“Oh, TOES!! (for some people)” or Where to Apply Perfumes


A question where (and how much) to apply perfume is regularly raised on blogs and discussion boards. More than once recently while answering this question I thought that I saw myself as Monica (Friends TV show) explaining to Chandler how to satisfy a woman using an improvised chart of a woman’s erogenous zones:



To illustrate what I mean here’s an example of my algorithm (see the chart below: 1 – neck, 2 – décolletage, 3 – wrist, 4 – back of the neck under hair, 5 – hair, 6 – back of a knee, 7 – ankle; R/L – left/right side):

For the office (dependent on the strength of the perfume): 1R3L or 1R1L3L or 1R1L23L.

For a meeting in a small conference room: 3L2 or 3L4, preferably in parfum concentration.

For a weekend day (running errands): 1R1L3L3R, sometimes I add 2 or 4.

For a plane ride or to a concert hall: 3R

For a big party: the full scale from 1 to 7 and back.

Where To Apply Perfumes

What I realized putting that diagram together was that I do not always apply perfume symmetrically: notice that in all combinations for the office it’s always the left wrist – not to transfer perfume to the mouse pad’s hand rest; for the airplane it would be just a right wrist – to smell it myself when I drink something or just bring it to my nose.

I welcome any comments but for this month’s statistics post I’d appreciate your answers to two questions (both about the time when you wear a perfume, not just test it and both are about “more often” and not necessarily “always”):

1) Do you apply perfume symmetrically (e.g. both wrists or décolletage – it’s still symmetrical even though it’s just one spot) or asymmetrically (e.g. just one wrist, one side of the neck or one ankle)? A single asymmetrical point makes the entire application asymmetrical.

2) What is the spot that usually gets the first spray?

Since most of my days I spend at work I apply perfumes asymmetrically and the first spray usually goes to the neck.


Image: my own


71 thoughts on ““Oh, TOES!! (for some people)” or Where to Apply Perfumes

  1. WOW! Fabulous Undina
    Home: 1-7 depending but most days 2 + 3RL
    Work: 2 + 3RL + Elbow nichesRL + 4
    Shopping: 2
    Cleaning: 2 + Elbow nichesRL (because my wrists are up in vinegar and disinfectant so frags disappear)
    My chest is first spritz almost always. Very soft frags also get a belly squirt.
    I hope this helps.


  2. Dearest U
    This is at once intriguing and hilarious… you have quite made my day! And the diagram? Three cheers, says I.
    (Before we go on is that a Shalimar splash your model is applying?).
    Now to the questions…
    1. I am terribly symmetrical I’m afraid. Either side of the neck and both wrists, and one spray to the centre of my chest… though I am amused by the idea I might be allowed to call it my decolletage.
    2. First spray, and I’never though about it until you asked, but on reflection it’s always the left side of the neck… what a nice little self-revelation.
    Looking forward to the results of this month’s ethno-methodological study.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy


    • Dear Dandy, thank you – I enjoyed doing this post so I’m glad others liked it as well. Answering your question: yes, it’s Shalimar – the same as the mermaid on the blog’s header – which is kind of fitting: you don’t expect me to pour off the perfume I actually like, right? ;) )


  3. You. Are. Hilarious. Undina. You’re my kinda woman. :D

    As to, um, perfume application, I’m always symmetrical. Either wrists and nape of neck, or wrists and small of back. And the first spray always goes on the left wrist, which I then rub against my right wrist. ‘Cause I’m sexy that way. (LOL, kidding!)


  4. I absolutely love that episode of Friends. Partly because it makes me laugh, and it originally aired shortly after I had a not so great date with a guy that told me he wanted to kiss me all over and suck my toes. As for perfume, I am afraid I’m rather boring and symmetrical – usually both wrists, both sides of neck and décolletage. Every once in awhile I will put a little on the crook of my elbows or a little in my hair.


  5. It was fun reading your post Undina. You can bring any topic in the world to letters, numbers and charts. That’s funny and impressive as well.

    As for the perfume application I only do some of the points you highlight. I apply perfume to my wrists, to my neck and decolletage I practically never to back of the neck, hair, back of a knee or an ankle.

    I always apply symmetrically. Both wrists, left and right side of my neck plus one direct spray in the middle of decolletage/chest area so I wouldn’t count that one as an assymetry.

    For me it’s always wrists that get the 1st drops of a fragrance.

    The only time I wear perfume assymetrically is when I do tests or when I spray a perfume for a review evaluation – then I apply on one of the wrists and the forearm of the same side.

    Once I’ve been to a sniffa with a friend and we applied to many different places such as elbows, shoulders, and knees (on top, not on the back side)


    • You forgot to add “to letters, numbers and charts AND Rusty” ;)

      It’s understandable about the back of the neck: since you do not wear your hair long you won’t benefit from that type of the application. As to ankles, I was thinking about this post when I was creating my chart.

      To which wrist do you apply your perfume first?


      • I beg for forgivness my MeowLord Rusty!

