Perfumes, colognes and other scents can catch our attention even from a distance. We can all think of a moment (good or bad sometimes) where a lingering scent grabbed your attention or struck a memory. People can generally smell our perfumes or colognes within seconds of us spraying it on, even if they are in another room. How does this happen? Let's get into the science behind how perfumes spread.
How Do Perfumes Spread?
This is due to a process called 'diffusion' which happens as soon as the perfume or cologne is released into the air. Being a compressed chemical composition, once the perfume or cologne is sprayed into the air, it coverts into a gas and its particles are mixed with other air particles. These particles very quickly circulate the room while the perfume spreads. It is this tendency of gases to quickly occupy any volume or space that is called diffusion. The once compact fragrance particles become loosely bonded and are move about rapidly in all directions, eventually spreading out to fill whichever room it occupies and float on the air currents.
There is always an air current (except in a vacuum), we don’t have to use our hands to circulate the perfume or cologne fragrance - it is done by mother nature! This is precisely what happens when perfume is sprayed in a room and why its fragrance spreads fast.
Liquids too undergo diffusion, but it happens at a slower pace as the molecules in liquids are more closely packed together or bonded. This gives them less space to move about. Thus, when wearing liquid perfume, the wearer should expect the fragrance to last significantly longer than a traditional spray perfume or cologne.
Perfume Hacks to Make Fragrance Last Longer
- Try an eau de parfum instead of the lighter eau de toilette. EDP contains a higher concentration of oils that will not only last longer on the skin, but is often a stronger concentration of the original scent.
- Molecules in fragrance bind to the oils in your skin when applied, so if you use a body oil or lotion first, then “layer on” your fragrance, it will have a better surface to bind to. For more effect, moisturize with the matching body lotion and literally build up a layer of lighter fragrance on the skin before spritzing on your perfume.
- Don’t rub perfume into the skin! It dissipates the scent faster. The best way to wear fragrance is to spritz on the skin at the pulse points: the wrist, behind the ears, elbows and on the neck. This is where the fragrance will have the most projection due to the fact that the skin naturally warms up here.
- Hair is super absorbent - a spritz in you hair will last all day, and because it doesn’t warm like your skin will dissipate more slowly. I’ve also spritzed a scarf or shirt for the same reason. Read our blog post on Can I Spray Perfume on My Hair Or My Clothes for more information.