Is there a benefit to applying fragrance to pulse points?

By: Alia Hoyt
Spraying perfume on the pulse point on your wrist can amplify the scent.

The ever-so-fabulous Coco Chanel put it best when she said, "A woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed." The traditional recommendation has always been that fragrance should be applied to the pulse points, or anywhere you can find a heartbeat. Not surprisingly, many of those physical locations are ripe with kissing potential, including the base of the throat, the inside of the wrists and below the earlobes, making the fragrance legend both logical and utterly romantic with her decree.

Whether you're looking for romance or not, there's no doubt that perfume can have a powerful effect on your confidence and overall mood, so you want it to work as well as it can. After all, fragrance is a waste of time and money if no one knows you're wearing it, but it can also work against you if it's applied in an overwhelming manner.


All kissing suggestions aside, the traditional opinion of perfume application holds that it should be dabbed on multiple pulse points to be as effective as possible. But is this really true?

"The body heat generated by pulse points helps intensify fragrance, and can often diffuse, magnify and amplify a scent, but it won't affect the longevity," says Elizabeth Barrial, perfumer at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, based in North Hollywood, Calif.

That's because pulse points are not the only factor when it comes to perfume effectiveness and staying power. "Perfumes will generally be stronger on someone with oily skin and good circulation whose body runs a little hotter," says Barrial. "Dry skin causes a scent to evaporate more quickly."

Although pulse point application has its benefits, fragrance can be applied pretty much anywhere on the physical body (barring sensitive private parts). Barrial suggests using fragrance in the hair as an effective way of prolonging the life of a scent. Also, rubbing one's wrists together when applying fragrance creates heat which can accelerate the evaporation of top notes. Again, since the skin's moisture level has a tremendous impact on scent, you can maximize the lifespan of your scent by keeping your skin as hydrated as possible. This is easy to achieve by simply drinking plenty of water and using moisture-rich lotion.

Resist the urge to add extra oomph by applying fragrance to your clothes. Experts strongly advise against this because the scent can quickly become distorted when mixed with cottons and other fabrics, and can even stain garments.

Whatever application you choose, be sure to carefully test each scent before making a public debut. Many physical factors, like body chemistry and skin type, can alter the impression of any fragrance, rapidly changing a soft, sweet scent into a sour or overpowering one.


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  • Barrial, Elizabeth. Personal interview via e-mail. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Aug. 10, 2012.
  • Goodreads. "Coco Chanel – Quotes." 2012. (Aug. 10, 2012).
  • The Fragrance Foundation. "FAQs." 2012. (Aug. 10, 2012).