Turns out, you’ve probably been wearing perfume all wrong

The art of wearing perfume is a delicate one. Not only do we stress out over picking the perfect fragrance, there’s the pressure of figuring out exactly how much to spray. No one wants to overdo it and be that person who reeks of vanilla jasmine all day — however, many of us also struggle with not wearing enough. Have you ever spritzed your perfume on only to leave your house and have the scent be completely gone by the time you get to work? It’s happened to all of us.

Sometimes, you can chalk it up to sweating it off or that fact that you really didn’t apply enough. But most of the time, it just fades away far too quickly, and it could actually be due to the way you apply it.


One of the biggest mistakes we make when it comes to fragrance is spraying it on our wrists and then rubbing our wrists together. According to a fragrance expert at Penhaligon’s, a 135-year-old fragrance house based in London, that move is a major perfume fail.

“Rubbing the fragrance starts the evaporation process, so the fragrance won’t last as long if you do this,” he told Good Housekeeping UK. “Instead, spray twice onto the wrists, the chest and the back of the neck and leave to dry.”

He says these are good pulse points to apply perfume due to our body’s natural movement. As most of us gesture with our hands when we speak, the fragrance will carry through that motion. Applying to the back of the neck will also help create a sillage, which is the fancy word for the scent one leaves behind when walking out of the room — basically, the fragrant memory we all aim to create.


The art of spritzing our wrists with perfume may seem instinctual, but it actually dates back to the early 1900s. Raymond Matts, a fragrance designer and instructor at the Pratt Institute’s perfumery certificate program, told Greatist that back in the day that perfumes were actually highly concentrated and mostly oil-based, so the scents were very strong. Perfume was packaged in bottles with crystal stoppers, which women then rubbed on their necks and wrists and let the scent waft from their bodies.

Today, perfumes are generally packaged with an atomizer, the spray technology that lets us easily spritz it wherever we want. That gives us more leeway on where we can apply, but we still tend to favor our neck and wrists. Wherever you choose spray your perfume on your body, the key to making it last longer is to stop immediately rubbing it off.

Another important factor is making sure your skin is well-moisturized. Penhaligon’s fragrance expert said dry skin “absorbs the moisture in perfume, which evaporates the perfume off the skin.” An unscented fragrance works best if you don’t want to change the way your fragrance smells, otherwise you’ll want to choose a lotion that has a scent that works with your perfume — so if your perfume has vanilla notes, use a vanilla scented body lotion. You can also use a lotion with the same scent as your perfume, since many fragrance sets are actually set up that way.