The pleasure of scent is, like food, in its consumption. You experience a fragrance as it evaporates, as its essential oils heat up, leave your skin and excite your olfactory system. Cue memories of a fleeting teenage romance, or a grandfather lost amid a cloud of pipe tobacco.
But those Proustian rushes come at a cost to your pocket. When fragrance burns off fast, you need to reapply regularly. Meaning frequent trips to top up your juice supplies. However, with savvy application you can slow its evaporation, to ensure your signature scent lasts longer.
Stay Away From Pulse Points
The traditional scent-dabbing locales – wrists, throat, behind your ears – are where blood passes closest to your skin, warming it up. “However, heat drives off a perfume faster,” says Pascale Cumming-Benson, from specialist perfumers Les Senteurs. “The more heat, the quicker the perfume will disappear.”
To ensure your morning spray is still there after lunch, look to less hematic spots, like your forearms or the back of your neck, which release the scent more slowly.
Applying directly to clothes also helps fragrance linger, says Cumming-Benson: “Fabric holds onto the scent.” Spritz straight onto tees and shirts and scent gets trapped between your layers, wafting out throughout the day.
Oily skinned chaps should stay their toner hand. “The drier your skin, the less it will hold onto a fragrance,” says Cumming-Benson. But don’t be tempted to spray on straight out of the shower; the hot water elevates your skin temperature, which means your fragrance burns off faster.
Instead, get chemical help. “The compounds in creams and moisturisers are a lot less volatile than those used in perfumes, and may help to increase longevity,” says Cumming-Benson. Look for scentless versions, like Nivea’s sensitive moisturiser, to avoid an olfactory clash.
Nivea Men Sensitive Moisturiser, available at Nivea, priced £7.49.
Keep Things Cool
Where you stow your collection also plays a role. “You need to store fragrance away from light, keep it cool, and avoid temperature changes,” says Cumming-Benson. If it resides on your bathroom shelf then heat, moisture and light will gang up on its chemicals, breaking down the constituent ingredients. Which means it stops smelling like it should and won’t last as long.
Your best bet is to slot your scents in a drawer in your bedroom instead. If you’ve invested in something serious, then it needs to be looked after accordingly. “Keep the most precious bottles in the fridge,” says Clorinda Di Tommaso, from Avery Perfume Gallery. Just try not to confuse them with a high-end vodka.
Be Note Perfect
Different fragrances disperse at different rates. “Light scents with lots of citrus and green notes have more volatile molecules, which disappear quickly,” says Cumming-Benson. Look instead to heavier scents rich in woods and resins, which linger longer on your skin. “Especially notes like labdanum, frankincense, cedar, and patchouli, or amber, which means a combination of resins and vanilla. It can be very masculine and woody, and provides a rich, long-lasting base note.”
Your scent’s concentration is even more important than its contents, says Di Tommaso. A fragrance’s strength is graded from eau de toilettes, with around 5 per cent essential oils, to extrait de parfums, which can be up to 40 per cent. The more concentrated your juice, the stronger its scent. “You only need to spray a small amount and it can last more than 12 hours on your skin.” Less is much, much more.