I started wearing frags again last may after a 5 yrs stop, perception was the same as always...btw I'm an happy trigger...20 sprays or more!
Only recently I have found out through websites like Basenotes that the majority of people are getting along with smelling fragrances on themselves for ~8 hours whilst only using 2-3 sprays, for the fragrances I own anyway.
Up until recently I was using far too many sprays on myself, and all on my neck too. I've tried the 2 sprays on your chest or 1 on the back of the head or 2 to the arm, back of the knees, you name the combination I've tried it, but my nose is not picking up these scents like others can.
I've recently been to see my doctor who dismissed any notion that anything other than a dangerous amount of fragrance wearing would be able to damage olfactory nerves, and also that my recent facial injury (top of my nose to be precise) was not serious enough to cause damage to my sense of smell either.
What she did recommend though is that I take a 2-3 month break from wearing fragrances if I had olfactory fatigue. I do wear fragrances every day and have done so for at least 2 years now, bear in mind some days/nights I was naively using 10+ sprays of the heavyweights and I probably went through as many frags as most people do in 4 years.
Has anyone here ever gone without fragrances for a couple of months and come back with a better sense of smell? I've never been able to smell my frags on me for 8 hours unless I reapply during the day and I really want to able to just use 2/3 sprays to achieve the same effect and maybe my doctor's advice would be beneficial.
I started wearing frags again last may after a 5 yrs stop, perception was the same as always...btw I'm an happy trigger...20 sprays or more!
I have not used fragrances just during last 3 days and my sense of smell enhanced a lot. I never had problem with smelling my fragrances but now I can smell them even stronger.
Maybe start doing what your doctor recommended, and please, do not overspray your skin with chemicals. Your health is most valuable thing that you have and there is enough of poisonous chemicals in food and air already.
It sounds like you are only smelling top notes and/or what I call the "opening" of the scent. I had that problem too. To deal with it, I would spray once (if it was strong), to the chest, but not breathe in. Instead, I'd blow on that area to make it dry quickly and then leave the room to avoid getting more than a tiny amount of the top notes. Once I began doing that I was able to experience the entire scent, and my sense of smell got better, it seemed. You can use a hair dryer to get the area you spray to dry quicker too, some have said (and of course it would seem that it would have to work), but I haven't had to try that idea.
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I once took only one or two bottles with me on a six-month trip. Came back to the rest of my collection and found...no difference.
I guess if you're inhaling deeply, sniffing skin or shirt or something every half hour or so then your nose will start tuning it out pronto. Just leave em on, work or play or whatever and you'll get wafts of this and that note throughout the duration of your fragrance.
I pretty much have the same problem. I can detect top notes for a pretty short while, and maybe (if I'm extremely lucky) a whiff of the scent now and then, but nothing like others here that claim to smell their fragrances all day long. I don't think I've ever managed to smell the dry-down of something on my neck, for instance.
I should probably try to take a break as well to see if it helps (though I suspect it doesn't). I'm starting to wonder if I'm just not blessed in the smelling-department, ie that my olfactory senses aren't that good.
I need breaks too only because if I do not I just can't seem to smell much.
I would agree with the "less is more" approach - that way you can avoid olfactory fatigue. I do find however, that leaving particular fragrances for a while and then coming back to them that I notice different nuances, and some I didn't think I liked - I do! Others that i didn't like I still don't like .....
Lately I have found that 3 sprays smells like a lot to me. This is a new development, I have always been a 4 or 5 spray guy. It's like I'm more sensitive lately.
I really am disappointed in myself for using and wasting that amount of fragrance, although my doctor didn't seem worried at all about my fragrance issue I would really hate for my sense of smell to be irreversibly damaged in any way.
I'll definitely take your advice when I return to my fragrances, I guess as soon as I heard about the majority of people only applying a few sprays I expected immediate results too and when I didn't I got frustrated at myself
Last edited by Matheau; 11th December 2012 at 11:13 AM.
If this may be of help to you but there is a tiny device used in yoga and meditation, it is like a tiny teapot for washing the nose called the neti pot: you do one nostril at a time before every practice. You can also do it without the neti pot by closing one nostril with your index finger and drawing in running lukewarm water with the other nostril and then blowing the water out. Then you do the same on the other side. Start gently. It helps greatly both in terms of keeping your sinuses germ-free, having fewer respiratory problems and smelling scent.
If you may find this interesting there are instructions available online- if you find this useless never mind good luck
When I am working, I have never gone a day without putting on a scent.
Knowing me though I've tried loads of solutions that people have posted on here for olfactory fatigue so if I still can't smell very well with minimal sprays after my break then I'll give it a go!
Matfrith, what you are experiencing is--probably--completely normal. When you smell something long enough, your nose becomes fatigued. This is analogous to when you put shoes on: after a while, you can't really detect them on your feet. This sensory fatigue, whether olfactory or tactile, stems from your body's natural inclination to dismiss unimportant stimuli so you may focus on important ones, namely those which are sudden or dangerous.
Altogether, don't be upset that your sense of smell appears to degrade after a while. To rest your nose, don't smell any perfumed substance for a few minutes, or deeply inhale a piece of unscented fabric more a minute or so. Remember, olfactory fatigue is normal, and it shouldn't discourage you from experiencing perfumes.
I like to keep my sense of smell in top condition and find it is keener than ever after cleaning up my diet of junk food, etc., and keeping my environment as free of chemicals as possible. One spray of anything is all I ever need and even that is often too much. Unfortunately most bottles force you to pump out an entire spray rather than a more measured one.
