What does 'dry down' mean?

What It Means to You

Your perfume only smells like your perfume when it's on you. This is both good news and bad news.

Those scent molecules aren't only reacting with each other and the environment. They're also reacting with your skin, and everyone's skin is different. Your skin's particular absorption rate, for instance, affects how a perfume smells on you as it moves through its stages, because evaporation isn't the only way scent components disappear. They can also be absorbed. If your skin is relatively dry, it might absorb certain molecules faster than someone else's skin, meaning the exact combination and volume of scents present on your skin at any given time will never be exactly the same as what's on a friend's skin.

Other factors affecting a perfume's actual scent include your hormone levels, age, diet and which other skin products you use, because all of these factors play into the exact composition of your skin.

The good news is, no matter how many people are wearing your perfume, your scent is entirely unique. The bad news is, the perfume that smells amazing on your friend might smell absolutely awful on you.

In fact, a scent is not even static on a single person. Skin chemistry changes as we age, especially as hormones fluctuate. Major diet changes, illness and changing stress levels can also alter the way your perfume smells on you.

For this reason (and also, perhaps, to keep things interesting), it's important to periodically evaluate your perfume. Does it still smell appealing on you at every scent stage? Does the dry-down stage still last for a reasonable period of time, or do you find yourself having to reapply several times a day? You may find you need to make a switch to accommodate your changing body chemistry.

Just be sure to get a second opinion. Our noses get adjusted to a fragrance pretty quickly, making it difficult for us to judge our own scent. Ask a friend to help you evaluate your perfume, and tell him or her to be brutal. If you stink, it's better to find out now.

For more information on fragrances and skin chemistry, check out the links below.

Related Articles


  • Definition: Dry Down. BellaSugar. Nov. 7, 2011. (April 24, 2012) http://www.bellasugar.com/Definition-Drydown-3486516
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Fragrance. Crabtree & Evelyn via Tara Florist -- Twelve Oaks. (April 24, 2012) http://www.taraflorist.net/FragranceTaraFlorist.htm
  • General Perfume Information. The Perfumed Court. (April 24, 2012) http://theperfumedcourt.com/perfume_info.aspx
  • Global Perfume and Fragrance Market Growing. Perfumer & Flavorist. March 26, 2012. (April 24, 2012) http://www.perfumerflavorist.com/fragrance/trends/144217915.html
  • Smith, Michelle. "What Does "Dry Down" Mean? The Gloss. March 1, 2010. (April 24, 2012) http://thegloss.com/beauty/what-does-dry-down-mean/

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