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6 Times You Should Never Wear Perfume, According to Experts

Do yourself—and others—a favor by just saying no to fragrances on these particular occasions.

For many people, spritzing on their signature scent is an essential part of their daily routine before stepping out the door. But if that's you, know this: There are certain situations in which you might want to think twice about applying any perfume.

"It's really important to think about other people's sensitivities, allergies, and illnesses when wearing perfume," says Chantelle Hartman Malarkey, a lifestyle and entertaining expert.

Of course, every scent is unique. According to Estenia Goodridge, chief etiquette officer at The Cultural Presence, it's best to reserve stronger scents for evening events, particularly those that are outdoors—and use subtler, more delicate fragrances during the daytime or for indoor events.

It's also best to avoid wearing perfume altogether in certain scenarios. Read on to see what experts say they are.

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On public transportation

crowded new york city subway shows people holding on to bar

Whether you're taking the subway to work, hopping on a plane, or riding an Uber to a friend's house, etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts strongly recommends skipping the perfume.

"Small spaces can create fragrance friction with no place to escape," she explains. "So I think the courteous thing to do is just not apply it."

"No one wants to be stuck on a long flight with any smells that might make them feel nauseous," concurs Malarkey.

In hospitals and other healthcare facilities

feet of people in waiting room

Another time to avoid perfume is when you're in a healthcare facility—like your doctor's or dentist's office, or to visit someone in the hospital—says Goodridge.

Since people in these settings may be ill, and are very often stuck sitting close together in waiting rooms and other common areas, it's best to ditch the potentially offensive perfume out of respect.

"In a hospital setting, there may even be patients who are allergic to scents," Goodridge explains. "This is a major reason why most hospitals have a policy against wearing perfumes."

Even if people in the vicinity don't gave allergies, etiquette consultant Jodi RR Smith notes that your perfumes can be distracting or invasive.

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Around pregnant people

Young pregnant woman allowing her mother to touch her belly

Although scientists still aren't sure why, it's a well-documented fact that many people tend to have a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy.

So, with that in mind, it's obviously a good idea to avoid spritzing any fragrances on before spending time with a pregnant person—after all, you never know how they'll react to your scent.

"Wearing perfume around them can actually make them feel nauseous," notes Malarkey.

At funerals and wakes

Fashionable woman at funeral
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

As a general rule, experts advise not wearing perfume to a funeral. "It's not about you, it's about the deceased," explains Grotts. "No one wants to draw attention to themselves on a somber day like this."

Not only can wearing heavy perfume be seen as disrespectful, but it could potentially cause other attendees to experience migraines or other unpleasant symptoms if they have sensitivities to certain fragrances. This is an especially crucial consideration if you're attending a wake or funeral in a small indoor space.

READ THIS NEXT: Never Say These 5 Words at a Funeral, Expert Warns.

At the gym

Woman lifting weights at the gym

There are multiple reasons why you shouldn't wear a fragrance to your next gym session. For one, you don't know if the people working out right next to you might have sensitivities or allergies to certain scents.

Secondly, as Grotts puts it—"Sweat and fragrance do not mix."

So, ditch the heavy perfume and just apply deodorant instead. Your fellow gym-goers will certainly be grateful.

To crowded concerts

concert at night

At concerts and other crowded events, it's best to skip any potentially off-putting perfume for the sake of fellow attendees.

According to Goodridge, this applies to both indoor and outdoor concerts—because insects can be attracted to certain scents. "Summertime heat tends to make the scents even stronger," she adds.

If you really can't avoid wearing a fragrance to a concert or other event, Goodridge advises choosing one that's light, as it will likely evaporate more quickly.

Keep in mind that anything labeled "parfum" and "eau de parfum" has the highest concentration of perfume oils, meaning these formulas are the heaviest and longest-lasting. On the other hand, a fragrance labeled "eau de toilette" has a much lower concentration of perfume oils and is therefore not as strong.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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