Finding a cologne or perfume that you love is difficult, which is why it’s so frustrating when a fragrance that smells so good doesn’t seem to last very long. It happens to the best of us, and there are certain fragrances that are notorious for smelling great but dying within hours. (Cough, YSL L’Homme, cough.)
Before you dive ahead, we recommend checking out our article on the science of fragrance longevity to understand why certain colognes and perfumes last longer than others. If it seems like your fragrance doesn’t last a while, it could just be olfactory fatigue!
But if you’re absolutely certain that your wonderful fragrance has terrible performance, there are a few tips you can try to maximize longevity and hopefully squeeze a few more hours of each application.
1. Moisturize Your Skin
Many people think that dry skin absorbs colognes and perfumes, and that would make the scents last longer, wouldn’t it? After all, a dry sponge can absorb more water than a wet sponge, right? But it doesn’t actually work like that.
If your skin is too dry, it actually has trouble holding onto the aromachemicals in fragrances. Properly moisturized skin is just wet enough to keep the aromachemicals “stuck” to you (for lack of a better term), and so they disperse less quickly and therefore last longer. Dry skin, on the other hand, can’t hold on and so the aromachemicals evaporate faster, leading to shorter longevity.
2. Use Vaseline as a Binder
If the condition of your skin is so bad that it stays dry even with ample moisturizer and a good skincare routine, then petroleum jelly (Vaseline) could be a neat trick that works for you. It’s one of the more versatile household items you can incorporate into your daily routine!
Apply a bit of petroleum jelly to wherever you intend to apply your fragrance. It doesn’t have to be a lot—just enough that you know it’s there, but not so much that it stands out. Then spray the cologne or perfume onto the petroleum jelly. It’ll act as a kind of binder that holds onto the aromachemicals, slowing down how quickly they evaporate. You might notice less projection, but that’s a small price to pay for extended longevity!
3. Avoid Common Contact Points
Fragrance longevity is all about keeping the aromachemicals on your skin for as long as possible. Anytime something—anything—touches your skin where fragrance was applied, it takes away some those aromachemicals. Maybe a negligible amount, or maybe a lot. It depends on how the contact happened. But the point is, contact did happen.
For example, if you apply your cologne or perfume to your inner wrists and you’re constantly reaching into your pants pockets (e.g. for your phone or keys), the aromachemicals are rubbing off every time and that’s going to impact longevity.
Want your fragrances to last? Apply to areas that are never, or rarely, touched.
4. Apply Under Your Clothing
The “avoid contact points” tip doesn’t apply when you spray colognes and perfumes under clothing. Even though your clothing is technically rubbing the applied aromachemicals, those aromachemicals stay trapped under your clothing as they evaporate. The scent sticks with you and slowly disperses through open exit points, like your collar or sleeves.
This is a great way to extend longevity! If you can’t keep the aromachemicals from evaporating, then at least keep them around once they’re in the air. The more layers of clothing you have, the better the aromachemicals will stay trapped. (A lone t-shirt won’t help longevity very much, but a sweater sure would.)
5. Wear More of It
You can think of each spray of your cologne or perfume as carrying a certain amount of aromachemicals in it. If you spray twice, your skin is receiving twice as many scent compounds. If you spray five times, it’s receiving five times as many! The more you have on your skin, the longer it’ll take for all of it to evaporate and fade.
If you find that a certain fragrance has horrible longevity, you can try applying more of it. Yeah, it’ll smell stronger and you’ll run out faster, but if extra longevity is that important to you, it’s the most effective way to make it happen.
When in doubt, you can always give yourself a fragrance touch-up by carrying your cologne or perfume around in a miniature atomizer. We also recommend learning more about where to apply fragrances and how much you should wear.