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Where and How to Apply Solid Fragrances

An illustrated guide featuring fine art!

Many of the application suggestions for liquid fragrances will apply for solid fragrances, but the unique properties of solid fragrances allow for some different fragrancing option and also require some special considerations. Here is my quick and easy reference guide to solid fragrance application, featuring some beautiful artwork found on Wikimedia Commons. (Most images are public domain but I’ve attributed where necessary.)

My top suggestion, and this applies for both liquid and solid fragrances: swipe the perfume on the back of the arm (green check mark below), rather than the wrist (red x below). My reason: I, and many of you, use a mouse and type on a keyboard for a significant amount of time each day, and perfume applied to the wrist pulse points just rubs off on the mousepad or keyboard rest.

A modern sculpture of an arm with a hand on each end, one with palm up and the other palm down.
Two handed arm sculpture on display in Cuba,” by Phillippe Antoine, licensed under CC BY 2.0. Red and green marks annotated from original.

My second suggestion also applies for both liquids and solids. If you want to be able to smell your own fragrance (and who doesn’t, really?), swipe a little fragrance at the base of the throat and/or on the décolletage area, as shown on the lovely female bust below. Go ahead and hit those two pulse points behind your ears, too, but you will not necessarily be able to enjoy the fragrance you applied there.

Bust of a beautiful woman in elaborate headgear, with pink annotations at ears and throat to show where to apply perfume.
Female bust by Henri Jacobs. Magenta markings annotated from original.

The next tip can work for liquids or solids, but be advised: you’re at serious risk of over-applying your fragrance in liquid format with this one. For liquids, I would recommend this only for very soft, very fleeting scents. For solids, by nature they have gentler sillage, so you may be able to get away with this one even for office/daytime wear, and this works very well for evening solids and occasions when you may want a bolder effect. Apply a swipe of solid fragrance just above where the waistline of your garment will hit (to prevent the fragrance from rubbing off on the fabric), and swipes on the back of each knee, as demonstrated by Venus Callipyge.

Venus Callipyge statue, with pink makings just above her waist and down the back of each knee to show where to apply solid fragrance.
Venus Callipyge in the National Museum of Naples. Pink markings annotated from original.

This next tip is just for the gentlemen, and is something my husband and I discovered recently, as he experimented with his small collection (just three) of solid fragrances. Solids smell wonderful and last a very long time when applied in a man’s beard! Yes, there are beard balms that also smell great, but the purpose of a beard balm is more akin to a hair gel or pomade, which also smell great but are designed for styling and control. Beard balms tend not to be strongly scented, and/or the scent fades quickly. Some balms have more of a hard waxy or gel-like texture that won’t have the moisturizing properties of a solid fragrance. A few swipes of a quality wax-and-oil-based solid fragrance lasts a good eight hours in a beard, even if the fragrance doesn’t last that long on skin. Give it a try, as demonstrated here on this handsome Roman gentleman whose bust graces the Walters Art Museum. (Go ahead and hit the base of your throat with a little swipe of fragrance while you’re at it.)

Bust of a Roman gentleman, with a full beard, with blue annotations showing where to apply solid fragrance in the beard
Walters Art Museum, CC BY-SA 3.0 and GNU Free Documentation License. Blue markings annotated from original.

And last but not least, here’s a tip for both men and women, as respects solid fragrances only: rub a little of your solid fragrance into your hair. A little bit brushed onto the roots tames fly-aways. A little bit rubbed into the ends of hair moisturizes and fights frizz. If you have long hair, you’ll be able to catch a whiff of your fragrance from time to time when your hair blows in the breeze. (Alas, I’m a super-short pixie cut-wearer right now.) The heat from your head acts as a nice fragrance diffuser, even if your hair isn’t long enough to blow in the breeze. Alexander the Great and Venus of Rhodes model this suggestion below.

Bust of Alexander the great, with blue annotations showing where to apply solid fragrance in the hair
The Venus of Rhodes statue, with long hair and yellow annotations showing where to apply fragrance in hair

What are your tips for applying solid or liquid fragrances? Leave a comment and let us know.

By Jodi at Solidly Scented

A lover of all things fragrant

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