Smell is perhaps one of our most underrated senses, something you can’t see in a photograph or a social media update. It’s something we perhaps consider just a small part of our health or beauty routines.
The art of smelling good takes a conscious effort. At a minimum we should shower or bathe each day, apply deodorant, brush and floss teeth, wear perfume, keep hydrated, eat right, and don’t forget to freshen up when needed.
But there is more to it than that as the way we smell carries a very important message. It creates a first impression that we are almost unconscious of and can trigger lifelong memories. Knowing how to smell good can unlock your inner confidence and affect how others respond to you in untold ways.
Even in our homes, creating a pleasant smelling environment makes for a comfortable atmosphere, one which we associate with being home. You only have to think about how certain smells make you feel to realise its power: that home-cooked dinner, just-cut grass, or a new car all affect how we feel in an instant.
Making sure you smell fresh, even after a long day at work, is not only about feeling clean but also about expressing your personality and making a positive impact in every situation.
Why Smelling Good is Important
We use our sense of smell to make subconscious decisions and instantaneous judgements about people that we are not always aware of. Smell in the animal world helps us mammals to avoid toxins and attract a mate. This is also true in modern society as we are more governed by our sense of smell than we realise.
Science suggests we are attracted to people who smell a certain way. We detect pheromones through smell and evolution drives us to select a partner who has a different chemical makeup to ourselves. Perhaps to ensure our children carry the best chance of fighting more diseases.
But knowing how to smell good is about far more than finding a potential lover. Certain smells can evoke connotations of youthfulness, good health, and a kind nature. Most importantly, perfecting the art of smelling good can make us feel more confident about ourselves. Having a signature scent is a positive way to lift our mood and create a strong impression.
How Do I Know If I Smell Good?
As we live with our own scent all day, we are often not aware of the way we smell. We have become so accustomed to the scent or it has built up so gradually that we have become essentially “smell-blind”. It can come as a shock when a close friend lets you know that you smell less than sweet and the very idea is a little painful.
One of the best ways of finding out if you smell good is to ask someone close to you for their honest opinion, but if this isn’t possible there are some techniques that can let you know for yourself. Quite often, people will tell you without prompting if you smell particularly good.
Smelling your clothes is a good way of knowing what smells have attached themselves to you and this works particularly well if you have removed the item and left it for about ten minutes. If you smell good, you may notice that people react to you positively, and seem happy to share their space with you or even invite themselves into your space as they want to be closer to you.
How Do I Know If I Smell Bad?
You could start to notice subtle signs from your interactions with others if you smell bad. Do they seem to back away from you when you are in close proximity or turn their heads away from you frequently during conversation?
If so, they may be unwittingly trying to step away from an unpleasant smell. People who work in environments where they absorb unpleasant smells such as greasy cafes or animal centres often feel unable to go somewhere else until they have gone home and freshened up.
Even though they have got used to the aroma, they know it is there and this affects their state of mind when interacting with people in different environments. Again, smelling your clothes will let you know what aromas have been wafting from you for most of the day.
If you want to know how your breath smells, you could cup your hands around your face and breathe out deeply before quickly breathing in through your nose. If this doesn’t work, lick a spot on the back of your hands or inner arm and wait ten seconds before sniffing the area: it is likely to smell the same way as your breath.
Your hair can also be a source of unpleasant smells. Try running clean hands along your scalp and quickly smelling your fingertips. You should notice any odours caused by sweat or dead skin cells.
How To Smell Good All Day Long: 20 Tips
Knowing how to keep smelling fresh for the entire day can take a little effort. Following these simple steps will ensure you smell good all day, every day.
1. Shower or Bathe Daily
A shower is not only a great way to wake you up in the morning, but it starts your scent journey for the day. Washing out any build of dead skin cells or sweat accumulated from a deep night’s sleep is important to start your olfactory journey. A shower is also a great place to start that first layer of fragrance layering through choosing your favourite body wash and shampoo.
Finishing off with a pleasant body lotion and moisturising once dry will help lock in that clean fragrance so it lasts all day. If you work in an environment that transfers strong aromas, or if you are planning an evening out, you might need a second shower or bath later in the day as well.
