So you finally scored that date with the girl you've been crushing on for weeks now. Congrats, bro! We wish you all the luck in the world, and hope you get a second date at the end of the night. We assume you already know what to do to leave the best impression, and won't bore you with repeating the same ol' advice.
But if you really want us to pass on some wisdom, then the one thing we hope you keep in mind is this: make sure you start the date smelling nice, and end it smelling just as nice. After all, when you've got your lady tucked under your arm as you're walking her home, you’d want her to cuddle closer because she thinks you smell wonderful, right?
Of course, despite your best efforts, sometimes that woodsy/spicy/musky scent you left the house with just won't stay on you for long. Actually, just to rub some salt into the wound, have you ever noticed that some guys seem to smell enviously good the whole day through, but you can’t even catch a whiff of your own cologne after getting off the MRT?
Well, a lot of factors go into why some fragrances last longer and smell stronger. The most fundamental reason is the type of fragrance you buy, and we're not talking about particular brands or scents (though those two are considerations as well); labels like perfume and cologne actually matter, and aren't just ways to superficially differentiate which you might consider strictly feminine and which is acceptably unisex. Fragrances are actually separated into categories, based on how concentrated the actual perfumed oil is in a scent, and it’s usually dictated on the product label, though we won’t blame you if you never really gave it any deep thought.
Basically, the more concentrated the oil, the longer it'll last on you, so pay attention fellas: Perfume.com says perfume can last from six hours to the entire day, eau de parfum can go up to five hours, eau de toilette works for up to four hours, and finally cologne, which is the weakest concentration, stays on for only a couple of hours at best. So next time you're picking up a bottle to spritz on, take a look at the label. Or, if you already have some variety at home, choose according to the occasion. If you just want to stick to the light stuff like cologne though, then make sure to carry some with you when you go out so you can reapply every couple of hours.
The weather and surrounding environmental conditions also affect how long your fragrance lasts. Typically, heat increases the release of odor from your skin (which explains why it gets so stinky living in a tropical island!). So warm weather means the fragrance will only last for a short, but intense, time. On the other hand, colder climates tone down scents, stretching out how long it’ll stay on you and muting the aroma, so you can get away with putting on heavier stuff.
Your body chemistry and personal grooming habits can also determine how long a fragrance lasts. Since perfumes are oil-based, having oily skin will, for once, be an advantage, as it will stick to you better. If you have dry skin though, don't fret. "Moisturizing should help reduce dryness and in return make fragrances last longer," advised Dr. Michael Marc Maaño, a dermatologist at Skin MD Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology. Sweat, and the scent of it, must also be considered, since it can overpower whatever you have on. Consequently, bathing or showering (to get rid of that sweat) will also wash away any fragrances, added Dr. Maaño, so don’t forget to properly reapply before you leave the bathroom.
Take note that there is a proper way to make yourself smell good. First and foremost, fragrances are most effective when applied to your pulse points because the warmth of your blood will help diffuse the aroma. Michael Edwards, one of the fragrance industry's most respected experts, suggests—"Inside the wrists. Inside the elbows. At the temple. Below the ear lobes, not behind. At the base of the throat. Behind the knees. And anywhere else you feel a heartbeat."
And despite what you might see other people doing, don't rub the perfume onto your skin, since this will actually kill the molecules keeping the fragrance together. Don't splash it on either, since you'll end up putting on too much and people will be able to smell you half a room away (and anywhere more than a foot distance is gauche, boys, don't overdo it).
Always watch out for allergic reactions to your chosen fragrance. Dr. Maaño warns that if the product it too harsh or you’re allergic to it, there will be negative effects on your skin. “[This can] manifest as redness and itching. Washing it of won’t be enough, though it helps. Visit a dermatologist if this happens. I don’t advise using too many scented products since it increases the chances of you getting irritated by one of them.”
So remember to do it right, fellas, because smelling good is important. In the book Neurology of Sensation and Reward, Rachel Herz talks about various studies regarding the effect of fragrance on male-female relationships and mating habits. What we consider the most relevant takeaway from her essay? 1) Men who wear fragrances have markedly higher self-confidence; 2) this is both a cause and effect of women being more attracted to men who smell good, and in fact; 3) women consider "how a man smells the most important physical trait in their choice of sexual partner and that it is more important that all social and material status factors." Talk about motivation!
So if you want to land that second date? Make sure you smell as awesome as possible.
For more on this and other skin concerns, visit Dr. Michael Marc Maaño at Skin MD Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology.