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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member elaw1890's Avatar
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    Default Strange nose fatigue

    So I have a decent fragrance collection and usually rotate through them where I typically would wear one at the most once or twice a month. I have been into this for about 4 years now so none of my bottles are very old. What I have noticed recently is some of my spicy collection suddenly seem very weak(3-4 sprays). I first noticed this with Spicebomb that the last few times I wore it, I barely could smell anything after a few minutes. I thought maybe my bottle somehow went bad but then I noticed it with Bvlgari's MIB the other day. Both of these were some of the first fragrances I got into when I got into this hobby but I still have not worn them a ton. I used to recall some strong little scent clouds that I could smell for a long time. Now I hardly notice them. I haven't noticed this with anything else yet but it still seems strange. Is nose fatigue really even a thing? If it is, I would imagine it being something that you constantly wear through.

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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by elaw1890 View Post
    Is nose fatigue really even a thing?
    Yes for sure although I'm lucky in that it's rarely a problem for me.
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  3. #3

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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Yes, nose fatigue happens. Perhaps it also depends on the weather-so hot here, the profile of perfume could be affected.

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    Basenotes Institution L'Homme Blanc Individuel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by elaw1890 View Post
    Is nose fatigue really even a thing? If it is, I would imagine it being something that you constantly wear through.
    Yes, it is real. The proper term for it is Olfactory Fatigue, as in, a fatigue of your olfactory system.

    Your sense of smell involves more than just your nose. Your brain plays a major role. Your sense of sight works like that too. Did you know the image your eyes see is upside-down? Your brain flips the image to make it right. Similarly, your brain tinkers with your sense of smell in order to keep you safe. It's a self defense mechanism and it happens to everyone. Once your brain realizes a particular smell is constant and not harmful, it starts to ignore it in order to pay attention to other smells that might be harmful (this is why natural gas has additives to make it smell like rotten eggs. You don't have to pay attention for that smell... you'll notice it whether you want to or not).

    Different smells are going to affect your olfactory system differently. In other words, some scents will cause you olfactory fatigue more than others, and some scents that cause me olfactory fatigue might not cause it for you & vice versa.

    That's one of the many reasons I like to sample scents before I buy. For me, a purchase isn't just about whether or not I like the scent. I also want to know how it wears, how it performs, and does it cause me olfactory fatigue.

    Spraying further away from your nose helps. If a scent gives you olfactory fatigue, don't spray your neck.
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    I seem to get fatigue most with amber, musk, vanilla, and to some degree oakmoss.
    I usually move into sharp smells like leathers or herbal/citrus chypres, or something with mint.
    When that doesn't work, I just have to go without scent for a few days, which hasn't been something I've been made to do.
    Hot weather also tends to increase the issue here.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Nose fatigue is pretty handy at detecting a very mild cold or flu. Even if you think you're not sick, the nose and mouth is the first to detect something and slight variations in smell is a good hint.

    I digress.

    Nose fatigue might happen if you constantly smell the same thing. I guess thigs return to normal after taking a break, usually a week or two.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Nose fatigue does happen. For me it usually happens when my nose becomes desensitized when smelling a lot of scents. The coffee may not always help.
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Does the fatigue last hours? Days? If you wear the same fragrance every day will you perceive it differently (weaker) over time?

    Or, is the fatigue something that impacts within a day (or even with an hour)?

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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Perhaps taking one day a week off from fragrance might help in resting your nose. Can’t remember where I read that, but it was in a perfume blog somewhere.
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by LG25 View Post
    Does the fatigue last hours? Days? If you wear the same fragrance every day will you perceive it differently (weaker) over time?

    Or, is the fatigue something that impacts within a day (or even with an hour)?
    There isn't an easy answer to that question (beware of people who cling to easy answers) because different smells will affect you differently. Generally speaking, olfactory fatigue will affect you from the point where your olfactory system recognizes a smell as being constantly there & not harmful. In other words, once you get used to it. For whatever reason, some smells cause fatigue quickly & others don't.

    Note that I said different smells, not different scents. Olfactory fatigue is caused by any constant smell, not just fragrances. Have you ever gone into somebody's home and noticed it has a smell, but they don't notice? That's olfactory fatigue. The next time you go to a movie theater, pay attention to how overwhelming the smell of popcorn is when you first arrive. By the end of the movie, you'll barely notice it. That's olfactory fatigue.

    Before I joined basenotes, I was a 1 scent guy. I wore Curve every day, but within 20 minutes of spraying it, I didn't notice it anymore. That's olfactory fatigue. I was always a bit baffled when I'd get compliments hours later because I thought it was gone.

    Whenever you see people say something in these forums like "You can't smell it but other people can," you know that person gets olfactory fatigue from the scent & probably has no idea.

    The best ways to deal with olfactory fatigue are:

    - Don't overspray. Bombarding your nose to deal with olfactory fatigue makes it worse.

    - Spray further away from your nose. I spray my chest, never the front or sides of my neck.

    - Don't wear the same scent every day unless you find one that doesn't cause you olfactory fatigue.

    - If you feel like your sense of smell is getting dulled overall, give your nose a break by avoiding fragrances for a while.

    - Don't buy fragrances that give you olfactory fatigue.