I've been researching olfactory fatigue on this forum, other fragrance forums and even medical papers for a couple of weeks now. I've tried all the tricks of the trade, smelling coffee, wearing various different unscented moisturisers, using literally dozens and dozens of low usage spraying techniques whether that be amount of sprays, places on the body, distance of sprays and I just cannot understand why my nose is not picking up any hint of what I use after an hour or two. Naturally as a fragrance lover it's got me worried that my nose isn't functioning normally.
Don't get me wrong as soon as I smell something not pleasant like burning or rubbish my olfactory fatigue thankfully kicks in with no problems at all, its just I look back and in hindsight my constant exposure to excessive spraying of fragrances when I was younger was not a very clever thing to do and I often think if it has hindered my chances of ever being able to experience what the majority of fragrance lovers can experience on a day to day basis with their normal spraying techniques.
I also watch a lot of YouTube reviewers who preach about the 1 on the chest/2 on the neck/2 on the arms etc way of spraying and I take it they very rarely rest their nose OR get olfactory fatigue. I wish my nose was like theirs!
I often take breaks or 2-3 days, even one week or more in a row from fragrance, but I never notice any significant change in my perception of the scents I haven't worn, it is true however that my strictly subjective craving for them may increase after a while.
While I miss seeing the bottles in which the fragrance came, all my frags are in small spray decants, 1-30mL, mostly around 5mL. When I prefer, these decants make it possible to skip spraying altogether, which, even with a 2mL atomizer, can be too much (for me). With Amouage, Van Cleef & Arpels, Guerlain Derby and others, I simply unscrew the atomizer from the bottle and use the plastic tube to dab on only as much as I want.
I find that taking a break from wearing a fragrance actually helps. I tend to apply my favourite perfume more often that other fragrances in my collection - and after some time I find myself unable to smell it. That's when I realise that drastic measures have to be taken - I come home use almost unscented products in the shower, apply unscented lotion and try not to apply any perfume for a couple of days. Temporarily switching to some other scent from another perfume house also helps.
Keeping my fragrances in a daily rotation is something I've done for a long time now, unfortunately I can't smell any of them past the 1 hour mark it seems!
Well, it's not the same thing, but recently I realized that I had so many fragrance samples in my den that I could smell the fog from the room before I entered.
I moved them all to Ziplocs or tightly-lidded boxes, and shut the lids on my main bottle displays. (I keep 'em in tilt-lid breadboxes, and should be keeping them shut anyway; that was the whole point of the breadboxes, to reduce light.) The fog cleared after a day or two. I did this about a week ago.
And the point is that now I can smell the sample-of-the-day on my arm much more clearly, with more nuanced detail, and longer.
So, yeah, taking a break from constantly smelling fragrance seems like a good idea.
Edited to add: I normally use unscented deodorant and lotion, and I take every Saturday off from fragrance, because my guy doesn't like it and we're together all day Saturday. So my nose has a fair bit of fragrance-free time. I'm a pretty light sprayer (1-3 sprays), and I can usually smell my fragrance for quite a while - to the point that my spraying strategy is about _minimizing_ the volume that's reaching my nose, not maximizing it.
I only take a break from fragrance when I have a cold or other respiratory infection. Otherwise, it's fragrance every day.
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."
Thinking further about the OP's situation, I realized I do not apply fragrance every single day (although that is about to change with the new samples I just ordered). Maybe that is why I feel I can get by with a smaller initial application. And since I seem to lose awareness of the scent after awhile (although if I sniff my wrist it is still there), I prefer to use small applications several times a day. Or even just smell straight from the bottle (^_^). LOL.
Regardless, when one loves fragrance it is indeed a concern to not be able to smell it as one would wish. I appreciate posters here exploring the topic. I think it must help to not be around cigarette smoke or other strong smells, and to maintain the best health possible. I am not an experienced fragrance wearer so please forgive my probably inappropriate musings.
Using a neti pot and minimizing exposure to scented compounds in general for a few months seems like a good idea to test your sniffer, matfrith.
BTW, I dabbed the tiniest bit of vintage Joy full strength behind my ears 3 hours ago, and all I can smell in the vicinity now is civet. I certainly hope I'm not broadcasting THAT everywhere.
i take days off, but never months.
moreso, geared toward specific fragrances rather than fragrances overall
A bit of an update, I took a week off wearing fragrances, spent a lot more time outdoors trying to use my nose to pick up scents I would otherwise be oblivious too, kept eating clean and exercising regularly.
But I think the one game changer was the neti pot I ordered. I looked at it initially and was skeptical whether I wanted to shove salty water up my sinuses, but when I completed it first time it was a surreal feeling. All too often I get a bunged up nose at this time of the year and my family does have a history of sinus related pains and infections, the neti pot definitely cleared something up my nose!
Now I'm getting better longevity/silage than I ever have done before, for example I used two sprays of Allure Homme and was catching wafts of it 6 hours later, which is great for my nose. I'm thinking I'm going to have to solve my dry skin problem if I want to make my fragrances last a little longer.
Just be careful to use good/purified water in those neti pots. I remember stories floating around of people who got bad infections by using less-than-pristine water in them.
As for olfactory fatigue, I can't imagine that it takes 2-3 months to recover from it. Fatigue from specific notes usually resolves in under an hour, I think. I've taken breaks from fragrances, and it didn't help my sensitivity. Sense of smell varies by degrees of thousands among people and within individuals, based on multiple factors.
I found that when I started to spray scent on my chest (under my undershirt) and neck that I could usually smell it (on and off, as is the nature of the thing) all day without broadcasting it to the whole world and igniting all those alleged allergies. Of course, different scents perform better than others.