How to make your perfume more long-lasting?

July 14, 2020

Having worked my fair share of time in perfumery, let me tell you, everyone has the same complaint about their favorite scents: “I love my perfume, but it doesn’t last on me”.

This comment comes from all kinds of people and all the brands seem to perform equally in that matter.

The first thing I cannot help but wonder is whether this affirmation is true.

Without a doubt, out of all the senses, the smell is the fastest one at adapting to its surrounding. This is both a blessing, when you smell something that you don´t like, and a curse. The latter implies that you will not be able to smell your fragrance after a few minutes of wearing it. This happens for the same reasons as our inability to smell our skin, even though it is naturally fragrant.

Therefore, it is very possible that the quest for everlasting scent is futile when, despite having already found it, we become unable to notice it. The best way to see if your fragrance is still perceivable is to ask someone else if they can still smell it. After a day of work your colleagues are used to your perfume so there is no use in asking them. However, if you meet up with friends for dinner, they will be able to help you.

Now, it is true that not all perfumes are long-lasting. There are, however, a few ways to modify their formula to impact their longevity.

Contrary to popular belief, increasing the concentration of the perfume and going from an eau de toilette to an extrait de parfum is not the best solution. When doing this, you increase the amount of raw material in the alcoholic base. As the result, your perfume is going to be more intense but not more long-lasting.

Perfumery-wise there are two ways of making your fragrance last longer.

The first one is to have more bottom notes in your fragrance. As a reminder, olfactive notes are often classified into top notes (first impressions) that will last up to 2 hours on your skin; the heart notes (personality and soul) that will last up to 6 hours; and finally the bottom notes (sillage) that will last up to 12 hours. This happens because bottom notes tend to have heavier molecular mass, which makes them less volatile. Typically, increasing the bottom notes in your fragrance will make it woodier or more oriental.

Another trick to make your perfume long-lasting is to use a fixative. The most common example will be musk. In a fragrance, musk will make everything feel more round as if the perfume was encapsulated in a soft, velvety ball. The original smell might appear to be milder, but it will last much longer.

We tried altering the perfume. Nevertheless, the fragrance is only one of the components in this quest for an everlasting scent. Therefore, another way to make a perfume longer lasting doesn’t have anything to do with the perfume itself. Instead, we need to focus on your skin.

Skin, as the largest organ of the human body, possess physical properties that are specific to every individual. For this reason, you should try different perfumes on your skin to see which notes stick better. Personally, my skin does an intriguing thing and retains the most the notes from the citrus family. This is particularly strange because while those scents are supposed to be top notes and thus very volatile, they can last for the whole day on my body.

Our skin is different, so try to find the perfume ingredients that work best for you. 

Apart from the methods described above, there is one more aspect to consider in your attempt to increase fragrance longevity: the oiliness vs. the dryness of your skin. Scents will be more durable on a greasy support, so make sure your skin is hydrated and well-nourished. You can put some hydrating cream on and use your fragrance right away.

Finally, my last trick would be to use a pomander, which is a scented necklace, extremely popular in the Middles Ages. You can put wood resin, zest, flower or herbs inside it, just like back in the days, or find a good material like ceramic and spray your perfume directly on it. The ceramic, like any other porous material, will absorb the fragrance and award its wearer with a lingering sillage.

Do you have any tricks to make your fragrances last? Let us know on our new forum?