Why doesn't my perfume last?

Apr 12, 2023Tiphanie Nguyen0 comments

“Hello, I would have liked to know your perfumes but many say that they smell good but do not last so I am disappointed because for me a perfume must be subtle but must last. It's a shame"

We're not teaching you anything, there's nothing more frustrating than a perfume that doesn't last... And several of you have shared with us your reluctance to try our perfumes following reading certain feedback on the staying power of the latter. Your impressions - whether positive or negative - are important to us and allow us to move forward and always do better.

So, in response to this feedback, we have written a complete article for you on the reasons that explain the lack of staying power of certain perfumes. Read on, we'll shed some light on this and give you all our advice on how to prolong the life of your favorite fragrance! Let's go.

Whose fault is it ?

Before we begin, know that your perfume isn't the only one to blame in the story. There are many reasons why your perfume may not last long enough. Among them :

  1. Your skin
  2. How you perfume yourself
  3. Timing of application
  4. Your brain with the habituation effect
  5. One avenue not to be ruled out: Covid (yes, unfortunately!)
  6. And… your perfume!

Now the list of reasons has been drawn up, we may be telling you this, but factors without any direct link with your favorite fragrance can actually alter the staying power of the latter. They are inherent to you and concern you and your habits! We'll explain it to you.

I. The first reason concerns you

Your skin

Skin is an important factor to consider when it comes to the staying power of a perfume. Indeed, your skin type, pH or temperature can affect how your perfume is absorbed and maintained on your skin.

Skin type

woman's skin If you have dry or dehydrated skin, your perfume may not last as long as someone with oily skin. What we recommend is to hydrate your skin well before applying your perfume, using a moisturizing cream (ideally without perfume) because perfume generally lasts longer on an oily substance.

The pH of your skin

Then, to go into more detail, if your skin is normal, dry or oily, it depends on an indicator: the pH of the skin. So depending on your pH , which ultimately determines your skin type, your perfume will last more or less well .

The skin is covered with a “hydrolipid” film whose constitution determines the pH of your skin. pH allows you to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a compound, or here of your skin.

As we said previously, oily skin will naturally have an easier time making a perfume last and vice versa. The reason ?

A skin's pH is naturally acidic and generally fluctuates between 5.2 and 7 . But in the case of oily skin, the skin is said to be more alkaline and the pH can, in this case, be higher than average. On the other hand, in the case of very dry skin, the pH is lower (pH < 4) and makes your skin more acidic.

So quite simply, if your skin is “normal”, good news: your skin will welcome all types of perfumes. If the more “oily” your skin is, therefore with a pH higher than average, the more supple your skin will be and the more your perfume will hold on to your skin. Be careful though because if your skin is too alkaline (therefore too oily), your skin can sometimes retain your perfume too excessively, so be careful with high concentrations of perfume which can be too strong for your skin.

On the contrary, the higher your acidity level - corresponding to a low pH and therefore relatively dry skin - the less the perfume will hold. Therefore, for dry or “acidic” skin we recommend either:

  • favor a higher concentration of perfume than an eau de toilette or cologne to give your perfume the chance to stick better to your skin
  • choose a perfume with more persistent notes such as amber, oriental or woody perfumes which generally have more intense notes! We think in particular of Bataille, our incandescent woody which highlights patchouli and its contrasts between hot and cold or Un Deux Trois Soleil, our mischievous oriental which will delight lovers of tonka bean and vanilla, for maximize the hold of your perfume
  • or apply a fatty substance (cream, perfume-free moisturizing milk) to help your perfume hold on to the skin

Note that the pH of the skin can also fluctuate depending on what you eat and/or the beauty or care products you use on your skin.

Your body temperature

skin and daisies

Next, your skin temperature can also play an important role in how long your perfume lasts. Your body temperature actually has an impact on how long your perfume lasts because it affects how the perfume interacts with the skin.

When it is very hot, or after physical exertion, your body temperature is quite high, your skin is warmer, and as a result: you sweat. The more sweating, the less binding, because the scent “leaves” from your skin as it breathes.

On the other hand, in the case of a stable body temperature, we strongly advise you to apply the perfume to hot spots on the skin (your wrists, behind your ears, in the folds of your elbow or behind the knees): The heat that emanates from these “pulsation” points allows its diffusion to be increased tenfold.

Method and timing of application

The way you apply your perfume as well as the time you choose to perfume yourself can also affect the staying power of your fragrance.

The method of application

If you simply spray the perfume into the air to form a cloud of scent and simply pass through the mist, your scent will not last as long and may evaporate or fall onto areas that do not hold the scent. Our advice: perfume your skin and also spray your perfume on your textiles. Guaranteed hold!

