Which Perfume Should You Wear to Prom?

Get scent-savvy for prom by picking a perfume that matches your style.

Getting ready for your special prom night? Dress, hair, jewelry—you’ve planned your party look to perfection. But what about a prom perfume? When your swoon-worthy date nuzzles your neck, you’ll want a scent that makes the best impression. Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the perfect prom night fragrance… and keep it fresh all night long.

Match Your Fragrance to Your Style

Before the big night, you choose your dress and makeup with care, so why not your fragrance? First, decide on your prom night fashion statement. Your perfume should complement and enhance your style. Here are four options to whet your imagination.

Sweet. If ruffles and lace and soft sherbet colors are your style, think light floral fragrances. Jasmine, gardenia, rose, and lily of the valley are beautiful single floral scents, or look for spring-like bouquets. Sweet honey is a creamy new accent that warms spring flowers with the radiance of sunshine. Lovely for warm spring and summer climates.

Sophisticated. Opting for something sleek and chic? Look for understated perfumes designed to draw in your date and linger with subtlety. Consider floral fragrances with crisp green accents, or smooth-as-silk sandalwood finishes. Minimalist aquatic fragrances will also keep you fresh and cool all night long.

Sexy. If you plan to pour on the va-va-voom, then turn to the richest fragrances in the perfumer’s palette. Think vanilla, spice, musk, and patchouli, or the voluptuous aroma of tuberose, which aroma-therapists often consider an aphrodisiac. These extravagant fragrances are designed to announce your presence and linger long into the night.

Sporty. Ready to bust out the dance moves? Sporty citrus scents will keep you invigorated and energized all evening. Zesty lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, and tangerine are often blended with subtle sandalwood and cedarwood to balance the citrus effervescence. Excellent for warm, steamy evenings.

Making Fragrance Last

To make your fragrance last all night, layer your fragrance by coordinating your scented lotion, powder, and liquid fragrance. For example, apply your scented lotion first, then set with dusting powder, and finally, a spritz or dab of perfume.

What type of fragrance formulation should you buy? Eau de toilette is the lightest fragrance formulation (and the least costly), followed by the richer eau de parfum. Parfum has the highest amount of perfume compound, and is priced accordingly. However, parfum is made to be dabbed on the pulse points, while the eau de toilette and eau de parfum may be sprayed more lavishly over the body.

The lighter your fragrance, the more frequently you’ll want to touch up during the evening. Find a purse spray or rollerball small enough to fit into your evening bag. And where should you apply it? On your pulse points: behind the ears, at the throat and cleavage, on the wrists and behind the knees. The nape of the neck will also create a lovely aura for your date during slow dances, and spraying your hair lightly is another nice touch.

Choosing a Brand

Rule number one is wear what pleases you and makes you feel confident. But branding is a part of life. If your style is casual, you’ll find lots of choices among new fragrances at chain retailers. Want an individualistic brand? Look for smaller niche brands at boutiques, online, and artisan shows. If you like luxury, aim for high end brands and classic fragrances.

And don’t forget to look at vintage perfumes. These beloved perfumes are the tried-and-true. You might turn to a stylish family member for advice on choosing a memorable classic.

Set the Mood

Aromatherapy aficionados know that essential oils used in perfumery have the power to affect your mood. Check out these mood-enhancing ingredients:

Relieving stress and anxiety: rose, lavender, cedarwood, basil, bergamot

Encouraging happiness: lily of the valley, tuberose, hyacinth, rose, osmanthus

Heightening sensuality: Patchouli, ginger, sandalwood, clove, neroli, tonka bean, jasmine, rose

Invigorating: lemon, peppermint, grapefruit, osmanthus, hyacinth, lily of the valley

Remember the Don’ts

Don’t wear a too-rich fragrance in hot, humid climates.

Don’t mix scented lotions and fragrances from different scent families.

Don’t forget to freshen up during the course of the evening.

And above all, don’t forget to have fun!