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Buky Akinmboni: Why Does the Same Perfume Smell Differently On Someone Else?



I have a very good friend that always. smells nice. She always smells like she just spritzed on perfume two minutes before you saw/smelled her.

Any who, one fine day, ‘Mrs Ever Smelling Nice’ comes to see me at home, we hug and I fall completely in love with the scent she has on. ‘What perfume are you wearing?’ I ask. She responds ‘Crystal Noir by Versace’. ‘Hmm, I love it” I respond.

From that moment on, I make it my life mission to own a bottle of Crystal Noir and eventually I do. Sadly, I spritz on my Crystal Noir and nobody is telling me they love my perfume. Even I do not recognize the scent as the same one that is engraved in my memory from that hug a while ago. What’s going on? Is this perfume fake? But no, it was bought at duty free (not Naija Duty free, because even that will be questioned). Not satisfied, I get yet another bottle of Crystal Noir and same results, no comments from anyone. Yet, ‘Mrs Always Smelling Nice’ is still tormenting me with this Crystal Noir. ‘Are you sure you are not mixing it with something else?’ I ask. The reply is ‘No’.

So why is it that the same perfume smells differently on both of us?
Well I know now; it’s chemistry! Some body compositions have great chemistry with perfume and when their bodies and perfume meet, they create magic. Some other body composition and perfume are like an explosive concoction, when they meet, it goes Boom! – okay I exaggerate, what I mean is they do not create magic. The combination sometimes kills the magic the perfume has. I belong to the latter group. Just like we all have different DNA, our PH balance differ from one individual to the next. And fragrances react different to the varying PH balance.

There are so many ways that our body chemistry affects the way fragrance smells on us. Generally perfume works better on a more alkaline PH balance (i.e. anything from 7 on the PH scale) than on acidic skin. If your PH is more acidic than alkaline chances are that the acidity will kill the fragrance molecules. The composition of your sweat (which affects PH balance) will tweak the scent of your perfume. The saltier your sweat, the less likely your perfume will have a good throw. Your skin type also affects how perfume smells on you. If you’ve got oily skin, your perfume will most likely last longer because perfume sticks to oil. On dry skin, the perfume tends to dissipate faster because there is nothing for the perfume to hold on too – it literally slips off your skin. Your diet also affects the way your perfume smells. If you eat a lot of garlic, you should know that scent oozes out through your pores and when you spray perfume, it will mix with the garlic fragrance – how alluring.

Now this is not to say stop eating garlic or become obsessed with checking your PH balance. The good news is that your body chemistry makes your perfume smell distinctly you! Its like nature allows you customize your fragrance – which is a good thing. All you need do is find which fragrances you have good chemistry with. It may take a while but over time, you will begin to see patterns and themes in the perfumes people comment you on. Stick to those.

The fact that I am a perfume lover, a perfumer, scent curator does NOT mean that I naturally ooze of perfume (my house does) – with my highly acidic sweat and garlic loving self, it is not surprising that perfume does not smell as nice on me as it does on my friend. But since this is my field, I have come to find the scents that I have good chemistry with and I have also learned a few tricks to keep me smelling nice all day, everyday.

Watch out for my tips on how to “Smell nice all day, every day”. Till then, if you smell a scent you love on someone, before rushing out to buy it, try the perfume on yourself and see how it works first. What is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Buky is at heart a communications girl. With over 10 years’ experience in advertising and brand management, she has developed a wide range of knowledge and skills in advertising, media, events and PR. With a natural knack for strategy, she has helped navigate the brand communications for brands like Gulder, Amstel Malta, Peak Milk, Tecno, and even Tara - an indigenous make up company. With a passion for scents, she co-founded a scent company Scentify in 2015. Scentify is, an indigenous fragrance company that produces hand-made scented products for home and body. Fueled by her passion, she left paid employment in 2016 to manage the Scentify brand. In her role as Creative Director for Scentify, she oversees, New Product Development, Marketing and Sales. With Scentify, Buky is one happy girl as she is able to live out her two passions –Scents and Communications. Buky loves to travel and spend quality time with close friends and family. Email: [email protected] Instagram: @bukiboni Website:


  1. Great

    October 10, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Great article, I am a perfume lover and it can be a very expensive hobby. I learnt a lot from your article. Waiting for the next one.

  2. Lee

    October 11, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Pls write another article, I really appreciate it.

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