2. Wash Your Hair Regularly
Your hair, whether long or short, can hold onto smells long after they have disappeared into the atmosphere. People who smoke often find the smell clings to their hair as much as their clothing. This can also work for you, as spraying perfume into your hair means it lasts longer and doesn’t alter with the chemicals of your skin so it continues to smell exactly like it does in the bottle.
You need to wash your hair regularly, especially after physical exercise and sweat from your scalp is absorbed into the hair and continues sending out wafts of aroma as you move around. Choosing a scented shampoo or conditioner is another way to make sure the smells you emit through your hair are always clean and positive.
Hairspray or dry shampoo can also smell good, but won’t mask fragrances that have absorbed deeply into your hair. Be careful when washing your hair in the bath if you have added bath bombs or oils as these can also cling to hair and leave it looking greasy.
3. Invest In A Good Body Lotion
Body lotion is a great way to help you smell good, especially if you apply it all over your skin. Body lotion will leave your skin moisturised, making it better able to absorb perfume that makes it last longer.
A scented body lotion will also emit its own fragrance throughout the day, and many people like to choose one in their favourite perfumes to help the scent last as long as possible. Alternatively, you could choose a different scent if you want to create a perfume layering effect.
4. Use Roll-On Rather Than Spray Deodorant
While you may think a spray deodorant is best as it could potentially cover a greater area. However, as well as avoiding the potential dangers of an aerosol spray, roll-on deodorants contain more water which won’t make your skin dry like some sprays can.
As a result, they can last longer than sprays since they moisturise the area as well. They will take longer to dry than sprays, though, so you need to bear that in mind before you put on your clothes.
5. Always Wash In The Morning
Even if you enjoyed a long soak in the bath or took a shower before going to bed the night before, you still need to make sure you wash effectively in the morning. We often sweat as we sleep and accumulate bacteria which is the source of smells.
A wash in the morning is needed to clear these bacteria away and leave you feeling fresh and clean for the day ahead. Even better, a second shower means you can reach all areas of your body and you can apply more deodorant on freshly washed skin which means it will absorb better and last longer so it won’t run out before the day is through.
Knowing how to smell good will become simply become part of your daily routine and it will feel unnatural not to follow these steps.
6. Always Wear Your Favourite Perfume
Using perfume is one sure-fire way of making sure you smell good when you need to. Sticking to tried and tested old favourites that you know will create a signature scent that you love. You can add to this effect by topping up during the day and using shower gel and body lotion in the same scent.
Be careful not to overdo the topping up though, just because you can’t smell it anymore doesn’t mean others don’t notice your perfume. You don’t want the fragrance to be too overpowering.
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7. Understand How To Wear Perfume
Choosing your favourite perfume is only part of the process. By knowing how to wear perfume you will be able to make its alluring fragrance last longer. For the best results, choose eau de parfum if you can as it is more concentrated than eau de toilette.
Apply directly to your pulse points, at your wrists and on your neck where it is best absorbed and will last longest. Don’t rub your wrists together but allow the perfume to dry naturally so it absorbs before evaporating, and wait until your perfume is completely dry before putting on your clothes.
Spraying your hair and clothes can also make sure your perfume emits gentle wafts of fragrance as you move around. Spray the air in front of you and walk into the perfume so it lands evenly over your body.
You could add perfume to your hair brush before running through your hair. Applying non-scented moisturiser to your pulse points before perfume will also help it to absorb and last longer.
Related Post: 16 Tips to Make Your Perfume Last Longer
8. Use Perfume Layering
Perfume layering means wearing different fragrances that combine together to create a new scent. You can do this by choosing different shower gels and body lotions to your final choice of perfume or by wearing more than one fragrance on different parts of your body.
As different fragrances evaporate at different rates, you might notice different scents emerging throughout the day which is one way of helping you become more aware of your perfume as you can get used to one fragrance very quickly.
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9. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Staying healthy can also affect how you smell. Certain foods can release different chemicals, including sulphur, into your body which emerge through your sweat glands. This is particularly true if you eat lots of red meat.
