When Alina mentioned during an editorial brainstorm that her favorite perfume had fallen off of her bathroom counter and shattered, the casual anecdote sparked a discussion on fragrance that lasted the better part of an hour. We each had different opinions on how much to apply, what to wear, and the idea of having a "signature scent," but agreed unanimously that we seldom walk out the door without it. It may be because smell is the sense most associated with memory—perfume has the ability to mark a moment or period in time in a way most things in our cosmetics bag aren't able to—that it's also one of the most personal parts of our beauty routine. Here, we each answered a questionnaire that addresses our thoughts on perfume (Geoffrey included!)—and we'd love to see yours in the comment section below!
1. How do you apply your perfume?
I do light spritzes that I have move across different parts of my body, criss-crossing across my chest, and then down my back. There's a lot of movement so it doesn't concentrate too intensely in just one area.
I spray it directly onto my left wrist, then rub my right wrist on top of my left wrist, and then apply both wrists directly to my collar bone, and down my décolletage, and then right up under my shirt onto my stomach. That sounds really awkward to say, but I think I read once that your stomach retains scent better than neck/wrist so I started doing this years ago.
As a young guy I would put on an abusive amount, basically crop dusting myself from head to toe. I've since learned that less is more and spray directly in front of me, then walk through the small cloud of mist. - Geoffrey
I still apply perfume the way I watched my mom do it growing up—by spritzing one wrist, then rubbing them together and quickly swiping the sides of my neck with any excess. - Leslie
2. How much do you put on?
It depends on the scent, but usually three light sprays, though I do love a roll-on opportunity. If one of my perfumes comes in a roll-on, I'll almost always keep that on hand as well to do little touch-ups throughout the day.
At least two heavy sprays, sometimes multiple more. - Alina
As little as possible, but it kind of depends on the scent. Usually one or two spritzes is more than enough.- Geoffrey
I usually just use one spray, but if I'm going somewhere where I know there will be a lot of people and smells that could camouflage my own, I'll add an extra spray to my hair or neck, so that if someone goes in for a hug they'll be able to smell it. - Leslie
3. Which scents do you like wearing on yourself?
I love a light, white floral as long as they don't go saccharinely sweet. Typically if something has gardenia/jasmine/tuberose, I'm in.
Anything sexy, smokey, and vanilla-y. I don't like fruit. I want the scent I wear to smell like a warm, sensual fireplace/basically a man. - Alina
I don't know if I'm in the minority of men, but I don't drift towards a specific scent, but rather buy things that my wife enjoys smelling. Emily loves vetiver based and/or wood scents on me, so pretty much everything I purchase is a variation on those base notes.- Geoffrey
My favorite scent of all-time is rose, but it reminds me of something an older woman might wear, so I tend to lean towards similar but brighter floral scents like geranium and freesia. - Leslie
4. What are you go-to perfumes?
Carnal Flower by Frederic Malle is probably my all-time favorite and the one that receives the most compliments, but I also love Inflorescence by Byredo, Annick Goutal's 'Petite Cherie' and Antonia's Flowers. I also just discovered a new one I'm obsessed with, that I'm sharing in our Find of the Week later today.
Le Labo Santal used to be my one and only, but after it broke, I recently purchased a roller ball version of Maison Louis Marie No. 09 Vallee de Farney, and have gotten sooo many compliments on the scent. My friend, who loved it so much she put it on at the dinner table when I pulled it out of my bag, said it was "intimidatingly sexy." (Note: the top note says it's citrus/grapefruit, but the scent isn't fruity at all—per my not-liking-to-smell-like-fruit comment). - Alina
I currently have two colognes, so by default, they're my go-to scents: Bois d'Ascèse and Serge Lutens 'Un Bois Sépia' - Geoffrey
I currently wear Daisy by Marc Jacobs, but to be honest, I feel like I chose it because it was recommended to me, even though I'm not crazy about the scent. I'm still looking for something I love because I like the idea of having a "signature scent."
5. High school scent?
I was all over the map in high school, but focused big on fruity/floral lotions, like apple orchard and honeysuckle mist. I also wore the three perfumes that practically every girl at my school wore: Ralph Lauren Romance, Tommy Girl, and Happy. None of those are offensive, even now, it's just that they were worn in such mass amounts by all of us that made them a bit overdone.
I went hard on Victoria's Secret Warm Vanilla Sugar, as well as Ralph Lauren Blue. That scent takes me straight back to sophomore summer and a thousand sun-drenched high school memories. I also dabbled in Clinique Happy and YSL Opium.- Alina
I think it was a bylaw of my school that every guy over the age of 14 had to wear Drakkar Noir, so we did. Calvin Klein "Obsession" was a strong second place.- Geoffrey
I was all about the original Juicy Couture perfume—and the little necklace that came with it, which I wore proudly with my school uniform. And even just a whiff of Victoria's Secret's Drenched in Pink lotion sends me immediately back to getting ready with my girlfriends in my high school bathroom, obsessing over which Juicy Tube made my lips look the shiniest and which Ke$ha song was the coolest. By senior year, I graduated to the Viva La Juicy scent, which to be honest, is still one of my favorite smells. - Leslie
6. Going out scent?
L'eau d'Issey' by Issey Miyaki and 'Nirvana Black' by Elizabeth and James. G always notices when I put them on and loves them both.
Le Labo Santal and Mason Louis Marie No. 09 Vallee de Farney. I like smelling the same all the time (i.e. I don't change what I'm wearing from a.m. to p.m.). - Alina
I don't wear cologne that often, especially in the summer, but during the cooler months I'll put on Bois d'Ascèse before going out. - Geoffrey
Alina recently brought several perfumes into the office after a massive spring cleaning, one of which was Candy by Prada. While it's not a perfume I would necessarily buy if I tried it on at a store—it's a little too cloying for me—I've started putting it on before nights out, when a more dramatic scent is more appropriate. - Leslie
7. Do you change your scent based on the season?
Definitely. It's not even that much of a conscious decision - more about what sounds appealing, based on the time of year. On an oppressively hot day in the middle of the summer, spraying on some intense, woodsy perfume sounds terrible. I tend to stick to lighter, prettier scents in warmer weather and transition to slightly warmer fragrances in fall.
Nope! - Alina
I guess I answered this question above. - Geoffrey
I'm having enough trouble finding one scent I like! But theoretically, I love the idea of swapping out scents between summer and winter. - Leslie
8. Favorite scent on the opposite sex?
Vetiver. All of G's colognes are vetiver-based and it's just such a sexy scent. It's woodsy and rugged, but clean and mysterious at the same time.
Musk musk musk musk musk! And more musk. Please and thank you. But I also legitimately like the classic, sickeningly heavy Abercrombie scent that wafts out of the few remaining storefronts in America (there's one in Santa Barbara), which tends to have everyone else running for the hills, so glean from this information what you will. Alina
It's a scent that lasts for about 30 seconds when she puts it on, but I love Petit Cherie. I don't know if it's a mild perfume or if Em's body simply absorbs scents, but it's always a treat when she puts it on. - Geoffrey
My boyfriend wears just Old Spice deodorant and I love it—in the past, I've actually always been turned-off by the smell of cologne, since it always smells more overwhelming to me than perfume does. - Leslie