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  1. #1

    Default About olfactory fatigue

    I read a fascinating post about this in another thread on men who wear too much cologne. I think I understand how olfactory fatigue works for a particular fragrance. But can you get olfactory fatigue from fragrances in general, even if you wear something different every day?

  2. #2

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I'm interested in this as well. I think I almost always suffer from this regardless of how many sprays I use. I never use more than 4-5, but it's usually 3. I'm always interested in where people are spraying to smell it all day. I know hednic says that he does 3 sprays of everything and I'm wondering where the best places to spray are to avoid fatigue. I don't want to wear too much, but I want to smell my scent throughout the day. I know that I don't have the best nose to begin with, but it shouldn't be that bad...

  3. #3

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    My husband has been wearing Paco Rabanne since 30 years and thinks it's a very subtle, light fragrance.... so I think it's serious with him.
    However, if you switch every now and then it shouldn't happen.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by taint it sweet View Post
    I know hednic says that he does 3 sprays of everything and I'm wondering where the best places to spray are to avoid fatigue.
    If I remember correctly, I think he does one spray to each side of his neck and one to the chest. Can't remember if it was over or under shirt.
    "All the best perfumes in history have something that smells like garbage in them; that's what keeps drawing you back."

  5. #5
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    It's different for each person. I do two on the neck and one on the chest. I don't seem to get olfactory fatigue switching from scent to scent.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    For me olfactory fatigue sets in with any frag after a few minutes. And a way to minimize it is to spray in places where the nose doesn't get constant whiffs. for instance, under the ampits. (I wear suits). While I haven't done it, apparently legs works well too.

    cacio

  7. #7
    Basenotes Junkie bigbloke's Avatar
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Cacio, do you get to smell the scent when wearing your suit if you spray your armpits? Do you take your suit jacket off during the day?

  8. #8

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I usually keep the suit on. I get to smell it when I move around, or am a bit overheated, or when I smell under the lapel. Obviously, it would be quite subdued in regular circumstances, though I've never asked people about how much they smell it. If I do take off the suit, the smell is of course stronger.

    A similar effect is obtained by putting a scented paperstrip in the breastpocket. Again, as one moves or moves the head to the pocket, the scent comes off. Sometimes, I like to use different scents, one on the body and one in the breastpocket (typically, a deeper and stronger one in the pocket, since paper doesn't project well, like ouds and the like). So i get to enjoy both at different times.

    cacio

  9. #9
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I like your method, cacio. It seems as though you'd have some leeway if the perfume became a problem for some reason. The scent could quickly be reduced or eradicated by simply disposing of the strips.

  10. #10
    Basenotes Junkie bigbloke's Avatar
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Excellent ideas cacio! Thanks. I keep my suit on too so will try that out today

  11. #11
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I think most often people get olfactory fatigue because they tend to over apply and inadvertently human brains are geared to learn to ignore these sensory assaults. So people tend to think they can't smell anything and need to spray MORE, which only makes matters even worse, and it's a vicious circle with no end. They keep spraying more and move and over time become some of the famous BN oversprayer club members, pushing 20+ sprays under the pretense they just can't smell anything unless they overload on the fragrance. Duh.

    I've sort of been there, not quite 20 sprays, but I was trigger happy and 6-7 sprays was very normal. Then the more I researched olfactory fatigue, the more I was determined not to end up in that oversprayers club (well, my other reason was I never wanted to end up being "that cologne guy"). And so one day I started really cutting down on the number of sprays to 2, perhaps 3 on some fragrances (with some notable exceptions like Amouage Interlude Man, 1 spray, or Chanel Eau de Cologne, 10+ sprays). The first couple of weeks I thought it wouldn't work as I couldn't smell many fragrances very well or very long, but then the magic happened - my nose adjusted to the volume and not only do I now find 2-3 sprays to be plenty sufficient, but I think my sense of smell has improved greatly and now I can detect minor differences and specific ingredients much easier than when smelling them in higher concentrations. And I enjoy fragrances a lot more, without my brain trying to shut off my scent receptacles all the time - which makes for enjoying fragrances for many hours, very often all day, even when others complain about longevity.

  12. #12

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Maybe I'll go from 4 sprays to 2... We'll see if that helps.

  13. #13
    Basenotes Junkie Trilby Lark's Avatar
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I find it helps to have a scent free day occasionally. After that, I find I can perceive fragrance better.

