5 Tips for Choosing a Work-Appropriate Perfume

Perfume has the magical ability to transport the spirit and refresh the senses. The right perfume helps you feel like the best version of yourself and can offer comfort during times of stress.

Keeping a mini bottle in your tote bag or desk drawer is like having emergency aromatherapy on stand-by. Not all perfume notes or perfume formulas are suited for the boardroom, however. Here are five tips for selecting and applying a work-appropriate fragrance.

1. Skip perfume oil and solid perfume.

Perfume oils, like those at the health food store or DIY-crafted with your personal stock of essential oils, have the potential to smell quite beautiful and complex but they may require constant reapplication—who has time for that? Perfume oils also pose the same problem as solid, wax-based perfumes—any oily or waxy formula may leave unpleasant stains on your hard-earned work wardrobe.

2. Opt for Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, or Eau de Cologne.

With concentrations of 15-20%, 10%, and 5%, respectively, these formulations are less concentrated than actual perfume, which tends to be richer-bodied. EDP is a favorite among perfume lovers due to its affordable price point and the beautiful way it blooms over the course of the day. EDT and EDC are often lighter and more fleeting and may require occasional reapplication, but they’re perfect if a sheer layer of fragrance is just what you’re looking for.

3. Save sexy scents for non-work settings.

Reserve your Shalimar and Opium for date night. Any heady, musk-laden scent probably isn’t appropriate for the workplace. Instead, opt for fragrances with unobtrusive notes, like citrus, green tea, apple, cucumber, white florals, mint, cinnamon, or wood. Try Joyful Eau de Parfum by My Daughter Fragrances, a crisp blend of orange flower, lime blossom, rose, jasmine, and creamy sandalwood.

4. Find a scent that aids your focus.

Because scent preferences vary among individuals, what perfume helps you feel energized will depend on your taste. There are certain fragrance notes, however, that offer specific benefits for most people. As Beatrice Adin of Michigan Avenue points out, particular perfume notes can actually improve work performance. Floral and jasmine notes may increase reaction time. Peppermint is a natural memory booster. Eucalyptus can help wake you up and inspire empathy towards others. Perhaps most interestingly, notes of green apple and cucumber may make cramped space seem larger. Try Tsi-La Organics Kizes Eau De Parfum, a bright combination of bergamot, tuberose, jasmine, and elderflower blossoms.

5. Be mindful of your spray.

If we get used to our perfume over time, we may develop a tendency to over spray. We want to avoid over spraying at all costs—especially at the workplace since too much fragrance can invade others’ personal space. A touch behind the ears or at the base of the throat is enough.

Do you have a stand-by work perfume?