        Because I’m a left-handed person I grab all my flacons with a left hand so the right wrist is sprayed first. Then I either press both wrists together to transfer the fragrance from right to left wrist or I take a bottle to the other hand and spray the left wrist. Complicated :P


  6. Haha- your post made me laugh. loved it!!
    My perfume application habits have changed since my son was born. So for the purposes of the statistics, I will stick to what I do now.
    However, I think I am an ‘asymmetrical applier’. Even when I used to apply scents on both sides, I would apply a different scent for variety and amusement..:)
    Nowadays I apply a few sprays on the back of my neck and on my upper arm- usually the left arm- parts that my son is less likely to brush against. My husband often complains that my son smells of perfume, so I try to minimize that effect..:). At night I apply on the right so I can easily sniff it even if I turn on my left, which happens often.
    Though my favorite place to apply is my wrist. Since it doesn’t look like i am sniffing my arm pit when I want to take a discreet ‘sniff’ (which happens with the arm)..:D


    • Thank you, Lavanya.

      My vSO says that Rusty smells of my perfumes. But since he usually doesn’t mind I’m less strict with where I put my perfumes while at home.

      So far you’re just the only asymetrical applier (not counting me :) ).

      For the statistics, which wrist gets the first spray?


      • I know! It looks like we are in the minority.
        I think it might be left wrist- because I’m right handed. But for the statistics, my first spray nowadays is the back of my neck (sometimes towards the left. Hmm, I’m thinking I might have an overall left preference). Also I realized sometime back, after reading your distinction between ‘wearing’ and ‘testing’, that prior to last year, I used to be such an ‘under applier’ that the way I ‘wore’ a perfume was similar to your ‘testing’..Nowadays I spray with abandon!


    • Also- I just watched the youtube clip and felt all nostalgic- Friends was the first ‘network TV’ show I watched in India and I think I’ve re-watched every episode atleast twice. Now I want to watch more!!


  7. Great question and wonderful diagram! I am always a symmetrical applier and found it really interesting that you would not put something on both wrists, I never even considered it!
    Since I work from home the majority of the time I do not hesitate to apply from 1-4 on both R/L. I usually do both insides of my elbows and wrists. I have never done my ankles and only behind my knees for a very special night out. And often I will do my stomach as well. My first spot to spray is usually my left wrist. I also try not to spray directly on my hair unless it is a very important event since I don’t want the alcohol to dry it out. Oh, and often I will dab an attar behind my ears along with everything else. :-)


    • I don’t spray my hair too often for the same reason but do it as a part of the “special occasion make-up”. I do not want my different perfumes to stay on the mouse pad since the wrist rest is made from the material that’ll probably hold it. For the similar reason I stopped wearing watches on my left wrist – not to combine perfumes on the band.
      If you wonder about ankles, see the link in my reply to Lucas above.


  8. Love this! :-)
    I do think I have a minor psychological disorder as I hate anything asymmetrical to do with my body.
    If I’m exercising, both sides must get the same amount. I change bags from hand to hand so they get the same amount of workout.
    Therefore, applying perfume for wear (not testing) is an exercise in symmetry for me. :-)
    I eithet apply in the middle of decollete and then both sides of the neck (sometimes back of my neck, again middle), or I might spritz from one side of the neck to the other (if it requires more perfume) but then it’s always an even number ( two or three on each side).


    • Thank you, Ines.

      I’m the same way when it comes to most things you’ve described. But somehow with perfumes (and changing them often and trying not to be too offensive in the office) I developed that asymetrical approach that works for me since it falls into some logical rationalization.

      For the statistics I put you as “first spray in the middle of decollete” – unless you ask me to change it (then tell which side of your neck gets it first).


      • That’s it. In most cases, it’s decollete first. I wonder if that means something? ;-)
        Reading through the comments, I noticed many people apply to wrists. I never apply to my wrists, they are always kept clean for testing purposes. :-)


  9. Awesome post. Everything is symmetrical…starting with wrists and then neck. If I really want to smell myself throughout the day, on the back of hands too. I can’t say that I have ever sprayed my toes. For some reason that seems wasteful to me :)


  10. Always apply perfume symmetrically, unless I’m testing.
    The left wrist always gets the first spray.

    Sometimes spritz the elbows.

    Rarely spritz the hair- and have never spritzed #7!


  11. I’m pretty symmetrical with my application it seems. I don’t think I’ve ever sprayed my toes though. I always start with the wrists and neck.


  12. I wonder what it is like to live in your mind for a day? :)

    I had to really think about this, but I would say I am asymmetrical 99% of the time.

    Average day in office: left wrist, right collarbone. Maybe some general spritzes on clothes if it’s a light fragrance.

    Average day out of office: left and right wrist, then same as above.

    Heavy application at night: same as above, with addition of back of knees.

    I spray on the right side of my collarbone out of habit from having my hair fixed “up” on the left side. I often wear a side bun/braid/ponytail which is always on the left.


