Why does perfume smell different on my friend than on me?

Updated: May 27, 2020

Ah the eternal question....the answer is simple

One word: chemistry.

There are a lot of reasons why your perfume smells different: your skin’s temperature, your skin’s condition (dry or oily), your diet, your hormone level (which is different every day, even for men), your medications. All of these factors play a role in how a perfume smells on you.

Like every experiment, if you take a constant (in this case, perfume) and apply it to different conditions (in this case, two different people), you will get different results.


Pull your partner or bestie over, and spritz a bit of a scent on each of you. Wait a few minutes. See if the response is different on your two different bodies. Since no two people are the same, there is a strong chance that the same perfume will have a different fragrance (albeit sometimes small) on each person.

My sister LOVES Aromatics Elixir by Clinique and it smells fantastic on her, but on me it's repugnant and makes me want to vomit

Fast fact:

Every human being has their own unique scent, just like a fingerprint. Studies have shown that new mothers can detect their own baby from smell alone, even if the mother is blindfolded! The way that fragrances interact with our individual scent chemistry will influence how it smells to you and to others.

Lesson du jour: What's good for the goose isn't good for the gander


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