Finding a cologne or perfume that you love is difficult, which is why it’s so frustrating when a fragrance that smells so good doesn’t seem to last very long. You’re left searching for ways to make your cologne or perfume last longer. It happens to the best of us, and there are certain fragrances that are notorious for smelling great but dying within hours.
Before you dive ahead, we recommend checking out our article on the science of fragrance longevity to understand why certain colognes and perfumes last longer than others. If it seems like your fragrance doesn’t last a while, it could just be olfactory fatigue!
But if you’re absolutely certain that your wonderful fragrance has terrible performance, there are a few tips you can try to maximize longevity and hopefully squeeze a few more hours of each application.
1. Moisturize Your Skin
Many people think that dry skin absorbs colognes and perfumes, and that would make the scents last longer, wouldn’t it? After all, a dry sponge can absorb more water than a wet sponge, right? But it doesn’t actually work like that.
If your skin is too dry, it actually has trouble holding onto the aromachemicals in fragrances. Properly moisturized skin is just wet enough to keep the aromachemicals “stuck” to you (for lack of a better term), and so they disperse less quickly and therefore last longer. Dry skin, on the other hand, can’t hold on and so the aromachemicals evaporate faster, leading to shorter longevity.
2. Use Vaseline as a Binder
If the condition of your skin is so bad that it stays dry even with ample moisturizer and a good skincare routine, then petroleum jelly (Vaseline) could be a neat trick that works for you. It’s one of the more versatile household items you can incorporate into your daily routine!
Apply a bit of petroleum jelly to wherever you intend to apply your fragrance. It doesn’t have to be a lot – just enough that you know it’s there, but not so much that it stands out. Then spray the cologne or perfume onto the petroleum jelly. It’ll act as a kind of binder that holds onto the aromachemicals, slowing down how quickly they evaporate. You might notice less projection, but that’s a small price to pay for extended longevity!
3. Avoid Common Contact Points
Fragrance longevity is all about keeping the aromachemicals on your skin for as long as possible. Anytime something – anything – touches your skin where fragrance was applied, it takes away some those aromachemicals. Maybe a negligible amount, or maybe a lot. It depends on how the contact happened. But the point is, contact did happen.
For example, if you apply your cologne or perfume to your inner wrists and you’re constantly reaching into your pants pockets (e.g. for your phone or keys), the aromachemicals are rubbing off every time and that’s going to impact longevity.
Want your fragrances to last? Apply to areas that are never, or rarely, touched.
4. Apply Under Your Clothing
The “avoid contact points” tip doesn’t apply when you spray colognes and perfumes under clothing. Even though your clothing is technically rubbing the applied aromachemicals, those aromachemicals stay trapped under your clothing as they evaporate. The scent sticks with you and slowly disperses through open exit points, like your collar or sleeves.
This is a great way to extend longevity! If you can’t keep the aromachemicals from evaporating, then at least keep them around once they’re in the air. The more layers of clothing you have, the better the aromachemicals will stay trapped. (A lone t-shirt won’t help longevity very much, but a sweater sure would.)
5. Wear More of It
You can think of each spray of your cologne or perfume as carrying a certain amount of aromachemicals in it. If you spray twice, your skin is receiving twice as many scent compounds. If you spray five times, it’s receiving five times as many! The more you have on your skin, the longer it’ll take for all of it to evaporate and fade.
If you find that a certain fragrance has horrible longevity, you can try applying more of it. Yeah, it’ll smell stronger and you’ll run out faster, but if extra longevity is that important to you, it’s the most effective way to make it happen.
When in doubt, you can always give yourself a fragrance touch-up by carrying your cologne or perfume around in a miniature atomizer. We also recommend learning more about where to apply fragrances and how much you should wear.
6. Don’t Let It Get Old
If you don’t wear your favorite fragrance often, it might just start to break down on you. One way to make cologne or perfume last longer is to ensure you’re using a fresh bottle. The shelf life is usually one to three years, but when you store it in a cool, dry place, it can last 4-6 years.
While it’ll still smell, it might not be the scent you like anymore. As oxygen gets into the bottle, it alters the scent. This could make it fairly unpleasant or less potent, making it wear off quicker.
7. Spray Right After Your Shower
Right after your towel off, spray on your favorite fragrance. The heat from the shower opens your pores. This allows the fragrance to settle into your skin easier. If you happen to use an in-shower moisturizer, the results are even better.
If you apply lotion after showering, spray a few times right after showering and then a few more after applying your lotion. This gives you a layered effect, helping everything last much longer.
8. Compliment Your Fragrance
Speaking of layering, using a complimentary scented lotion alongside your fragrance helps your cologne or perfume last longer. It’s kind of hard to find unscented lotions. Even those that say “unscented” often have a light scent.
Try to find a body lotion that has a similar fragrance to your perfume or cologne. It doesn’t have to be exact, but should have some of the same notes. For instance, if you’re wearing a floral perfume, opt for a similar floral lotion.
Make this an easier process by buying lotion and fragrance sets. This usually come with a body lotion or at least a hand cream, which you can use to moisturize the same areas where you applied your fragrance. Some even come with a body wash.
9. Skip the Spritz
How do you usually apply cologne or perfume? Do you do the spritz and walk through? Despite how popular this technique is, it actually reduces your fragrance longevity.
Instead of spraying and walking through the fragrant cloud, spray your cologne or perfume directly onto your skin. You can keep the bottle a few inches away, but the idea is to ensure the vast majority of the mist goes directly onto your skin. Otherwise, much of your fragrance stays in the air versus on you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter how or where I store the bottle?
Yes. Heat and humidity can break down your perfume and cologne faster, causing the scent to change or fade more quickly when you wear it. Ideally, store your fragrance in cool, dry place. You should also pick darker areas as light also affects the integrity of the fragrance.
If you have unopened bottles, keep them stored safely in a drawer or cabinet until you’re ready to use them. This extends their shelf life, which can be over a decade when unopened.
Should I pour old perfume into a new bottle?
If you only have a little cologne or perfume left, it’s tempting to just pour it into your new bottle to avoid having two on hand. But, this can cause oxidation to happen faster. It’s better to just continue using your old bottle until it’s empty.
What if I can't take my bottle of fragrance with me during the day?
Carrying around a glass bottle isn’t exactly safe or practical. If you think you may need to reapply throughout the day, look for small or travel size versions of your desired fragrance. Or, spritz your fragrance on a moist paper towel or cotton ball. Place this in a sealed sandwich bag. Then, when you’re ready to reapply, just rub the cotton ball where you need it.
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