Applying a fragrance or a perfume has always been a huge mystery because so many experts say so many various things. Some say don’t rub it in, others say that’s not a problem, third say don’t apply it to the neck… So you end up always asking how to apply perfume?
Well in this blog post we’re going to teach you exactly how and where you should apply perfume or fragrance to get the best performance and to enjoy the beautiful scent for hours to come!
I’ve personally tested a million ways to do this, and these are the best ways for sure.
How To Apply Perfume Properly
It’s essential that you follow all these steps because only that way you’ll be able to get the most out of your perfume.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to steps, but also there’s a lot of information experts don’t tell you. Therefore, this is how to apply perfume properly:
Shower with hot water first
Perfume or fragrance should always go on clean skin.
Many people say “why should I shower if I don’t smell bad?“, and that’s totally wrong approach to… well, life?
Anyways, your skin is breathing just like you, but it’s also sweating, collecting dust from the air, fighting with microbes, and disposing of dead skin cells on the surface. And that all is happening just hours after your last shower.
Applying the perfume on the skin without showering first will work, but you definitely won’t get the best results.
Shower with hot water first. Clean your skin and let the hot water open up the pores in the skin.
That way, when you apply fragrance on your skin, the skin will welcome it clean and it will absorb the perfume much better – therefore perfume will perform much better.
Apply fragrance on proper spots
Apply the fragrance on your skin right after the shower but make sure to do it on the proper spots.
We’ll talk about proper spots a bit later, but it’s very important that you know that spraying the fragrance all over the place is not the right way because not all spots on our body are the same.
Distance the sprayer 4-6 inches from the skin
When spraying the perfume make sure to distance the sprayer 4-6 inches or 10-15 centimeters from the skin.
The reason for this is because that way you will cover the bigger surface on the skin and perfume will work much better as it’s not oversaturated on a single spot.
If you close the distance an inch or two, you won’t make a terrible mistake, but I found that distancing the sprayer 4-6 inches (depending on the spot) always works best and that performance is much better.
Spraying from a distance bigger than 6 inches doesn’t make much sense as the perfume will go all over the place, and some of it will even fall down.
Keep it between 4 and 6 inches, and you will have the best performance!
Make it one spray per spot
When you choose where to spray the perfume make sure you only do one spray per spot as you don’t want to overapply it.
If you apply multiple sprays on one spot you’re causing the fragrance not to open properly and therefore not to perform as it should.
Many perfumers say that some fragrances can be easily overapplied, and it’s true – when you overapply the fragrance it usually doesn’t smell the same.
So make sure to keep it on the one spray per spot because less is more!
Don’t rub it in!
Yes, this is not a myth – you really shouldn’t rub the perfume in once you apply it to the skin.
Most people spray the fragrance on their wrist and they rub it with the other wrist which is completely wrong.
By rubbing a fragrance on your skin you’re actually bruising the fragrance – top notes are always the most delicate ones, and by rubbing the fragrance you’re messing up the top notes.
So don’t rub it in. Apply the fragrance, and wait for a minute or two – your skin will consume it and you’ll be all set!
Where To Apply Perfume?
As we’ve said before, not all spots on our body are the same for applying the fragrance.
You’ve probably heard so far that you should always apply the perfume on the spots where your pulse is strongest, and that’s correct.
The reason why those spots are the best is that they are usually warmer than the rest of the body, which makes the perfume work much better and last much longer.
Here are the best places where to apply perfume:
Behind the ear
Obvious and well-known one — apply one spray behind each ear as the pulse is very strong there and the perfume will definitely perform beautifully!
Also, this spot is always warm due to small contact with the wind, as ear and hair protect it.
Definitely, a mandatory spot when applying fragrance!
On the neck behind the head
You want to leave that beautiful scent trail behind you when you pass, right?
Well, in that case, put one spray on the neck behind your head.
That way, you will leave a beautiful scent trail wherever you pass and the scent will linger in the air after you.
In the dips of the collarbone
Now this one is not what you usually hear, right?
