As we move further into the world of fragrance, I wanted to take a moment to review some basic etiquette points with y’all that should be discussed prior to starting on your new fragrance adventure. Mainly, how much should you spray, and in what environment?
One of the main complaints others have about those who wear a fragrance is that they’re gassed out by being anywhere close to them. This mainly happens because the wearer applied way too much fragrance. But let’s look at a reason why this happens.
Many people wear fragrances for themselves, they like to smell it, they like how they feel wearing it. But after 20-30 minutes, they don’t get that beautiful whiff anymore and might mistakenly believe that it’s worn off. So what do they do to compensate? Spray even more. What’s really happening isn’t that the fragrance went away, it’s that we have a combination of a fragrance drying down, which all fragrances do, and olfactory adaptation. Olfactory adaptation is what happens when your nose and brain adapt to a scent and it’s not being processed as a central sensory stimulus anymore. Here’s a good article to read on the science behind it (and this goes for more than your fragrance, olfactory adaptation affects how you smell yourself period, your house, etc) and how it impacts you.
Olfactory adaptation does not mean spray more fragrance. It means that while you can’t necessarily smell you, others most certainly can. When you spray more, you’re in danger of fumigating them out and creating an unpleasant environment for everyone. Remember being around teenagers who decided that emptying a can of Axe body spray on themselves totally would be a great idea? You are now the adult version of that teenager because it’s the exact same effect.
Another factor to consider is where you’re going to be for most of the time after you spray. If you’re going to be on the train, in a plane, or at the office, you certainly don’t want to over-apply. I would also caution you to think about a fragrance that isn’t so bold as well. While I’ll be detailing types of fragrances for location and weather in an upcoming article, for now, just remember, if you’re going to be in close quarters with people in an enclosed space, do unto others. You don’t want to be stuck with an eye-watering aroma for hours, neither do they (and this is particularly pertinent to spicier scents, some people are allergic to cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.).
You also want to be considerate of the fact that some people are allergic to strong scents period. That’s just how their bodies work. Other people are prone to scent-induced migraines (I’m one of them) and you deciding to ignore common decency and bathing in your fragrance can literally cause them days of agony in your wake.
So how much to spray?
This depends on the concentration you’re wearing. I defined concentrations here, so you can go and refresh your memory. EDT and EDC can generally be applied more liberally as the concentration is not as strong and they wear off faster. EDP and extraits have a higher concentration, so they should be applied much more conservatively.
EDC and EDT applications shouldn’t go over 6 sprays, absolute maximum (and I’m being generous here), but you could ostensibly spritz your wrists, hair, and clothes, wait a little bit for a dry down and go about your business. If you’re wearing a spicier scent, limit it to 4 at most.
EDP should never go more than four sprays, and extraits honestly should be 1-2. Hit your wrists and be done with it. EDP spritz your wrists, and a full-body, you’re good. But Kori, you just mentioned two places! Yes, for most EDPs and extraits that will work, especially for spicy, gourmand, floral, and fruity scents. Occasionally you’ll find some aquatic, woodsy, and fresh/citrus scents that can handle an extra spray (maybe for your hair or an extra dab on your neck). But again, never over 4 for an EDP, and never over 2 for an extrait. These are higher concentrations, so they’re going to project stronger and last longer.
So what about perfume oils? Do your wrists, and that’s it. That’s literally all you need. Hit the wrists and leave it alone.
Now, if you do want to join the 20 spray club, you can. However, only do it when you’re home alone and can sit back and snort your wrists in peace. If you wanna burn off your nasal mucous membranes, that’s entirely your right. But don’t inflict it on everyone else.
So overall takeaway here? If you’re bothering other people with your fragrance, you’re likely as not wearing too much. Ease up on the applications and follow the guidelines above. If it’s still a problem try a different scent category as you might be working with people who are especially scent sensitive. With a little consideration and conservative spraying habits, you too can be that person who smells pleasant to everyone around you and not a walking fumigation hellscape to be avoided.