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Applying Perfume: How Much Do Pulse Points Matter?
Choosing the right perfume is only part of smelling good. Take a whiff of Groupon’s look into fragrance application.
Scent is a powerful thing. It can trigger long-forgotten memories, tell you what’s cooking, and attract (or repel) someone you like. When you smell something, tiny molecules emitted by that object come into direct contact with your olfactory receptors, where they trigger reactions in the limbic system—the central circuit for emotion, mood, and motivation. So how can you make sure the aromatic message you’re sending gets across clearly?
Common knowledge says to apply fragrance on pulse points such as inside the wrists and elbows, at the temple, below the earlobes, and even behind the knees. The thinking goes that scent disperses best where skin is warmest. But while it is true that heat helps disseminate scent—consider the burrito cooking in your microwave versus its odorless counterpart in the freezer—the body is not significantly warmer around the pulse points. Overall circulation, and not proximity to an artery, plays the largest part in keeping skin warm, as does underlying fat and exposure to outside temperatures.
Instead of focusing on where to apply perfume, it might be more fruitful to think about the ways you can extend its effects. Michael Edwards, a perfume expert and author of Fragrances of the World, writes that oily skin holds scent better. He suggests using a scent-free moisturizer before applying fragrances, or reapplying them more frequently if you have dry skin. In fact, your skin type and natural odor will have their own effects. Body chemistry, diet, and temperature all play a vital part in how fragrance is expressed when it hits your skin—so if you’re worried that somebody might copy your signature scent, take some comfort in the fact that the two of you probably will never smell quite the same.