You just tried on your friend’s perfume, but for some reason, it doesn’t smell nearly the same on your skin.
The short answer is that you simply have a different body chemistry.
The long answer is the guide you’re about to read.
Body chemistry alone can be enough to make a fragrance smell great on you or completely ruin its initial aroma.
Thus, there’s a lot you should be aware of before making your next purchase.
How Does Body Chemistry Affect a Perfume’s Scent?
One minor factor that might not be mentioned as much is our individual senses of smell.
When you choose perfume in a store, the air molecules are normally quite different from those at home.
The sensory neurons in your nose can pick up an entirely different fragrance compared to when you wear it in a less perfume-centered atmosphere.
This is why it’s advisable to try out perfumes over long periods of time.
Oily skin is well-moisturized, making the perfume last longer.
Dry skin, on the other hand, lacks moisture, causing less adherence to the perfume, and hence a quicker decline of the scent.
Depending on the time of year, your daily activities, where you live, etc.
your perspiration rate directly affects how a perfume smells on you.
You might have seen ads on seasonal fragrances, in which case, spicy notes like cedar and leather are great winter fragrances, while citrusy, floral scents are more preferred for the summer.
You are what you eat. Meat lovers smell different from vegans, who smell different from spice lovers, who smell different from pescatarians, who… you get the gist.
Everyone has an entirely different lifestyle; diet and stress levels included.
Add the scent of perfume to all of this and our bodies produce very different scents from the same fragrances.
How Do I Know My Body Chemistry?
Skin Type/Moisture Content
Your skin has sebaceous glands which excrete sebum.
This particular excretion is oily and is transported to the skin through your hair follicles.
The above point on lifestyle directly affects how the oily substance smells, making the situation individually different.
With this in mind, fragrance molecules adhere to the moisture of your skin, making different perfumes last longer the oilier your skin is.
The rough complexion and lack of moisture in dry skin will, in turn, make the perfume evaporate faster.
pH (potential of hydrogen) is the measure of how acidic/alkaline a substance is.
The pH scale runs from 0 to 14, 0 being the most acidic (e.g. battery acid), 14 being the most alkaline (e.g. drain cleaner), and 7 being neutral (e.g. pure water).
If your natural skin feels dry or even cracked after washing your face, it’s more alkaline than neutral.
In contrast, if it feels smooth and flawless after the wash, your pH level is well-balanced.
If the initial oiliness is still present, your skin has more acidic qualities to it.
This all affects your aroma when deciding to wear your signature scent.
To restore your skin’s pH balance, try out the following;
- Avoid harsh cleansers
- Add aloe vera to your skincare routine
- Always moisturize
- See a dermatologist for expert suggestions
Generally speaking, more body heat equals stronger scents.
Our noses also work better in warm temperatures, making fragrances travel faster, and thus more prominent.
This all explains why an eau de cologne can do well on a hot summer day while parfum will probably choke your folks into oblivion.
Strong, oily perfumes in this case can be great for ball parties or weddings.
The temperature here is not only applicable in terms of the weather, but also in the case of your basal body temperature.
Depending on whether you’re cold or warm to the touch, a particular fragrance might smell differently on you when applied to the pulse points.
How to Choose the Right Perfume for Your Body Chemistry?
Alcohol and oil are the two main elements of perfume.
Knowing the strength of most fragrances will largely depend on their oil to alcohol ratio.
Parfum, the most concentrated, has the most aromatic oils, while eau fraiche, the least-concentrated, has the least.
When finding the right perfume for your body, you might want to go for a more or less concentrated perfume, depending on your skin type, skin pH balance, and of course, temperature.
The top notes of a perfume are what comes up after the first few seconds.
They have an intense fragrance but do not last long, hence should not be trusted as much.
The middle notes come into play after the top notes have faded away.
A middle note lasts longer and is normally referred to as the heart of the perfume.
The base notes come up last.
They are subtle in scent but last longer than the middle notes.
There are four main fragrance families (subdivided further into different categories).
- Fresh – consisting of crisp, refreshing, zesty scents e. g. most citrus notes
- Floral – consisting of soft, sweet, light musky aromas e. g. flowery fragrances like jasmine
- Woody – consisting of earthy, leathery perfume smells; more like sandalwood or amber e. g. mossy woods fragrances
- Oriental – consisting of a warm, rich, spicy scent e. g. cinnamon, cardamom, and orange blossom
When determining how to choose the right perfume for your body chemistry, it’s worth bearing in mind all of the above.
An example is how a woody cologne suits a typical male’s body chemistry, while a floral scent is, most of the time, the perfect perfume for women and young adults.
How Do I Know if a Perfume Works on Me?
The common test here is to simply try the perfume over a long period.
This is likely to give you more accurate results on the perfume’s performance.
Testing a sample out for several hours gives you some insight on whether or not the scent declines quickly, if it smells differently when you sweat, and even possibly if the perfume is compatible with the weather or basal temperature.
Pay attention to the specific notes; from the top note, down to the base note, with the heart notes being your point of reference.
Do Perfumes Work Better on Oily Skin than Dry Skin?
The quick answer here is yes.
However, one can apply some lotion on the skin to act as a layer of moisture for the perfume to hold on to.
This will make the perfume last longer without leaving your skin dry.
It’s also worth noting that stronger perfumes are also the most expensive; so, in a way, you’ll also be saving some money.
The Bottom Line
Blind-buying perfumes can be a fun experience.
However, taking the time to know how to choose the right perfume for your body chemistry is always beneficial.
On the off chance that you decide to do so, be sure to use the essential perfume tips listed in this guide.
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