Should I Wear Perfume to Work? Office Fragrance Policies

Office etiquette can be hard to navigate, and smells, whether pleasant or obnoxious, can be the cause of conflict and controversy. An overwhelming perfume permeating an office environment on a regular basis can just as easily lead to complaints as a bad case of body odour. 

Whether you’re the type who wears the same signature fragrance all year around or have a wide collection of scents suitable for a multitude of occasions, it’s worth considering whether wearing them to work is really a good idea. While you might think you smell divine, the chances are that not everyone agrees with you. Each nose is unique and scents are not appreciated identically by everyone.

Whether or not you wear perfume to work depends on a collection of factors, including the office policy towards fragrances, the industry you’re working in, the office culture, and the individual needs and attitudes of your fellow employees.

If perfume is allowed in your office, the key word is always subtlety. Keep it light, fresh, and underwhelming.

How to Decide if Your Office is the Right Place to Wear Perfume

1. Check for a Fragrance Policy

Before deciding to douse yourself in your favourite scent, check whether your office has a fragrance policy. There are offices that have a “no fragrance” rule and violating it could cause conflicts to arise between you and your colleagues, or even result in you ending up in the human resources office or being reprimanded by your boss.

2. Consider the sector/industry

More traditional or conservative workplaces tend to have stricter dress codes. In many cases, you will not be explicitly told how to dress, but there will be certain unspoken expectations. If you find yourself working in such a place, observe your colleagues before opting to wear perfume at work. If others are doing it then you’re probably safe to do the same.

3. Consider your colleagues 


In the end, no matter what industry you work in, everyone is different and deserves to work in a comfortable, pleasant environment. If you discover that one of your colleagues is particularly bothered by your fragrance the decent thing to do is stop using it. In addition, it can be worth checking if any of your colleagues have an allergy to fragrances before you start coming in wearing one.

Tips on How to Wear Perfume at Work


Keep it light 


If you’re going to wear perfume at work, the key is to choose a light fragrance. Instead of wearing Eau de Parfum, which is highly concentrated and projects widely in a confined space, select a fragrance with a low concentration.

By using low-concentration fragrance types

Low concentration fragrance types are Eau Fraiche, Eau de Cologne, and Eau de Toilette. Eau Fraiche is the lightest with a fragrance concentration of between 1-3%. Eau de Cologne is in the middle with a 3-5% concentration, and Eau de Toilette has a concentration of between 8-12%. If you choose anything heavier than an Eau de Toilette you risk your colleagues being able to smell you from a considerable distance. For more information on the difference between perfume types visit here.

Even in fragrance-positive workplaces

The general rule of keeping it light applies even in a fragrance-positive workplace. Just because you’re allowed to wear perfume in your office don’t think you can go overboard with it.

And use just one or two spritzes and don’t reapply during the day

It can be worth checking with a close colleague whether you are wearing too much perfume. A good rule of thumb to follow is no more than one or two spritz of perfume per day and avoid reapplying.

Finally, pick a fresh-smelling fragrance


When you know it’s fine to wear perfume at work, the final thing to do is choose a suitable fragrance. The best scents for work are those with a fresh and breezy aroma. Avoid fragrances with heavy notes of musk, which are more suitable for nights out and dates. Instead, choose a perfume with floral and fruity notes.

Wearing Perfume at Work: Conclusion


Following the guidelines outlined here should keep you out of trouble when it comes to wearing perfume at work.

The key is to follow the rules, be considerate of your colleagues, and keep your fragrance to a minimum.

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