    • In my mind for a day? To cite one of my favorite TV show character – a SF private detective Adrian Monk: “It’s a gift… and a curse.” ;)

      Thank you for the input! You’re the third person in this poll who does asymmetry for a practical reason :)


  13. Great stuff Undina. Love that pictorial diagram and the Friends reference. People who slam the show have no idea how genuinely well written and funny it was.

    I go symmetrical. Both forearms and both sides of the collarbone.

    Looking forward to the results.


    • Wait-wait… You can’t do both at the same time, one has to go first. So which one – left or right wrist/forearm gets the first spray?

      As to the Friends’ critique, I think it’s the U.K. stuff: in the U.S. it was one of the most popular and favorite shows. Of course, anything gets critisized by someone but as far as comedy TV shows go this one was one of the best. And I love it :)


  14. Haha, I think Monica is in ‘7th heaven’ there…!

    I always spray symmetrically, left neck, central neck, right neck, left wrist, rub wrists together and repeat (just with the wrists). I may not actually spray the right wrist in its own right. ;-) Does that count as asymmetrical? That doesn’t really vary regardless of occasion, though I may occasionally add a couple more spritzes to the neck area (one each side), but by no means routinely.


  15. I’m an almost symmetrical applier. For work I usually spritz first my left wrist, then my right (if it’s a strong scent I just do my left wrist and rub it against my right wrist), then I quickly rub the left wrist onto both sides of my neck. For non-work situations I first spray both wrists and then my decollage. Wearing perfume on my decollage feels a lot more personal, I wouldn’t do that to work, wrist wearing does feel more formal even though it probably smells just the same to anyone nearby :)


  16. Symmetrical.

    Always left wrist first, though with a general lack of precision, so it’s really the area between the wrist and forearm, perhaps because some of my watches are very large in their straps. After that, the left wrist is rubbed on the right (usually the actual wrist part, then the left side of the neck under the ear, a spray on the right side, and perhaps a final 1-2 on my chest, shoulder area, or clothes (depending on what I’m wearing).


    • I was wondering… Do you make any adjustment on where you put a perfume because of your dog? Sometimes I would put a perfume for testing on the back of my wrist since I know that Rusty would come to sit on my lap and I don’t want to transfer too much as I pat him.


      • Not “dog,” but hairy son. :) And no, I don’t make any adjustments. I love smelling my fragrance on my furry child. It melds beautifully with his own slightly musky, fur scent and the grass-and-damp-earth nuances of his paws. I’ve found he smells especially good with Amouage’s Tribute, along with MFK’s Absolue Pour Le Soir (what he is wearing today, thanks to me). Somehow, Onda doesn’t smell so great on him; same with fruity or vanilla scents. But Alahine and Coromandel work wonderfully.

        So, yes, The Mighty Teuton ends up wearing fragrance. :)


        • Sorry-sorry-sorry, I didn’t mean to offend your feelings or your furry child. It’s just that for me “furry children” is usually a collective term. I often refer to Rusty as “my cat” – with all possible love.

          I shouldn’t probably include any non-human participants into the final statistics since they get those perfumes as transfers from us and have no saying in where to apply them :)


          • Ha, no worries, love. I correct only those I care for, since I don’t let ANYONE in my real life refer to His Hairy Highness as a mere….. d-o-g. My cat-loving sister was once disdainful and actually disparaging about my prior German son, and I didn’t talk to her for 3 months. *grin* When strangers or acquaintances do it, I merely give them a frowning look, but say nothing.

            I think it would be absolutely hilarious if your statistical chart had a tiny mini accompaniment that referenced perfume use by non-human participants. LOL. It will never happen, I know, but think how funny it would be. “Here are the human statistical and behavioral breakdowns, and here is the one for a hairy German who is abused by perfume transference.” ;) :D


  17. Hilarious post, Undina! I do the equivalent of “spray and walk into the mist” so I would count it as asymmetrical and the part that gets the mist first is the hair.



    • :)

      Why do you consider it an asymmetrical application? Symmetry is not about the odd/even number of places but rather about the “balance” of those places. Two wrists “even out” each other, so it’s a symmetrical application. But as well is, let’s say, stomach – since it is symmetrical to itself. So unless you spray your perfume the way that most of it lands just on one side of your hair or body, it’s still a symmetrical application.


  18. I apply symmetrically, an OCD thing I have. Zones 1,2 and 3 for all occasions. I also apply to the elbow ‘pit.’

    I will apply to zones 1 & 2 daily, no matter what. If sampling, I save the wrists and elbow ‘pits’ for that.


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  20. So I feel I must contribute (for the record) that
    1) I had never seen that episode of Friends – I want to cuddle it and
    2) I apply asymmetrically at night, usually spritzing some small amount of perfume on the left side, which is farthest from my beloved.

    During the day it’s always just 2 and 3 and, if I get very excited about applying, the small of the back (which I don’t see numbered here) and 6, the knees.

    This post. Is awesome.


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