Why Does Perfume Smell Different on Everyone?

When spraying perfume, a few factors affect how a perfume would smell on your skin: the skin’s pH balance, skin condition, body temperature, and skincare products you use every day. 

You’ve probably been there. A friend wears a certain perfume you like, so you bought the same bottle thinking that it would smell wonderful on you too, but you got it wrong because the smell ended up horrendous!

Before complaining about how unfair it is, find out why a perfume you love doesn’t appear to love you back.

Why Does Perfume Smell Differently for Everyone?

Body chemistry is many things behind how a perfume smells differently on everyone. Since you’re different from anybody else, the same perfume can smell very different on you. 

The skin’s pH balance is also why fragrances smell differently on different people. You can change into a shower gel designed for delicate and sensitive skin to maintain suitable skin pH. 

Skin type is another culprit.

If You Have Oily Skin

It can heighten some elements of your perfume. It’s because most perfume ingredients are attracted to oil, including your skin fats. 

If you have oily skin, the perfume’s top notes last much longer. However, on the downside, it can also exaggerate some scents, like sweet notes, and too much sweetness can be overwhelming. 

Oily skins can turn a subtle fragrance into a bomb, but they can also upset the balance of your perfume, altering the perfume’s characteristics.

If You Have Dry Skin

Discreet scents will only disappear when applied to dry skin. Instead, you’d want to make a strong aroma like chypre and oriental fragrances. 

However, if you want to make delicate scents last longer on your dry skin, you can apply a scent-free lotion or body oil before a perfume. 

It’s not only body chemistry that affects how the scent smells in your skin. Among other factors that affect scent smell include:

  • Body temperature. Fluctuating hormones could also affect how perfumes smell throughout the month. When estrogen drops, you often sweat easily, and perfume reacts to that temperature change. 
  • Diet. The London Perfume Company notes that adding edible perfumes to your diet, like spices and herbs, can also change how fragrances smell.
  • Skincare products you’re using. Fragrances from products you use daily will interact with the perfume, so the overall aroma you get will change. The same goes for other products you apply to your skin daily, such as body lotion and soap. 

Why Does a Perfume Not Smell Good on Me?

Even other things that you might think are unrelated, like a hangover, can alter how a perfume smells on your skin, but not because the fragrance changed. 

Alcohol can heighten and stimulate receptors located on your nose’s olfactory sensory neurons, and not in a good way. Even a discreet scented oil becomes overpowering and will make you feel queasy if you’re nursing a hangover.

What Changes the Scent of a Perfume?

There could be other reasons why a new perfume bottle might smell different from the one you used before. 

  • The perfume has been reformulated. You may not be aware that most perfumes, even the classics, have been reformulated every decade or so. For instance, a 2000-2010 version of a fragrance bottle may smell completely different from its 2015 version.
  • You purchased an eau de cologne instead of an eau de parfum, or vice versa. Perfumes can come in different forms: eau de cologne, eau de toilette, and eau de parfum. The pure perfume version has a higher oil concentration, appearing stronger with a different scent.

How Do I Know If a Perfume Smells Good on Me?

When it comes to choosing a new fragrance, keep off those test strips. Instead, spray it on your skin to assess how it would smell on your skin. 

However, remember that fragrance develops throughout the day. So, you can’t always get the overall impression of the perfume at the first whiff.

The Bottom Line

The important thing about choosing a perfume is that it should love you back. 

Skin differs slightly, so before dropping your money on a new perfume bottle, check if it smells good with your natural body odor first.