Friday, January 11th, 2013

Choose or Lose

What kind of sillage do you prefer your perfume to have?

  • Moderate (you and those near you can smell) (73%, 2,476 Votes)
  • Strong (it lingers as you walk away) (15%, 509 Votes)
  • Weak (wears close to the skin) (12%, 416 Votes)
  • Other -- I'll tell you in the comments! (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 3,404

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29 thoughts on “What kind of sillage do you prefer your perfume to have?

  1. Yellowlantern

    If there was some sort of magical technology that made it so that I and only I could smell my perfume I would so sign up for that.

    I only wear it for my own enjoyment so I wouldn’t have a problem if only I could smell it. Then I could wear the scents that others tend not to like, but I love more often.

  2. xamyx

    I like just enough that when someone is within my “personal space” (about a two foot diameter) the scent is noticeable, but not obnoxious. I find it extremely rude when someone’s scent is so strong, it lingers several minutes after they’ve walked away, or it smells the way it does in the bottle ten feet away.

  3. Marie

    I voted moderate, but if I could I would have selected something between weak and moderate. I like the idea that people close to me can vaguely smell I put perfume on. But if they sit across a table and they can distinctly smell my perfume, then I put too much.

    I dislike strong sillage so much. Pefume is supposed to make you smell nice, not to overwhelm the nostrils of those around you. You might like a scent, but it might make others feel unconfortable, or even sick.

    The best is a perfume being noticeable yet discreet at the same time in my honest opinion.

  4. Kay

    If you are going to a play or other places with fixed seating, please be considerate and wear very weak perfume or preferably none at all. I spent 3 hours in an expensive seat at a play nearly gagging because of the fragrance of the woman next to me.

    Please remember that you can get used to your own fragrance but others can still smell you! And for those with sensitive noses, it is offensive, especially if it is a smell that they don’t like. Also, I know two people with chemical sensitivities who have bad reactions to any perfumes, even in small doses.

    You can always apply after the play or concert is over when people can move away if they need to.

    • t_zwiggy

      Agreed! I have lost count of how many times I’ve had to interrupt a social activity or go home in the middle of the school day because someone decided to bathe in perfume to make sure everyone in a miles radius could smell them. It is such a selfish thing to do! I always worry if I have to take the bus or other public transportation somewhere, because I know it could result in an extreme migraine followed by hours of vomiting.

      I went to church for a Christmas concert with my mom a couple of years ago, and the woman in front of us was wearing way too much perfume. When we came back home we could actually smell it on our clothes. We both thought that we were imagining it, that the scent was just stuck in our noses, but when we put our coats on the next day the smell was still there, so we had to hang them outside in fresh air to get rid of it.

      So please people, if you want to be noticed, wear bright lipstick or colorful clothes. Don’t offend others with your perfume (you most likely will even if you think you smell amazing), remember that you can make someone sick. Be considerate to the people around you.

      • xamyx

        I worked as a bank teller, and a woman came in wearing so much heavy perfume, and I could actually smell it through my window, and over 3 feet of counter space. The smell also lingered for at least 1/2 an hour.

  5. I like moderate — I like it when people can smell it when they get really close (which doesn’t happen often), but I don’t want to suffocate anyone, either.

  6. Mariella

    I still don’t even know what “sillage” is. I am such a visigoth!

  7. Deb

    Count me in the scent sensitive camp. It really bothers me and makes my chest feel tight. It’s almost as bad as someone smoking a cigar near me.

    If anyone can smell your perfume and they aren’t right in your personal space (think intimate space), then it’s too much. Really. It makes many of us sick. My worst was a plan ride overseas behind someone who had too much on. On an 8 hour plane ride. Really?

  8. Katherine

    I prefer to wear it so that someone has to be within about 12 or so inches of me to smell it. I became an adult in the 80’s when power fragrances were the rage. I can remember all the halls and lecture rooms at college smelled like Giorgio Beverly Hills or Poison. Men’s fragrances had monster sillage too. At the time though that was how perfume was made. I didn’t wear it though I wore another just as strong called Fendi. Now I prefer to wear very little to moderate sillage because I wear it mainly for myself and sometimes my Husband. I can’t stand to smell cologne on my Husband I prefer the scent of his skin.

  9. Lisa

    I love perfume. I prefer long lasting perfumes with very strong sillage because these scents are typically more capable of carrying more complex and more unique mixtures of notes.
    However, it is possible to wear these sillage monsters without murdering the noses of everyone around you — just spray once from two feet away. None of my friends are ever able to smell me unless I hug them (I used to frequently ask those around me until I perfected the technique) and I can enjoy my own scent all day.

