A French woman’s secrets to wearing perfume


This is the fourth in a series of articles on perfume from a French perspective, and this time I will share some advice on perfume application.

Perfume oil is always diluted with a solvent (ethanol or water/ethanol). Eau de Parfum/Toilette tell you the strength of a fragrance, based on the concentration of the perfume oil/aromatics in it. The concentration affects application, longevity and your personal experience. Stay open to experimenting and finding your personal comfort level from fragrance to fragrance.

The Additionally, it should be noted that fragrances do last longer or shorter, not only depending on perfume oil percentage, but also on the person. For example, if you have dry skin you are more likely to feel like your fragrance evaporates faster.

Sylvia Ziemski,

Traditionally, it is recommended to apply your fragrance on your pulse points, that is on the wrists, behind the ears, on the neck, behind the elbow and the back of the knees. To apply perfume to all of these points, or just one, is unusual. I have a couple of perfumes that I avoid having near the face but love applying to my wrists for example. Also the sillage (scent trail) can affect what application method works best for you.

A perfume that diffuses a lot should be applied with caution. Perfume should be gently applied to the pulse points (don’t rub it in when it is on the skin).

A more modern method of application is to spray your fragrance in the air and then step through the mist. This works great for an EdP or EdT. Nota bene, ‘spraying’ in this sense means once or twice, not more.

You might also have read about perfume in your hair – applied by spraying your fragrance on your brush before brushing your hair. Be moderate, too much perfume is never a good thing.

Sylvia Ziemski,

Fragrances smell differently on different people. But a fragrance can also seem different on you from one occasion to another. Stress, medication or hormonal changes can make a fragrance smell in a new way, (probably worse, if you noticed it).

That also explains why sometimes people who have used their old favorite fragrance for years can suddenly not like it at all. Try another one, or just give it some time and then re-unite.

Whether we want to or not, our perfume is part of other peoples’ environment so we should wear perfume in a respectful way. What smells amazing to one person, can smell horrible to another.


The other reason, which is more important, is that quite a lot of people get allergic reactions from perfumes. If you work in a crowded office – be moderate and conscious with your perfume application. Chose a fragrance that sticks closer to the body and is applied on selected pulse points.

PS: A few words on how to store your perfumes… Keep them in a place where they are not exposed to heat and sunlight.

Image credits:
1. Perfume testing, via Pinterest
2, 3. via Homemade Fragrances
4. Sylvie Ziemski

About the Contributor

Sylvia Ziemski

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