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How To Choose The Right Perfume For Your Body Chemistry

By Amy Derungs

March 2, 2021


Here we will discuss the main factors affecting body chemistry and how to choose the right perfume for your body chemistry. Did you know that perfume reacts to skin type, to what you eat, what hormonal changes your body is going through? Have you ever wondered why the perfume your friend wears smells wonderful on her, and completely awful on you? Consider these points below.

Buying Perfume is not as simple as it sounds, so it’s important to do some research before spending any of your hard earned cash. You may have fallen in love with a particular perfume, but make sure the feeling is mutual. Your body chemistry may be to blame.

1. The Acidity Of Your Skin

The pH balance of the skin differs from person to person,and can change the way a perfume smells. The pH is a measure of the acid or base level of the skin ecosystem.

A healthy normal skin pH is slightly acidic at pH 4 – 6.4. Neutral pH is pH 7, and an alkaline pH is pH 7 or above. Skin that is alkaline (pH 7 or above) can affect or alter fragrances.

If you want to know what your skin’s pH level is, buy an at-home pH test kit. These come in the form of paper strips that you press against your skin, the strip will then change color. Now check it against the color-coded scale that comes with the kit. The darker the result, the higher the pH; the lighter the color, the more acidic the skin is.

Try and buy pH kits that are meant for your skin. Saliva and urine tests can measure your body’s pH levels, but these won’t give you the pH measurement of the surface of your skin.

There is also a nifty little hand-held pocket sized tester specifically designed to test surface pH - including skin. This is a clean and convenient alternative to paper strips.

If you’re trying to choose the right perfume for your body chemistry, test the fragrance on your skin, and wait to see how it evolves.

How To Choose The Right Perfume For Your Body Chemistry

2. The Oiliness of Your Skin

If you have oily skin, it will hold top notes for longer,but can also amplify some ingredients in the perfume.

Most perfumes are made with components that are attracted to oil. The general rule of thumb is that oily skin makes fragrances pop. Sweet notes can be overpowering on oily skins. Notes that would just vanish on dry skin can be fabulous on oily skin.

Perfume selection based on how dry or oily your skin is, will save you the sorrow of buying the wrong fragrance.

2.1 It’s more difficult with dry skin

Some people say their skin “eats” perfume. This is because the larger particles used in perfume are like the oils in skin. Those oils are absorbed deep into the skin, while you’d prefer to have it sitting on the skin than in it.

2.2 Understanding perfumes

This changes the dominant notes in the perfume. Before you spend money on a new fragrance, take a look at our article Understanding Perfume notes, concentration and fragrance families. This article gives a detailed explanation of how perfume works, and can be helpful in finding the right perfume that works for you.

In short, all fragrances have 3 levels of scents described as ‘notes.’ The top note (or notes) is the first one you smell when you apply the fragrance to lure you in, and this note is the first to fade.

The middle note (or notes) arrives after the top notes have faded a little. Then the base note (or notes) reveals itself sitting on your skin and warming up. The true scent of the fragrance is a mixture of the middle notes and base notes.

Dry skin needs enhanced fragrances with a solid base to hold up the fragrance and make it last. Delicate scents will disappear, so finding the right perfume with a stronger “voice” will be essential. 

2.3 How and where to apply perfume

Have you ever wondered why your Grandmother always put her perfume behind her ears, at the wrist and on her neck? There’s a great article on this: Where to Apply Perfume: 6 Points to Follow and you’ll get everything you need to know about this “strange” habit.

If your skin is dry, moisturize well before you apply perfume, this will allow the fragrance to linger on the skin for much longer. If you want some good advice on how to make your perfume last a whole lot longer, try 17 Tips How To Make Perfume Last Longer.

How To Choose The Right Perfume For Your Body Chemistry - Woman eating apple

3. Your Diet

The old adage “you are what you eat” can hold true for how your skin reacts to perfume.

There aren’t that many foods and drinks that affect how our skin smells, but there are some that are significant, like foods containing sulfur. Garlic is the most common, and can in fact give your skin a garlicky smell and change how perfume reacts on your skin. Strong spices like cumin in curries can also survive in natural body oils. It’s best to avoid overindulging on these before adding your special perfume selection to the mix.

4. The Effects of Alcohol

Hangovers aren’t healthy.

The body treats alcohol like a toxin and gets rid of it through a process called oxidation. This process breaks the toxins down into smaller parts. The body can now metabolize and excrete it through urine, breath, and sweat.

Hangover sweat can smell terrible, and adding perfume on top of that will definitely change the way the perfume smells, and not necessarily in a good way! Wait until the hangover is truly over, then comfort yourself with a delicious smell from your favorite perfume.

How To Choose The Right Perfume For Your Body Chemistry - medication

5. The Effects Of Medication

Be careful of some medications as they can increase sweating, which can lead to major body odor.

The most common offenders are morphine, antihistamines, decongestants, some antidepressants, pain killers, and muscle relaxants. Consider staying away from perfume when you’re taking medication, and use deodorant instead.

6. The Effects Of Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes influence your body chemistry, therefore this can change your perfume’s features and tend to make it smell quite different.

If it’s pleasant then enjoy the change, if not, it might be a good idea to find another perfume for your body now.

Ageing is not for the fainthearted. As you get older your skin dries out, and we know that dry skin is thirsty, sucking the life out of your favorite perfume. What used to be a personal signature is now a dusty memory. 

As we get older, our tastes change, and this might also be a good time to change perfume. Time for a new adventure with a special fragrance that says “this is the new me”.

Final Thoughts

Be aware of your body chemistry and find the right perfume for your body!

Always make sure you’re spending money on the genuine article. Fake perfume often smells like the real deal at first, but after a time the smell changes and can become offensive. Read about in our informed article How to Recognize a Fake Perfume.

If you find a certain fragrance appealing on someone, it could be that the fragrance reminds you of something good. The opposite can also be true, the scent could be a reminder of someone or something you didn’t like. Then no matter how pleasant the person is who is wearing it, your instinct would be dislike and blame the person, not the fragrance!

Choosing a perfume is deeply personal. Our sense of smell is emotional, and emotion doesn’t have any real logic attached to it. Choose a perfume that makes you feel beautiful and sexy and successful, and that suits your body chemistry.