Ever walked into a room full of people and your nose twitched? Yes, the room smells nice and exotic perfume smells render the air as fragrant as a field of flowers but there is that one exotic scent that is off-putting.
You are sitting at your desk at work and a colleague walks past and you are hit *literally* by their scent? That has happened to me so I know how it feels. In my case though, I instantly felt nauseous and had to walk out so I didn’t puke right there.
There is something called Perfume Etiquette but a lot of us don’t know and those who do are too consumed by an impulsive need to have people smell the expensive perfume they have on, ask where they got it and how much to care. Be calm Barbara, lol.
Simply put, Perfume Etiquette is the customary code of polite behaviour or list of unspoken rules that govern the usage of scents in public and I’ve created just the list for this.
But first, let’s know our scents
- Eau de cologne: Lasts for about an hour. They are usually extracts from plants and have a fresh & breezy air to them. Surprisingly, they are very ‘adult’ and are said to refresh the body on hot days. Some of the favs I’ve come across are the Byredo Gypsy Water & Helmut Lang
- Eau de toilette: These last about 2 hours. Unlike Eau de colognes that are mainly fresh, Eau de toilettes can be any fragrance – from strong orange scent to jasmine to spices. The best way to use these though is to spray them directly on the skin right after a bath. I love DKNY Be Delicious and literally cover my whole body with a light mist of it after bathing. Gucci Flora is simply divine and YSL Paris grows on you
- Eau de parfum: These are still going strong for up to 4 hours. The most popular scent type, they are a heavier version of toilettes. Remember how it’s advised to lightly spray hair for that lingering scent? yep, it’s eau de parfums that are perfect for that. When sprayed directly on clothes, they can sometimes last all day. My preferred? Prada Candy, La vie est belle, Tresor Nuit and 5th Avenue
- Perfume extracts: Better off for men since they tend to have stronger natural smells, these last up to 8 hours. These have up to 40% essential oils in them and are the likes of Terre de Hermes Pure Perfume and Clive Christian no1 for Men
Now we know our scents, let’s go into our rules for perfume customary code:
- Rule 1 – Don’t use overpowering scents in small or enclosed public spaces
- Rule 2 – Try your scents one at a time don’t pile them on all at once especially if they are all in the same scent family (I’m guilty of this even though my reason is that I don’t want people to know what I have on. Besides, it’s usually a mix of deodorant and perfume *grin*)
- Rule 3 – Purchasing a perfume and determined to try them all at once? Take a whiff of coffee beans in-between. All reputable perfume stores have them in-store
- Rule 4 – Always spray perfume on your pulse points and not on your clothes. Perfume tends to destroy fabric overtime and spraying on the pulse points enhances the scent
- Rule 5 – Find and wear only ‘Your’ scent. Because one fragrance is great on someone else doesn’t mean it will be great for you
Below is a short video I’ve filmed explaining the 5 rules of Perfume Etiquette (I’d advise you kip to 1:08 and escape all my rambling)