  14. #14

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    It's different for each person. I do two on the neck and one on the chest. I don't seem to get olfactory fatigue switching from scent to scent.

    (3739)
    If I may, I will experiment with this method. I have been doing 1 on the neck and 1 on the chest. I think I'd get better mileage with an extra spray on the neck.
    Is the juice worth the squeeze?

  15. #15

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I rarely get olfactory fatigue.
    And if I do, it's from 3 minutes after spraying to 15 minutes after spraying.

    I spray my (clothed) chest & neck area.

    And one spray to my arm for analytical reasons.

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  16. #16

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I don't think it applies if you have a good amount of fragrances in rotation. It certainly applies if you wear the same fragrance for weeks -- the brain somehow gets used to the smell and basically cuts if to your 'receptors'.

  17. #17

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I get it if I have over applied, it's like your nose has been overwhelmed and shuts down. Sometimes I get it with new fragrances where I think it does not last as long as it does.

    There are only two fragrances I can think of where I just seem to be totally anosmic to for some reason and they are Santal Noble & Amouage Dia Man. After ten minutes or so I just cannot detect the scent at all, weird.

  18. #18

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Hunter View Post
    I get it if I have over applied, it's like your nose has been overwhelmed and shuts down. Sometimes I get it with new fragrances where I think it does not last as long as it does.

    There are only two fragrances I can think of where I just seem to be totally anosmic to for some reason and they are Santal Noble & Amouage Dia Man. After ten minutes or so I just cannot detect the scent at all, weird.
    That is weird and a bit unlucky as they are 2 cracking fragrances, but smell quite different.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I get it from some of the incense frag's..
    Avignon mainly..

  20. #20

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    It still baffles me. I don't know why I have trouble with a lot of scents after a few hours when I know they last for 8+... I really think my nose isn't that great and that I need to try spraying on different spots.

  21. #21

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by taint it sweet View Post
    Maybe I'll go from 4 sprays to 2... We'll see if that helps.
    Thats like tending to hunger by further starvation...

    Quote Originally Posted by taint it sweet View Post
    It still baffles me. I don't know why I have trouble with a lot of scents after a few hours when I know they last for 8+... I really think my nose isn't that great and that I need to try spraying on different spots.
    You should spray more. Try 8 sprays for a few weeks.
    It'll determine whether you're spraying too little or you really have a weak nose as you say.

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    It's different for each person. I do two on the neck and one on the chest. I don't seem to get olfactory fatigue switching from scent to scent.

    (3739)
    This has been my experience. If I wear the same scent for more than a few days, I cease to be able to detect it all day. The minute that I switch scents, I get excellent longevity on a scent that I mistakenly believed to have average longevity.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by hedonist222 View Post


    You should spray more. Try 8 sprays for a few weeks.
    It'll determine whether you're spraying too little or you really have a weak nose as you say.
    I'm concerned that this will lead to me choking people around me... I don't want to have it be overwhelming for myself or others. I guess I could try on my day off or something.

  24. #24

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I think venturing into more sprays like getting into a cool pool. Much of the intimidation vanishes when you realize the pool wasn't that cold tobeginwith.

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  25. #25

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    It has been said on this forum many times that "olfactory fatigue" is the result of wearing a single fragrance too often or spraying your fragrances too close to the nose. Well, I would like to suggest that "olfactory fatigue" actually can be caused by the use of excessive sprays too often, no matter whether you change your scent daily, and no matter where you spray your scent (though certainly worsened by proximity to the nose). Let me explain:

    1) Becoming desensitized to one scent CAN affect your ability to smell other scents. The receptors of our nose work in concert, not just individually, to discern individual smells. If a few receptors become desensitized by over-stimulation, that WILL affect your ability to detect, experience, and enjoy other scents. Don't think about it as individual notes being affected - think about it as complex accords becoming indiscernible. As each accord becomes muted, soon enough the whole smell is undetectable.

    2) Desensitization happens biologically in multiple ways: the receptors can become less sensitive to the stimulus (ie. diminished binding of aromachemicals); the receptors can become down regulated (ie. removed from the membrane all together) b/c of excessive signaling to the brain (overspraying); and the most consequential adjustment, the signaling molecules down stream of your receptors can all become deactivated or sequesterd. The last effect reduces the signal of all receptors simultaneously, which means excessive use of A*Men can significantly reduce your appreciation for the likes of Hermes Un Jardin Sur La Nile. These three mechanisms occur in the body simultaneously and the body's preference for one or the other mechanism depends on the intensity of the exposure, the duration, and the individual. This is all well-characterized desensitization science, coming from the research of drug addition (which is similar in its bioactivity to fragrance).

