he warns. He says, “You’d never leave a bottle of Champagne in the sun.” Surprisingly, the best location to keep fragrance is in its original box, at room temperature (or 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Consider treating it like a superb cellar wine if you really want to go all out: He continues, “I know people who keep one or two bottles of their distinctive perfumes in the fridge.”
Small Packages Hold the Best Perfumes
Perfume, as valuable as it is, should be consumed quickly. Leaving a half-used bottle on the shelf allows oxygen (the “natural enemy of perfume,” according to Kurkdjian) to slowly break down the molecules of the aroma, changing its composition. Of course, if you spritz on your signature scent on a regular basis, a large 6.8-milliliter bottle won’t go to waste, but Kurkdjian favors smaller bottles (in the range of 2.4 to 1.2 milliliters) because they can last up to three months. And what if you just had one, very large bottle to choose from at the perfume counter? You may always decant the liquid into smaller vials or hide your half-empty scents in the fridge to keep their bloom, assuming it has a screw cover or stopper, he explains.
‘Synthetic’ isn’t a bad thing.
“People adore the concept of all-natural [perfumes], but it doesn’t always exist,” says Kurkdjian, citing musk as an example of a popular note that was once sourced from animals but now adds softness to the smell and enriches its trail. Other scents, such as peony, freesia, and lily of the valley, can’t be extracted naturally because they don’t produce any odour, forcing them to be recreated with a blend of synthetic molecules, according to him. While some of the top perfumers have utilized a blend of natural and synthetic molecules since the late 1800s, chemical compositions are today strictly regulated and safety assessed by health groups such as the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials (RIFM) in the United States. As a result, a blend of essential oils, absolutes, and man-made substances, according to Kurkdjian, ensures the highest-quality aroma.
Use Your Head When in Doubt (Or Your Hair)
A few simple rules can help a fragrance go far. “Perfume doesn’t linger long on dry skin,” says Kurkdjian, who recommends pairing your fragrance with a body lotion or using an unscented moisturizer to avoid olfactory interference. It’s also important to consider where you put your scent. “Don’t cover it up with your clothing,” he advises, instead concentrating on regions that are exposed to the air, such as the pulse points of the neck, wrists, or inner elbows if you’re wearing a sleeveless blouse. The only exception is if you’re in an extremely hot location, in which case it’s recommended not to apply perfume directly to your skin. “As you sweat, the natural oils in your skin [may] degrade your perfume faster,” he warns, suggesting that you mist your hair, scarf, or sarong instead. “They aid with smell dispersal because they move with the breeze.” What a way to make a lasting impression.