How Long Does Perfume Last On Skin

How Long Does Perfume Last On Skin?

How Long Does Perfume Last On Skin?

The fragrance industry is a fascinating world in many ways, filled with specific ingredients and secrets of composition and the phrasing and subtleties that determine how the scent performs and interacts with the wearer. How does your skin absorb fragrances? How do different fragrances last on skins or linger differently on products? One of the first questions newcomers to perfume ask is: ‘How long does perfume last on skin?’

Even though it sounds like a simple question, several factors can affect the intensity and longevity of perfume on your skin. Among them, if applied correctly, perfume should last a long time on your skin. In this article, we will discuss these factors, the science of how and why perfume evaporates, and tips to extend the life of fragrances on your skin.

Chemical Properties

There are myriad reasons why a perfume might last only a short while or a long one. Crucially, it is much to do with the initial chemical properties of your cologne or perfume and how it reacts with your epidermis, the body’s outer layer of protection, skin tone and even oxidisation. Temperature and humidity can affect the spreading sillage of perfume. So a heavier musk can cling and linger on your body, say, sandalwood and patchouli notes versus lighter, more volatile citruses and roses and freesias. A highly acidic or oily skin can also make the fragrance last longer or shorter.


However, to understand why and how perfumes evaporate from your skin, you really need to know a bit about the basic science of evaporation. Actual perfume is a complex mixture of different aroma compounds, solvents and essential oils. Using your body heat, all of these evaporate from your skin over a period of time – but how fast depends on the volatility of the individual compounds. Lighter compounds will evaporate much more quickly, while heavier ones will remain on the skin for longer.


The concentration (the percentage of aromatic compounds) determines the name of a perfume: Eau de Toilette have a concentration of 5-15 % (which explains why it lasts only 2-3 hours), Eau de Parfum have a concentration of 15-20 % (for 4-5 hours), Parfum or Extrait is the most concentrated, of composition between 20-30 % of aromatic compounds and can last up to 24 hours.

Skin Type

skin type is a major factor in how long a fragrance will stay with you. Those with oily skin can often hold the fragrance scent for longer, as natural oils are acting like a ‘glue’ to the scent. Dry skin may be a temporary cause for the perfume odour vanishing straight away. Our advice for dry skin is to use a major moisturising routine before you apply your fragrance. Those with acidic skin (a low pH) can also find that their fragrance does not stay on as long as those with a more neutral pH.

How Long Does Perfume Oil Last On Skin

A perfume’s duration is also linked to its concentration in perfume oils. This refers, essentially, to the proportion of aromatic compounds to solvents in a formulation, and it is expressed by the characterisations Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Parfum – with the higher concentrations being constituted by more aromatic compounds, and, therefore, lasting longer. Eau de Cologne by example has around 2-5 per cent of aromatic compounds and is very light and evanescent, where as Parfum with 20-30 per cent of compounds can last much longer.

Tips And Tricks

how long does perfume oil last on skinThere are a number of tricks to help your perfume last longer, including applying fragrance soon after you’ve got out of the shower; skin is much better hydrated when we have just come from water, and therefore holds on to odours slightly better.

Another tip is to use a moisturiser before you apply fragrance; the oily layer created by moisturiser acts as a barrier to a certain degree, which slows down evaporation.

Layering by using matching products – such as body lotion and shower gel – also helps.

Applying perfume to your pulse points – the wrists, neck and behind your ears – will also help.

To sum up, how long a perfume will stay on you depends on the composition of the individual scent, your skin type and your application techniques. Becoming better informed about the science behind perfume evaporation, and using some clever application techniques, can vastly enhance the duration of its appeal. Whether you wear ultralight Eau de Cologne to stay fresh for an hour or more potent Parfum to sizzle for a day, knowing what factors impact your fragrance will help you to make every spritz count.

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