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How to choose the right perfume for your skin type

Perfumes are highly individualistic. Your scent becomes a signature, something that becomes a part of the way people perceive you, and with that in mind, you’d obviously want to purchase a scent that aligns with your preference and personality. One thing that many people fail to consider when choosing the right perfume, however, is whether the scent is suitable for their skin type.

Your body chemistry, heat, the oils, and even the bacteria on your skin play an important role that affects how the perfume diffuses from your person. It also has a significant influence on the duration a perfume wears on you, as well as the specific notes that emanate from the fragrance upon contact with your skin.

choosing the right perfume
Gucci’s new Bloom Acqua di Fiori is perfect for wearers with drier skin.

Choosing the right perfume isn’t as complex as purchasing skincare, where you have to factor in skin sensitivities and tailor what you buy according to your needs. There’s a simple rule of thumb to follow: is your skin dry, or oily? The oilier your skin is, the less perfume you need for the scent to be impactful, and the longer the scent will last.

For oily skin

You can typically gauge the oiliness of your body skin by how hydrated your skin feels. Does it scream out for moisturiser 24/7? If it does not, there’s a good gauge that your skin is definitely on the oilier side.

choosing the right perfume
The new L’Eau d’Issey Nectar de Parfum is a fresh, floral scent teeming with sparkling pear, lime and rose notes — an easy go-to if you have oily skin.

Perfumes will last longer on you, and whatever you spray will smell far more intense, because oils trigger a stronger reaction between the compounds in the fragrance and the composition of your skin. Light floral or citrus scents are ideal for people with oilier skin, as there’s less of a chance you’ll smell too strong after application. If you’re one for darker, muskier fragrances, then try to use a minimal amount. A little will go a long way.

Recommended perfumes: Chloé Nomade, Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pure Nectar de Parfum, Aerin Gardenia Rattan, Louis Vuitton Le Jour Se Léve

For dry skin

Stronger perfumes are perfect for those with drier or dehydrated skin. Musky, wooden scents or those with headier floral and aromatic notes, are perfect as the potency of these particular notes allows for the scent to linger on the skin for a longer time.

choosing the right perfume
Coco Chanel’s Mademoiselle gets an intense overhaul, with increased notes of patchouli and ambergris — another top pick for those with drier skin and a penchant for intoxicating perfumes.

If you do prefer lighter, floral scents, there are ways to get the perfume to stay on. Moisturising the pulse points that you usually spritz perfume on is one of them. Dab some cream on, rub it in, then douse that point in perfume after. This also helps to prolong the fragrance’s wear-time. You can also choose to buy perfume oils, rather than the standard liquid in the bottle, as oils are far less diluted.

Recommended perfumes: Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori, Tom Ford F****ing Fabulous, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Intense, Diptyque Fleur de Peau.

Other tips to note

Your body heat is also a factor to account for. A hotter basal body temperature means the pay-off from your perfume will be more concentrated, and vice versa.

Wear tests are of the essence. Never purchase a scent on a whim because it smells good on someone else, or in the bottle. Always apply some to your wrists and décolletage or the sides of the neck to gauge how it performs over time.

How to choose the right perfume for your skin type

Beatrice Bowers

Features Editor

Beatrice Bowers writes about beauty, drinks, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she moonlights as a Niffler for novels and can be found en route to bankruptcy at your nearest bookstore. Don't tell her boss.

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