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How to make your fragrance last longer

January 1 | 4 minute read

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Words by Kerri Gordon

Originally published on | March 3

‘How do I make my fragrance last longer?’ is without a doubt the most common fragrance-related question we receive online and in our stores, and honestly, we can relate.

Fragrance is a deeply personal beauty purchase, and what appeals to you and your nose might not hold quite the same magic for others. So when you’ve taken the time to find your signature scent (smelling so many that you're at the point where you can’t even remember what air without notes of sandalwood, amber and bergamot smells like) and you're finally ready to commit to, and invest in, ‘the one’, you want it to last. And last. But for so many of us, it just… doesn’t. To answer this question, we spritzed, sampled and reached out to one of the very best noses in the fragrance business to uncover the tried-and-tested tips and tricks that will help make your scent linger for longer.

Apply fragrance on hydrated skin

The rich oils in well-hydrated and moisturised skin gives all fragrance, whether it has an oil (parfum) or alcohol (toilette) base, something to cling to so that it won’t dry up and vanish into the air. So for starters, prep your skin with either a fragrance-free moisturiser (you don't want a coconut-scented body moisturiser competing with your jasmine-spiked scent), or the companion body hydrator of your fragrance (we'll talk a little more about why this kind of scent layering is super smart), to encourage your fragrance to last that little bit longer and stay more prominent on the skin.

But of course, as with everything skin-related, it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different and we all have our own unique skin chemistry. For some people, a certain fragrance will naturally linger all day, and for others, the exact same amount will fade away. It’s all about understanding your skin, and catering to it accordingly.

Know your fragrance formulas

Different fragrance formulations play a key part in a scent's intensity and longevity. Parfum is the most potent and concentrated scent offering, with a very high perfume oil content and less alcohol, which makes it a good option for sensitive skin. Then come the two most popular fragrance formulations, eau de parfum (a high concentration of perfume oil, and it lasts exceptionally long) and eau de toilette (less perfume oil, more alcohol), followed by cologne (typically men's scents) and eau fraiche (the lightest type of fragrance, with less alcohol and more water, making it another top choice for sensitive skin types).

Le Labo international educator and trainer, Murray Campbell (who unashamedly considers himself the East London, beard-and-bun, Santal-wearing hipster stereotype we all know and love) looks at formulations when he wants his scent to linger. "For some people alcohol doesn’t really work with their skin, it will just fade really quickly. So what I would recommend is trying an oil base.” Oil-based fragrances and balms are "slightly more intimate, in terms of the diffusion, but you, yourself will experience the scent a little bit stronger. I also use the oil in the ends of my hair and within my beard, and because they’re a natural plant oil base, they’re actually really moisturising for the hair.”

Layer on your chosen scent

Layering different forms of fragrance allows you to wear your chosen scent from head to toe, hitting all pulse points and extending its longevity: think body creams and lotions, oils and hair mists.

“I go for a variety of forms and bases, so I have my EDP, my staple piece, but I also use the matching body lotion," explains Campbell. "And by applying the matching body lotion and then spraying, the scent is truly enhanced.”

Fabric holds onto scent longer than skin (it’s why you can pull out a jumper or scarf, and still smell the fragrance on it), so if Campbell is going for a strong impression, he’ll spritz his clothes with his eau de parfum, too.

Store your scent correctly

We know how pretty those bottles look lined up on your vanity or in the bathroom, but you're not doing the juice any favours. Heat and moisture can cause scents to break down, so give your bottles a cool, dry home, and avoid direct sunlight, too (even better, keep them stored inside their original box packaging).

And know when it's time to toss a bottle out. We've compiled a handy guide on how to know when your fragrance (and makeup and skincare) has expired.

Know where and how to apply your fragrance

Trust us, it makes all the difference.

Do: spritz your fragrance on your pulse points, to help diffuse the scent across your body. This includes your neck, wrists, behind your knees, the bend of your elbows and your ankles. Basically, if you can feel your pulse, spritz. The skin on these spots tends to be thin, and as blood pumps near the surface of these points, they tend to emit heat, which helps fragrance to develop.

Don’t: rub your wrists together! This move actually dulls down the top notes of the fragrance and forcefully combines the scent with your natural oils, which can change the way it smells and lasts (think of it as fast-forwarding the fragrance experience). It’s a habit many of us have (guilty!) but should definitely ditch, stat.

How to make fragrance last longer

Sometimes, we put a little too much pressure on our fragrances and expect them to last from 7am to 9pm, but just like we need an afternoon coffee/snack/fresh air top up, in most cases, our fragrance does, too. So if you are prone to a fragrance fade, top up on the go with bag-friendly minis, ready to spritz or roll whenever you might need a boost (it’s honestly that easy and straightforward, yet so overlooked and totally underrated).

Related topics and brand tags

FragranceBody lotionPerfumeCologneLe Labo

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