The Season Is Changing and So Should Your Scent

In my part of the world, Spring has arrived (and so has the heavy yellow-green pollen from all the pine trees: yuck!). The thermometer will rise (along with the humidity) week on week until I'm ready for a vacation at the ice hotel.

I can see you nodding in resignation.

Did you know aromas get more intense as the weather warms up? It makes sense, though, right? On the plus side, fresh herbs really come out once they hit a puddle of hot olive oil. Super yum. On the minus (like BIG minus) side, you can smell the garbage truck before it even arrives at your house. Super eww.

 You know what the people around you can smell in the dog days of summer—from several feet away? That spicy oriental you love so much and spritzed on this morning. And you know what? It's making them hate you.

Don't be that person.

When higher temps arrive, it's time to lighten your scent. As your skin warms up, it makes the scent there radiate farther from your body and seem much, much stronger than it did when it was coat weather. You may not notice its power due to "olfactory fatigue" (i.e., you get so familiar with your scent after wearing it for 20 minutes, you don't really smell it anymore), but everyone else does. And believe me, they don't appreciate it.

 So, what can you do?

 Well, you have a few options:

  • Dial it back a notch: If you like orientals, try a woody oriental rather than spicy or soft. Its base notes are not resinous and therefore won't "stew" on the skin. If you're into florals, go for soft florals (lilac, lily of the valley, violet) rather than the heavy waxy white that are known in perfuming as the narcotics: jasmine, gardenia, tuberose. If you like green scents, move from the forest (fougère) to the herb garden (aromatic). You get the idea.
  • Go for a diluted formulation of your signature scent: If you just can't do without your favorite perfume in the summer, choose a version with scent materials in a lower concentration/higher dilution. In other words, change from eau de parfum to eau de toilette. See the chart below.
  • Choose a lighter fragrance: The best choice is to switch things up entirely and treat your perfume like your wardrobe. You wouldn't wear a wool skirt in summer, would you? Buy the fragrance equivalent of linen shorts: an eau de cologne. A "real" eau de cologne is not just for men. It's actually a fragrance with lots of citrus and a few herbs or light flowers—in low concentrations—to provide a refreshing veil of scent rather than a heavy aroma.

Bitter Orange/Bigaradier

The fruit, flowers, and leaves/branches of the bitter orange tree are used extensively in all kinds of perfumes. They are also key to eau de cologne.

Note that with every step down—from eau de parfum, to eau de toilette, to eau de cologne—you'll need to reapply your fragrance more often throughout the day. But that's a small price to pay for not making the person standing next to you at that outdoor concert pass out, right? Right???

Now put the bottle down (and pick up a different one), and nobody gets hurt.

Each fine fragrance is a mix of pure scent material (essential oils, absolutes, resins, naturally derived isolates, and/or synthetics), alcohol or a carrier oil, and sometimes also water. The percentage of the scent material to other ingredients determines the concentration and therefore category of fragrance, as follows: 

Parfum: 15–40%

Eau de Parfum (EDP): 10–20%

Eau de Toilette (EDT): 5–15%

*Eau de Cologne (EDC): 2–6%

Aftershave: 1–3%

*Typically we call fragrances aimed at men “colognes,” but they’re actually either EDP or EDT. Seriously. Read the fine print on the bottom of the bottle—it never lies.


If you've made a fragrance with me, would you be interested in having an eau de toilette version? I'd LOVE to know how much interest there is before offering that option, so please shoot me a quick "Yes!" via email.


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