Ever wondered if one spritz is enough or is five too many? We find out how to wear fragrance from a perfume expert.
There’s something quite magical about the power fragrance has to transport us to another time and place. Just one sniff of a fragrance you’ve been wearing year after year can take us back in time to when we very first smelt it. Zingy notes of crisp lemon and mandarin can make a dark and gloomy day feel all the bit more like summer. “From birth we store every smell in the olfactory bulbs sensory receptors area of the brain, like a computer, the smells are stored for life and are reawakened when we experience them again, sometimes surprisingly, many years later,” explains fragrance expert, Mary Hayward, training and education manager for Coty Luxury Australia and New Zealand. “Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any other of our senses and recognition of smell is immediate,” she says. Because fragrance has the ability to transform and uplift our mood, says we really should embrace it. Here are Hayward’s top tips on how to wear fragrance.
Don’t Savour it – Wear it Often
“Some people believe fragrance is a luxury product that should only be worn on special occasions,” Hayward says. If you’ve ever invested in a very special bottle of perfume, it’s likely you’ve used it sparingly. But rather than savour our scents, Hayward says we should be using them on a daily basis. “Fragrance is something that should be enjoyed every single day of the week,” she says. “It’s an amazing sensorial experience and it’s a feel-good product. A little bit of scent can be very uplifting.”
With some of the most coveted names in fashion – Gucci, Givenchy and Chloe to name just a few – having ventured into the fragrance world, a fragrance collection has become an entry into affordable luxury. “But you need to use it,” Hayward reminds us. “Don’t buy it and squirrel it away.” After all, as Hayward explains, just like skincare and make-up, fragrance comes with an expiry date too. Most fragrances, when cared for properly tend to have a lifespan of two to three years.
Look After it and it Will Last Longer
“Although we are often attracted to a fragrance because of the flacon (bottle) that it is presented in and love to show these off as part of our bedroom or bathroom décor, in actual fact fragrances are best kept safely inside the carton they are housed in when we purchase,” Hayward says. Hayward says the worst thing you can do when it comes to how you store your fragrance is exposed to heat or light. Keep them out of the bathroom if you can, she says. “The best place to store your fragrance is in a cupboard or drawer, away from direct light and heat.” Another surprisingly yet effective storage tip that Hayward recommends involves popping your favourite fragrances in the fridge. “For those of us that enjoy a wardrobe of fragrances and have favourites that we wear summer and different ones for winter, we can actually store these from season to season in the vegetable crisper of our fridge, very safely,” she explains.
Invest in a Wardrobe of Scents
While some of us might have that one signature scent that we wear every day of the year, having a wardrobe of fragrance has become much more common. “One fragrance is nice, a wardrobe of fragrances is fun and exciting and a way of expressing your personality from day workwear to evenings and weekend casual wear – each can have their own identity,” explains Hayward. Hayward suggests investing in two for four fragrances that you really love.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something Different
As for how you decide on what fragrances those should be, Hayward says there’s been a big shift away from fragrances that cater to a certain person or age group. “The fragrance itself defines who the consumer is,” she explains. “Perfumers are cleverly designing scent that’s more about the interest in a story or the brand, it’s not about age,” she says. Although we might assume certain scents are “old-fashioned” or for younger fragrance fanatics, there really are no rules says Hayward.
“Buying a fragrance because it is a popular or well-known brand name is normal, but be sure the fragrance suits you and your personal chemistry, no matter how beautiful the brand, it still needs to be beautiful on you too,” she says. And don’t be afraid to experiment. “Be adventurous, sometimes we go back to the same scent or brand, look outside your traditional and past choices and find your new signature scent.”
Always Try Before You Buy
Before you even worry about how to wear fragrance, Fragrance reacts differently on the skin than it does on a paper blotter, so it’s very important to spritz it directly on your skin to experience the true scent. “Buying from a card only, can sometimes disappoint when we get it home and then apply to our skin, where our own chemistry will kick in,” says Hayward.
It might be tempting to buy it straight away, but fragrance develops over time and the initial experience of a scent when spritzed is its top notes. Over time, the fragrance’s middle and base notes will become apparent as the scent evolves over time. “Choose the fragrance that you have sampled, had applied to your skin and allowed to settle and develop with your own body chemistry, before making your decision,” Hayward recommends.
Less is Often More
Once you have decided on your new favourite scent, Hayward says it should be worn as an aura. “Subtle, discreet and pleasing,” she explains. “We should not be able to smell the wearer before we see them and an arm-distance away is the general rule from where I can smell the fragrance you are wearing.” Hayward says it’s important to consider the situation you’re wearing your scent in and then apply accordingly. “Over applying your fragrance, particularly if you are going to be working or socialising closely with a group of people can be overpowering and even offensive to those around you,” she says. “Consider the style and strength of the fragrance you apply that day or occasion.”
Apply it as Soon as You Get Out of The Shower
While most of us grab the bottle and spritz as we head out the door on any given morning, Hayward says the best way to ensure the longevity of scent is to apply it once we hop out of the shower. “For longevity, our fragrance is best applied before we get dressed and misted across the front and back of our bodies, even across the back of the hair,” she explains. “This allows the fragrance to be captured in the pores of our skin, particularly if we apply after a warm shower or bath when our pores are open, and as we cool down and warm up during the day, the fragrance is gently released from our skin until we remove when we take a shower or bathe again.”
Layering scent can also increase the longevity of the fragrance. “Shower gels areas the first step followed up with a body lotion that will not only gently scent and moisturizes our skin, but both add a layer of oil to the skin surface that will then allow the fragrance applied to hold onto the skin for longer and throughout the day.“