Here’s Why Your Perfume Doesn’t Last Long—and How to Fix It

Reason number two: You're not moisturizing enough.

Have you ever walked by someone, gotten a whiff of their signature scent, and wondered what perfume they’re wearing because they just smell so good? When someone’s fragrance is that captivating, it can instantly make you question if the fragrance you spent a pretty penny on has the same effect.

If you feel like maybe it isn’t, don’t cancel out your perfume just yet. After talking to fragrance experts, we learned that there’s a right and wrong way to apply fragrance, and the type of fragrance you use can make a big difference in how long it lasts. Ahead, learn why your fragrance isn’t lasting and tricks to fix it so that you can, too, captivate people while walking down the street.

1. You’re using the wrong type of fragrance.

Bettina O’Neill, senior vice president of business development and merchandising at Scentbird, explains that fragrances are made by extracting oil from natural substances such as fruits, flowers, and plants and combining that with essential oils or other synthetic ingredients to create the final scent. There are five common types of fragrances, and each carries a different concentration of oils. Typically, floral and citrus scents don’t last as long as woody or muskier scents, as Pamella Roland found out when creating her signature eau de parfum. “I initially went light on the rose notes, but the end product wasn’t very long-lasting, so to counteract that, I layered in muskier, earthier notes like tonka bean and moss to make it a stronger, more enduring scent,” she says.

Despite the variation of ingredients used, though, O’Neill says that the general rule of thumb is the higher the concentration of oil, the longer it lasts on the skin. If you aren’t aware of the difference in concentrations, you could be unknowingly buying a fragrance that inevitably has little longevity. Typically, though, the pricier a fragrance is, the more oil it likely has in its formula.

The breakdown of categories and concentrations are as follows:

  • Eau Fraiche: 1% to 3% concentration
  • Cologne: 2% to 4% concentration
  • Eau de Toilette: 5% to 15% concentration
  • Eau de Parfum: 15% to 20% concentration
  • Parfum Extrait: 20% to 40% concentration

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum

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2. You have dry skin.

When it comes to how long a scent will last, Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn, says a lot of it comes down to how much oil content is in your skin. “Scent adheres the best to oil, so we always advise keeping your skin well moisturized to make it last,” she says. That’s why you may notice that in the winter, your fragrance doesn’t last as long since both the air and your skin are drier. “Scents are generally more robust in warmer climates and moist skin,” affirms O’Neill.

If you naturally have a dry skin type, both Shapiro and O’Neill recommend buying the fragrance’s matching body lotion or oil to keep your skin moisturized and make the scent last longer. “Also, you can moisturize with an unscented lotion and then spray fragrance on top of that,” says Shapiro.


Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Moisturizing Body Lotion

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3. You’re applying perfume on the wrong places.

Have you ever see a movie where someone sprays a fragrance into the air and gracefully walks through it? Well, unfortunately, that’s a surefire way to ensure your perfume won’t last all day. The best places to apply perfume are on the pulse points of your skin, such as your wrists and neck, as these areas tend to be warmer and will make the smell last longer. Make sure not to rub it in, though, as that will break up the scent and make it evaporate faster. Simply, spritz and let it dry. O’Neill also recommends spraying a little perfume in your hair so when it moves, it’ll give off some of the scents. Shapiro suggests spraying fragrances on your hat or clothes as a hack to make your fragrance lasts a little longer.