11 Expert-Backed Tips To Make Your Perfume Last All Day Long
Oh, the allure of the signature scent. Isn't it magical to enter a room, the smell of sandalwood, or jasmine, or bergamot announcing your arrival? Which, we'll admit, is a little difficult to accomplish if your perfume wears off after only a couple of hours. It's a common gripe with clean fragrances: These often don't have the same longevity as traditional products, as they tend to skip a lot of the preservatives and stabilizers that help the potion last longer—both on the skin and on the shelf.
It's a small price to pay for safer fragrance but, still, a bummer nonetheless. However! A few handy tricks can help your clean perfume last longer; it just may take some more time to get the most out of the juice. And honestly? Slowing down to connect with your fragrance only adds to the transformative experience—so we'd consider it a total win.
Apply on your pulse points.
There's actually a functional reason why we tend to apply perfume on our pulse points (like the insides of your wrists and elbows, behind your ears, on your neck, the back of your knees, etc.): The skin is the thinnest at those points, which means it's closer to your blood and body heat, explains celebrity makeup artist Rosie Johnston, founder of by/rosie jane. As the fragrance warms, the aroma process begins.
Don't rub your wrists together.
Once you apply on your pulse points it may feel instinctive to rub your wrists or elbows together to blot the fragrance (especially if your skin feels pretty damp). But both Chen and Johnston advise against it: "The rubbing together is considered a big perfume no-no," Johnston says. "It just makes the top notes burn off a little quicker."
If you would like to blend two fragrances together—or would like to blot away some of the juice—try tapping your wrists together instead of creating friction. You can also dab your wrist up your arm, onto your neck, or anywhere you'd like to deposit some scent without messing with its longevity.
Spray your heart.
Since applying perfume on your pulse points helps radiate the scent, why not apply it on where your pulse is strongest? "If you have [fragrance] at your heart, you can smell it a lot," says Chen. "The fragrance will travel up; your heart will act as a diffuser."
Chen also recommends using fragrance in an intention-setting practice: "You can get ready for the day by putting fragrance at your heart, which is linked to how you feel," she explains. Then whenever you catch a whiff of that fragrance from your heart's center, you'll be subtly reminded of those intentions.
Spritz after a shower.
A quick Google search might leave you with this clever little hack: Spritz on a perfume right after a shower, as the steam helps open up the aroma. Both Chen and Johnston give this tip a stamp of approval, for a couple of reasons: "When you get out of the shower, your skin and body temperature is high," says Johnston (and we know that heat helps diffuse the fragrance). Plus, your skin is clean and free from sweat and excess oil, which can buffer the fragrance. "Your pores are open, and your skin is hydrated naturally from the water—and hydrated skin holds fragrance," notes Johnston.
Of course, you don't want to spritz on a perfume while your skin is sopping wet. Johnston recommends patting dry, coating your body with a moisturizer to trap in all that hydration, then spritz a little fragrance. "You have this beautiful foundation of clean, hydrated skin," she says.
Keep your skin hydrated.
Hydrated skin is important for a number of reasons, but in case you needed one more reason to baby your skin barrier: "Hydrated, moisturized skin is really going to hold fragrance a lot longer," says Johnston.
Now, let's say you're partial to an evening rinse but want your morning fragrance to last all day long; you don't have to hop in the shower to help enhance your perfume. "A body oil, body lotion, or balm to hydrate will also help hold the fragrance longer as well," says Chen. Just apply your product of choice to the areas you want to spritz (or all over your body, while you're at it), and the splash of moisture should help the perfume leave a stronger trace.
Layer your fragrances.
If you have a scented body oil and/or lotion, layering it under your perfume can enhance the fragrance and keep your skin hydrated, which inherently makes both aromas last longer. Some brands will even offer a body oil and perfume duo for this very reason, but you could always choose separate products with scents that complement each other well.
You can also layer your perfumes, if you choose: "When different scent notes hit together, then you have an even more robust collection of top, middle, and bottom notes. That definitely helps to make the fragrance last," Chen says. (Although, she recommends layering no more than three perfumes, or else they'll start to smell very similar.)
Spray on clothes.
When using eau de parfum, Johnston typically sprays her clothes, not her skin. "It will hold longer on the fabric than it will on your skin," she notes, as your sweat and natural oils can accumulate throughout the day and make the scent wear off. Ever thrown on a sweater to discover it still smells like last week's perfume, or borrowed a loved one's scarf and notice how it carries their signature scent? Fabrics hold on to fragrance—and the memories tied to it.
Choose an eau de parfum.
Chances are you've seen one of the two slapped on perfume labels: eau de toilette and eau de parfum (sometimes written as EDT and EDP). EDPs have a higher concentration of fragrance oil (around 25%), which makes them typically stronger and longer-lasting. EDTs, on the other hand, are often beloved for a lighter, airier application, with about 15% of fragrance oil. See here for our full breakdown and which you should choose.
Or use a perfume oil.
Roll-on perfume oils, generally, are much more concentrated, as you apply them directly onto the pulse points, rather than spritzing them into the air. "It's much more reactive to the heat of your natural body temperature," says Johnston. Plus, these are typically formulated with more fragrance itself: "At by/rosie jane, our eau de parfum is traditionally between 25 and 30% fragrance, but our oils are between 50 and 100% perfume," she continues.
Perfume oils also typically contain carriers like jojoba or coconut oil, which hydrate the skin simultaneously—and hydrated skin, as we mentioned, can help a fragrance last. Finally, they're easy to throw into your bag for touch-ups later on, if you notice the scent starting to drift off.
Check the base notes.
"All of your base notes are going to last longer," says Johnston. "Your vanillas, your wood notes, sandalwood, cedarwood, anything like that will last longer on the skin." Whereas floral and citrus top notes are ones you tend to smell right away but are gone the quickest. That said, if you have a floral-forward fragrance, know that it might not last as long as one with some strong bottom notes.
Says Chen, you might want to look for gourmand fragrances (which include "edible" notes like honey, vanilla, chocolate, etc.), as these last an "incredibly long amount of time." Check out our full notes hierarchy guide, if you're curious.
Know when your perfume expires.
Yes, perfume expires. And if your bottle is past its prime, that means most of the fragrance has evaporated and it won't last as long on your skin—plus, it's not such a good idea to keep using a rancid perfume, anyway.
Basically, perfume expires when it interacts with air, heat, and sunlight, and if there aren't too many alcohols and stabilizers in the formula to keep it fresh (clean fragrances tend to skip many of these), this process can happen quicker. You don't want to extend the shelf life too much—if it's expired, there's a reason—but you can get the most out of your fragrance by storing it in a cool area away from sunlight (note: not your bathroom) and always topping the fragrance when you're finished with the spritz.
See here for more tips on how to keep your fragrance fresh and how to know when it's time to replace it.
Experts have a ton of smart tricks to make your fragrance last longer; it's all about knowing your notes, scent profiles, and layering techniques. When all else fails, just know that you're probably more used to your signature scent than others: "Other people are not surrounded by your fragrance, so they can smell it much stronger than you can," says Johnston. So don't douse yourself in the juice just to give it some staying power.
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Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.