One of a perfumista’s worst nightmares is to be called a perfume offender. It is certainly easier to go overboard when one adores perfume too much. While the love for perfume is understandable (elicits sympathies even), there’s no greater sin than gagging everyone with an overwhelming scent that’s been sprayed one too many.
Perfume offenders know the danger but they do it still. The temptation is just too much to handle. Perfume offenders generally think that their perfumes are as pleasing to everyone else. And if it is not, it’s generally already too late to know that they aren’t.
Who could blame them? Much has been written about dress etiquettes while perfume etiquette is usually seen summed up in less than five words: don’t put too much. There is certainly more to perfume etiquette than just advocating its use in judicious quantity. Let’s take a look at some of the most glossed over tips in wearing perfume and hopefully avoid being called a nasty perfume offender.
1. Use the right perfume,
Even before counting the spritzes, you should pick the right perfume to use. Smell it on yourself before buying so that you’ll know how it interacts with your body chemistry. What works very well on your friend may not work well with you. Find your own scent.
2. Consider the occasion,
When and where are you going to wear the scent? Fragrances should match the event and the venue. A heavy, sensual perfume may work wonders on a night out but would have your colleague sitting away from you on a work day. Go for light scents during the day. Be discreet or don’t dab anything at all if you are to go to a hospital, when you attend a baby shower or when you show up for an interview in your dream job. If you’re going to a public pool or at the beach, best leave your skin unsprayed. There’s no point competing with the smell of chlorine or the sea. Avoid putting on perfume on airplane trips in case you get seated beside someone fragrance sensitive.
3. Don’t gas everyone,
Do your spritzing in your own personal (air) space such as your own home, car (when no one is riding with you), or in the washroom. Never spray it when you’re in your favourite restaurant or in the subway.
4. Don't use stale perfume,
Even the highest quality perfumes change composition after 6 months to a year. Once opened, exquisite notes can either turn stale or harsh after a certain period. Don’t insist on wearing it just because you love it. Let it go and buy a new one.
5. Don’t use it to mask other smells,
Body odour, cigarette smoke or alcohol stenches don’t fade away when you shower with a body spray. These smells attach to the perfume molecules and result to an even more unbearable stench. Perfume is not a magic wand. Don’t use it to magically hide anything.
6. Apply from a distance,
Six inches is the magic number when spraying eau de toilette. Don’t spray it in one concentrated area. If you want it to last longer, you can dab it on your pulse points such as under the neck, your wrists, behind the ear or above the elbow. If you’re a man who wants a subtle scent all throughout the day, apply it to your chest or biceps under your clothing.
7. Obey scent-free workplace policies,
Some people are fatally allergic to perfumes. Synthetic components in perfumes can trigger respiratory and neuro effects that are just not worth the price of smelling good.
8. Stick to the skin,
No matter what they say, avoid spraying perfume on clothing. Perfumes can stain and damage clothes. Perfumes are designed to react to skin chemistry, not your fabric conditioner.
9. Don’t compete with the table,
Don’t wear scent if you’re going to a wine tasting or a gourmet meal. You won’t stand a chance.
10. Don’t go beyond your scent circle,
This is a corollary of the perfumista’s golden rule “don’t put too much”. A scent circle is about an arm’s length from your body and, as a rule, two sprays are just about enough to fill it. Resist the urge to put on more. Nasal receptors can easily get desensitised and you might never know when you’ve put on too much already.
What’s your favourite scent and how do you wear it?