Long-Lasting Perfumes That Won't Fade, Recommended by Editors

"This is my first-ever perfume that felt like it was made for me."

collage of perfumes
(Image credit: Jonelle Afurong/Future)

Everyone's been there: You spray on your brand new perfume, thinking it'll garner you compliments as you move through your day, only to find that the fragrance has worn off by the time you reach the office. It's a disappointing experience that makes you feel like your latest purchase wasn't worth it after all—an especially killer blow considering fragrances typically don't come cheap. So, when you buy a perfume, how can you tell whether or not it's going to last you all day long?

"It's tough, because there’s no exact science to it," admits J.J. Vittoria, founder of customizable fragrance brand Olfactory NYC. "No matter what you buy, everyone’s skin reacts differently to different products and different ingredients."

However, if you're looking for a perfume that you don't need to reapply often (if at all), look no further. Ahead, we've compiled the best, editor- and expert-tested perfumes whose scents are proven to last. In addition, we've gathered tips from Vittoria on how to find and apply fragrances that will stick to you for hours and hours.

What Makes a Perfume Last


"One thing you can control, on the brand side of things, is the fragrance concentration," explains Vittoria. "That’s when you see things like eau de parfum and and eau de toilette—that’s what that’s referring to. Typically, an eau de toilette is around 5 percent or 10 percent in terms of fragrance concentration, and the rest is a mixture of alcohol and water. Eau de parfums are typically higher and are about 15 percent in range. And then higher than that, you get into what’s called parfum extraits, which are up to 20 percent to 30 percent in concentration."

So why do brands offer an eau de toilette if an eau de parfum is so much more concentrated?

"An eau de toilette is cheaper, but there’s a trade off," Vittoria says. "The alcohol in aneau de toilette is what gives it that lift off the skin. So as you increase the concentration in fragrance, you lose some of that sort of lift—that projection of the fragrance. But you want an overall effect. You don’t want to only be able to smell it when you get really close to the skin, which is what it can often end up being like when you have a high concentration. For instance, essential oils will typically last quite long, depending on the ingredient, but you have to get really close to the skin to smell it, so it doesn’t really work as a fragrance."

He also adds that high concentration formulas, such as essential oils and extraits, can run the risk of allergic reaction in those who have sensitive skin, so more diluted formulas may be preferable.


Ever notice that some scents last longer than others? According to Vittoria, that's not just your imagination: Spicy notes tend to last longer than their lighter counterparts.

"If what you’re looking for is purely what will last you longest, there are certain ingredients that will tend to last longer, and those tend to be base notes like woods, musks, and incenses," he says. "Top notes like a citrus tend to be more powerful at the beginning, but tend to disappear over time."

However, he cautions against thinking that your fragrance has faded just because you can't smell it anymore

"The best quality fragrances—the ones that are the most interesting and the most complex—you’ll smell them in the beginning but you won’t smell them in an hour, but that doesn’t mean that they’re gone," he warns. "Other people can still smell them, you’ve just gotten used to it."

Where You Spray It

The debate over where to spray your perfume—on your torso, on your neck, behind your knees, and so on—has long raged among fragrance lovers. In the interests of settling the issue, Vittoria says that perfumes generally last longest "on your clothes or your hair."

"Because when you think about it," he says, "your skin is secreting oils, and as that happens and as your skin is constantly refreshing, a fragrance will disappear as well. People spray on their wrists or their neck because that’s where your pulse points are, and your pulse points are slightly hotter than the rest of your body. And the heat gives more performance because it makes the fragrance evaporate more, and that’s what gives a slightly more effective fragrance. So, in a way, putting a fragrance on your pulse points might make it last less long, but it’ll give a better performance."

How Much You Apply

Vittoria discourages users from spraying a ton of perfume at the beginning of the day, hoping that makes it last longer. Instead, he advises reapplying if needed.

"With a high potency eau de parfum, you shouldn’t need to apply more than once every four to six hours."

Rollerball vs. Spray

Rollerballs are often smaller and more convenient for travel, but did you know that they can have a different overall effect than sprays?

"When you have a rollerball, typically you have an oil base of some kind, and that will last you longer," says Vittoria, "but you’ll run into those projection problems, much like with an essential oil."

Personal Body Chemistry

Finally, it's important to remember that, as with all things beauty, fragrance is incredibly personal and varies from body to body, age to age, and even season to season.

"It’s not just person to person but within a person," echoes Vittoria. "So in the summer, your body is doing different things and your sweat glands are behaving differently. If you’re someone that’s constantly sweating, that might affect your ability to retain fragrance or have it last on the skin. It can also be hormonal. For instance, for pregnant women, fragrance will have a very different effect and will smell different."

All this to say, finding the best, longest lasting fragrance for you is a journey, not a destination.

"You learn about your body," agrees Vittoria. "If there’s an ingredient that you find keeps disappearing, that’s where you play around and try something else."

Meet the Expert

J.J. Vittoria
J.J. Vittoria

J.J. Vittoria is the founder of Olfactory NYC, the customizable fragrance brand. Originally from the UK, he is currently based in New York.

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.