    So, to all those who think that overspraying is the solution to smelling your fragrances better, consider this: for every night out that you use 8+ sprays, try taking a day off to reset your receptors and smell affectors. And spraying more incrementally over time will result in the same desensitization. The solution? Work your way BACK to one or two sprays A DAY over the course of weeks to months. Over time your sense of smell will recover its acuity and you'll enjoy your fragrances better. If you occasionally go overboard for a special night, consider taking a break so you can reset your nose. Just the two cents of a biomedical engineer...
    Last edited by OlfactoryExperience; 28th February 2014 at 05:17 PM.
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Hey OlfactoryExperience,

    You just pretty much confirmed what I wrote earlier on this topic. I cut down from multiple sprays to 2-3 and find that this is not only plenty good for me, but I'm also much more sensitive to fragrances and scents and can pick up better on individual notes. Sensory overload is what many people suffer because of overspraying and I completely agree with your biomedical explanation of this phenomena.


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  27. #27

    Default Re: Words of wisdom on "olfactory fatigue"

    Pretty much knew this to an extent : but greatful to reminded and refresh by enlightened fellow B/N BroThx
    "Thank GOD for the nose, for without it we would not be enjoying these beautiful created Scents" also Remember "Balance is everything and the key to appreciating "

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Words of wisdom on "olfactory fatigue"

    Thanks for this insight! I've often times wondered about this and what to do about it.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Words of wisdom on "olfactory fatigue"

    Very interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing them. Perhaps always limiting myself to a max of three sprays has unknowingly helped me in this regard.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Words of wisdom on "olfactory fatigue"

    I worked in the industry (SA) for a couple of years. At a certain point I just stopped smelling the 50-100 scents a day I was showing becuase my nose couldn't take it. I found that on my 2 days off a week I'd avoid all scents and whenever I'd come back my sense of smell was much better. I know we're all scent-heads but I'd really really suggest trying a 2-3 day stretch of no fragrance wearing, smelling, burning, etc and I think you may find your sense of smell really rebounds back. You won't realize what you were missing until it's back.
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  31. #31

    Default Re: Words of wisdom on "olfactory fatigue"

    @OlfactoryExperience - Unfortunately, cross posting the same post in different places is against the site rules, so we'll merge this thread with the one in which you posted earlier & delete the duplicate post.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by lpp; 28th February 2014 at 05:49 PM.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Words of wisdom on "olfactory fatigue"

    Same concept of not smelling that smell every home had, unique to the individual or family living there. Guests smell it and if the owners leave for long periods of time and come back, they too smell it, until again enveloped by it on a daily basis for several hours a day...

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  33. #33

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Olfactory Fatigue is a challenging topic to discuss. There isn't a smoking gun, so to speak. It's hard to say "Do this and you'll get over it," especially since the "Do this" advice will be too difficult for most perfume connoisseurs.

    Because I am who I am, I'll begin this with a story.

    Years ago, I only wore one scent: Curve. I never really thought about perfume back then. It was just something I'd spray on and forget about. In fact, I could barely smell it minutes after application. I just assumed that was normal. I started dating a woman who was allergic to perfume. In my entire life, I've only met two people who had allergies that bad. I cut all the way back to one spray, but as soon as we got close, she started getting watery eyed, and then she sneezed. That was the last time I wore fragrance while we dated. I even bought scent-free laundry detergent and soap. I love perfume, but come on... perfume or a woman? I choose the woman!!!

    We only dated for a month and a half, and I'm sure you can guess what the first thing I did after we broke up was. I pulled out my bottle of fragrance and put on 4 sprays... and holy crap ...it smelled like I was bathing in the stuff!!! But why?

    I'd unintentionally cured myself of olfactory fatigue.

    The cells that give you your sense of smell are renewed every 28 days. So, the way to get over olfactory fatigue is to go as scent free as possible for at least a month.

