Home Tips & Trends Perfume How to (REALLY) Wear a Fragrance

How to (REALLY) Wear a Fragrance

Expert secrets to make your scents last.

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A women’s fragrance should be discovered, not announced.’

I read that quote many years ago in a magazine, and ever since then I have been extremely conscious about, ahem, overdoing it. I love wearing perfume, I literally love everything about it, but as with all things, there is a right way to do it. Where should you apply perfume? What’s the difference in cots? How can you make it last, and does perfume go bad?

To help demystify all things fragrance, I asked Stacey Bresnahan, founder of Laubahn Perfumes, an indie fragrance brand I discovered years ago and have been obsessed with ever since. My favorite Laubahn scent – the one I constantly get complimented on – is ‘Lost in the Moment. This perfume has a hypnotic, ethereal scent that I’m smitten with. The fragrance features whispers of wildflowers, fruit trees, driftwood, and the warm sun a white cashmere sand beach…so dreamy!

Below, Bresnahan walks us though everything we need to know about fragrance.

 Eau de parfum, eau de toilette, parfum, what’s the difference?

  • Eau de Parfum – EDP
  • Eau de Toilette – EDT
  • Eau De Cologne – EDC

The difference between EDP and EDT is all about the concentration.

EDP concentration of fragrance is usually anywhere between 15-20%

EDT concentration of fragrance is usually anywhere between 5-15%

EDC concentration of fragrance is usually anywhere between 2-5%

That is also why EDP is more expensive than EDT and EDC because of the higher concentration of fragrance. A higher concentration of fragrance makes for a longer lasting scent.

Should you rub perfume on or spray it on? What’s best and why?

If the fragrance is in a roller ball than rubbing is okay. If the fragrance is in a spray – no rubbing necessary. In my opinion, no rubbing is ever necessary. Once the fragrance is on your skin whether you rub it or not it is still on your skin.

What are your best tips for applying perfume and making it last?

Lots of people always ask – “How can I make the perfume last longer” My answer is always – re-apply – Perfume is not meant to last forever. Two things to consider regarding making your perfume last longer-

  • One way to have your perfume last longer is to make sure your skin is hydrated. Perfume will last longer on hydrated skin. So spray on right after a shower or right after you moisturize your skin.
  • The second thing to consider is that you may think your fragrance has disappeared, but others can still smell it on you that’s called Olfactory Fatigue or Olfactory Adaptation, which is a normal process that occurs when we are exposed to a scent for an extended period of time. It has happened to me where I spray on my favorite perfume and I smell it right away and then the scent disappears, although my friends tell me you smell so good, and I laugh and say that’s funny I can’t smell it anymore. So, keep that in mind before you start re-applying more perfume.

Where should you apply perfume?

The standard is pulse points; on your wrist, behind your ear, at the bottom of your throat.  These are the best spot to apply, due to the warmth of your blood. For me personally, for rich heavier scents, I spray the perfume on the back of my neck only. For lighter scents, I spray on the front of my neck, shoulders, upper chest and clothes (no silk).

Where’s the best place to store your perfume? Are there any places you should never store it?

The best place to store your perfume is in a cool, dry, dark place to avoid oxidation, the degradation of your perfume. Never store you perfume in excessive light and heat and keep away from flames as perfume is highly flammable

Does perfume go bad? How long should you keep it, and how do you know if it’s still good?

 A perfume’s lifespan is usually 3-5 years. The best way to know if your perfume has gone bad is by observing it and smelling it – has the scent changed to an unpleasant smell, does it look different. If so, the best practice is to get rid of it. And not all perfume goes bad after five years, I have perfume that I have had longer than five years that I wear occasionally, and it still smells good and doesn’t look any different, so I still wear it.

Can you explain the concept of perfume ‘notes’ and what that means?

  • Top notes are what you will smell initially when you spray on the perfume, they set the first impression and they dissipate quickly. Once the initial scent of the top note fades, then the heart/middle notes arise.
  • Heart/Middle notes make up the heart of the fragrance. The heart notes introduce new scents to deepen the smell of the scent and last longer than the top notes.
  • Base/Bottom notes add more depth to the scent and are usually very rich and long lasting and they work together with the heart notes to create the scent of the perfume. This is where the top notes and heart notes have disappeared, and the base remains.

The is the final scent of the fragrance and often called the dry-down phase. Base/Bottom notes are also referred to as the dry-down of a perfume, it is the final phase of a fragrance’s development. It is the time when the fragrance has literally dried down and is no longer developing. The dry down occurs in the base note of a fragrance; the final stages of a perfume after it has been on your skin for hours.

What are your best tips for shopping for a fragrance? 

My recommendation when shopping for a perfume is to go with what your nose likes, if it smells great to you after smelling it on a scent strip and you like it, then the next step would be to test it on your skin, how does it smell on your skin, if it smells great to you on your skin after 20 to 30 minutes and you love it then it’s meant for you.

Perfume notes can be helpful so that you will know what fragrances are in your perfume and they work together to create a wonderful fragrance.  I personally, do no go by the notes in the fragrance.  I choose my perfume by how it makes me feel.


Stacey Bresnahan is the founder of Laubahn Perfumes is on a mission to transport you through her fragrances to wonderful places. Stacey launched her fragrance brand because she’s passionate about the power of fragrance. She sees fragrance as an accessory that can elevate your days and nights in so many ways. A daydreamer and a lover of the breathtaking beauty nature, especially flowers and their magical scents, that is the combination she captures in her alluring fragrances, created to leave a lasting impression.

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Janene Mascarella