As a reminder, if you want to maximize the diffusion of your perfume, focus on applying your perfume to your pulse points and for maximum hold, apply an odorless moisturizer before applying perfume. The fatty substance will help your perfume stick to your skin.

To wear perfume like a chef and have all the advice so that your perfume diffuses irresistibly and for as long as possible, it's here: Advice from a perfumer: how to wear perfume?

Timing of application

Bastille Hors-Piste Eau de Parfum in one hand

To maximize the staying power of your perfume, the timing of its application can also affect its duration.

If you apply your perfume right after showering, it can help make it last longer. Hot water opens the pores of the skin, allowing your perfume to hold there even better - meaning your perfume is more likely to last for a long time.

Your brain

Another scenario for those who no longer smell their perfume after wearing it several times: addiction!

If you wear the same perfume every day, it's normal for your brain to get used to it and end up considering your perfume as your own smell. The solution to avoid no longer being able to smell your beloved perfume? Change perfumes as often as possible.

We finally found a valid excuse to accumulate perfume bottles!

An avenue not to be ruled out: the consequences of Covid

We could not write this article without mentioning Covid and its consequences on the sense of smell. We are obviously talking here about one of the common symptoms of Covid: anosmia - that is to say the complete loss of smell (and taste) in certain patients.

This loss of smell has affected a large majority of people with Covid. And for many of them, anosmia turned out to be more stubborn than with others. While some people quickly regained their sense of smell, others are still deprived of this sense today or are still in the process of regaining it little by little.

nose and flower shadow

And this is where the staying power of your perfume can be explained: for those who have had Covid and lost their sense of smell, your perfume only perhaps no longer smells as much as before due to the transient loss of your sense of smell.

So even if you think you have completely regained your sense of smell, do not hesitate to stimulate it as much as possible and work on it regularly with simple exercises such as smelling everything around you in order to concentrate your sense of smell and help you (re)strengthen your olfactory connections.

The sense of smell is like a muscle, it needs to be worked and in the case of anosmia linked to Covid, frankly it is no easy task to re-educate your nose! So if you suspect Covid of having made you lose part of your olfactory abilities: cultivate your sense of smell, use it sustainably and repeatedly, and perhaps you will smell your perfume like the first time you smelled it . And since we think of everything at Bastille, here is an article which brings together all our advice for improving and working on your sense of smell and at the same time becoming an expert nose: “How to improve your sense of smell and become an expert nose”

II. Your perfume: the second culprit!

The second factor that affects how long your perfume lasts is your perfume itself. The architecture of your perfume, that is to say its concentration, its composition but also its conservation are three possible variables which influence how the perfume holds on to your skin.

The concentration of your perfume

For each name: perfume, eau de parfum or eau de toilette, its concentration.

The latter corresponds to the percentage of odorous ingredients contained in the total ethyl solution. In other words:

  • In a perfume, the concentrate is generally present at 15% to 30% of the finished product.
  • In an eau de parfum, between 12 and 15% - all Bastille perfumes are eau de parfum!
  • In an eau de toilette, between 7 and 12%

Please note: this is a convention, that is to say a habit of perfume houses, but there is no strict rule on the subject. To understand everything about these subtleties of appellations, go to our article: Eau de toilette vs. eau de parfum what's the difference?

So if the concentration of your perfume is high, the longer it will last on the skin. But we see you coming! Why not simply create higher concentration perfumes to have a scent that lasts and is intense all day long? “The Great Book of Perfume” explains that:

“After this optimal concentration, the perfume settles and is so concentrated that the opposite effect occurs: the balance is disrupted, it loses its radiance and its trail, sticks to the skin and no longer diffuses.” - source: “The Great Book of Perfume” from the NEZ collective

The composition of your perfume

The olfactory pyramid

The composition of a perfume corresponds to the “construction” of the perfume which is more generally called the olfactory pyramid. This pyramid is made up of head notes (at the very top of the pyramid), heart notes (in the center) and base notes (at the base).


Top notes are the most volatile raw materials, usually the freshest, which evaporate first. The most typical top notes are citrus , that is to say citrus fruits (lemon, mandarin, bergamot, etc.). These are raw materials which are very present in “eau fraîches” or Colognes. We can also find, alongside citrus, aromatic, rustic notes (lavender, rosemary, basil, etc.), the famous marine, aqueous notes, and certain fruity notes which have very volatile components like pear, for example.

These molecules are lighter and therefore evaporate more quickly than perfumes with heavier notes such as musk, amber or vanilla found in Un Deux Trois Soleil, our mischievous oriental or even sandalwood, which we find mixed with aromatic notes in our Demain Promis eau de parfum , which therefore lasts better over time.

So if your perfume is an eau fraîche, a Cologne or has very present top notes, the perfume will logically last less long than a perfume with very present heart and base notes. Hors-Piste , for example, is the citrus in our collection: it contains more top notes than the others and is therefore more volatile due to its composition. On the other hand, its concentration remains that of an eau de parfum - which gives it more staying power than a classic eau de toilette/Cologne.

