Perhaps you met by chance and sniffed it on a friend, in the pages of a magazine, or wafting through the air at Nordstrom. Or maybe you designed it yourself after researching fragrance notes, perfume houses, and bottle designs. No matter how you found it, you finally took the plunge and purchased yourself a pricey new scent. Now you have an expensive bottle of fluid on your vanity, and it’ll be worth less than the box it came in if you don’t handle it with the care.
High heat and sunlight have it in for your fancy new fragrance. They breaks apart the bonds between fragrance molecules, weakening the potency and overall shelf life of your perfume, and eventually leading to a watery, lusterless liquid with little to no staying power. Even more destructive, though, are frequent fluctuations in temperature that can spoil a fragrance fast.
So, what’s the best way to store fragrances to preserve their gentle power? While it’s not always practical, one way is to stick them straight in your fridge. Temps at the higher end of the spectrum tend to degrade fragrances, but lower temps can actually protect them. And because many scents contain a veritable amount of alcohol to accelerate drying time after application, you need never worry about them accidentally freezing and expanding. Should your refrigerator be stuffed to the seams (especially in this post-holiday month), never fear. Simply keep your scents out of your bathroom (where the steam from your shower could prove harmful) and out of direct sunlight (UV rays are another common instigator of scent spoilage). When in doubt, ask yourself this: “Would I store an expensive vintage wine here?” If “no” even crosses your mind, cross this spot out as a potential display area for your cologne collection.
One frequent misstep many people make is in applying fragrances to incorrect areas. However hard it is to believe, scents really do mix with your body’s chemistry. It’s why some fragrances smell wonderful on the tester strips but just kind of “eh” when you get them home. By applying your perfume to certain points on your body, you can get it to play perfectly with your pH and body heat to create a lasting and balanced aromatic experience.
The points are known as pulse points, and they’re exactly what they sound like they should be: places where it’s easy to read your pulse. Now, I would never recommend applying your scent to each and every one of them (unless, of course, you’re trying to knock someone unconscious), but here they are from the ground up: behind the knees, the inner thighs, about an inch below the belly button, the inner wrists, the crease of the inner elbow, the frontward facing area of the underarm, the base of the neck, behind each ear, and the temples. Which ones you choose to use are up to you, but I recommend choosing one place to spritz for a Perfume Extract, two for an Eau de Parfum, and three for an Eau de Toilette (in these cases, a “paired point”—such as the wrists—counts as one if you only spritz once and distribute it between both areas, or twice if you use one spritz on each). Of course, this is just a general guideline, and how many spritzes you use will vary greatly depending on the product. For example, my Dior Fahrenheit, an Eau de Toilette, really only needs one spritz to last me throughout the day.
3. General Tips
Layer two different fragrances to come up with a unique signature scent, and help prolong the staying power of both. Spray about an inch to two away from the pulse point for a more focussed, concentrated application (and to waste less product). If you only wear one fragrance year round, spritz a plain piece of cotton cloth with it, and leave it in your drawers; the scent will slowly and subtlely penetrate your clothing to help promote the general aura and projection of your fragrance all day. Also, apply fragrance right after taking a hot shower while your pores are still dilated and eager to absorb.