How often should you switch perfumes?


An array of Chanel perfumes at Saks Fifth Ave in Beverly Hills, Calif.“An array of Chanel perfumes at Saks Fifth Ave in Beverly Hills, Calif.Todd Williamson/WireImage/Getty Images

For some of us, the art of wearing perfume is in an arena all its own. The fashion icon Donatella Versace, for instance, has a collection of perfumes numbering in the hundreds. She even has a display case to hold them all — and it takes up an entire wall!

Does Donatella wear all of her perfumes? We may never know. But such variety might lead you to wonder: should you switch perfumes? And if so, how often should you do it?

The truth is,there’s no hard-and-fast rule about how often to change your perfume. Many people pick a "signature scent" they wear their entire lives, while others change their perfume as often as they change socks. For the most part it comes down to personal preference, but of course there are some other factors to consider.

Does it go with your outfit? Think of perfume as an accessory, like a necklace or a purse or a fabulous pair of shoes. A scent can send a message or create a mood, so changing your aroma to reflect how you feel or what you’re wearing is a fun way to accentuate your look. Maybe your yellow sundress calls for hints of citrus, while your favorite pink sweater begs to be paired with the aroma of cherry blossoms. Mix, match and get creative just like you would with any other item in your closet.

Is it the right time of year? Some scents simply work better in different seasons. Light floral scents are right at home in the springtime when flowers are blooming, while heavier, spicy perfumes seem more fitting for cozying up to a winter fire. The changing of seasons is a great cue for changing your smell. And appropriateness for the season isn’t the only reason you might want to change your eau de toilette when the temperature is in flux. Heat can actually make the smell of perfume stronger on your skin, so keep that in mind when selecting a scent on a hot day (apply less and use a lighter fragrance) or in the dead of winter (use stronger scents so they don’t fade or become too light to notice).

What are you doing? Let’s not forget one of the most important times to change up your perfume: to suit the occasion. Daytime scents should be light — barely noticeable — especially if you work around a lot of other people. Bold perfumes are best saved for evenings and special occasions. So if you like wearing perfume all the time, having different daytime and evening scents is something to consider.

And, it’s not always your taste that’s changed — sometimes perfume makers reformulate their scents by swapping out ingredients. So if your favorite bottle just doesn’t smell like it used to, maybe it’s time to try something else.

Why not? Changing your perfume just to try something new isn’t a bad idea either.Even a scent you love can get ho-hum after a while. Maybe a new haircut begs for a new signature scent or you’re simply bored with the same smell every day. Sometimes you just change because you want to, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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  • Now Smell This. "On perfume storage, part 3 – housing your collection." July 5, 2007. (Aug. 23, 2012).
  • Now Smell This. "Perfumista tip: on reformulations, or why your favorite perfume doesn’t smell like it used to." Sept. 29, 2009. (Aug. 20, 2012).
  • The Fragrance Foundation. "Fragrance Info/FAQs." (Aug. 14, 2012).
  • Turin, Luca, and Tania Sanchez. "Perfumes: The A-Z Guide." Profile Books, 2010.


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