As far as I’m concerned, dips of the collar bone are the main place where you should apply fragrance.
When you apply perfume here, it goes under your shirt which means it’s protected from the wind, and skin on that spot is always super warm.
The beauty of putting it here is as you move your head you have the pleasure of smelling it, but also somebody coming to greet you, kissing you, or whispering sweet nothing in your ear is right above the hotspot – they will most certainly enjoy staying there!
Last but not least – the benefit of spraying perfume in the dips of clavicle bone is that whenever you move your arms and head, the shirt moves on you, and small airy puffs are filled with the scent of the fragrance are coming out constantly which definitely increases the projection!
Honestly, I learned this tip from master perfumer Roja Dove who said in one interview that he loves the idea of applying fragrance on not-so-ordinary places. He has a complete philosophy about it which I like, but I like even more how amazing this works!
Definitely make sure to cover this area!
On the wrists
Also, a classic one that you heard multiple times and it’s 100% correct – spraying a fragrance on your wrists is definitely a good idea!
The skin on the wrists is very thin and warm as the pulse is usually strongest there.
The benefit of having perfume on your wrists is increasing the projection of the perfume because as you talk and move your hands, you make the scent come to life and the person who you’re talking to is more likely to smell it.
Again, don’t rub it – you can apply the perfume on the wrist and gently touch wrists but there’s no even need for that.
Put one spray on each wrist, wait for a minute or two, and you’re good to go!
Behind your knees
You haven’t expected that, have you?
It’s a smart idea to apply perfume behind your knees, especially if you’re a woman wearing a dress.
This is mostly advice for women but men can also apply it behind the knees if they’re wearing shorts.
The spot behind the knees is usually warm and when you’re sitting in a cocktail bar or restaurant, the scent will definitely project further which means whoever is sitting opposite of you will definitely enjoy the smell!
Try it out and let me know in the comments how does it work for you!
Where NOT To Apply Perfume?
Now there are definitely places where you should never apply perfume or fragrance and I’m pretty sure you already did in the past.
No problems with that, just avoid spraying these spots in the future, because they don’t work as you’d expect.
There are the spots you shouldn’t apply perfume on:
You read that right – you should never apply the fragrance to your neck!
Even though the neck is always warm and there are a lot of blood vessels in the area, this is most certainly not the place for the perfume.
You see, fragrances and perfumes almost always contain over 50% of alcohol in their formulations, and alcohol is astringent. On the other hand, the neck area isn’t really the most hydrated and moisturized area on our body, and those two things combined will definitely cause premature wrinkles to appear.
Another thing is also if your partner comes near you and kisses you on the neck, you will leave him/her with that super-biter taste of fragrance in the mouth which may actually turn down some lights.
Saying that, if you want to keep your neck young and beautiful and if you don’t want to risk beautiful moments ruined with gross taste in his/her mouth definitely avoid applying perfume on the neck!
This is usually where women make mistakes and that’s normal – no one actually thought you how to apply perfume properly, right?
The cleavage area is almost the same as the neck, if not even worse.
It doesn’t have natural hydration, the skin on that area is often dry, and what’s even worse – it’s often exposed to the sun.
Alcohol doesn’t just behave as an astringent but it also dries the skin, so that combined with thin skin and sun is usually a fast way to get premature wrinkles.
I always tell women they should never apply the fragrance in the forbidden triangle as it does more harm than good.
Here’s a picture for reference on where you should avoid applying perfume if you’re a woman:
This is also where many people don’t agree and where I’ve seen a lot of popular influencers in the niche who are advising that you put a few sprays on your shoulders on collars on the shirt.
So should you really apply fragrance to clothes?
The answer is very simple – no, you shouldn’t apply any type of fragrance or perfume to your clothes.
There are multiple reasons why you should avoid applying perfumes on the clothes but there is only one counterargument on why you should and you’re hearing it from everyone who advises it – perfume lasts longer on the clothes than on the skin.