To understand the entire olfactory pyramid of a perfume, go to our dedicated article: How to smell well and choose your perfume?

The choice of raw materials

In the composition, the choice and/or balance between natural and synthetic raw materials also comes into play. Initially, at Bastille, we started with a 100% natural formulation but it lacked elegance and hold . We have therefore chosen balance with 95% natural and 5% clean synthetic carefully selected to accompany our natural raw materials, and give life to exceptional pairings.

flowers in test tubes

Composing in natural is a real challenge for a perfumer and also involves concessions because what also allows your perfumes to last well over time are synthetics... Today, synthetics are mainly derived from petrochemicals.

So by choosing an eco-responsible brand, we have chosen to limit their use as much as possible. We have paid particular attention to the formulation of our perfumes with IFF perfumers by banning endocrine disruptors, solvents, stabilizers, dyes, or anti-UV filters from all our compositions.

Our ambition at Bastille: to get moving to compose tomorrow and create perfumes that are free both in creation and in interpretation, and which are good, beautiful, ethical and respectful of the planet.

Today, we choose to compose our perfumes with 95% natural ingredients and minimize synthetics quite simply because synthesis today presents more known risks (their origin aka petrochemicals and their consequences on the planet and for certain synthetic molecules on health) than natural ones. But tomorrow, everything could change.

With the rise of green chemistry and biotechnology , solutions for creating more responsible raw materials, without health risks, using very little energy and more respectful of the environment, are emerging. There is an urgent need to innovate! A more comprehensive article on the subject is in preparation, we look forward to telling you more.

You will certainly have understood: because we are committed to following our ambition, our perfumes will also be in motion to continue to offer you the most creative perfumes that are respectful of your skin and our dear planet. Let's not forget: if we favor natural products today, it is because we believe today that they are the most respectful and ethical solution compared to the synthesis resulting from petrochemicals and its global and current consequences. on our planet (and sometimes on our health). However, this does not mean that the use of natural raw materials is without consequences.

If tomorrow everyone in perfumery goes natural, there will not be enough flower fields to produce enough essential oils and satisfy all needs.

This is why it is all the more important to choose your partners carefully for the sourcing of natural materials and in our case, we have chosen to work with IFF-LMR , a pioneering laboratory for natural and ethical sourcing of perfumery ingredients in worldwide. By choosing IFF-LMR, we are choosing today to work with local producers around the world to allow perfumers to deal with pure, natural, transparent and sustainable ingredients that redefine quality standards. Working with IFF-LMR means:

  • guarantee transparency and traceability of natural ingredients,
  • have visibility on the carbon footprint of natural perfumery ingredients and move in the direction of an effective reduction strategy,
  • work directly with growers and producers to improve practices, quality and yields,
  • choose responsible sourcing that improves the quality of life of agricultural communities, helping to make them more stable, more resilient and more prosperous.

Preserving your perfume

How you store your perfume can also affect how long it lasts.

The real enemies of your fragrances are heat, light and humidity . These can alter the chemical composition of your perfume and therefore affect its durability and lifespan:

  • light : UV rays can alter the quality of olfactory molecules. Like your skin, which you protect from the sun, your perfume must also prevent sunburn.
  • heat : “caliente” atmospheres accelerate the bringing together of raw materials and can promote the oxidation of your perfume. So, remember to keep your fragrances away from your radiators or window sills…
  • humidity : we know more than well the pleasure of having your collection of perfumes enthroned in your bathroom and of perfuming yourself with your beloved scent when you get out of the shower. Unfortunately, for your perfume, it's a completely different story. The humidity in your bathroom can also degrade some of the olfactory properties of your perfumes.

So we can never repeat it enough but the best way to preserve your perfume is to keep it in the dark, at a constant temperature and in a room with low humidity, ideally in its original case: basically, in a refrigerated wine cellar or your bedroom cupboard ideally.

Battle of Bastille Eau de Parfum

You will have understood, depending on these different criteria that are your skin and the perfume in question, the perfume will last more or less well. In the case of Bastille, a natural perfume will evolve, depending on the skin, much faster than a synthetic perfume due to its composition.

Like the meeting between two people, if the alchemy works, we then witness a wonderful fusion. Otherwise, the magic will not be there: the skin and the perfume “will not get along or understand each other”. However, this does not mean that the fragrance is not qualitative, but simply that it is not made for you and above all: one person's experience does not mean another's! It's really personal, so we'll let you judge for yourself.

Now it's up to you: you have all the cards in hand to ensure that your perfumes blossom beautifully on your skin.

Source: Sylvaine Delacourte , AuParfum , By Nez , L’Officiel


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