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How to Apply Perfume

Four Parts:Preparing to Apply Your PerfumeApplying Your PerfumeChoosing Your Targeted LocationUtilizing Your Perfume

Perfume may be just the thing to finish off your outfit, even if it's a T-shirt and your favorite jeans. Applying perfume can liven up a date night, and help attract your desired partner. However, there are some misconceptions as to how to apply perfume, where to apply it, and what types of perfumes to buy. The difference between applying perfume correctly and incorrectly is dramatic, and can change the course of how your evening goes. Luckily, the steps to correctly apply perfume are easy and simple.

Part 1
Preparing to Apply Your Perfume

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    Find your perfect perfume. Do not just wear something because it is a designer perfume. Make sure you absolutely love the perfume's top notes and bottom notes.
    • The top notes are what you smell initially right when you get near the spray bottle. These are usually citrus, fruit, and herb smells. They often wear off very quickly, so it is important to check the bottom notes as well.[1]
    • The bottom notes are generally wood and natural smells. To find out if you like the bottom notes, spray a little of the perfume on the back of your wrist, wait 20 minutes and smell the perfume again.[2]
    • You can also filter your decision by going to an actual perfume store (like Bath and Body, or at a perfume counter at a department store) and ask for help.[3]
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    Choose a daytime or nighttime fragrance. If you are simply going out on the town, going to work, or visiting the beach, try a daytime fragrance. If you are planning a date, or going out to dinner, you might try a nighttime fragrance instead.
    • Look for labels on the packaging. They will usually say either "daytime" or nighttime." If they do not say explicitly, you can usually tell by the color of the packages. Bright yellows, and oranges mean springtime, and are generally daytime fragrances. Dark blues, reds, and purples suggest a nighttime fragrance.[4]
    • Nighttime fragrances are generally sprayed on, or near the neck area. This is because they do not last as long, and you will want a more immediate impact. In that case, apply a little extra moisturizer to the area of choice to hold the fragrance better.[5]
    • Daytime fragrances are generally sprayed down by the hips or knees. This is because they rise as the day goes by, and last longer. Therefore, use some extra moisturizer near the area of choice in order for the fragrance to hold on better.[6]
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    Take a shower or bath. Your skin absorbs perfume better after it is nice and warm. Make sure when you take your shower or bath that the water is hot, so that your pores can open.[7]
    • Use a body wash or soap that is unscented, or has very little scent. You do not want your perfume to clash with the smell.[8]
    • This is also a great time to moisturize your skin. Use a cream or oil so that your skin becomes more openly receptive to the perfume.
    • Washing your hair can also help out if you plan on using the perfume in your hair. Make sure to use conditioner so that your hair if soft, and receptive of the perfume.
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    Dry your skin off. After you take a warm shower or bath, make sure your skin is dry. If you do not, when you spray the perfume on it will not stick. Specifically, get the hard to reach places like the back of your knees, your neckline, and your hair. These are what are called "pulse points," or places where your perfume goes on, and acts at it's highest level.[9]
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    Hydrate your skin. If you did not apply moisturizer during your shower, definitely do this after you dry off. The perfume has a much better chance to lock on to your skin if it is smooth and soft, rather than dry and rough.[10][11]
    • A lotion or body oil work best. Apply a small amount to your hands and rub it between them. Then take your hands and apply the lotion/oil to the rest of your skin.[12]
    • Another great option is petroleum jelly. The perfume will stick to the jelly molecules, rather than the pores, thereby keeping the fragrance alive longer. Apply small dabs and smooth them out on your skin.[13]
    • The key is to hit the "pulse points." These include, but are not limited to: feet, knees, elbows, collarbone, and neck. These places are where you will apply the perfume, and where the perfume will be most effective.[14]
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    Apply the perfume before you put your clothes on. Perfume sprayed directly onto clothes can cause water marks which look unseemly, particularly if you are going out to a nice dinner date. Perfume also works much better on "pulse points" rather than clothes, because the molecules interact with direct contact with skin.[15][16]

Part 2
Applying Your Perfume

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    Hold fragrance away from your body. You will want to be at least 5-7 inches away from your chest/body. Point the nozzle in the direction of your body. If your skin gets to wet from the spray, you are holding it too closely.[17]
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    Spray perfume onto your "pulse points." These points are places where blood vessels are close to the skin. There is extra heat at these points, and because heat rises into the air, your fragrance will more likely be smelled. Some of the most commonly used are collarbones, knees, and necklines.[18]
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    Use targeted sprays. Rather than walking through a cloud of perfume mist, direct the spray exactly at the "pulse points." This will increase the effectiveness of the spray, and not cause you to lose so much of the smell.[19]
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    Dab your perfume on. If your perfume is not a spray type, you can always use your hands to add the perfume onto a "pulse point." Simply shake a bit of perfume out onto your hand. Rub it between your hands. Gently apply to the skin, and rub gently in a small circle.
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    Let your "pulse point" dry without rubbing it. Keep your clothes off until the area is dry. Try and wait at least ten minutes. Neat and natural oils change the scents of the perfume, so you do not want to rub the perfumed area.[20]
    • Rubbing your wrists together after you have perfumed them is a consistent idea perpetuated over and over again. However, rubbing your wrists together breaks down the molecules of the perfume, and dampens the smell.[21]
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    Try not to overdo it with the perfume. A little bit goes a long way when it comes to perfume. It is best to put on too little, than too much. You can always sneak a bottle in your purse, and apply some later if you feel it is not strong enough.

