The Art of Smelling Good

One of the most notable trends in fragrance right now is a “rules do not apply” philosophy to choosing and wearing perfume. Sweet, dessert-like scents (previously considered to be less sophisticated) have catapulted in popularity, and even celebrity-created scents have risen to TikTok superstardom. (Ariana Grande’s best-selling Cloud Eau de Parfum is one such example.) That being said, if you want to extend the lifespan of your perfume collection for as long as possible or want to avoid making the people around you cough due to OTT application, there are still some very valid dos and don’ts in regard to etiquette. For details, we reached out to two top experts in the perfume biz, Ben Krigler, the fifth-generation owner of the Krigler fragrance house (which is historically well-known for an exceptionally iconic fan base) and Daniel Patrick Giles, the founder of every beauty editor’s favorite new fragrance brand, Perfumehead.

First things first is storage. No matter how tempting it may be to stow your favorite perfumes in the bathroom, it’s the number one mistake that will sacrifice a scent’s integrity and longevity. “Exposure to air, light, and heat are the biggest enemies when it comes to perfume,” Giles explains. “Generally, a really good, well-composed fragrance can last for two or more years, but so much is dependent on the type of notes, composition, and their sensitivity to oxidation.” Do your perfume the favor of storing it somewhere cool and dark (like a closet or drawer in your bedroom), or even in the fridge, as Giles does.

Rules as far as how and where to spray are considered a bit old-fashioned, but if you’re someone who likes to layer your fragrances, Giles recommends gently misting a scent on your outfit and then applying the same (or a different) scent in small amounts at key pulse points (i.e., behind the ears and at the base of your neck). Oh, and absolutely resist the urge to spritz your perfume on your wrists and rub it in, which, Giles explains, reduces the time your scent will last, and, more importantly, breaks down the top notes. (Instead, he likes to end his scent ritual by spraying perfume on his heart chakra.) Applying a rich, fragrance-free moisturizer to your skin pre-perfume will also help the scent last longer on your skin since dry skin can’t hold onto fragrance as well. The more you know!

We’ve all been in a situation where we’re stuck in a small, poorly circulated area, and it feels nearly impossible to breathe thanks to someone having applied maybe one (or 10) sprays of too many of their favorite fragrance. In fact, Krigler says the only real “faux pas” that exists with fragrance (other than incorrect storage) is going overboard with the application. Because it’s easy to get used to your own scent and it can be tricky to know what will read to others as “too much,” Krigler recommends the bathroom or closet test. Simply apply your perfume, go into a closed-door bathroom or closet for five to 10 minutes, exit, and then come back after five minutes. “This way,” says Krigler, “You’ll get the impression you’ll leave with your sillage.”

While it can be tempting to simply buy a perfume based on its best-seller status or the fact that thousands of people on TikTok are telling you to, it’s important to remember that just because someone else likes a perfume, doesn’t mean that you need to. “Your perfume is the most intimate thing on you,” Krigler shares. “Unlike a piece of clothing, it’s literally you.” So, choose wisely, and choose something you absolutely love and that feels like a natural extension of your skin chemistry and innate sense of style. “Wear a fragrance for yourself,” Giles concludes. “Beautiful scents will change how you feel, lift you up, and bring instant joy.”

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