How to Make Perfume Last Longer and Tips for Choosing a Workout-Friendly Scent

Find out exactly how to make perfume last throughout intense workouts, according to experts.

Woman Spraying Perfume on Her Wrist
Photo: Getty Images

Fragrances tend to be one of the most expensive beauty purchases, so there's a lot at stake any time you venture out from your signature scent. There's nothing worse than spending a pretty penny on a fragrance only to find that it lasts 20 minutes before dissipating.

If you plan to wear a fragrance during workouts, making your selection becomes even trickier, since sweat and body odors can impact how the fragrance smells and how long it lasts. For one thing, sweat can cause a fragrance to evaporate faster, says Veronica Kato, a fragrance expert and in-house perfumer for Natura

To make sure that your perfume withstands your most intense workouts, there are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing and applying your scent. Below, expert-backed tips that'll ensure your perfume smells amazing before, during, and after your workouts. (Related: How to Pick Your Signature Perfume, Based on Astrology)

How to Make a Perfume Last Longer

Choose the Right Scent

Many elements play into a scent's longevity, but one factor in particular carries the most weight. "The main reason for a fragrance to last a longer or shorter time is due to its olfactory family," says Kato. Olfactory families are categories that fragrances fall into, based on their key characteristics, she explains. "For example, the citrus (e.g. orange, lemon, bergamot) olfactory family don't last as long as the floriental (e.g. rose, jasmine, vanilla) olfactory family due to the volatility (read: tendency to evaporate) of the ingredients that make up these structures." The longest-lasting fragrances typically have wood, musk, or resin base notes, as InStyle previously reported.

On the other hand, there's something to be said for choosing a lighter fragrance with citrus and floral notes for exercise, even if it means sacrificing longevity, says Sue Phillips, a fragrance expert and CEO of Scenterprises Inc. and Sue Phillips Fragrance. Your fragrance can smell slightly off in combination with your body odor during exercise, particularly if you choose something with wood, spice, and amber notes, according to Yvan Jacqueline, a fragrance expert and managing director of the Americas for Parfums de Marly.

Apply Fragrance on Your Pulse Points

You've probably seen people apply their perfume on the wrist or the sides of the neck and they're totally onto something. "There are parts of the body that retain scent well [called] pulse points," says Veronique Gabai, founder of an eponymous perfume brand. Pulse points are areas on your body where you can easily feel your pulse since the your arteries are closer to the surface, including your neck, décolletage, behind your ears, and your wrists. These areas are constantly generating heat, and the intensity and staying power of fragrances increases with heat, explains Gabai. When you work out and your heart rate increases, your body becomes even warmer, which can intensify this effect, she explains.

However, if you've ever seen someone rub their wrists together after applying fragrance, that's one technique you'll want to skip. Rubbing in a fragrance may prevent the scent from lasting long, says Jacqueline. "Not rubbing or 'kissing' your wrists so as to not bruise or break the notes from developing on the skin will also extend the life of fragrance on one's skin," he says.

Moisturize Your Skin

Consider applying your body lotion right before spritzing on your fragrance. Doing so can make the scent last longer, whether or not you're heading to the gym, according to Kato.

Ideally, you'll use a lotion that's unscented, which won't compete with your fragrance. "Many popular bath, body, and hair products are scented with strong, deodorant scents, which leave the skin very fragranced," says Phillips. "However, the downside of that is that those scents overpower the beauty of high-quality perfumes." An unscented product that will help hydrate your skin and leave a blank "canvas for your perfume,"says Phillips. (Related: The 10 Best Body Lotions for Dry Skin, According to Reviews)

If you can't resist a pleasant-smelling body moisturizer, consider choosing a product with the same scent as your go-to fragrance. Ideally, use a lotion or moisturizer that has the same fragrance as the perfume make the scent last longer, explains Kato. A pairing she recommends: Ekos Maracujá Body Lotion with Ekos Frescor Maracujá.

Choose the Right Type of Fragrance

ICYDK, the terms "parfum," "eau de parfum," "eau de toilette," "eau de cologne," and "eau fraiche" aren't interchangeable. They reflect how concentrated perfumes are and, by extension, how long they might last.

"Parfums have the highest concentration of oils, over 20 percent, and last the longest out of all fragrance creations, with some [lasting] over 12 hours or more," says Jacqueline. Parfums (e.g. Parfums de Marly Delina Exclusif) tend to be the most expensive due to the high concentrations of oil and long-lasting wear.

"Eau de parfum is the second most concentrated perfume, which has between 15 to 20 percent perfume concentration [and] lasts about four to five hours," says Phillips. "Eau de toilette has between five to 15 percent concentration [and] lasts about three to four hours, [and] eau de cologne has two to four percent concentration [and] lasts about two hours on the skin." Finally, eau fraiche is the lowest concentration of all the fragrance types and includes at most three percent concentration and lasts only about one to two hours on your skin. Moral of the story, if you're looking a formula that will last, even when you break a sweat, parfums are your best bet, followed by eau de parfums.

Scent preferences are very personal, and when choosing fragrances, identifying what you tend to gravitate toward is half the battle. Keeping some additional criteria in mind when shopping — and applying your fragrance strategically — can ensure that your scent will withstand your workouts.

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