Perfume Etiquette in Intimate Settings: What’s Too Much?

Ah, the importance of choosing the right perfume or fragrance. It’s never an easy decision. One crucial part of that decision process involves how much of the perfume to wear. The right amount of perfume, and you’re a hit, or you blend in nicely and appropriately. The wrong amount, and you’ll always be remembered for the fragrance and not for you.

Whether your going on a date or attending a dinner, finding balance in your perfume is an essential part of your fashion journey.

Intimate events where you’ll end up in close quarters with others make choosing the right perfume a stressful endeavor. You don’t want to overbear anyone, but also, you may want to be noticed, or project a lovely, inspiring, or classy scent. Your scent is important, as we’ve discussed ad nauseam.

Your scent projects, and different perfumes project at different ranges. We call this “sillage.” For the record, you pronounce it “see-yazh.” Sillage is a French term describing a scent trail left in wake as someone moves about. Sillage essentially measures how far the aroma of a perfume extends beyond the immediate vicinity of the wearer. The further the sillage, the more the perfume extends beyond intimate range. Its an important factor in the overall character of a fragrance as it determines how perceptible and impactful the scent is to those around us.

Understanding Scent Strength and Longevity

To learn to properly choose a fragrance, you first need to understand both strength and longevity as a concept. Some perfumes last longer than others, and there are reasons for that. And some perfumes extend further than others, and there are reasons for that. It all comes down to the perfume concentration levels. And you can easily understand that by referring to the below guide:

Eau de Parfum (EdP):

  • Concentration of Fragrance Oils: Typically, EdP contains between 15% to 20% concentration of fragrance oils. This higher concentration makes it richer and more intense in aroma.
  • Longevity: Due to its higher concentration of essential oils, EdP generally lasts longer on the skin. It can typically last anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the specific formulation and the wearer’s skin chemistry.
  • Sillage: Eau de Parfum tends to have a noticeable sillage, projecting the scent effectively without being overwhelming. It’s suitable for a variety of settings, including those that are more intimate or require a lasting impression.
  • Usage: Ideal for evening events or special occasions where a more pronounced scent is desired. However, it can be used sparingly for daytime wear as well.
  • Cost: Typically more expensive than Eau de Toilette due to its higher concentration of fragrance oils.

Eau de Toilette (EdT):

  • Concentration of Fragrance Oils: Eau de Toilette formulations contain a lower concentration of fragrance oils, usually around 5% to 15%. This makes it lighter and less intense.
  • Longevity: Generally, EdT lasts about three to five hours. Its lighter formulation means it dissipates faster than EdP.
  • Sillage: The sillage of an EdT is usually moderate, making it less overpowering and more suitable for close encounters or everyday wear.
  • Usage: Often preferred for daytime wear due to its lighter, fresher nature. It’s a popular choice for office environments or casual gatherings.
  • Cost: Less expensive than Eau de Parfum, reflecting its lower concentration of essential oils.

To summarize, Eau de Parfum (EdP), is generally more intense and has greater silage. This is due to its higher concentrations.

So, if you need less sillage, you’d opt for perfumes in the Eau de Toilette (EdT) category. These perfumes have less concentrations and therefor, less sillage. They are lighter in scent.

Other Factors

It’s important to note that longevity and sillage of a fragrance can also vary depending on a person’s skin type and/or chemistry. This is something only the wearer can learn to understand. If everything you wear gets a comment, but you believe you wear less potent fragrances, you might consider your skin type to emanate scents more powerfully.

The climate and environment can also play a roll. For example, warmer climates may intensify a scent while colder ones may reduce projection.

Final Notes

To project or not project, that is the question we should all begin with when choosing which perfume to wear out. There are some events, or dates, where we may want a little more scent push. And other events, such as a corporate dinner, where we might want to tone it down a bit. Ultimately, this decision is very, very personal and dependent on many factors beyond what we can cover here.