    But why do we get olfactory fatigue in the first place? A major part of it is due to a subconscious self defense mechanism. Basically, your brain is always picking up on things that are out of place and potentially harmful, and it starts to ignore things that are either constant or at least safe. Ever wonder how people can live next to a rail line and not even notice it anymore? Same concept. People say they "get used to it," but really, getting used to it means sensory fatigue. It's subconscious. Sadly, for perfume, the sensory fatigue - olfactory fatigue - is you getting used to something you love instead of something annoying, but the end result is the same. Your brain starts ignoring it.

    That probably sounds like a bunch of B.S., so I'll give you a way to prove that it's the truth. Hang out at a gas station for a while and see how long it takes before you don't even notice the smell. It doesn't take as long as you think. After a while, it's like it's not even there. Next, get a little gasoline and give it to a friend along with a piece of cloth. Tell your friend to wet the cloth with the gasoline and put it somewhere out of view in your living room. Tell the friend to do this sometime over the next month so you won't know when to expect it. It won't matter. You'll find it almost instantly even though you're not looking for it.

    The problem with trying to fight against olfactory fatigue is that, by wearing more perfume, you increase your olfactory fatigue. You make it worse because you unintentionally teach your nose (and your brain, really) to ignore more and more of it. IT'S ALSO WHY PEOPLE WHO LIVE AND WORK IN REALLY LOUD ENVIRONMENTS AND LISTEN TO LOUD MUSIC TEND TO BE SUCH LOUD PEOPLE. THEY'RE USED TO EVERYTHING BEING SO LOUD THAT LOUD ISN'T LOUD TO THEM ANYMORE. Years ago, I worked with a guy who was such a frigging shouter. It took me a while to realize he had no idea how loud he was.

    I realize almost nobody here would be willing to give up perfume for a full month, but the results are wild. After I did, when I started wearing perfume again, it was like everything was new. Not only did I notice all sorts of nuances and details I'd never noticed before in perfume, I also noticed them everywhere around me more than I ever had before. Bread smelled better. Flowers smelled better. All sorts of scents were in a spring breeze that I'd never noticed before.

    Think back to when you went to the doctor for a physical and he or she hit just below the knee with that rubber hammer thingamabob. What did you do? Your leg kicked a bit, right? Did you do that on purpose? Of course not. It's a reflex. And what are reflexes? They're subconscious actions. Olfactory fatigue is subconscious too. Wearing more and more perfume in order to fight it is like having the doctor hit your knee harder. It creates a bigger reaction - and for olfactory fatigue, the reaction is to ignore the stimuli - the smell. Sucks, don't it?
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  34. #34

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    ^ I wish I could give you thumbs up or something

  35. #35

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Since getting more serious about fragrances about 2 years ago, I have built my collection from maybe 3 to about 30 now...and, of course, in searching for the bottles that I own, I have sampled and smelled hundreds to thousands of other fragrances...like just about everyone on this site. I enjoy reading other peoples reviews, and the thing that has always bugged me is when people say that a fragrances lasts about 10 minutes and then poof it's gone. I have NEVER smelled or sampled a fragrance that lasts only 10 minutes. AND for people to say that it is COMPLETELY gone in 10 minutes is absurd. The weakest fragrances that I have had experience with still last AT LEAST 3 hours, and even after that it may be extremely weak, but it still lingers for a while longer. That's what has led me to believe that way too many people that are into fragrances are killing the experience by over applying that is killing their noses.

    Maybe I have a sensitive nose, but I think it's more that I usually spray 1-2 sprays, 3 being my max and that's with only using my weakest frags that I spray 3. I smell all of my fragrances for about the whole day. I'm always baffled when I read reviews about fragrances that I own when people say that they don't last at all...because, frankly, they do. I really have a hard time believing that it has a lot to do with skin chemistry or skin type, I just think that people are killing their sense of smell.

    I do think Olfactory Fatigue exists, yes, but I don't think it makes it so you can't smell it at all, I believe it can make you smell it less, yes, but I don't think it completely shuts your nose down to that fragrance. But I do believe it happens more often to people that spray in a way that the whole world can smell them.

  36. #36

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Kinda on topic, has anyone else noticed that fragrances that you DON'T WANT to smell seem to last forever, even if they are known as poorly performing? For example, if I've used one of my lower-longevity scents and wanted to switch it up later on in the day without having time to shower, invariably the original scent will still be there even though it should be long gone.

    Another example happened recently, as I was in a Sephora and decided to sniff Gucci Made to Measure. Somehow, the nozzle leaked all over my fingers. I did not particularly enjoy the smell, so the SA gave me multiple alcohol swabs that were supposed to get rid of the scent... I must have used close to 10 of those things to wipe my fingers, yet I could still detect the damn scent coming off my fingers 5+ hours later! And I see this one rated as POOR longevity and sillage on fragrantica!