Part 3
Choosing Your Targeted Location

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    Comb perfume through your hair. Fragrances latch onto fibers, so your hair is a great place to smell good for long periods of time. The perfume also attaches to hair products, such as shampoo and conditioner, making the fragrance last even longer.
    • Simply mist the spray onto the comb/brush. You can also apply some perfume with your hand or a towel to the comb/brush. Run it gently through your hair. Make sure to get it all over, rather than just in a few spots.[22]
    • Make sure not to get too much in your hair, otherwise the alcohol in the perfume will dry your hair out.
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    Dab some perfume behind your ears. Veins are very close to your skin in this "pulse point." Put a small amount of perfume on the edge of your fingertips, and dab it behind your ears. Placing perfume behind your ears gets immediate effects and it best for nighttime perfumes.[23]
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    Rub in perfume near your collarbone. Your neck/collarbone area has a lot of dips because of the bone structure. This gives the perfume plenty of room to rest, and interact with your skin. You can either dab some perfume on with your fingertips, or spray a little on, 5-7 inches away.[24]
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    Spray perfume down your back. The back is not the typical place to put perfume. However, because it is a place entirely covered up by clothes, it has a long shelf life, and not be so overbearing when you go out. Simply reach your hand around and spritz a couple sprays down your backbone. You can also get a friend to do it for you if you cannot reach around.[25]
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    Apply perfume behind your knees. Because your knees are constantly moving throughout the day, there is a lot of heat generated. This works with the perfume, and gradually moves the scent upwards as the day goes on. Simply dap a bit of perfume with your fingertips behind the knee, or spray about 5-7 inches away.[26]
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    Administer perfume inside of your elbows. Just like your knees, your elbows are "pulse points" that constantly move throughout the day, generating heat. Dab some perfume in your elbows with your fingertips, or spray it on 5-7 inches away.[27]
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    Apply perfume in your belly button. This is a rather odd place to put perfume, but it is a great place for your perfume to rest and interact with a "pulse point." It is also covered up with a shirt, so it is not so overbearing. Take a bit of perfume and place it on your fingertips. Run your fingers around and inside your belly button to apply the perfume.[28]

Part 4
Utilizing Your Perfume

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    Familiarize yourself with your perfume. Skin reacts in different ways to different perfumes. Notice whether you can smell the perfume after a few hours is up. Check that your skin is not reacting negatively to a particular perfume.[29]
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    Reapply scent every four hours. Even the best perfumes do not last very long. Ask a friend or family member whether they think you need some more. Often times you can get used to the smell of your perfume, but it still might be strong.[30]
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    Use alcohol wipes and hand sanitizer. If you think that there is too much perfume on you, simply take an alcohol wipe (baby wipe) and some hand sanitizer and wash that area off. You can then dry, and reapply the perfume. Make sure this time not to spray or dab too much.[31]
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    Keep perfume out of sunlight, and cool. This is because heat and light change the chemical make-up of the perfume. The perfume then changes smell, which does not bode well for your date night. The best place to store your perfume is in a refrigerator.[32]
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    Check the expiration date on your perfume. Like other products, perfume goes out of date. If you notice that there is a sharp smell when you open the bottle, that is another sign that your perfume is way too old.[33]


  • Do not leave your perfume bottle in direct sunlight, because it makes its scent die out faster.
  • If perfume doesn't sound like your thing, but you still want a nice, subtle scent: try a scented body wash and matching lotion.
  • Try out new scents every once in a while. The same perfume grows old, and you might not be able to smell it after you get used to it.
  • Change up perfumes on special occasions like Valentines Day, or Christmas.
  • Try out a mens' cologne. While there may be a stigma attached to this, there are many mens' colognes out there on the market which smell great on women as well.
  • If you don't like perfumes you could try using body mist.
  • Keep your perfume in the fridge and it will last two to three weeks longer.
  • Don't wear a different scented deodorant, or your smells can be too extreme.


  • Don't spray perfume with your clothes on. It can stain your clothing, and the perfume sticks to the clothes, not you.
  • The key is to avoid dousing yourself in perfume. Just do a few light sprays here & there, and you'll do fine.
  • Don't wear overpowering perfume that makes people around you uncomfortable.
  • Everyone has a personal "scent circle": approximately an arm's length from the body. No one should be aware of your fragrance unless he or she steps inside your "circle." Fragrances should be one of the most subtle, personal messages you send to those with whom you come in contact.
  • Never rub your wrists together (or just rub once to spread the perfume to the other wrist), rubbing wrists does not break molecules or remove perfume, but it does generate heat, which will cause the notes of the perfume to react differently due to faster evaporation.
  • Many liquid perfumes are based in petrol or oil. Solid perfumes are less likely to possess these constituents.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Perfume and Body Fragrances