The Nose Knows


A spritz here, a spray there and a little dab will do when it comes to perfume and cologne. Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and fragrances are one of the most popular gifts bought for sweethearts around the world. This bit of feminine charm is a great way to showcase your personality and style and can actually be your symbolic trait that people remember you by. In other words, the nose knows.

This past summer I traveled to London. One afternoon when I was browsing around at Harrod’s department store, I accidentally took the wrong set of elevators and wound up in the Salon de Parfum on the 6th floor. There were little perfume boutiques in the salon with exclusive brands that I had never heard of before. Some of these exclusive brands even displayed crystal vats of ancient perfume oils that were hundreds of years old.  It was totally unintentional but this wrong turn ended up being a sensory overload, a sweet smelling secret getaway and an educational experience all in one! The sales team explained to me the difference between perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette and cologne and also explained that fragrances are classified by the concentration of essence oils.

Here is a handy breakdown:

Perfume - between 15 – 25% perfume oil and between 85 - 75% alcohol/water

Eau de Parfum - between 8 – 15% perfume oil and between 92 - 85% alcohol/water

Eau de Toilette  - between 4 – 10% perfume oil and between 96 - 90% alcohol/water

Cologne - between 2 – 5% perfume oil and between 85 - 75% alcohol/water


The quality of the fragrance oils (not the concentrations) determine how strong and how long a fragrance is going to last. Because the formulations differ, an Eau de Parfum of a certain fragrance will not smell exactly like the Eau de Toilette version with the same name. Also, an eau de parfum and perfume will last longer than eau de cologne or eau de toilette. After all these years of wearing perfume, it was thrilling to learn something new about scent. Here are some other tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years:

  1. Rub Vaseline on your pulse points before spraying your perfume and the scent will last longer than if you spray it on dry skin. Your pulse points are behind your ears, on your neck, inside your wrist, inside your elbow and behind your knees.

  2. Don’t rub your wrists together after spraying your perfume. Your fragrance won’t last as long because the top notes disappear faster.

  3. Apply an unscented lotion before spraying on your fragrance. Oily skin retains fragrances longer.

  4. For a lighter scent, spray the fragrance into the air and walk through the mist. When  you don’t want the scent to be quite so strong, this will leave you with just a hint of fragrance evenly distributed around your body.

  5. Lightly spray some perfume on your hairbrush and brush your hair. Be careful though because too much can dry out your hair.

  6. Don’t store your perfume in the bathroom. The humidity will break down the perfume oils. Tip: Store it in your bedroom instead.

  7. After you spray the scent, wait until it dries before you get dressed. Otherwise, it will rub off when you put on your clothes.

If you choose to layer your perfumes just be careful not to layer more than 2 perfumes at a time. You don’t want people to smell you on the other side of town and remember, the nose knows.