Proper Etiquette for Wearing Fragrance

Woman testing fragrance in a store
Follow proper fragrance etiquette when you go out in public. Hybrid Images/Cultura/Getty Images

Are you someone who applies fragrance before you walk out the door? Perhaps you have a signature scent or you like to experiment with different perfumes and body sprays. 

Consider Others

Perfume is delightful when used in moderation. However, most of us have experienced being knocked out by someone who got carried away with fragrance and didn't know when to stop. Not only does it overpower your senses, it can make some people sick.

Also, if more than one person wears fragrance, the different scents may clash. Remember that personal space includes the air that people breathe.

Consider the Occasion

If you enjoy wearing your favorite scent, most of the time, that's fine. However, before you spray it on, remember that fragrance isn't appropriate in all situations. And even when the occasion calls for it, you need to know how much is too much.

Perfume Tips

Here are some helpful tips on wearing fragrance:

  1. Learn and follow fragrance rules and policies. Some venues have policies about wearing fragrance, so if you are in doubt, ask. If you are attending a conference, you might discover that there is a policy that requires attendees to be fragrance free. The reason for this may be that people have complained about it making them sick. You don't want to make others' experiences bad just because we like to smell good.
  2. Lighten up. Don't overdo the fragrance, or it will cross the line from smelling good to stinking and making others sick. If you work in an enclosed office, the intensity will be greater than if you work in a wide-open space. Apply it once and refrain from reapplying it throughout the day. You may think the scent has worn off, but chances are, others can still smell you. If others start sneezing or coughing from the moment you enter a room, you're probably wearing too much. Go to the restroom and wash off as much as you can and refrain from making the same mistake.
     
  1. Remember where you're going. If you are attending church, going to the office, interviewing for a job, or visiting someone in the hospital, you're better off wearing little or no perfume. However, if you have a big date with the person of your dreams or you're hanging out with friends, you can go a little heavier.
     
  1. Dump it when it's old. Over time, fragrance can become stale, so when your nose gets even the slightest tickle that tells you something isn't right, throw it out and buy a new one. Avoid the temptation to wear old perfume because it was expensive or someone special gave it to you.
     
  2. Pay attention to the chemistry. If possible, get a sample from the makeup counter so you can try on the fragrance and give it time to interact with your body chemistry before you purchase it or wear it out in public. What smells fabulous on one person might stink on another. You might also discover that some fragrances make you sneeze while others don't.
     
  3. Don't apply it in a vehicle or on public transportation. Even if you're running late for work, the other people in your carpool won't appreciate having to inhale the fumes of freshly applied perfume. It takes a while for the scent to soak into your skin and the vapors to evaporate, so be considerate of others. Never apply scent when you are on a bus, train, or plane. You never know if the person seated behind you is deathly allergic to whatever fragrance you are wearing.
  1. Avoid spritzing fragrance on your clothes. Some of the ingredients in the perfume, cologne, or body spray may cause spotting or bleaching on certain fabrics. It also may not wash out when you launder your clothes later, and the smell might conflict with your detergent.
     
  2. Remember the season and time of day when choosing a fragrance. A floral scent will seem out of place on a cold winter day but works perfectly for summer. Early morning fragrances should be light while you might go heavier in the evening.
     
  3. Know where to apply the scent. If you want to get the most out of your fragrance, apply it to the pulse points behind your ears, at your wrists, and behind your knees. Try applying a dab of petroleum jelly before your scent. You'll be able to use less of the perfume, and the scent will last longer. Avoid rubbing the fragrance all over. Not only will you waste it the smell will be overpowering.