Certain habits are instinctual: You grab a dryer sheet to stop static, rub your lips together to spread chapstick, and apply perfume to your wrists and neck… right?
While we don’t want to say we’ve all been living a lie (that’d be melodramatic), that last one isn’t exactly correct. Turns out there’s no actual science behind why we’ve been spritzing our pulse points with perfume and cologne all these years (besides the undeniable glamour of it all, that is).
Can You Smell Me Now?
Spraying your wrists and neck is purely tradition and has little to no effect on the scent or intensity of the perfume, says Perry Romanowski, a cosmetic chemist and co-founder of The Beauty Brains. “The traditional belief is that the pulse points are places where the body generates extra heat and this can intensify the fragrance. There’s no evidence to support this.”
According to Romanowski, heat can increase the volatility of ingredients in your perfume, leading the molecules to evaporate more quickly and come off as a stronger burst of fragrance. But that only holds up if the skin at your pulse points is actually hotter than elsewhere on your body—and as cardiologist Jeffrey Schussler, M.D., explains, that’s not actually the case.
“You can feel your pulse where it’s fairly superficial, but the body temperature is pretty much regulated,” Schussler says, meaning that even though your veins may be close to the skin’s surface at your wrist, the actual temp…