Make Your Fragrance Last With These 6 Simple Hacks

Plus the difference between eau de parfum, eau de toilette, perfume extract, and cologne.

We spend a pretty penny on our perfumes, so it's a real bummer if the scent evaporates by breakfast. While some fragrance formulations don't last as long as others—think a splashy EDT/body spray versus a more concentrated EDP—there are ways to ensure your scent lingers longer. We reached out to a couple of fragrance pros for some tips on how to do it.

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Spritz Onto Skin After Showering

Take advantage of your just-out-of-the-shower skin, which is primed and ready to hold onto scents.

"After a shower, your clean pores will open in the steam, making it the perfect time to apply your perfume," says Vince Spinnato, a celebrity fragrance developer, "certified nose," and CEO of TurnKey Beauty Ltd. "However, don't apply the perfume while your skin is still wet as it will only rub off when you dry yourself."

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Moisturize First

Before applying (or reapplying) your fragrance, moisturize your skin with your favorite oil-based lotion or cream. Unscented formulations are ideal, but if you want to mix and match your scents then feel free to use a fragranced moisturizer.

"Dry skin will not hold on to your fragrance as long as moisturized skin will, so moisturize, moisturize, moisturize," says Cordelia Smith, fragrance expert and founder of Formulary 55. "Fragrances will 'stick' to moisturized skin longer, and you will smell the scent throughout the day."

For best results, shower, pat dry, then moisturize before spritzing.

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Aim for Pulse Points

For even longer staying power, spritz your fragrance onto pulse points. These areas include your wrists, the nape of your neck, behind your knees, behind your ear, and inside your elbows. "These [areas] react with the natural fluctuations in your body temperature and in turn emit your scent throughout the day," says Spinnato.

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Spray Your Hair, Too

If you've ever accidentally sprayed perfume in your hair, you might have noticed that the scent lingers far longer than it does on your skin. Though you don't want to totally douse your hair with fragrance (it can be potentially damaging and too strong), a light misting is smart.

"The fragrance will permeate your strands and last throughout the day," says Spinnato. There are even hair fragrances and mists you can shop, which are usually slightly less concentrated and formulated with additional oils to nourish hair.

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Don't Rub Your Wrists Together

Spritzing and rubbing your wrists together feels like second nature, but Spinnato says it's bad news for your fragrance. (Don't worry; we've been doing it wrong, too.) The "smashing" action not only diminishes the quality of your fragrance notes, but it can disrupt the overall fragrance profile.

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Toss Old Perfume

Have you ever noticed that "old scent" smell when spritzing a vintage bottle of perfume? That definitely wasn't the original scent; the perfume is well past its prime. Fragrance expiration dates vary, but on average are about two to 10 years. If your perfume smells "off," has changed colors, or looks different (e.g., cloudy, separated, and/or yellowed), then it's likely time to toss it.

That said, there are some ways you can prolong your fragrance's shelf life. "Although your perfume collection makes a lovely #shelfie in your bathroom, this is really the last place you want to store your fragrances," says Smith. "Light and humidity will alter the scents of your perfumes. Keep your perfume bottles somewhere cool and dark."

Fragrance Concentration Cheat Sheet

On another note, fragrances have different concentrations depending on the formulation. Generally, higher concentrations have a stronger scent and will last longer. A little usually goes a long way, while fragrances with lower concentrations—like body splashes and EDTs—can be sprayed more liberally.

Smith provided us with a helpful cheat sheet:

  • Extract/extrait/solid perfume: 20 percent to 30 percent
  • Perfume: 15 percent to 25 percent
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP): 8 percent to 15 percent
  • Eau de Toilette (EDT): 4 percent to 8 percent
  • Cologne (EDC): 2 percent to 4 percent
  • Body cream/lotion: 3 percent to 4 percent
  • After Shave/Splash: 2 percent to 4 percent
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