“Perfume should be discovered, not announced.” I read that line many years ago in a magazine, and ever since then I have been extremely conscious about, ahem, overdoing it. I love wearing fragrance—I love everything about it. But as with all things, there is a right way to do it.
To help demystify the technique, I reached out to Wendi S. Berger, creator and president of Pour le Monde, a newly launched 100% natural perfume company. (I love this brand—the scents are really fabulous but best of all, each one of their fragrances benefits a different charity!)
There are so many misconceptions about fragrances, says Berger, and here, she shares her expert advice.
How to find your scent:
1. Fragrance is so subjective, which is why the fragrances in Pour le Monde’s collection are all very different. To find a scent, think about when you’ll be wearing it and what season. If it is a daily fragrance for work or hanging with Mom, you may want something lighter and less powerful like a light floral or green. For the winter months, you may be drawn to something bigger; for summer, a citrus or something sporty.
2. If you’re just looking for a new signature scent, shop around, and wear before you buy. The top notes of a fragrance are known as the “sales” notes, meaning they’re what you first smell and what sells the juice. Top notes fade, depending on if the fragrance is synthetic or natural, in about 1-2 hours, and then the middlenotes or “heart” of the fragrance really evolve on your skin, smelling different than when you first applied. That’s why you should test-drive perfume.
3. Don’t buy what smells good on someone else. Our own body chemistry can dictate how we’ll wear the fragrance, and many times we will carry it much differently than our friends.
How to wear it:
4. Never rub wrists together—especially with naturals! Rubbing creates friction, and friction creates heat. Essentially, you have rubbed off the top notes of the fragrance—which are usually what attracted you to buying it in the first place.
5. Don’t put it in your clothes. The fragrance may last longer, but because some fragrances (like naturals) were developed to heat up from your skin, spraying directly may not only stain your clothes, but will make scents stay flat and, over time, get stale. The only positive is that the chemicals found in synthetic fragrances won’t leach onto your skin and into your body.
6. It’s OK to lightly spray on your hair. It will last longer (especially the top notes). “Lightly” is key, as you don’t want the alcohol to dry out your ends.
How to store it:
7. So many of us have our fragrance trays in the bathroom. Bad idea! All that changing heat and humidity can affect the compounds of the fragrance.
8. The refrigerator is humid too, so it’s not a better alternative.
9. It’s best to store perfume in a dimly lit, climate-controlled area. Your closet is the perfect place! If properly stored, a fragrance can keep for several years.