Yes, You Can Make Perfume Last Longer
There’s a powerful connection between scent and memory, and you want to make an impression by triggering just the right one—but how can you make perfume last longer so that people will remember you long after you’ve left the room?
Here are a few tricks the best-smelling man you know probably does already… and we can tell you for a fact that women have been doing these forever. Why do you think they always smell so good? It’s highly likely that she’s done the research and knows to employ every one of these and now you can, too.
1| Choose the right formula.
There is a difference between cologne, eau de toilette, and eau de parfum, and we’re not just talking about the price points—but it will certainly explain why your average supermarket shelf baby cologne is a lot cheaper than the stuff that comes in fancy glass spray bottles.
The concentration of the fragrance oil that can be found in each one is what you are paying for. Cologne or body splash has the least (about two to four percent), EDT comes next (four to eight percent), while perfume has the most (eight to 15 percent). The short answer is, if you want maximum sillage (the degree to which a scent lingers, a.k.a. its staying power—now there’s another term to add to your fragrance vocabulary), pick perfume, always.
2| Store it where it will last.
Is it better to keep your scents in a) your bathroom or b) your car? Trick question. They’re both wrong. Exposing perfumes to high temperatures, sunlight, and humidity will mess with their chemical properties and speed up their breakdown, so get them out of there immediately.
Other places where you can keep them: a shelf in your closet, your bedside table, a desk drawer… pretty much anywhere that is away from light and that’s cool, dry, and dark. Never shake your bottle either (it’s not hairspray or a can of milk), as this can introduce air into the formula and reduce the scent’s life span.
3| Layer and moisturize.
Have you ever fallen so deeply in love with a scent that you decided to spring for the soap, body wash, after-shave, and lotion, too? If yes, keep it up. Layering a single fragrance is the key to making perfume last longer, so start in the shower and then spread the same-scented body balm all over before you even take that first spritz. It’s all part of the process: Your pores are open after a steamy shower or bath, therefore more receptive to fragrance and mixing with your body’s natural oils.
Scents also tend to last longer on skin that’s well-prepped, so lotion is a crucial first step; reach for that bottle only after you’ve moisturized. If hunting for a uniform scent for a body wash and lotion is too much work, stick with an unscented lotion before applying perfume so that your fragrances won’t end up clashing or canceling each other out.
4| Put it where it counts.
It's advised to apply perfume on the pulse points (basically where you can see visible arteries and veins) or the warmer parts of your body because heat helps a fragrance develop and intensify. These can be found behind your ears, at the nape of your neck, inside your elbows and wrists, behind the knees, and on the ankles. Spraying right above your belly button or anywhere below the waist will allow the scent to travel upward as your body heats up throughout the day.
After spraying, don’t rub your wrists or elbows together; we don’t care how many times you’ve watched other people do it. All this does is mix up the fragrance’s top, middle, and base notes—not a good thing, as allowing these to develop and come out naturally is the key to longevity. Just leave it to air dry.
And you can skip spraying directly onto your clothes, too, as the alcohol content may damage the fabric and scents last longer when applied on the skin, anyway.
A thin layer of petroleum jelly on pulse points right before applying perfume can also help it last, as the emollient qualities will make the scent stick longer—make sure it is sufficiently absorbed by your skin first, though, so it doesn’t just end up rubbing off onto your socks or sleeves.
5| Go the extra mile.
For the truly committed or those whose days tend to run long, you can purchase a travel-size bottle of your perfume of choice and keep it at your office or gym bag for an after-work or post-workout refresh.
You can also get a travel atomizer that can be refilled regularly if you don’t care to lug another bottle around—it's a colorful little tablet-like tube that can be found at the mall or online (ask your girlfriend). Some will even go as far as soaking cotton balls or buds in their scent of choice and keep them in a Ziploc bag for a quick swab when needed, another practical alternative to carrying a whole bottle.
And then there are those who will spray the scent onto a tissue and use that to line their closets so that the smell permeates into their linens and clothes—we’re not saying you should do that to make your perfume last longer, but if you do, it won’t hurt. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.