Your Fragrance Questions Answered
Making It Last All Day
Q. How come after about a week of wearing a new fragrance, I can no longer smell it on myself? Everyone gets to enjoy it but me!
A. We feel your pain! You're not imagining this disappearing act, since you're probably experiencing what the experts call temporary anosmia, an inability to perceive a particular smell. "At first you smell this dominant scent, but later your brain decides it doesn't need to perceive it any longer," says Olivier Gillotin, a top perfumer with Givaudan Fine Fragrances US, creator of many popular fragrances worldwide. "This is actually an evolutionary advantage that permits you to instead smell the odor of smoke or anything potentially dangerous." Assuming that the only danger you're in is losing track of your favorite new scent, what can you do to keep your nose receptive? One way, explains Gillotin, is to deliberately smell other things throughout the day to clear your olfactory glands; coffee beans or wool clothing are all good palate refreshers and are readily available. Taking a complete fragrance break for about a week to clean your scent palate will help, too.
Q. How do I make sure my fragrance lasts all day?
A. One word: layering! Begin in the shower with the soap version of your favorite perfume, which will leave a veil of fragrance on your skin. (Fragranced shower gels, while luxurious, aren't as potent.) Right out of the shower, applying scented moisturizer is crucial. "The key," says Laurie Palma, senior vice president of fragrance and Internet marketing for Chanel, "is to slather your skin with moisturizer while it's still warm from the shower, to allow for the best absorption." The last piece of the puzzle, of course, is the fragrance itself. The lower the alcohol content of a fragrance, the longer it will last: that's why eau de parfum, with the least amount of alcohol, is the longest lasting, followed by eau de toilette and eau de cologne. Other suggestions: spray your ironing board with fragrance before ironing and let it dry. The heat from the iron will help release fragrance onto your clothes, says Palma. Or spray fragrance on your hands, clap them together a few times, then run your fingers through your hair. Horowitz-Thran swears by this trick, since hair is porous and acts as a great carrier.