James Craven, Perfume Archivist at Les Senteurs - London's oldest independent perfumery shows us How to Wear Fragrance
Let me say at once that the first and most important tip is to make the RIGHT purchase! Once you have found a cologne which perfectly fits your personality and enhances your mood you are well on the way to making a splash wherever you go!
However, there are several ways in which you can set off your new fragrance to ensure maximum flesh impact wherever you wear it.
Here we go:
1. Don't be shy of it! You have invested time and a reasonable amount of money in a well considered scent that we assume is a perfect "fit". So do not stint on the application. Despite what your parents taught you, it is better to slightly over-apply than to use too little. You are wearing cologne to smell and be smelled.
2. Use every day: make the application of fragrance part of your daily grooming routine, morning and evening. Do not save it for a "special occasion" which all too often never comes - perfume is like food, it is best to use a new bottle while it's fresh and you are hungry for it. Finish it and come back for more.
3. In addition, you will have chosen the fragrance to suit your mood, your skin and your psyche at a certain point in time: our minds and moods and bodies are changing (and ageing) every second. The longer you wait to use that scent, the more likely it is that your frame of mind has moved on and the scent is no longer such a perfect fit.
4. So, don't be static; don't get caught in a rut. Trust your instinct. If you find your cologne no longer excites you, go back to your favourite perfume store and select another. Build up a fragrance wardrobe so that you have the correct scent for every occasion, mood, and dress code. There is a case for matching perfume with fabrics, too - lighter colognes for Cotton, Linen, Silk. Heavier more dramatic scents for tweeds, wool and leather.
5. Wearing scent with confidence is as correct as good posture, a firm handshake and well polished shoes: apply it liberally and then forget about it. It will work its magic on you subliminally and don't worry too much about its effect on those around you: don't be anxious, don't solicit compliments. If you have the courage of your convictions they will come in of their own accord.
Nothing sounds worse than a man going round the office furtively asking, "Does this smell alright? what do you think of this? I'm not sure about it..."
6. Whether you vary your fragrance with the seasons is entirely up to you. Personally I believe that if you have made the right choice, you can wear your scent at any time or in any season. But give this some thought: traditionally a lighter, brighter scent sits more appropriately in summer, while the heavier and warmer compositions are for winter and you may feel more comfortable living by this rule. But experiment. Perfume is all about YOU: so don't feel tied down by what others think. You remember what the Duke of Edinburgh said when his neighbour at dinner complained the Duke had emptied the entire cream jug onto his own pudding - "You're only jealous because you wouldn't have the nerve to do it yourself."
7....But, wear it APPROPRIATELY: if you hospital visiting, attending a funeral, or turning up for a vital interview use common sense and keep things toned down. Don't select your most flamboyant cologne for your soldier grandfather's memorial service. Perfume is essentially an upbeat commodity: it is about elegance,fun,joy, exploration, self-expression,sex and sensuality. Use accordingly.
And now a few words on the mechanics, as it were. of application: (Click Read More Below)
1. There is nothing at all suspect or effeminate about applying scent in exactly the same way as your wife or girlfriend does: spraying is far more effective than splashing as it diffuses the perfume molecules more expansively while simultaneously using less juice. Spray generously on (clean) hair, neck, throat amd wrists. Do not apply to your face please! We are not talking aftershaves and the alchohol on your skin will nothing more than promote soreness and redness.
2. In addition to the above it is highly efficacious to spray your chest and back with cologne before putting on your shirt. The cloth will inhibit evaporation and the scent last throughout the day,subtly diffusing as you move and warm up throughout the day: a slow-burn effect.
3. But please do not have unreasonable expectations that any scent is going to last 18 - 24 hours without re-application. We all want perfume to last on the skin, but of its very nature it is highly volatile and will need topping-up as you go along. Consider how the following factors may apply to you:
a. The way your skin reacts to perfume: some of us have skin like sponges, which soaks up perfume very quickly - this can often be the case with fair-haired men with dry skin. A darker man with a more olive complexion will tends to retain the scent longer and at the same time diffuse it more widely. If you sweat vigorously or have a naturally high body heat, the cologne will smell more intense - but for a briefer period as it burns off.
b. Citrus hesperidic colognes featuring ingredients such as lemon, bergamot, grapefruit tend to vanish quicker than woody, musky, spicy or animalic scents. This is due to the volatility of the ingredients used - but again, each individual will have his own reaction and experience.
c. As the nose and the brain becomes comfortable and accustomed to a scent, the wearer himself will become less aware of it, often smelling it only on application. This can be very frustrating but beware of soaking yourself in perfume in consequence. The only way round this problem is to vary your perfume regularly - make use of that wardrobe I mentioned earlier.
d. We all lead extremely busy lives but not too busy to spray a blast of scent at odd intervals of the day - make a regular uplifting little ceremony of it, equivalent to a quick cigarette, a shot of expresso or a peek at YOUtube. And it takes far less time than any of these. If you are interested enough in scent to have invested in buying a bottle, you will find reapplication a real boost to the spirits and morale.
Now, how are you going to store this precious stuff so that it stays in perfect shape? it's quite simple:
1. Keep all cologne and scent away from light and heat at all times. Store your fragrances in a dark drawer, locker or closet. Keep them in the packaging in which you bought them. Light and heat break down the perfume molecules and cause decay. Think back to that food analogy. A fridge is not necessary but adjusted to wine cooler temperature can be great in a hot wave - a freshing spritz of chilled cologne is as good as a Martini.
2. I have already said: use them up. If you have a fragrance wardrobe, well and good, but rotate regularly. Don't hoard perfume. It will keep for several years if stored as above, but seize the moment and live for today.
Les Senteurs was founded in 1984 by Betty and Michael Hawksley and based on the culture of independent perfumeries prevalent to France. European perfumeries, they realised, offered a real choice not available in department stores in the UK, of great fragrances with history and integrity. The concept of Les Senteurs is to collate and champion a great range of cult fragrances from around the world that are not available elsewhere in the UK. There are many such Perfume Houses with long and fascinating histories owned by perfumers who tend to use higher concentrations of natural essences and higher quality ingredients. Les Senteurs has launched many amazing brands into the UK including Creed, Caron, Rosine and Editions de Parfums. The store is currently championing three more exclusive young brands; Heeley, Tauer and Parfumerie Generale. Les Senteurs is a Mecca for perfume connoisseurs and scent enthusiasts with a reputation for expertise and a quality of service.