    I don't know why, but CdG 2 Man always gave me olfactory fatigue, but it doesn't for some other people. Instead of constantly being frustrated by olfactory fatigue, I sold my bottle of 2 Man. Problem solved, and I learned a lesson about dealing with olfactory fatigue. I'm convinced Millesime Imperial gives lots of people olfactory fatigue, but for me it doesn't. There are literally thousands and thousands of fragrances to choose from, so in my opinion, it makes sense to avoid buying scents that give you olfactory fatigue.
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  11. #11

    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Not sure if I'm taking your point correctly here, OP, but it seems to me like you're saying you have long-term olfactory fatigue, as opposed to just getting overloaded in one instance. If so, then that's an interesting question in and of itself - is it possible to become fatigued to a particular note or combination of notes over the long term? As in, can your brain re-wire itself over time to become immune to certain notes? I don't think I've experienced anything of the kind myself, but it's an intriguing question.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Comes and goes all the time.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by manatee View Post
    Not sure if I'm taking your point correctly here, OP, but it seems to me like you're saying you have long-term olfactory fatigue, as opposed to just getting overloaded in one instance..
    If that's the case, my advice would be to take at least a month away from fragrances, as much as possible: Don't wear any for at least a month. Switch to unscented deodorant. Switch to unscented body wash. I'd even recommend you go through your home in search of things that cause smells, such as getting rid of air fresheners, reed diffusers, etc, clean your bathroom & kitchen, wash your sheets, flip your mattress, etc. Make sure your home isn't a source of constant smells, even if only subtly.

    I did that years ago because I was dating a woman who had severe allergies. She told me she was allergic to perfume, but even things like whatever is used to make Gain laundry detergent smell the way it does made her sneeze. Anyway... I went scent free for the two months that we dated. It wasn't until after we broke up that I realized how much my sense of smell improved during those two months. I didn't go fragrance free to fight olfactory fatigue, but the end result was the same.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    If that's the case, my advice would be to take at least a month away from fragrances, as much as possible: Don't wear any for at least a month. Switch to unscented deodorant. Switch to unscented body wash. I'd even recommend you go through your home in search of things that cause smells, such as getting rid of air fresheners, reed diffusers, etc, clean your bathroom & kitchen, wash your sheets, flip your mattress, etc. Make sure your home isn't a source of constant smells, even if only subtly.

    I did that years ago because I was dating a woman who had severe allergies. She told me she was allergic to perfume, but even things like whatever is used to make Gain laundry detergent smell the way it does made her sneeze. Anyway... I went scent free for the two months that we dated. It wasn't until after we broke up that I realized how much my sense of smell improved during those two months. I didn't go fragrance free to fight olfactory fatigue, but the end result was the same.
    Holy crap, I can't even imagine doing that! That must have been true love

    That said, I wonder how much my sense of smell could stand to improve if given a break. Maybe best not to think about it....

  15. #15
    Super Member NettyYeti's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Somewhat along the same line:

    When I was just getting into fragrances, it seemed when I first tried a fragrance (especially if that fragrance had a note I was unfamiliar with) I would experience that fragrance much differently than when I’d grown accustomed to that fragrance or note. For example, Spicebomb had a note that made my nose itch the first half dozen times I wore it, but I’ve no problem with it now. Conversely, I’ve smelled fragrances that, on first sniff, made me think “how novel!”, but after time I saw them as generic or synthetic.

    This is anecdotal, of course, but I’d say our sense of smell certainly changes or evolves over time in ways that might seem like olafactory fatigue. Think about the first time you tried coffee or beer or spicy food. It was probably a much different experience than today.

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    Basenotes Member elaw1890's Avatar
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Well the strange thing is I have just noticed it with these few scents so far. As I mentioned, I do not wear them all that frequently (as I rotate through everything). I also go some days without fragrance as I work from home and sometimes am not in the mood. I will try as some suggested to spray further from the nose and see if that helps with these few I have noticed it with.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by elaw1890 View Post
    Well the strange thing is I have just noticed it with these few scents so far. As I mentioned, I do not wear them all that frequently (as I rotate through everything). I also go some days without fragrance as I work from home and sometimes am not in the mood. I will try as some suggested to spray further from the nose and see if that helps with these few I have noticed it with.
    Different aromachemicals have different rates of achieving olfactory fatigue, so some fragrances are more at risk of it for affected people - and it's not the same for different people. The thing is, larger, less volatile molecules (like musks, ambers, resins) tend to be most susceptible, too, so that means it will appear as bad longevity.

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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    A common side effect of many medications, is a significant decrease in sense of smell. That's something I haven't seen mentioned before, yet so many people are on one thing or another, these days.

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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    Quote Originally Posted by Hothamwater View Post
    A common side effect of many medications, is a significant decrease in sense of smell. That's something I haven't seen mentioned before, yet so many people are on one thing or another, these days.
    That's a good piece of information to add to the conversation!

    Here's another: Olfactory fatigue can be similar to building up a tolerance to alcohol in that the more one sprays, the more his or her olfactory system learns to deal with it and factor it out... so the over-sprayers spray more, because they can't smell it... so their olfactory systems work even harder to factor it out in order to pay attention to other smells... so, they end up not being able to smell it... so the over-sprayers spray more, because they can't smell it... so their olfactory systems work even harder to factor it out in order to pay attention to other smells... so, they end up not being able to smell it... dot dot dot.

    They spray more. The olfactory system learns to ignore more. They can't smell it.
    So they spray more. And their olfactory systems learn to ignore more. They can't smell it.
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    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    If I ever have an accidental day off fragrances, I'm far more tuned to certain aspects when smelling them the 'next' time. Similarly, if I've been wear fragrance (a) all day and put a spritz of fragrance (b) on in the evening, I sometimes smell different facets on different occasions which I can only attribute to some nose-fatigue from (a).

  21. #21

    Default Re: Strange nose fatigue

    I remember trying out Santal Noble and Dia Man by Amouage and after ten minutes or so I just cannot smell the fragrances where others can. It's a strange type of anosmia that can sometimes strike on a particular scent. Why just these two and not many others I don't know.
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