How Body and Skin Chemistry Change the Scent of Colognes and Perfume


© Jenn Durfey

© Jenn Durfey

Many people use fragrances to smell and feel bold, attractive, appealing and enticing. Yet, most of us know very little about colognes and perfumes we wear. Here are a few facts about perfumes that one should know before purchasing a specific cologne or perfume. Many of us decide to buy a certain perfume because we like the fragrance on someone else. However, after we buy and apply the scent to our own body, we find the result quite disappointing because the perfume smells rather different than what we expected. Similarly, we may fall in love with a cologne at a store after spraying it on a tester card, but don’t like it much after wearing it. Perfume or cologne isn’t something that you should buy impulsively. The chemistry of your body has a significant effect on a fragrance and that is why the scent that might smell delightful on others may not work for you.

How Colognes Scent Changes On Body:
The changes would depend on your skin’s PH levels and since it differs from person to person, colognes would smell differently on each individual. When acidic PH factors are combined with the chemicals in colognes and perfumes, it alters the basic fragrance and because everyone’s body chemistry is different the colognes and perfumes tend to react in a different way on different people. However, it’s not just the body chemistry that has an effect on the way colognes smell on different people. Things such as your body temperature, diet, and the body lotion you use can also affect the way your perfume smells on your skin. Other factors that can change or cause your body chemistry to influence the way in which a perfume smells on your body includes, your gender, race, the medicines you take as well as you skin type. Even perspiration can make colognes smell different.

The skin is a very multifarious mixture of compounds. These compounds comprise of things such as salt, fat, sugar, fibers and proteins and, we all know that people have diverse skin type i.e. oily, normal and dry skin. All these aspects work together to generate a unique scent. The way this scent is emitted is different for each person due to specific compounds of the fragrance, known as notes, which determines whether the scent is released slowly or quickly. These differences may be quite subtle but can be easily detected by our sensitive noses. Our nose can spot even the slightest differences, regardless of whether we become aware of them or not.

In addition, the fragrance may also vary based on the environmental conditions in which the cologne is applied, such as low or high humidity. So, if you apply cologne in a place where there is lot of smoke, it will most possibly smell different than if you apply it on, in a pollution free location. Moreover, everyone’s pheromones react differently with colognes as well. Pheromones are chemicals that occur naturally and give off subliminal signals through scent to the opposite sex and trigger extremely powerful sexual responses. Everyone’s body emits different natural scents that are released by the body’s hormones, chemicals, oil etc; which makes the perfumes smell different to a certain extent.

Overall, since each person is unique, the same cologne scent may change on the body and can, therefore, smell different when applied by different people. That is why a perfume or cologne may smell different on someone else than it does on you. Nevertheless, understanding the never-ending combinations and varieties of skin types as well as environments in which the cologne is applied can assist us in learning the best way to determine our signature fragrance.

What You Should Do About It
Most perfumes and colognes come in sample sizes. Feel free to visit your local perfume store and request the (usually free) small size samples so you can test them on your skin before you decide to make an investment in purchasing a bottle. We recommend using a test sample for a few days to see how it reacts with your natural body chemistry. Apply the scents to your body either on your wrists, neck, chest and/or behind the ears.  Then spend a few days wearing it. Does the cologne or perfume live up to your results? If so you might have found a good match. If it doesn’t work on you, visit your local perfume store and explain the problem with the fragrance you tried and your results. They store might be able to offer you suggestions of similar fragrances that may work better with your body chemistry.