Ask my friends, family or anyone within a 5-foot radius of me and they will likely confirm: I have a very sensitive nose. I can accurately guess what hair product you used this morning (Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade) and whether or not you’re wearing sunscreen (affirmative) so it’s safe to say perfume plays a role in my daily life. And my number one grievance?
It’s ephemeral, fleeting, short-lived. As divine as I smell in my car on the drive to work in the morning, the trip home will always be decidedly less so. So when I read beauty publication Byrdie claim that I was partly to blame for this, I fell for their curiosity gap-laden article title and clicked. (Unfamiliar with curiosity gaps? Check out any one of Refinery29’s Facebook posts, or this article).
Mistake #1: You Rub Your Wrists Together After Applying
According to Byrdie, “this mistake seriously limits your scent’s staying power.” So as excruciating as it may feel to spray that $75 liquid and then let it slowly drip down your arm unimpeded, do not rub. I know – it goes against everything you believe in, but this is why your perfume doesn’t last.
Then there are the usual tips of applying your scent to your pulse points and behind the ears and knees. Also store your perfumes in the fridge (or at least out of direct sunlight) and apply lotion before perfume. I’d heard all of these tips before so so far, curiosity gap not filled. But one element that has always eluded me is the concept of notes. Their purpose, their scientific significance, top notes of vanilla and base notes of patchouli – these are things at which I typically nod my head in feigned understanding. Yet Sara Horowitz-Thran, owner and chief perfumer of Sarah Horowitz Parfums managed to break it down for us in layman’s terms in the article:
“Fragrance is built in notes: top note, middle note, and base note”… Horowitz-Thran says. “The definition of where an ingredient falls is its boiling point—so top notes burn off the most quickly (citrus and fruits), middle notes last a bit longer (usually florals), and the base notes last the longest (woods and resins).” When you start rubbing your wrists together, you create friction and heat that burns through the top notes more quickly, lessening the lifespan of your spritz.
I have to say that explanation resonates with my non-STEM trained brain, and I will commit it to memory in the hopes of sounding like I know what I’m talking about next time the topic of “notes” comes up in conversation. My next goal? Paying attention long enough in a wine tasting to understand the “notes” of a good red wine, and the final frontier: whiskey. I’ll keep you posted on my wine and whiskey conquests. Hope you learned a fact or two, and that you’re having a good week!
photo via intothegloss