Fancy making the most out of your fragrance? We speak to an expert on all there is to know
When we smell good, we feel good. It’s one of the ultimate beauty mood-boosters. Whether it’s a light, floral scent that has the power to transport us to bright, sunny days, or a heady amber number that reminds us of balmy evenings sipping cocktails, whatever we spritz should evoke the ultimate question: ‘What perfume are you wearing?’
But it turns out, we may be applying our perfumes incorrectly and aren’t getting the most out of our fragrances. To make scents (we couldn’t resist) of it all, we speak to William Andrews, head of education, luxury division at Coty and an industry-recognised fragrance expert.
Do different scents work better for different people?
Ever wondered why the same perfume sprayed on a friend smells completely different when sprayed on you? William has the answer, and it’s pretty fascinating.
‘We all have a unique base skin odour, which is defined by our genetics and modified by diet,’ explains William. ‘This is nothing bad, more like a subtle background smell that perfumes should work with, creating a final blend which becomes your individual scent. This is the reason why fragrances smell different on different people – the fragrance is the same, but the background skin odour differs. Just like well-chosen clothing, if it suits your figure and personality, then you’ll wear it well.’
How do I choose the right fragrance?
‘Well, that really comes down to trying on a few and deciding what you like – trust your instinct, because if the voice in your head is saying you don’t like it, then chances are it just doesn’t compliment your own base skin odour.’
Where should you apply fragrance?
A quick spritz to the neck and inner wrists should do it, right? Wrong. Turns out the days of only applying to pulse points have long passed.
‘While it makes sense to apply fragrance on the neck, chest and hair, people forget how great it can be to spritz behind the knees and around the ankles,’ says Will. ‘This is because fragrance rises in the heat. The whole body is warm, so fragrance will evaporate from wherever it is applied – choose somewhere which makes you feel beautiful and spray away!’
What is the correct way to apply fragrance?
‘Rubbing your wrists together is a great way to introduce some heat from friction. This will make the fragrance evaporate more quickly beyond its initial fresh ‘top’ notes. The top notes always dominate when freshly sprayed, lasting around 20 minutes. The deeper heart and base notes are revealed once the top notes have evaporated – this is the ‘drydown’, and represents the scent you live with day-to-day.’
Do you need to reapply throughout the day?
‘As the day goes on, fragrances evaporate, and different ingredients evaporate at different rates,’ says William. ‘If you prefer lighter fragrances, then they will evaporate faster, because the perfume oil is made of lighter molecules. If you like a deep, complex fragrance, then you’re in luck – it will normally last for hours.
‘If you don’t want the smell to fade, you can top up during the day. Another method to help a fragrance last longer is to also use the body products in the same range. These products contain the same fragrance, so by using them, it builds up a layer of perfume on your skin before you finish off with the actual fragrance. This creates a long-lasting halo of scent around the wearer.’
Does Vaseline make your scent last longer?
We’ve heard the rumours that a slick of vaseline applied to pressure points before perfume can elongate your scent. But what are William’s thoughts on the matter?
‘It may last longer,’ he says, ‘But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. The odour of the Vaseline base can weaken the smell of your perfume. If you want a fragrance which lasts longer, then buy the strongest concentration you can find – the eau de toilette is often the lightest, the eau de parfum is next, and finally some fragrances are available in a pur parfum, parfum, or elixir version, which will last the longest.’
Does spraying perfume on your hair prolong the scent?
‘It’s probably easier to spray the fragrance around the head, and then brush the hair afterwards. This will continue to disperse a light layer of fragrance every time your hair catches the wind throughout the day,’ says William. He also tells us that it’s a myth that solvent in fragrances dry out the hair as ‘it can’t penetrate deeply enough to de-moisturise’.
Can you layer scent?
‘Most perfumes have been very carefully designed with exactly the right balance of character and power. I prefer to celebrate the perfumer’s idea and enjoy a fragrance for what it is. However, you can use a matching body lotion and apply after a shower or bath for added strength.’
Here are the scents we’re loving this season, from those trending on TikTok to timeless classics.