  10. I think it’s incredibly disrespectful to those around when a person wears their perfume strongly. I don’t have a problem with scents, but I know countless people do. Do these strong-perfume-wearers not realise it can create instant headaches, nausea, and a terrible stuffed nose and coughing for people? They never asked to be subjected to this. I can’t believe that 175+ people would do this.

    • Kelly B.

      Thank you!!! I have asthma and even moderate perfume will create terrible migraines but worse has repeatedly caused asthma attacks which is more than uncomfortable it is life threatening.
      For those who want to exercise their personal right to use strong scents (especially that linger)…please take a moment to research what your choice can do to those with asthma and a number of other lung/airway related diseases. Your choice to have lingering scent could mean a hospital ER visit to me, if I’m lucky. And…it isn’t something I can avoid – grocery lines, etc. but you can certainly lessen your heavy hand.

    • Sabriel

      I think a lot of people don’t really *believe* that strong perfume can make other people sick. They’ve heard it, but they think people who complain are just being melodramatic.

      I believe it. When I wear perfume, I wear it lightly. It’s just for me and my boyfriend. I don’t want anybody to be able to smell it unless they’re in my personal space.

      Even then, I feel slightly anxious about it. I don’t wear perfume if I know I’ll be riding the train.

      • Quinctia

        I’m glad you believe it. Developing scent-caused migraines is no fun, especially when things used to not be a problem. When I was younger, it didn’t matter what scent was in the shampoo I wore, but a couple years ago the brand I was using changed the notes in the formula I liked, and I spent the next day half-sick from my own hair. And I’d washed it the night before!

        Needless to say, other people’s perfume can get me really bad. There’s already a very common note that’s an undercurrent in most mainstream perfumes that will trigger a migraine if I’m exposed to it, a lot of lorals make me sick in any form. :/

        I wear perfume oils, which stay really close to my body, and usually can’t be smelled by others unless they invade my personal space. Even then, I have to be really careful of the notes. My father likes to poke fun because I gravitate towards spice and gourmand scents, but a lot of more traditional things I can’t wear.

      • Kelly B.

        That is a really good point Sabriel. Thank you!!!

        I don’t think people intentionally set out to hurt others via perfume, including men attempting to be sexy while choking their date with liters of cologne. This forum is a chance to educate a vast number of people who will hopefully care. It isn’t simply a matter of making people sick, many people die of asthma and other lung diseases each year…a number of asthma “attacks” are triggered by food, fragrance which includes strong chemical cleaning products, etc. My asthma medications cost ME over $500 a MONTH and they are not optional, I have to take 2-3 asthma medications twice a day and carry 2 rescue inhalers with me at all times in case one fails or something happens. (I dropped a $55 rescue inhaler in a toilet during an asthma attack once, funny now but not then).

        I have NEVER had an asthma attack from people who wear fragrance under the “weak” category or even “moderate” when used like you described. I love and miss wearing fragrance (even my lotions are all unscented). On rare occasions I’ve tried to be sexy and wear very light fragrance on my extremities and end up with a migraine, makeup smeared from runny eyes/nose and breathing like a pug. My sexy moves failed on those attempts :-0

        People who believe it is melodramatic, in MY opinion, are choosing to be ignorant and selfish as a 10 minute Internet search could confirm any complaint. I’ve never complained, I’m just trying to breath during those circumstances.

  11. redshift87

    I mainly use perfume oils, which tend to have a much weaker sillage (but can last just as long as alcohol based perfume, if not longer depending on the scent). This is fine with me; I wear scents for myself and my husband to enjoy, and I certainly don’t want to overwhelm others who may be sensitive to particular fragrances.

    I’m personally very sensitive to licorice/anise scents and have unfortunately been on the receiving end of someone wearing WAY too much Lolita Lempicka. It was… very unpleasant for me : -(

  12. Miss J

    I suppose I like stronger fragrances that can be worn lightly… Personally, I find weak scents a waste of money. If it can’t be smelled unless I stick my nose to the spot I sprayed and inhale deeply then it is a waste of money, IMO. I like when I can smell myself and others who are in my personal space can get a whiff without it slapping them in the nose, lol. I think if someone is about two arms length away and can really smell me then I put too much on. I think a subtle whiff of someone as they walk past isn’t a big deal unless it’s more than just a subtle hint that’s there then gone. Someone’s scent shouldn’t be offensive. I try to be considerate of others; if I know I’m going to be in a shared space for some length of time then I usually skip the perfume. I’ve never had any complaints about my fragrance, so I assume I must not be offending people.

