The House

How to
wear perfume

Our take on the eternal question

Hunting down your favourite scent is no mean feat these days. With a plethora of advice from enthusiastic shop assistants to that friend who is the font of all knowledge on anything luxe, where can you go for the simple truth? Ultimately there will always be a degree of subjectivity or disagreement from the world’s experts, but for our take on the eternal question, read on...


Starting blocks

It’s not you, it’s me...

View the ad campaign, the model and the pretty bottle as just light inspiration and no more. It has no reflection on whether the scent is right for you. It’s equally irrelevant how many bottles they’ve sold…why smell like everyone else anyway? Perfume is a personal thing.

For the uninitiated, start with our Scent Selector.


Come in for a coffee

Don’t rush it. Inhaling coffee beans will certainly clear your sinuses between a sniff or two on paper, but it’s no substitute for trying it on your skin. The warmth of natural oils in your skin subtly affect how the scent smells and delicately changes while the hours pass as the top notes give way to the heart notes and finally base notes.

Layer cake

Stack ‘em high

Perfume molecules rest best on clean and hydrated skin, so apply it when you are freshly showered and moisturised. Choose a fragrance-free moisturiser unless you have the partner moisturiser for your scent. Layering scent allows to you to achieve a longer lasting fragrance.

Ready to wear

Spray it, don’t say it

A spritz on your wrists, your neck and a spray behind your ears – remember watching your mother’s ritual as you grew up? Mummy really does know best. Skin is thinner in these delicate areas, and as this skin warms up quicker, perfume molecules are stirred into action.

Storing perfume

Shelf preservation

Once opened, a fragrance, particularly the delicate top notes, will weaken after a year. Sunlight can also change the chemical make-up of the perfume, altering its colour and how the molecules combine to create its scent. Take care of your perfumes by storing them in a cool dark place. But above all, know when it’s time to say goodbye.




1. Don’t rub your wrists together as it ‘bruises’ your scent.

Here’s the science bit……..The friction it causes between the perfume and natural oils of your skin speeds up the release of the top notes, impacting onto the complex release of molecules and rushing the order of events – think of it like blitzing your favourite dish in a blender before tucking in. It just wouldn’t taste the same.

2. Don’t over do it

If you can’t smell it, it doesn’t mean your scent has faded into oblivion. Your body can get used to it and no longer perceive the fragrance as a’s a primal thing. In fact, it’s actually a good sign if you aren’t bombarded by a waft of it every time you move.

3. You can absolutely spray perfume on to your clothes.

In fact, certain fabrics such as alpaca wool hold scent particularly well, but before you head over to your local zoo with those shears, note that it may not be quite the same as wearing it on your skin. The notes may evolve differently.

4. Try spraying on a scarf worn close to your neck.

It will be as warm as your skin, and move with you as you move, delicately releasing the scent. Do take extra care on silk, leather or other delicate materials, however, which could stain.

5. A light spritz on your hair or on the back of your neck will encourage delicate scent dispersion with the natural movement of your hair.

Air kisses anyone?



Now Concentrate

Whether a scent is classed as an ‘extrait’, ‘eau de parfum’, ‘cologne’ or other such term depends on the concentration of perfume within the bottle. See below for a quick lowdown for the standard naming conventions for the various essential oil concentration levels.
Parfum (or Parfum extrait) over 20%
Eau de parfum (10-20%)
Eau de toilette (8-10%)
Eau de Cologne (less than 8%)
The rule of thumb here is the stronger the concentration of the fragrance, the more potent and long lasting it will be. You will also need to use less of it to achieve the same effect as a more diluted version of the scent.
‘Cologne’ confusion Do bear in mind that in some countries, the word ‘cologne’ is often used as the umbrella term for all fragrances and in others it is used to denote men’s fragrances.
You may also see the term ‘cologne’ on a bottle in historic reference to the citrus blend that used to make up such scents and still do in some instances. Don’t confuse either of these with the actual concentration of perfume within a bottle.