If you’ve read any article on this site, you probably read about how certain perfumes perform better than others in different settings and seasons, depending on the fragrance’s notes. When picking out a perfume, it’s essential to choose carefully based on when you’re going to wear it. So, does weather affect perfumes?
Weather does have an impact on perfumes and how the perfume is perceived. When the weather is hot, a perfume’s notes are intensified due to the sweat on your skin, whereas when the weather is cold, perfumes are subdued and tend to stick around longer because it’s harder for the scent molecules on your skin to evaporate.
We know that it’s important to consider the weather (think: seasonal) when choosing a perfume, so in this article, we will discuss how the weather affects perfumes, such as when it’s hot, cold, rainy, or humid outside. We also tested two perfumes that perform well in hotter temperatures and one of our favorite scents for winter.
Does Weather Affect Perfumes?
The weather does affect perfumes. Depending on the air temperature and the temperature of your skin, a perfume’s notes (aka aromatic molecules) and alcohol carrier evaporates and dissipates at different rates. This means that the weather affects how quickly you may smell your perfume’s top, middle, and bottom notes and for how long. Warmer weather shortens the lifespan of perfumes even though they may smell quite intense at first.
When the weather is hot, the notes in a perfume become intensified due to your body’s natural cooling process. You get hot, so your pores open up and release sweat. No matter the temperature, heat from your skin is needed to ‘activate’ scent molecules, so the warmer your skin gets due to high temperatures, the more your perfume gets a ‘boost’ in how much you can smell it.
Warmer weather also makes a perfume’s note transition happen quicker, so you’ll usually be able to smell a perfume’s top notes faster and smell what your fragrance would smell like hours later, a lot sooner.
In cooler temps, the notes don’t evaporate as fast because your skin does not have as much heat to activate the perfume’s notes as quickly. The perfume smells more subdued and not as strong at first as it would during the hot summer months.
How Does The Weather Affect Perfumes
A fragrance becomes altered when the body reacts to warmer temperatures and climates. When you become hot, your body opens up your pores to release sweat, which further activates a perfume’s scent molecules. Because of this, in hotter temperatures, a perfume’s rate of evaporation increases. Cooler weather does not speed up the evaporation process and gives all the notes in your perfume time to fully develop.
Long story short: In warmer months, you’ll be able to smell your perfume’s top notes quicker than in the winter, and the perfume will evaporate faster as well.
Does Rain Affect Perfumes?
There isn’t much data out there on the topic, but it’s generally thought that rain itself does not affect perfume. However, when it rains, humidity increases because the air is drawing in the water (do note that high levels of humidity are more likely in warmer air). The bottom line is that I wouldn’t be too concerned if you’re about to head out on a rainy day and aren’t sure which perfume to choose!
Humidity and heat can increase a perfume’s projection – meaning you’ll smell it stronger and faster – but that means the perfume’s longevity will likely shorten due to the fragrance’s aromatic molecules evaporating faster. When it rains, there’s obviously a lot of humidity, but again the temperature will depend on where you live.
As we said above, the warmer the temps, the more intense your scent will be (at first). A perfume will also transition through its notes much faster in hotter weather.
Does Humidity Affect Perfumes?
Humidity can affect perfume once sprayed on your skin. When it’s humid, the temperatures are likely warmer, so your skin will release sweat to keep you cool. Remember that perfumes need warmth to ‘activate.’ Warmer skin means more noticeable notes and a faster evaporation rate.
What Scents To Buy Based On The Weather
Depending on where you live, you may get a mix of weather or see only mostly sunshine or rain during the year – that means ideally, you have different scents to pair with the weather.
Since we know that hotter weather affects the evaporation and strength of perfume, let’s take a look at what you should specifically look for in a fragrance when shopping for a new scent. Then we’ll take a look at three perfumes that we tested and see how they’d changed depending on the weather.
Wear Fresh And Clean Scents During The Summer
Summer is filled with warm weather and sunny skies, so reach for perfumes with light, fresh, and crisp notes to contrast all that heat. Think aquatic, spice, and citrus notes such as orange, mint, blossom, and basil for the day and heady florals like bergamot, basil, jasmine, and rose for steamy summer evenings.
For men, have a look at our best summer fragrances list here. Equally, we also have a women’s list for the best summer fragrances as well!
Use Heavier Scents During The Winter
Cold weather does not speed up a perfume’s evaporation process, so it has all the time it needs to let those notes flourish. Choose calming woody notes like sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, and amber for cooler weather during the fall. Opt for rich, sensual, and exotic scents with amber, anise, incense, cinnamon, and vanilla to ‘warm’ you up.
One thing to keep in mind is that in the lower temperatures, we perceive scents much weaker. That’s why a bold and powerful fragrance will do just fine in the winter but will be ‘too much’ during the summer.
For men, have a look at our best winter fragrances list here. Equally, we also have a women’s list for the best winter fragrances as well!
The Perfumes We Tested
We tested three fragrances in different weather conditions to see if we could notice a difference while wearing them. We did.
Here’s what we found:
Creed Aventus is one of the most popular men’s fragrances ever. With its incredibly masculine scent that radiates with a fresh and fruity scent that’s backed by sweeter notes, it’s the perfect fragrance to test in different weather conditions.
Many people claim that Creed Aventus is a year-round fragrance, great for any season. Whereas I personally would have agreed, after trying it out in many different types of weather, I have to say my conclusion has changed.
While wearing this cologne in the summer, I mainly picked up the fruity hints of pineapple and several citruses. There was a light undertone of birch and vanilla present as well, but I mainly smelled the fresh fruits.
During the winter, though, I noticed that there was more of an emphasis on the richer notes. The fruits were still there, but much fainter. I also noticed that when wearing, I didn’t smell the actual cologne as much as I did in the summer. Personally, I’d say this is more of a warm-weather fragrance as you get the full experience. But, it also does a great job in the winter as well.
John Varvatos Artisan Pure
John Varvatos is a summer cologne through and through. Its bright and vibrant, making it perfect for those high-temperature days. Unsurprisingly, the cologne did a great job during the summer. It felt refreshing and pleasant to wear and I always felt like I got the full scent experience.
While wearing this cologne during the winter, I noticed the scent would become unnoticeable pretty quickly. After applying, I would be able to detect its scent for a short while, but after a short while, it was as if I never applied a cologne to begin with. It just goes to show that most fresh and citrusy fragrances tend to not work too well with low temperatures.
Christian Dior Homme Intense
Unlike the other two colognes, Dior Homme Intense has a much richer and sweeter scent. Based around the powdery note of iris and backed by beautiful gourmand notes, this fragrance has a softspoken yet rich and sweet scent.
Generally, these types of fragrances tend to work best in the lower temperatures, and that was also the case here. Dior Homme Intense was perfect for the winter; it felt warm and rich, but never overpowering. A big contrast to when I wore it during the summer, where I felt like it was too loud and sweet.
Luckily, Dior Homme Intense has a soft nature, so it wasn’t too overpowering, but I can imagine that a powerful cologne like Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme would just be too much for the warmer months.
Overall, the conclusion is that fresher fragrances tend to work better during the warmer seasons, whereas warm and sweet fragrances tend to work best during the colder seasons!