  13. blueraccoon

    I’m all for as weak as possible – scents give me headaches and asthma issues, regardless of high end or low end or whatever they’re made of, they invariably make me feel ill. The most I can put up with are like scented lotions–sometimes–because they dissipate quickly. I get that people like to smell nice, but for the sake of us who can’t deal, *please* keep strong scents to yourself so we don’t have to get sick. I work in an open environment, and I used to sit next to someone who wore really strong cologne. I ended up having to leave the room and work in my office instead because it made me so ill.

  14. Phoebe

    I picked weak. I feel like perfume is really for your own enjoyment…after all, isn’t that why you like/bought the scent? No need to have it so strong that others can smell you too, unless they are within a foot of you.

    I despise when someone’s scent is so strong, I can smell it on my clothing afterward. Gah. I’m pretty sensitive to scents and I have allergies. I just don’t wear fragrance.

  15. Kimmie T

    I think I am right in the middle. I honestly prefer light to moderate. I think its sexier when you have to be close to smell their perfume or scent. I think it should be sweet yet sublte.

  16. Jaz

    I typically dont wear perfume /body sprays on a regular basis. I usually use them just when I am going out , special occasions , or on Sundays. I like the smell of whatever soap I used lol. HOWEVER, when I do wear it , I wear just enough not to offend anyone. I dont think that others should be able to smell your perfume when you leave the room. Some scents make me gag and induce headaches for me. I am cognizant of the fact that some people are sensitive to scents.

    Also, it is not necessary to touch up your perfume so that everyone can smell it. My coworker touches up her “perfume” every time she goes into our office , and its just so unnecessary

  17. NancyMac

    I am allergic to just about everything and strong scents also make me very ill. I have found one fragrance that I absolutely LOVED and they discontinued it about a year and a half after I discovered it. It would be wonderful if others would understand sensitivities that some have to scents, but it just doesn’t work that way it seems. I have a co-worker who drowns himself in cologne and I would really like to say something to him, but I just don’t know the best way to bring the topic up for discussion.

    • Kelly B.

      Hi, I’m not sure if you are checking back. What if you mentioned this blog question to him…tell him you read an overwhelming number of people that have health consequences to fragrances that both men and women wear and that you realized you are not alone? I’m sure you could word it much better. Not knowing your style or your co-worker’s, it could be approached in a way that wouldn’t be accusing him or creating a defensive situation…just neutral toned chit chat and hopefully he would be perceptive enough to read between the lines. ???

      I worked for a lawyer for several years who smoked a pipe ALL day, EVERY day and it made me sick as a dog but I couldn’t say anything to the boss/co-owner. I used to go to the ladies room ill…and when I left for the day my suits (all dry clean) wreaked. Nasty. I hope it gets better for you!!!

  18. Zainab

    I think I like it moderate, I figure if you’re less than a foot away you’re close enough to put up with it. I don’t like perfume that’s oppressive, I apply it before I go out and don’t add any more during the day. I tend to find that strong perfumes blend more with people’s BO, which is yuk, but I like it is someone with a nice frangrance passes by.

  19. Jenny

    I said weak . . . because I pick perfumes for my own pleasure. As someone who has a moderate scent sensitivity and who has finally found perfumes that I can wear without making myself ill, I’m always cautious of over-applying. And I do want it fairly close to my skin . . . I want to be able to smell myself at my desk or when I’m writing or on the phone, but I also don’t want to be able to smell myself over a freshly cooked hot meal, for instance.

    A single spritz on the wrist (that I then spread to behind my ears and my other wrist) an hour before I go out, that I don’t reapply, lasts me a fairly long time. I don’t care if it doesn’t last to the end of the day, because by then I’m winding down and taking off my make-up anyway. Or sprayed lightly on a scarf (I find this method can keep the scent for several days without respraying).

    In all honesty, I just wish every bottle of perfume had a little note card that taught people how to use perfume with sophistication. Regardless of the perfume and silliage, if you spray all over the place, you’ll smell offensive, and I’ve been on the receiving end of such bad application.

  20. Jade

    Moderate I think, definitely NOT more than that! I work in food service, and I deliberately don’t wear perfume to work because I could taint the food or the coffee – especially coffee, which easily takes on flavours around it. Occasionally women come into the cafe who are wearing SO much perfume that it’s very unpleasant, and lingers after they’ve left. Thankfully I don’t usually have reactions to scents, but I have done occasionally and I know how awful it is.