Spraying perfume on pulse points used to be somewhat of a wives tale, but it turned out to be true because the warmth of these areas speeds up the evolution of the scent. While this doesn’t seem “crazy,” there are other wives tales that seem to be “off the wall” and they cover everything from how to wear perfume to how to store it.
But what is true, what isn’t, and what is just plan crazy?
You’re about to find out.
Old Wives Tales: How to Wear Your Perfume
It seems the ladies figured it out long ago when they started spraying perfume on their hair. Believe it or not, your hair holds fragrance much longer. You don’t have to worry too much about the alcohol in the perfume drying out your hair, as all you need is a mist and the job is done.
Unfortunately, one area where the ladies got it wrong was with rubbing the wrists together after applying perfume. It turns out that the wrist rub can change the performance of the fragrance on your skin by spoiling the top notes.
The molecules of the top notes are so light that friction can mix the oils of the skin with the perfume and “rush the fragrance.” This fast forwards scent evolution and goes straight to the heart of the fragrance. In other words, you’re shortening the life of the scent.
No one wants to do that.
If you want to really get down and dirty when it comes to old wives tales about wearing perfume, check out the history of people using perfume in warfare. They would sprinkle it over clothes, beds, sofas, garlands, shoes, jewelry, or anything their target would touch in an effort to poison them. Yes, this meant there were a few more ingredients in the bottles that you wouldn’t want to be there today.
Old Wives Tales: Storing Perfume the Right Way
Unless it’s the sixth century BCE and you are creating a perfume potion to poison your enemy or sprinkle the earth with it in an effort to cure it of poison, you want to keep your favorite fragrance in a cool, dry place.
However, women frequently left their perfumes sitting on their vanities in order to show off their collections. This could be a sign of status, but this was actually ruining the scents. If there are rapid temperature fluctuations or a lot of sunlight, the appearance and scent can be compromised.
Fortunately, back when the ice box started being a thing, women would hide their perfumes in the refrigerator instead of out in the open. One reason why they did this was to protect their pricey investment. Interestingly, not everyone realized that they were prolonging the life of their favorite fragrances, giving them more bang for their buck.
What? The Wives Were On To Something?
As you can tell, the old wives tales panned out most of the time. It seems they knew what they were talking about when it came to many things. Perhaps, this was due to a lot of trial and error over time.
What we must consider is that these tales originated in the times when women were figuring out how to best wear and store their perfumes because money had to stretch. Yes, they were wearing their fragrances for special occasions rather than daily like we do today, but they could get by with that when using the right storage methods.
In cases where perfume bottles were darker in color, they could successfully display their favorite fragrances for a while. This and other “tales” like spraying your fragrance on your hair and storing your perfume in the refrigerator are all rules of thumb you can use now when buying perfumes that you want to make last for as long as possible.