A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains means your body can function at its best. Flushing out toxins naturally so they do not seep into your sweat glands can reduce secretions that attract bacteria along with their unpleasant smells.
Nutritional deficiencies can also cause body odour so keeping healthy by eating the full range of vitamins and minerals available in fruit and vegetables can help to avoid this.
10. Avoid Spicy Foods
Spicy food is immediately apparent in your breath but can also cause body odour in different ways as the spices are absorbed by your body and released when you sweat.
Garlic is especially strong, not only when cooking but it changes the smell of your sweat as it contains sulphur as well as compounds known as volatile organic compounds which cause strong aromas in your body, including sweat and gas. Overall, the aroma of spicy foods means your pores emit a stronger and less pleasant smell.
11. Keep Yourself Hydrated
It is important to drink plenty of water to help your body flush out toxins naturally so that they don’t build up in your body before being released through your pores in the form of a pungent aroma. Being dehydrated also means that you don’t produce as much saliva.
Saliva is important as it helps wash out bacteria from your mouth, gums, and teeth as well as any dead cells that may accumulate. It also neutralises the acid in your food and helps stop plaque forming on your teeth.
When you can’t produce enough saliva, your mouth becomes dry and as a result bacteria and plaque grow, resulting in bad breath as well as body odour.
12. Brush Your Teeth Morning And Night
We all know dentists recommend regular brushing for the health of your teeth but it is also vital to keep your breath smelling sweet. Plaque and bacteria on your teeth and gums cause bad breath and poor oral hygiene can result in decay or gum disease, both of which can cause a strong smell.
13. Floss Nightly
It takes 24 hours for plaque build-up to harden on your teeth and become almost impossible to remove without the use of specialist dental tools. This plaque also causes gum disease which can lead to bad breath.
Flossing is the only way to remove food particles between teeth and along the gum line to make sure you keep your gums healthy and avoid any harmful decay which also creates a strong odour.
14. Don’t Use Strong Mouthwash
While a mouthwash can temporarily improve cases of bad breath, relying on this as a means to maintain fresh breath is harmful. Many strong mouthwashes contain high amounts of alcohol which have the effect of drying your mouth.
Ironically, a dry mouth can cause more bad breath as you don’t have enough saliva to clear away bad-smelling bacteria, dead cells, or decaying left over food particles.
15. Chew Gum After Eating
While your parents might have complained if you chewed gum too often as a child, it has some great benefits for your dental health and its minty freshness instantly improves the smell of bad breath.
Provided your choice of gum is sugar-free, chewing is very useful at helping your mouth overcome the causes of bad breath, not just by masking odours but by curing the problems that create bad breath entirely.
For instance, chewing gum helps your mouth to produce more saliva which enables you to flush out any food particles, bacteria, or dead cells that could cause halitosis if left to ferment in your mouth. Similarly, as we chew the gum in our mouths acts as a sort of brush as it loosens any plaque that is beginning to stick as it passes across the top of the teeth and gums.
Both of these actions help your mouth to stay naturally very clean so you avoid the risk of bad breath or gum disease.
16. Exercise Regularly
You might be thinking that exercise is more likely to cause bad odour as physical exertion leads to perspiration and the funky smell that follows. You would not be wrong!
The key word here is “regularly”. If you exercise often, you are likely to build up your stamina which means you can start to manage certain levels of physical exercise before you begin to sweat. Over time, this level will increase until the amount you perspire overall will be significantly reduced.
It is important to shower immediately after a very heavy workout and use a good antiperspirant.
17. Avoid Foot Odour
When we think about body smells, we often think about stinky feet as well as pungent armpits. While there is plenty you can do to avoid smelling of sweat, you may think that your feet are destined to emit an odour that you might have to live with.
This is untrue. There is plenty you can do to reduce and even eliminate foot odour. First of all, you need to realise that if your feet smell it is because they sweat, and when we think of how much time feet spend cooped up in tight shoes it is little wonder that they should sweat.
