8 ways to make your perfume last longer, according to a master perfumer

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(Image credit: Getty Images/LittleBee80)

Is there anything quite as disappointing as spritzing your best perfume before going out for the evening and realising that the scent has completely disappeared during the journey? I mean, there probably is, but it’s pretty high up there in our beauty pet hates. And unless you want a super subtle skin scent, the whole point of a perfume is to be smelled far and wide, so we want it to last through our special occasions. 

And besides shopping for a particularly long-lasting perfume, there are other tricks you can use to make your perfume last longer. And that’s where the experts come in. We’ve called in the help of master perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek and perfumer Nic Mastenbroek from Ruth Mastenbroek Perfumer London to impart their wisdom. There are surprisingly plenty of ways to make your perfume last longer, and they don’t require using up any more of the actual perfume itself. From focusing on scent in the shower to using vaseline on pulse points, the perfumers know all the tips and tricks. Let’s just say, since learning these 8 tips, I’ve not worn perfume in the same way. 

1. Shop for niche brands 

Yep, switching where you shop for your fragrance might just mean it lasts longer than your legacy favourites. Firstly, it’s nice to support smaller businesses but secondly, you might find that the products from these independent brands last longer. That’s all down to mark-up. It’s no secret that when you’re buying from bigger brands you’re buying the name and the marketing. Smaller brands don’t always have that same mark-up and this can mean better equality for your money, which equals longer-lasting. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it’s worth considering. 

“Look for niche brands who are typically investing more money per ml of the bottle in the fragrance, compared to other costs. There is a reason why a lot of the commercial fragrances don’t last quite as long, because the amount of money invested into the fragrance per bottle is not as high,” explains Nic Mastenbroek. 

2. Consider your EDT vs EDP 

Now, there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to eau de toilette versus eau de parfum, because there isn’t actually one standard as to how these are differentiated. As for a general guide though, “an eau de toilette typically ranges from 8-12%, whereas an eau de parfum is likely to range from 12-25%. An extrait de parfum is the most concentrated form of perfume and typically ranges from 35-50% perfume,” says Nic. “It therefore makes sense that the higher the percentage of perfume in relation to the alcohol, the longer it will last.” This isn’t an exact science but something to take into consideration. 

3. Choose heavier notes 

Ever noticed how your summer perfumes don't last as well as your winter fragrances? It might not just be because of our activities (read: how much we sweat) but actually the notes in the scent. “Lighter, fresher citrus and floral fragrances don’t tend to last as long as heavier, woodier, ambery and oud type notes,” explains Ruth. “This is especially true in hotter weather because the more volatile notes (citrus, herby, green, fruity) will evaporate more quickly. So if you’re after longevity, look at the woody and amber fragrance families for your fragrances,” she adds. 

4. Layer with body wash 

Ever been so obsessed with a scent that you buy it in the body wash, lotion and fragrance? It might take a bit more effort but it’ll sure make your fave fragrance linger. “Layering a fragrance on top of a scented body wash, or (even better) a lotion, can help a fragrance last longer because it will stick to the skin more,” says Ruth.

5. Focus on pulse points 

The reason we spritz on our pulse points is actually quite romantic. “It’s often said to spritz on your pulse points, so that the rhythmic beating of your heart helps to waft out your fragrance. There is some truth in this, so it’s a good place to start!” says Ruth. “I also recommend to spray some fragrance onto your clothes and hair, as the fragrance will stick to these for longer.” We’re big fans of hair perfume.  

To simplify it: “Think about where someone is going to smell you; leaning in to talk to you (or perhaps a kiss on the cheek?), so it’s good to spray around the neck area and behind the ears,” says Nic. 

6. Don’t rub your wrists together 

It’s actually a big no-no in the fragrance world to aggressively rub your wrists together after spritzing. “It’s true that rubbing your wrists creates friction (and therefore heat), which in theory can interfere with the chemistry of the fragrance—especially the more volatile top notes, and make them disappear more quickly,” Nic explains. “So if longevity is important to you, don’t rub. But if you’re happy to speed up the process and get to the heart and base notes more quickly, then feel free to rub away.” 

7. Hydrate your skin and use vaseline 

As discussed earlier, hydrated skin can help the fragrance stick to the skin more, so there’s never been a better time to commit to moisturising your body as well as you do your face. “The drier your skin, the more the fragrance is likely to be absorbed by the skin’s surface and pores,” explains Ruth. 

Another trick is adding Vaseline or other neutral oil bases like coconut oil to “help slow down the evaporation of the perfume, so you can also layer on to these”, says Ruth. Definitely something to try! 

8. The cotton ball trick 

Lastly, Nic’s got an interesting theory when it comes to applying fragrance that may impact longevity. “Spray the fragrance onto cotton wool balls, and then rub the fragrance on your skin,” he says. “This will give a different effect to spraying the perfume, but since you’re pushing the fragrance into the skin more, it could have interesting effects on the longevity of the fragrance (because less of the fragrance is evaporating). This is just a theory though and would need to be tested.” We’re sold, and we’ll be trying this immediately! 

Beauty Contributor

Tori is a freelance beauty journalist and contributor for Marie Claire. She has written for various titles, including Allure, Glamour, Elle, Refinery29, Brides, and more. Currently training to be a nail tech, Tori is a total nail enthusiast and always has time to talk all things nail art. When she’s not writing about beauty and testing products, Tori can be found walking her rescue dog Pip, drinking great coffee, and eating as many croissants as humanly possible.