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The Complete Guide to Perfume

A perfume has the power to capture and captivate, veiling you in a tantalising shroud of mystery and effortlessly asserting your personality and femininity.
21 Nov 2019

Just as much of an immediate mood lifter in the present day as it is a loving, nostalgic throwback to treasured memories, perfume is a sensual and uplifting finishing touch to your daily routine.

From how to wear perfume to how long does perfume keep, we’ve covered everything you need to know about leaving your own fragrant mark on the world in MUGLER’s Complete Guide To Perfume.


An EDP, or Eau de Parfum, is a luxurious, deeply personal scent that settles onto the skin like a sleek, velvet dress and leaves behind an unforgettable trail. But, what does Eau de Parfum mean and how does it differ from other types of fragrance, such as EDT or Cologne?

The French phrase Eau de Parfum translates into English as “perfume water” and refers to a fragrance that contains anything between 12-18% of the essential oils used to make up the scent. This makes it the strongest and longest-lasting perfume in comparison to other fragrance options, such as Eau de Toilette (5-15%), Eau de Cologne (3-5%) and Cologne (1-3%).


Perfume is a chemical compound made from a mixture of alcohol, essential oils and other components. Essential oils – which make up the scent of the perfume – are extracted from many different areas of plants. For example, rose and jasmine from flowers, cinnamon and safrole from bark and sandalwood and birch from wood.


Want to know how to apply perfume so that it has the best chance of lasting on your skin? It all starts with where to spray perfume. The best places to spray your scent are on your ‘pulse points’ – warmer areas of the body where blood vessels are closer to the surface of the skin. Holding the bottle around five inches away from your skin, spray a couple of spritzes onto your wrists, neck and the inside of both of your elbows. The combination of aromatic essences mixed with the warmth of your body will leave a sensuous, deliciously fragrant trail wherever you happen to go

Due to its intense, long-lasting nature, perfume can be applied in the morning for a captivating, luxurious scent that lasts throughout the day, or to dazzle and enrapture your evening guests when the lights go down. And with perfumes lasting up to 24 hours, you shouldn’t need to reapply your scent to leave an unforgettable mark.


With your hair and makeup finished, it’s time to envelop yourself in your favourite scent, but how long will it last and will you need to pack the perfume bottle for top ups? A good perfume can last on the skin for up to 24 hours. But, on average, perfume lasts for around 12 hours. There are 3 factors that help to determine your scent’s longevity – the concentration of the perfume, its molecular composition and the type of skin you have.

Put simply, the stronger the concentration, the longer the perfume will last. Concentration refers to the percentage of aromatic oil that’s mixed with the fragrance’s base, which can be either alcohol, oil or water. Perfume typically contains between 12-18% aromatic oils, plus has an oil-based formula which helps the scent stick to the skin longer than EDT or EDP, so you’ll be enveloped in your enchanting aroma all day long.

Secondly, each perfume is made of different molecules which come in different sizes. Light, citrus-based aromas have smaller molecules which oxidise quickly, meaning these scents will fade much faster than sweeter, musky scents which have larger molecules and oxidise more slowly.

Lastly, your skin type has an effect on how long you can expect your perfume to last. Oilier skin types tend to retain the fragrant molecules better, so perfume is more long-lasting on oily skin. The good news is that even if your skin isn’t oily, you can use a moisturiser before applying your perfume for a similar effect. This allows the fragrant oils to bind strongly with the oils on your skin, so your perfume will last longer.


If you’ve owned a fragrance for a few years, you may notice that its scent has begun to change, it might fade more quickly than before or become discoloured. But can perfume go off as such? The answer is yes. The average shelf life of perfume is around 3-5 years, but how long it lasts will depend on the type of perfume you have and how you store it. Perfumes with a prominent base note tend to last longer, so woody and spicy fragrances will have a longer shelf life than aromatic or citrus notes.


Perhaps you’ve been saving a personal scent for a special occasion or have some unopened fragrances in your drawer. Well, unfortunately perfume isn’t built to last. While an unopened bottle of perfume will keep slightly longer than an opened bottle, perfume is best enjoyed every day rather than kept for a distant ‘someday’. After around 5 years, the scent will have faded and you won’t get the enjoy the intended aromatic experience, so it’s best to use them little and often.


If you want to make your perfume last as long as possible, we’ve got a few tips on how to store perfume that will help improve its shelf life. For example, the heat from direct sunlight can break down a perfume’s chemical structure and make it lose its potency at a faster rate, so keeping your perfume out of the sun will help it last longer. For this reason, you shouldn’t store it in the bathroom either, as the constant changes in temperature can disrupt the chemicals.

The best place to store your favourite scent? In a cool, dry, dark place such as inside your dresser drawer or wardrobe.


Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help make perfume last longer on your skin longer, so you can enjoy the sensual smell all day long.

Women's Perfume and Men's Perfume is activated by body heat, so apply a few sprays to your pulse points for a stronger fragrance. Your neck, wrists and the insides of your elbows, for example, are areas where blood vessels are closer to the skin’s surface, making skin warmer and your perfume more likely to last. Scent clings better to oily skin, so create a damp base with body lotion or moisturiser before you apply your perfume – it’ll help the fragrant oils stick to your skin for longer.

Another tip? Don’t rub perfume on skin, as this breaks down the fragrance’s structure and weakens the scent. Always spray onto skin from around 5 inches away and leave for a few moments to dry for a longer-lasting, intensified scent.

Storing your perfume correctly will help it last longer, too. So, keep your cherished bottle in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and any room that has harsh temperature changes – such as the bathroom.


When you make it to the bottom of your favourite scent, you might wonder what to do with the empty perfume bottle? The answer is simple with MUGLER. Don’t throw away your favourite perfume bottles – refill them instead. We believe that showing respect for our planet and making an effort to practice sustainable, eco-friendly consumption is key. As innovative and revolutionary as always, we rocked the fragrance world by offering a refillable bottle for our most iconic fragrances. These environmentally friendly bottles are practical and easy to use – simply order the refillable bottles online and your favourite luxury scent need never run out.

Alternatively, visit one of our enchanting MUGLER Fountains in the UK where you can refill your cherished perfume bottle to your heart’s content. Drop after drop, your fragrance will glimmer as it refills – just like the day it was first bottled.

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