This sweat seeps into the lining of shoes until very soon it is not just smelly feet you have to worry about but stinky shoes as well. One of the best ways of stopping your feet from smelling strongly is to make sure you wear socks. This way, any aroma will be contained in the sock and should save your shoe from long term damage.
Wearing the right kind of socks is also important as some fabrics can absorb sweat and remain breathable to help your feet stay cool. Cotton is recommended.
If your shoes smell, it is important to let them dry out before using them again. Again, choosing shoes with breathable liners can help stop your feet sweating and you can also wash your shoes if they have already absorbed a smell.
Most shoes fare quite well in the washing machine on a low setting, although leather shoes might need a special cleaner or placing them in the sun for a few hours can also help. There are a number of sprays on the market specifically designed to kill the germs and bacteria harboured in shoes as a result of sweaty feet which is very useful as that bacteria is contributing to foot odour.
Some of these sprays are also fragranced to help attack foot odour in two ways. Bicarbonate of soda is also a good way to eliminate smelly shoes as the powder absorbs the moisture, neutralises the bacteria, and can be brushed out to leave your shoes feeling as good as new.
Washing your feet regularly and making sure you change your socks everyday are also crucial to keeping your feet healthy and odourless.
18. Ensure Clothes Are Always Clean And Fresh
There is no point showering profusely if you are simply going to pick up the clothes you stepped out of and continue as before. Whether through perspiration or simply absorbing odours from the environment you have been in, fragrances including bad odours will cling to your clothes for much longer than you expect.
Not only will clean clothes feel better on your skin, but you won’t be carrying around the smell you were showering to get rid of. Ideally, you should wear clean clothing every day and change more often if you spend time in an atmosphere that is particularly odorous.
Make sure you clean your clothing well to remove any odours. For best results, use a quality detergent and the correct setting on a washing machine. Better still, you could add some fabric softener which might help your clothes maintain a clean, pleasant smell for longer.
Drying clothes quickly is also important to make sure they don’t develop a damp, fausty smell. Drying outside on a washing line or ensuring your clothes have dried fully before taking them out of a tumble drier is the best way to always make sure you have clean, fresh clothing available.
19. Freshen Up At Lunchtime
It is worth adding a perfume top up and generally freshening up half way through the day so that you enter that last half feeling and smelling as good as you would like.
A simple and quick underarm wet wipe cleanse can be all it takes to make you feel a little brighter and a reapplication of deodorant or perfume will be a welcome addition. Your perfume will likely be running low by the time you reach lunch so an additional spritz will be needed if you want to make it last that much longer.
Some people go so far as to change their underwear at lunch time, which will depend largely on personal preference and how much physical exercise you have been doing. A touch of lipstick and a dab of perfume can be all it takes you lift your spirits and break that sticky “graveyard shift” feeling you might have at the end of the day.
20. Re-apply Your Perfume
We all know our perfume has an expiration time as it slowly evaporates throughout the day until we can’t smell it anymore. The best way to make it last longer is to reapply when necessary, although you won’t want to overdo it or you might end up smelling like a perfume counter.
If you have small atomiser bottles you could carry these with you, but a good alternative could be to soak some cotton wool in your favourite perfume and keep it sealed in a ziplock bag until you need it. That way, none of the perfume will have evaporated and it should smell as good as it does straight from the bottle.
You could return the cotton wool to its sealed bag until later or, if you aren’t going to use it again, pop it in a pocket to make the smell last even longer.
There are so many solutions to any potential odour problem today that there is no reason why anyone should have to suffer in silence. As more of us focus our attention on how to smell good, we may soon see the time when odour problems become a thing of the past.
The variety in different types of fragrance means we can always find something to suit and we are not only eliminating bad smells but able to choose delicate scents that reveal our personalities and make us feel more energised or confident.
Hopefully, we are all on the verge of an era where everyone pays more attention to their health, bodies and the art of smelling good, making the world a sweeter-scented place in the process.
Ingrid is an avid perfume collector, experienced Youtube fragrance reviewer and prolific writer who has been working in the fashion industry for over 30 years. I love nothing more than losing myself in the Harrods fragrance department to discover something enticing. Ingrid’s Full Bio.