Lunchtime Beauty Q&A: What’s the Best Way to Take Perfume Off?

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Photo: Walter Zerla/Corbis

Q: Is there a secret to getting fragrance off your skin when you’ve sprayed too much, or don’t like one you just tried on?

A: Perfume is meant to linger on the skin, which is unfortunate if you’ve gone overboard or sprayed on a stinker. Soap and water don’t usually take it all off. But Brooklyn perfumer Anne McClain, founder of MCMC Fragrances, has a couple of foolproof solutions.  

“Dampen a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and gently swipe it over the perfumed area. Or wash with a strong, grease-fighting laundry detergent or dish soap. Keep in mind that you should use a fragrance-free version, otherwise you’re replacing one scent with another,” she advises. Because both of these perfume removers can dry out or irritate the skin, be sure to moisturize afterwards with an unscented lotion or cream.