14 Perfume Misconceptions

Posted by Ellen on Thu, 08/21/2014 - 12:00 AM

You know the saying, “One spritz of perfume is worth a million misconceptions”? No, you don’t? Ok, fine, it’s not an actual saying, per say. But it really should be, because come on, when conversations turn to the topic of perfume people have a lot to say, and a lot of what they’re saying are misconceptions.

Here are 14 of the most common misconceptions about perfume that you may have heard (and hopefully never said) when raving about your favorite scent.


1. Sniffing coffee beans is the best way to refresh your sense of scent

You’ve seen them before, little bowls of coffee beans sitting atop the fragrance counter. Misconception has it that if you give these robust beans a sniff after inhaling a potential perfume purchase that they’ll refresh your scent, allowing you to fully take in the notes of any other perfume you were considering purchasing. The thing is, all you’re really left with after sniffing those beans is the lingering aroma of coffee, which when mixed with a sniff of perfume totally throws off the bottom, middle and top notes.

2. Perfumes were meant to be displayed, why else would the bottles be so breathtaking

We won’t argue on the pure genius that goes into most bottle designs, but really, the only place perfume is meant to be displayed is a cool, dark spot. Intense light and heat can actually alter the scent of a number of notes found in many perfumes.

3. Perfume has an expiration date

Last time we flipped over a bottle of perfume and checked the bottom we didn’t see an expiration date typed on it. So yeah, perfumes don’t have an expiration date. However, that exposure to heat and light we mentioned, well, that can certainly cause a perfume to smell as if it’s gone bad, due to distorted notes.

4. The way a perfume smells straight from the bottle is how it will smell on your skin

Not so quick, this misconception could have you spritzing on one awful scent. Sure, it may smell amazing coming from the bottle, but when it hits your skin and swirls with your natural oils, those notes will transform. But hey, look at this way, what doesn’t smell so great coming from the bottle could smell amazing once it has kissed your skin! Plus top, middle, and bottom notes will delightfully rise when you may least expect it.

5. Rubbing the perfume in after you’ve sprayed it on will distort the scent

Some people think that fragrance molecules found in perfumes can be destroyed, or better said-- crushed, if you rub them into your skin, inturn distorting the scent or causing it to fade away more quickly.

6. Perfume, or extrait, has a stronger scent than eau de toilette

We can see why some people wouldn’t bat an eye at this misconception, because yeah, perfume contains seriously concentrated fragrance notes, whereas eau de toilette has a pretty high alcohol content. But that alcohol content, well, it can cause even the smallest amount of fragrance notes to smell as if they are stronger than they really are, and rather sharp too. Perfume, while highlighly concentrated, will instead smell gentler.

7. When it comes to scent, natural perfumes are better than synthetic perfumes

Actually, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a scent to really determine if one is better than the other. If you’re looking for a longer lasting scent then synthetic fragrances are the way to go. Plus synthetic scents are more complex, allowing for a variety of notes to play off of one another.

8. You should always apply your perfume by spraying it in the air and walking through it

Umm, if you want to deodorize your carpet or waste a good amount of perfume, then sure, go ahead spray away. But just remember this is one of the most common misconceptions out there; it’s perfectly fine to lightly spray fragrance on your skin, or even clothes. Just keep in mind, the scent will vary depending on where you spray it.

9. If you are going to apply perfume directly to skin, only spray it on your pulse points

While there’s nothing wrong with spaying a little perfume on your wrists, or dabbing some behind your ears, they’re not exactly ‘the only’ spots you should be applying your perfume. The best spot is actually the spot you feel most comfortable with; and for some people that includes the stomach, chest, or shoulders.

10. If you can smell your perfume, then you’ve sprayed on way too much

Yes, people actually think this. What’s so crazy about this misconception is that it totally contradicts the purpose of perfume in the first place. We use perfume because we like the smell of it, and more importantly we want to be able to actually smell it, right? Plus it would be nice if people associated us with our favorite scents.  And honestly, what makes you think anyone, even an inch away will be able to smell your perfume if you can’t smell it  -- and you’re the one wearing it?! Of course, don’t over do it though.

11. Niche perfumes are of better quality than mainstream perfumes

There is a lot to be said about the quality of artisanal products, but there’s also a lot to be said about perfumes you can find at any fragrance counter across the country -- and on this site. It all comes down to your preference in ingredients. Sure some niche perfumes use rare ingredients and use a very hands on approach when producing smaller batches. But mainstream scents have often gone through a variety of quality tests, in which a good amount of attention was placed on pairing the perfect ingredients.  If you like the way notes in a mainstream perfume fall on you, then that may be the better quality perfume for you.

12. The more expensive a perfume is, the better it is

While certain top dollar perfumes are top dollar due to the cost of obtaining quality botanicals, not all pricey perfumes are filled with the purest of notes. And not all inexpensive perfumes are filled with off putting chemicals. However, knock off editions of some perfumes may not be worth it, but cheaper original fragrances could be the best thing to ever kiss your skin.  

13. A celebrity perfume will actually smell like the celebrity themselves

Imagine that! You know, Kim Kardashian in a lab coat and goggles mixing together a potion her herself would wear every single day and then bottling and selling it to the public. Truth is, most celebrities have very little say in the actual concoction of their signature scents. Sure they chime in on their favorite notes and such, but some of those notes don’t always compliment each other, so in come the chemists. And once their scent is bottled, very few celebrities actually wear it.

14. Every perfume has a set gender and appropriate age

This is the biggest perfume misconception out there! Just because a fragrance has woody, musky, leathery notes doesn’t mean it will only smell good on a man; and just because a fragrance has floral, sweet, spicy notes doesn’t mean it will only smell good on a woman. Turns out certain scents when sprayed on different people smell quite differently; on some men the sweet notes may fade while the spicy and floral notes pop, just as they may or may not on a woman. It’s all about how the fragrance reacts to the oils in the wearer’ skin. Also, just because a scent is fruity and floral doesn’t mean it’s a young woman’s scent, and a musky and floral scent isn’t meant for mature women only.