Yes, that is correct, but it’s most certainly not the reason to wear it on clothes because:
- Perfume applied on clothes never really opens up because perfume is designed to interact with human skin, not with fabric.
- It damages the clothes especially if your clothes is made out of cotton or silk. Alcohol in the fragrance doesn’t really tolerate these materials.
- You can end up with bright yellow stain on your clothes because besides alcohol, perfume also contains essential oil
These three reasons should be more than enough for you to avoid applying the perfume to the clothes.
There are much better places to apply fragrance on and I’m sure the dry down is what every nose is after, not just the top notes.
Saying that, preserve your clothes and use some of the good spots mentioned above!
What Is The Best Way To Wear a Perfume?
Definitely, the best way to wear a perfume is the one we mentioned above – shower with hot water, dry your skin off, and apply perfume on the spots mentioned above.
By following this guide and these rules you will definitely get the most out of your fragrance and performance and longevity will most certainly be on a maximum level.
Of course, this is not the only proper way to wear it, and I always advise that you experiment and see what works for you best – these are just the guidelines that I discovered to work best, over years of working with fragrances.
How Much Perfume Do I Apply?
There is no definite rule that answers these questions, but the general rule is that you always apply 3-5 sprays for optimal results – 2 sprays behind your ears and one on the neck behind your head. If you feel that’s not enough for you, then go ahead and add additional two sprays on wrists or in dips of the collarbone.
The reason why there’s no definite answer is that it depends on multiple things – a type of perfume, type of skin, gender, etc.
Always experiment and see what works best for you as that’s always the best way to figure out how much perfume should you apply.
Is It Better To Put Perfume On Skin Or Clothes?
It’s definitely better to put perfume on the skin, rather than on clothes because the skin will allow the perfume to open up and go through drydown. In a difference to perfume on the skin, perfume on the clothes will not open and it won’t smell the same.
As we’ve mentioned above, fragrance cannot open on the clothes as it’s designed to interact with human skin, so don’t expect the same scent on clothes and on skin.
Skin breathes and changes over time, and so does perfume. Skin will absorb the alcohol and handle it easily, while alcohol will only damage the fabric on clothes.
We already discussed why you should never apply fragrance on clothes, and therefore (to answer the question) it’s much better to put perfume on the skin.
How Often Should You Apply Fragrance?
It all depends on the strength of the perfume, but in general, you can reapply fragrance or even apply the other one as soon as the one you’re wearing became a skin scent and disappeared from your skin.
However, I’d first advise a hot shower, as the performance of a new application on the skin can be much improved with clean skin and open pores.
Also, when it comes to the type of fragrance, there are some fragrances like Dior Sauvage that don’t require any reapplication because they are so potent and they projection for hours and hours.
On the other hand, if you have a bad performing fragrance that you really love, like Acqua Di Gio, then feel free to reapply it every 3-4 hours as it evaporates pretty quickly from your skin.
Just make sure you’re not overapplying it or if you are applying other fragrances, make sure the old one fully evaporated.
How Do I Apply Perfume So It’s Not Too Strong?
A lot depends on how potent your fragrance is, but in general, the proper way to apply perfume so it’s not too strong is to spray it only once behind each ear and that’s it. If the sprayer on your perfume is very strong, feel free to apply half of it.
Many people don’t like their perfume to be projection beast and sillage monster – they’d rather have something private that only those who come near them can smell, and that’s perfectly fine.
If you are one of those people, definitely try to choose perfumes that are moderate when it comes to performance.
Light notes will probably suit you better so try to find some spring fragrance or summer fragrance that can be worn all year round.
Vladan X is a founder of Fourth Sense and fragrance expert. He reviews only fragrances he owns personally, and his collection currently counts between 100 and 150 fragrances. Even though Vladan reviewed hundreds of perfumes he still didn’t find the one he would call “signature” fragrance. He’s still searching for that one, and in the meantime, he writes the best in-depth fragrance reviews internet has ever seen! You can read more about Vladan X here!