We all want to smell good - that's why we shell out for the best-smelling perfumes we can. Depending on skin chemistry and the strength of perfumes, some can last for the full day whilst still projecting like a monster. Others unfortunately can disappear pretty much as soon as you apply them!
If you have a favourite perfume that you want to make last a bit longer, then we're going to tell you all the tips and tricks to make sure it lasts as long as possible. Not only that, but we'll also delve into the actual shelf life of perfumes and how to make the bottle last as long as possible. Let's get into it:
Perfume Strengths and Their Longevity
The first thing we'll get into is the different strengths of perfumes you can find. The most common ones you'll come across are:
Aftershave and cologne - Typically between 2-4% perfume concentration, these are designed to be lightly worn. These typically last for about 2 hours.
Eau de toilette - Around 4-8% concentration, EDTs last around 3-6 hours typically.
Eau de parfum - EDPs come in at around 8-15% concentration and last between 6-8 hours.
Perfume/Parfum - This type of fragrance has a concentration of 15-25% perfume and lasts between 8-10 hours.
Extrait/Extract/solid perfume - The strongest type of fragrance you'll find, extraits and the like contain between 20-30% perfume and last 12 hours +. This strength is commonly found in roll-on perfume oils.
The Different Phases & Notes
When applying perfume, you'll notice the fragrance go through different phases. These phases are the opening or top notes, which usually last up to 5 minutes, the mid or heart phase, which lasts between two and four hours as well as the final stage, the drydown or base notes. The base is usually the longest-lasting phase and can last 4 hours or more.
Fragrances and perfumes tend to cling to the skin and the more 'oily' the fragrance, the longer they tend to last. The notes of each phase also have a big impact on longevity - The deeper and sweeter notes such as woods, amber, vanilla, tonka etc, are all heavier notes and tend to last longer on the skin. You can find these notes in many fragrances, such as Tom Ford Tuscan Leather. This means they take longer to evaporate from the skin. A fragrance that's heavy on citrus notes will evaporate far quicker since the notes aren't as heavy.
The way the notes work with skin is also quite a heavy factor in longevity. Oilier skin causes the notes to cling on for longer, whereas drier skin will see the notes evaporate and disappear more quickly. This is what is meant by the term skin chemistry. This also applies to the air surrounding the skin and body heat. When the air is hotter and drier, or you have higher body heat, notes tend to last far shorter thanks to the fact they can't stick to the skin as well.
Making Your Perfume Last Longer
Onto the tips to give you some extra longevity out of your favourite eau de parfum or any other strength fragrance:
The first tip is to moisturize your skin. Moisturized skin can help stop skin irritations when applying fragrance, but the main benefit is that it helps soak up the different notes and make them last longer. Start a regular skin routine to help longevity in the long run. In the short term, simply add some moisturizer to your skin whenever you apply perfume - this can be as simple as getting a little jar of Vaseline and applying a thin layer behind the ears and neck before you spray.
Using matching body products can help greatly improve the longevity of fragrances such as shower gels and hair fragrances. These help to layer fragrances - especially body lotions as these give the added effect of a moisturizer whilst also adding more longevity.
Apply your perfume right after a shower or bath. Apply your perfume or fragrance when your skin is still slightly damp (not soaking wet though!). This can help lock in the fragrance and make it last longer.
Apply perfume to pulse points. You're probably already doing this, but did you know there are quite a few different pulse points you can apply fragrance to? These include the wrists, behind the ears, and at the base of your throat or collarbone. The reason this is applicable is that these areas generate heat, which can help to activate and diffuse the fragrance.
Layer your fragrances. Layering your fragrances can help to make the scent last longer. Start by applying a body wash or lotion that has a similar scent to your perfume, then apply the perfume over it. You can even mix and match heavier perfumes, such as sweeter fragrances, with lighter ones. The notes will combine to make a unique scent whilst improving longevity.
Don't rub your perfume in! Avoid rubbing your perfume in, as this can break down the fragrance and cause it to dissipate more quickly - especially the top notes. Instead, lightly spray or dab the perfume onto your skin if possible and allow it to dry naturally.
Store your perfume properly. We'll get more into this in the next section, but you should always store your perfume in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat. This can help to prevent the fragrance from breaking down and losing its potency.
Consider using a perfume primer. There are products available that are specifically designed to help make fragrances last longer. These products, known as perfume primers, can be applied to the skin before the perfume to help enhance the scent and make it last longer.
Spray hair and clothes. Fibres tend to trap fragrance molecules, so spraying your hair and any clothes you're wearing will help whatever scent you're wearing last longer.
Stopping Your Fragrances From Going Bad
You may be wondering "can perfume expire?". Unfortunately, fragrances can expire. Expired perfume isn't dangerous, but the scent can be off with certain notes turning rancid and totally affecting the smell. Fragrances will have differing shelf lives depending on the notes and concentration, but in general, you'll get around a year from the time of your first spray before you're perfume starts to degrade, leading to possibly an unpleasant smell - and no one wants that.
You can use websites to check a perfume expiration date or some labels from brands - such as Le Labo Fragrances - will actually state it. To help improve the longevity of your perfume bottles and make them last longer, here are a few tips:
Store fragrances or any perfume bottle in a cool, dry place. This is the most basic tip that will help immeasurably in stopping your favourite scents from going bad quicker than they should. Exposure to heat, light, and humidity can cause perfumes to break down and lose their potency. Store your bottles in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and humidity.
Keep scents in their original packaging. The original packaging of a perfume is designed to protect them from external factors that can affect its quality. Keep your scents in their original packaging to help preserve their quality.
Avoid exposing scents to air: Exposure to oxygen can cause scents to oxidize and break down, which can make them expire faster. Keep perfumes tightly closed when not in use to prevent exposure to air.
Don't shake them! Shaking scents can cause them to break down and lose their potency. Instead, gently swirl the bottle to mix the ingredients and increase a fragrance's shelf life.
Use fragrances regularly: Fragrances can expire over time, but using them regularly can help prevent them from going bad. Use your fragrances within two to three years of opening them.
Avoid storing perfumes in the bathroom. Bathrooms are typically humid, which can cause many perfumes to break down faster. Keep your bottles in a dry place away from the bathroom.
Don't keep them in the fridge. Although storing bottles in the fridge can help preserve their freshness, it can also cause the ingredients to break down and lose their potency. As we keep hammering home - keep your favorite perfume bottles in a cool, dry place.
Keep them away from direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can cause perfumes to break down and lose their potency. Store your fragrances away from direct sunlight.
Is Using an Expired Perfume safe?
Whilst many perfumes are still perfectly safe to use after they've expired, this is heavily dependent upon the notes. There's a small handful of notes that can turn into skin irritants when they oxidise, so it's well worth doing a quick test on a small patch of your skin to see what the results are.
Some oxidised notes can also leave stains on white clothing. Whilst not a problem health-wise, it can be annoying to have to wash your clothes!
Taking proper care of a fragrance is incredibly important. Not just to ensure you always get a pleasant scent when you wear perfume, but also to make your perfume last. Take the tips you've learned in this quick guide and you'll be able to make the most out of your favourite fragrance!