How To Spray Perfume So It Lasts


Perfume is meant to be a bit ephemeral, of course, but where's the fun if you spray and the smell goes away immediately? And spraying on the pulse points always seemed a bit of an old wives tale anyway. For answers, we rang Christine Luby's doorbell (just kidding, we just emailed her)—she of Pinrose and personalized-wedding-scent fame. She happily answered our questions. Follow along:

So exactly where should one spray perfume to make it last the longest?

The first thing to know is that dry skin doesn't hold perfume well, so make sure your skin is hydrated. This is why, as a group, people with oily skin don't need to reapply as often. But beyond that, hair actually carries perfume the best. It also creates a beautiful sillage, which is the scented trail left by the perfume wearer.

But perfume has alcohol in it. Won't that dry out hair?

Some people warn against it because of that, but we tend to say no way. You're applying such a nominal amount of alcohol to the hair that you're not going to be doing much damage.

Are there particular scents that tend to fade faster than others?

Citrus notes tend to fade the fastest. But wood and animalics—commonly used as base notes—have much better staying power on the whole. A lot of the staying power is also dependent on the amount of oil used in the perfume. Eau de parfum contains the most oil—about 15 percent. Eau de toilettes have around 8 percent, and colognes have 5 percent.

And that whole pulse point thing—any truth there?

Pulse points are warmer, so applying there sort of speeds up the evolution of the fragrance, taking it from top notes for 20-or-so minutes to the more enigmatic and interesting heart and base of the fragrance. That being said, while there is some truth to it, I think meh. The difference is negligible.

Crystal Renn photographed by Tom Newton. In other fragrance news, Byredo just opened its first store New York, a city that smells nothing like perfume at all.