Beauty and nail expert Leighton Denny MBE has revealed fragrance ‘hacks’ and common faux pas when it comes to applying your signature scents.
There are many myths and uncertainties surrounding perfume application, including why some fragrances last longer than others and why the same scent may smell different on someone else.
Speaking to Femail, the award-winning businessman, from Bradford, has provided answers to some of the most frequently asked questions – and has even explained why you’ve probably been spraying your scent wrong for many years.
Fragrances smell different on everyone
‘This is because each of us has our own “scent print” that will influence the development of a perfume.’
‘This odour-identity is the sum total of our genes, our skin chemistry, diet, medication intake, stress level and, probably the most important factor of all, the temperature of our skin.’
‘It’s not as simple as saying fragrances react differently on different people because of their “body chemistry.”
‘The warmth of our skin is critical. Some people have more pores per centimetre than others, or more layers of fat in their skin. These and other factors affect the warmth of skin, which in turn influences the scent of a fragrance. We are all created equal until we use fragrance.’
Skin types can affect scents
‘The oils in skin dissolve and retain scent molecules. Therefore, the oilier your skin, the more intense a fragrance will be and the longer it will last.’
‘If you have dry skin then your fragrance won’t last, you’ll need to add something to act as a barrier between your skin and your fragrance, such as matching moisturiser that can double the life of your liquid fragrance on dry skin.
Antibiotics and diet and all change your fragrance
‘There isn’t anything you can take orally to bring out your fragrance more but if you’re on a low-fat diet, the oil levels in your skin tend to be lower so you may find that your fragrance doesn’t last as long.’
‘As for antibiotics, many can change the smell of your skin.Their action decimates the bacteria on your skin, which, in turn blends with your skin oils to produce a fragrance that is distinctive to you.’
‘Some medications might change your favourite fragrance so don’t bin it if this happens, just wait until the medication has left your system and try the fragrance again.’
Layer your perfume so it lasts longer
‘If fragrance doesn’t last on you then unfortunately, your body’s chemistry can cause fragrance to evaporate quicker from your skin. Perfumers would say that your skin “throws off” fragrance.’
‘Instead of a fragrance lasting for some three to five hours, it disappears within an hour, sometimes shorter, and the rate of evaporation can triple or even quadruple on your skin. Why? The acidity of your skin is a possible culprit.
‘Try licking your wrist. Does it have a sharp, tangy taste? If so that’s a sure sign of acid. And the more acidic your skin, the more it will tend to throw off perfume.’
‘As mentioned before medicines can change your body’s chemistry. Low fat diets, stress, spicy foods and fast foods can all affect body temperature and encourage the skin to throw off perfume.
‘Add dry skin and pregnancy to the list and you’ll see why so many women complain about the staying power of their scent.’
‘The solution? Put an emollient layer between your skin and your perfume. “Layer” your fragrance to extend its life. Use a fragrance-free body lotion or body cream, or one that matches the fragrance, to slow down the rate of evaporation and double the life of your fragrance.’
Climate affects fragrance
‘Summer heat increases the impact of odour. The hotter the weather, the more rapidly the “notes” of a fragrance leave the skin.’
‘The answer in hot weather is a lighter fragrance re-applied more frequently. Winter tones down scent; in cold weather the fragrance molecules “lift” more slowly and the top, heart and base notes develop more gradually.’
Do not rub your wrists together after you spray
‘Applying perfume is the simplest of matters. Just simply spray. Avoid rubbing the wrists together after application to prevent “crushing” the scent.
Apply on pulse points: below earlobes, inside elbows, back of knees, ankles, base of neck, inside wrists. Other good places to apply are in cleavage, on shoulders, and back of the neck at the hairline. Some women apply fragrance on inner thighs, so the scent wafts up and around them.
Spray about 20cm away from your skin. An even spray over a wider area will help your fragrance last longer than a generous amount in a small area.’
Some perfumes can last over ten years
‘In the bottle perfumes usually last anything from 12 to 35 months but it depends on the type of fragrance, its ingredients and how it is stored. Any fragrance stored out of its box in direct sunlight isn’t going to last more than a few months at most.
But if stored in a dark, cool environment and the ingredients are the type not to decay easily, then you might get well over 10 years. Some vintage fragrances can last for decades, when stored properly.’
Store your perfume correctly
‘Keep your perfume away from direct sunlight and temperature change. If a fragrance get hot and cold a lot, it causes it to ‘sweat’ and condensation can get into the juice and that’s it really, the fragrance goes cloudy and it’s … RIP to your EDP!’
Some fragrance are absolute no-no’s
‘There are always no-no’s with everything, but especially at work. You may love that your signature scent lets everyone know you’re in the room or have recently left it, but your work colleagues should only be able to smell you when they’re leaning over your shoulder to read something on your computer screen. Not when you walk past their office door. My rule is stick to a light spray for work.’
What are ‘notes’ and how would you explain them?
‘Top notes are evident as soon as the liquid touches your skin. These are usually lighter than the other ingredients, and function by shaping the primary fragrance burst.’
‘Shortly after application, the top notes give way to the heart notes. These are ally floral, as most fruity notes are too light for this layer. These middle notes make up the core perfume as it sits on the skin, and it is these layers that define the ultimate dry down, when the perfume settles on to the skin.’
‘The base notes determine how long a fragrance will last, and provide a background on which the heart notes can be appreciated. Interestingly, most fragrances have similar base notes. This is because there are only a certain number of notes that will last long enough on the skin to form the base of a fragrance.’