    I guess it makes sense, as unpleasant/offensive scents must trigger some warning system in our brains while pleasant ones are discarded sooner.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by remik View Post
    Hey OlfactoryExperience,

    You just pretty much confirmed what I wrote earlier on this topic. I cut down from multiple sprays to 2-3 and find that this is not only plenty good for me, but I'm also much more sensitive to fragrances and scents and can pick up better on individual notes. Sensory overload is what many people suffer because of overspraying and I completely agree with your biomedical explanation of this phenomena.


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    Agree with Remic... read about folks who hammer on 8 sprays of Fahrenheit and can"t smell smell it after 2 hours, and then cry about its nothing like the Vintage. Willing to bet if they just sprayed one to the chest that wouldn't be the case. They would enjoy the fragrance all day and experience its awesomeness.
    An investment in knowledge pays the best interest

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  38. #38

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by Trilby Lark View Post
    I find it helps to have a scent free day occasionally. After that, I find I can perceive fragrance better.
    Blasfemy!
    this tip is a good one! Not overdoing a scent as well, alternating different scents too. Also you could wear scents you hate: no way you'll fatigue to those. The brain then will probably sensitisize instead of habituate.
    Xazirri, discovering the 'mad and magic' world of perfumery

  39. #39

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I'm actually having big issues with projection and longevity with Habit Rouge EDP. I spray on three sprays two to the chest and one to my lower arm and I can hardly smell it. It seems to become a skin scent after 30min and be gone in three or so hours. I can pick up very gentle wafts here and there but for a EDP it seems to be awful in the projection department. I mean I have weak aftershaves that project more than Habit Rouge EDP.

    Though I don't know if it's olfactory fatigue or the scent. Will have to test more.

  40. #40

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Could be the scent as well (reformulation) especially if you didn't had it before with that scent. I find my edt of Habit rouge quite tenacious. This one was purchased about 10 years ago. I also find it a bit difficult to wear, so maybe that'll make it more apparent to my nose.
    Xazirri, discovering the 'mad and magic' world of perfumery

  41. #41

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    I think olfactory fatigue may be related to stress. Many frags that I thought were very weak when I was going through a stressful period a few years ago now seem amazingly intense. Also, I have noticed that certain frags (LIDGE is one) cause OF when I first apply them, but 10 or 20 minutes later I begin to notice the fragrance again.

    To evaluate a new frag or revisit an old one, don't do it in the 'noisy' atmosphere of a department store or perfume shop; do it at home on a day off, when you don't have anything on your 'to-do' list. If you have a bath or shower, use only light or unfragranced soap, shampoo, lotions etc. Relax for a few minutes. Then, spray your frag *very lightly* on the back of your hand. A misty application, not a wet one--the kind where you wave your arm through a cloud. If it seems too light to smell, just wait a few minutes. A few minutes later, you will begin to notice wafts coming from your hand. You may be surprised how intense a light application can be. Once you are tuned into the frag on this level, it will be easier to pick up the fragrance after a slightly heavier application. I generally do not use 'wet' applications, and usually only three--one to the neck/throat area and one to the back of each hand, or sometimes just one hand. You can always reapply if it starts fading out in a few hours. I also like the more 'distant' spots like the legs or back of the neck. (Edited for clarity)
    Last edited by tsuzumi; 1st March 2014 at 01:03 PM.

  42. #42

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Glad I read some of these. Maybe I'll try going without a fragrance for a day. Maybe it'll help.

  43. #43

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    for me i suffer sometimes from olfactory fatigue and when i do i simply stop using fragrances for maybe a day or two and begin using them again and i could smell the fragrance much better than before also i always rotate i never wear the same fragrance twice a day or for two days on row

  44. #44

    Default Re: About olfactory fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by tsuzumi View Post
    I think olfactory fatigue may be related to stress.
    Absolutely. That makes perfect sense.

    During times of stress, one's brain becomes hyper-sensitive to things it thinks are a threat (worries, problems, etc), and by that I mean subconsciously. So, yeah, it makes perfect sense that it's likely to pay less attention to, or even ignore, things it determines to not be threatening.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

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    Replies: 21
    Last Post: 18th August 2009, 03:20 PM

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000