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The Influence Of The Circadian Rhythm On Wearing Fragrance


Many are aware of the circadian rhythm but little has been researched with regards to influence on our skin care routines and the way we wear fragrances.

This article introduces the current scientific know how and how it can be applied to both skin care and wearing fragrances.

Background Information

The circadian rhythm, a biological clock that governs our sleep-wake cycle, is a concept that many are familiar with, especially in its role in dictating our sleep patterns. However, what is less commonly understood is the circadian rhythm’s impact on our skin and the importance of synchronizing our daily and nightly activities with these natural fluctuations.

Emerging research, notably highlighted in a recent article by Cosmetics & Toiletries (C&T), reveals that our skin’s behavioor and its benefits are not constant throughout the day but vary depending on the time. This understanding is not entirely new within the skincare industry; many brands have been utilizing this knowledge in product development for years. The result has been the formulation of specialized skincare routines for both daytime and nighttime, tailored to align with these biological rhythms.

According to C&T, the skin adopts a defensive role during daylight hours, characterized by a thickening of the skin and increased levels of pH and sebum. In contrast, the skin switches to a reparative function at night. Processes like cell renewal, DNA repair, and enhanced blood circulation become more active. Additionally, the skin experiences increased temperature, permeability, and moisture loss during the night. This makes the nighttime an optimal window for applying nourishing skincare products, as the skin is more receptive to treatment than during the day.

This evolving conversation around the skin’s circadian rhythm emphasizes the need for consumers to be discerning in their choice of skincare products for both daytime and nighttime, ensuring that they meet the skin’s specific needs and desired outcomes at different times of the day.

Eau De Parfum Side Bottle Ginger Elemi Vetiver Circadian Rhythm

What it Means for Wearing Fragrance

The circadian rhythm’s influence extends beyond skincare to another sensory experience that is deeply personal and evocative—wearing fragrance.

Just as the skin’s needs and receptivity change throughout the day, so does its interaction with fragrances. The fluctuating levels of skin temperature, pH, and sebum will have a significant effect on how a fragrance unfolds on your skin and how long it lasts.

These fluctuations in pH and sebum (and most likely as well the microflora), equally explain why we feel that a fragrance we love during the day, is not one that we choose in the evening when we are going out or socialise at home.

During the daytime, when the skin is in its defensive mode, fragrances may not be as well-absorbed, leading to a more fleeting scent experience. The increased sebum and pH levels could also alter the fragrance notes, making them smell differently than they would at other times.

In contrast, the nighttime skin environment, characterized by higher permeability and moisture, may allow for a more lasting and true fragrance experience. The skin’s increased receptivity at night could make it the ideal time for wearing richer, more complex fragrances that unfold gradually over time.

Eau De Parfum Lift Off Bottle Black Cherry Oolong Tea Circadian Rhythm

How to Wear Fragrance Taking the Circadian Rhythm into Account

Daytime Fragrance

  1. Choose Lighter Scents: Given that the skin is less receptive during the day, opt for lighter, fresher fragrances that sit well on the skin without being overpowering.
  2. Application Points: Focus on pulse points that are exposed during the day, like wrists and neck, to maximize the fragrance’s sillage.
  3. Reapplication: Since fragrances may not last as long during the day, consider carrying a small bottle for reapplication.

Nighttime Fragrance

  1. Sensitive Skin: If you have sensitive skin, avoid wearing fragrance in the middle of the night, when your skin is at its most sensitive, vulnerable and open.
  2. Opt for Richer Scents: The skin is more receptive at night, making it a good time to wear more complex, richer fragrances.
  3. Application Points: Consider applying the fragrance on areas that generate more heat at night, like the chest and back of the knees, to help the scent evolve.
  4. Layering: The increased permeability of the skin at night makes it ideal for fragrance layering. Start with a scented body lotion and then apply the perfume to create a more nuanced scent experience.
  5. Test Longevity: Nighttime is the perfect opportunity to test the longevity of a fragrance, as the skin conditions are optimal for a long-lasting scent experience.
Eau De Parfum Tilt Bottle Bergamot Basil Pachouli Circadian Rhythm

Fragrance Recommendations

Here are some specific fragrance recommendations for different times of day:


  • Citrusy scents, such as lemon, grapefruit, and orange, are invigorating and can help wake you up in the morning.
  • Floral scents, such as rose, jasmine, and lavender, are delicate and feminine. They can be a good choice for the daytime if you prefer a more subtle scent.
  • Green scents, such as cucumber, bamboo, and grass, are fresh and refreshing. They can be a good choice for the daytime if you are looking for a light and airy scent.
  • Aquatic, aromatic and fougere scents. These tend to be fresher notes and are ideal as daytime fragrances.


  • Woody scents, such as sandalwood, cedarwood, and vetiver, are warm and sensual. They can be a good choice for the evening if you are looking for a more sophisticated and romantic scent.
  • Spicy scents, such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, are warming and invigorating. They can be a good choice for the evening if you are looking for a more exotic scent.
  • Oriental scents, such as amber, musk, and vanilla, are rich and luxurious. They can be a good choice for the evening if you are looking for a more sensual scent.
  • Floriental notes. As the name already indicates, this mixture of floral and oriental notes is another excellent olfactive category to choose your evening perfumes from.


  • Lavender is a calming and relaxing scent that can help you fall asleep.
  • Chamomile is another calming scent that can help you sleep better.
  • Vanilla is a warm and comforting scent that can help you relax and wind down before bed.

As perfumers, we would recommend that you keep these suggestions in mind when you ‘sequence’ or ‘layer’ your fragrances throughout the day.

As you can see, there is a very good reason why you should re-apply your fragrance later on in the day and then actually choose a different note, but one that complements the fragrance you wore earlier in the day.

Pairfum Collection Niche Perfume Experience Fragrance Library Square Gift Box Open Display Circadian Rhythm

Conclusion – Circadian Rhythm & Fragrance

Understanding the circadian rhythm’s influence on the skin can offer valuable insights into how to wear fragrances effectively.

By choosing the right fragrances and application techniques for different times of the day, one can create a more fulfilling and lasting olfactory experience. Just as we tailor our skincare routines to align with our skin’s natural rhythms, so too can we adapt our fragrance-wearing practices to harmonize with the body’s circadian cycle.

This holistic approach not only enhances the sensory experience but also adds a layer of personalization and mindfulness to the art of wearing fragrance.

In the context, we would like to present our Perfume Experience Box, which offers 12 x Eau de Parfum Intense to explore which fragrances fit best with your Circadian Rhythm.

Circadian Rhythm Perfume Experience Box Fragrance Library Eau de Parfum

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