Working moms appreciate a fine fragrance as much as the next person. But because they tend to work around others, they may need a perfume guide. Choosing the right perfume for work can be difficult, as you don’t want to give your next-cubicle neighbor a terrible headache. A scent that makes you feel confident and happy doesn’t have to be overpowering or offensive to your co-workers. As a positive, most of the notes and concentrations you can wear at work are inexpensive, easy to find, and smell fresh. In this article, working moms will find a perfume guide regarding scent, notes and concentrations which are and aren’t appropriate for work.  

No Scent Policy: Show you Wear Perfume Anyway?

Scent-free policies are usually enacted in the workplace because one or more people in the building cannot handle overpowering smells. While there is no exact definition for scent-free, you can determine whether or not your products will aggravate someone’s allergies if you can smell them on yourself. Exposure to certain ingredients and chemicals can affect a person’s health and their ability to perform well on the job, so don’t break this rule if possible.

What are Notes and Which are Appropriate for Work?

A fragrance “note” describes a perfume’s overall scent, and each combines with the other to create certain smells. As a rule, you shouldn’t shop for notes that are overly heavy, sweet, chype, gourmand, or oriental, as they are more likely to irritate the noses of your co-workers.

Outdoorsy scents often found in Comme des Garcons Parfums, like Play Black, are mild enough for an office environment. Pretty floral aromas can also be applied at work. The perfume guide below details some of the scents which are acceptable for an office space. 

  • Woody Fragrance Examples: Trees, resin, bark, moss, pine cones, sandalwood, cedarwood, pinewood, patchouli, vetiver, leather, smoke, flowerless plants.
  • Flower Fragrance Examples: Bergamot, lemon, orange, grapefruit, strawberry, gardenia, aquatic notes, apple, lily of the valley, jasmine, aloe, lime, flowering plants.
  • Combining the Two Notes: Mandarin, lemon, and white thyme. Saffron, orris, and jasmine. Amber, oud, and leather, vetiver, smoked frankincense, and lemon or lime.

Any fragrance that adds a musk (an animal gland) will be attractive to both men and women. Plus, musks are typically milder than other scents, which will fit well in the office.

What Fragrance Concentrations are Suitable for Work?

Some fragrances will overpower the nose no matter how much you put on, while others will only clear a room if they’re too concentrated. We already determined that wood and light floral fragrances won’t bother most people, but they will if you use straight essential oils or parfum.

Although “perfume” is considered a female version of cologne, while “colognes” are considered male scents, that isn’t the case. Marketing created that association for us, but those terms only tell the consumer how concentrated the essential oils are in the product. Men can wear perfume, and women can wear cologne. In fact, cologne may be the best option for work.

We recommend you choose body mists, colognes, or eau de toilettes for the office.

  • Body Mist: Although the term “Body Mist” isn’t technically a fragrance marketing term, it’s used in many cosmetic shops. Body mists have a similar concentration to cologne at 3-5% and last for 2 hours. They are lighter, softer, and less concentrated.
  • Cologne: Colognes range between 2-5% essential oil concentration and typically have a high alcohol content. They are inexpensive, light, and last 1-2 hours. 
  • Eau de Toilettes: Easy to find and affordable, they have the highest concentration of the three products at 5-10%. Eau de toilettes can last up to 4 hours.

All of the above fragrance concentration options must be applied 2-3 times a day.

Can I Reapply my Fragrance at the Office?

Since you’ll need to reapply multiple times a day to retain the scent of the product, you should excuse yourself outside, in a private bathroom, or in a low-traffic area to spritz the product. However, if you can’t find a location that won’t cause your scent to bother others, use a roll-on or solid perfume. It’s less intrusive and can be applied privately in the bathroom stall.

This article was written by Claire Ward.