The departure of a loved one for the heavenly abode is tough. It is a time when people are often vulnerable to emotions. Thus, it is important to be careful when wearing perfume to a funeral. As you don’t want to be disrespectful to the deceased or their family members, you need to know the correct perfume etiquette for a funeral.
You can wear perfume to a funeral. However, make sure that your fragrance is not too strong as it can be disrespectful to the deceased and the attendees. Opt for a subtle organic scent and apply it at least 1 hour before you leave the house. Apply only 1 or 2 spritzes of perfume and no more.
In this article, you will learn more about what kind of perfumes you can wear, whether it is rude to wear a regular fragrance, and why perfumes are usually disrespectful at a funeral. Knowing the latter can also help you avoid other things like attire choices that might be unintentionally disrespectful.
Is it Rude to Wear perfume to a Funeral?
Generally speaking, wearing perfume to a funeral is not considered rude as long as your perfume doesn’t intrude on others. Strong perfume or spraying too much of perfume can be considered disrespectful to the guests and the deceased. Instead, go with a perfume with low sillage.
You’re not supposed to stand apart in any noticeable way at a funeral. So it doesn’t matter that your fragrance doesn’t have the same negative impression as bright jeans or a pair of flip flops. It is still rude as it draws attention away from the deceased.
Taking attention away from the subject is rude regardless of whether it is drawn towards a positive (how nice you smell) or a negative (how expensive of a car you arrived in).
This brings us to the flipside of smelling nice. If you sidestep olfactory management altogether, you might end up sweaty and have an unpleasant body odor. Make no mistake. This doesn’t signal respect either: again, it stands out. And more importantly, it is unpleasant for the other attendees.
Most attendees have a close connection to the deceased and are there to celebrate the life and mourn the departure of someone they love. Making them go through even the slightest unpleasantness is rude.
Wearing a perfume that bombards their nostrils with an overpowering smell is inconvenient, as is wreaking of body odor. So what should you do to balance this?
What Notes to Consider in a Perfume for a Funeral?
As covered above, wearing a strong perfume can have an adverse effect on others’ moods and can be quite unpleasant. To avoid smelling bad without using a noticeable scent, you should opt for subtlety and pick organic fragrances that do not vaporize as much as artificial ones. Picking the right notes can help you further tone down the olfactory impression you make.
The notes to consider in a perfume for a funeral are wood and white floral notes. Ideally, you should opt for a single note (a woody one for men and a white floral one for women) and select an organic product or a product that has low sillage so the scent is subtle and doesn’t reach far.
Other things to consider when wearing a fragrance at a funeral are as follows.
1. Get a second-hand opinion on the potency of your perfume
Not all noses are equally sensitive, and if yours doesn’t pick up scents well, you might overuse a perfume or end up getting a strong one without realizing it. An excellent way to test your perfume is to ask someone who is a foot away from that you don’t remember whether you applied your perfume and if they can smell one on you.
If they say they can smell it, then the fragrance is too strong for a funeral. It should be just subtle enough to mask body odor that might emerge from wearing warm clothes for an extended period. The only person who should be able to detect the scent should be someone pressed up against you.
2. Do not apply any perfume just before leaving the house
This is critical: any fragrance you apply right before you leave for a funeral is likely to be too strong for a funeral, no matter how subtle it is. You should use the time to your advantage and apply your fragrance well before you leave so that by the time you reach the funeral, your perfume has lost potency and is only good enough to mask body odor.
3. Apply fragrance to the back of your hands
Showering before you leave is the best way to avoid smelling bad. Using a fragrant soap like Pre de Provence Artisanal Soap is acceptable. But if you’ve read the advice above, you might be confused as to how you can wear perfume hours before leaving the house yet shower just a little while before you head out. The key is in your hands.
Wearing fragrance in the back of your hands comes with the following advantages:
- You can quickly wash your hands with soap if the perfume is too strong.
- The fragrance doesn’t vaporize as much as it does in warmer areas like armpits.
- You can shower without washing off the scent you have applied long before.
The final advantage among the three listed above is possible only if your last shower doesn’t involve vigorous scrubbing or handwashing. Just like you avoid washing your hair every day, you’ll need to avoid letting water touch the back of your hands when you shower one last time before you leave for the funeral.
Getting into a bathtub makes it easier to clean yourself without getting your hands involved. Taking a shower four to eight hours before you leave and getting all the scrubbing and soap application done then is also helpful. If you’ve appropriately showered before, you can run water over your body just before you leave and get rid of sweat without washing the fragrance off your hands.
Best Fragrant Products for a Funeral
Here are some perfumes to consider if you’re looking to wear a fragrance to a funeral. Make sure to take into account the rest of the criteria laid out in the post above, as any of the following products can also end up being overused and unwelcome at a funeral.
This essential oil has a woodsy smell that can hang for hours. If you dilute this fragrance and apply it to the back of your hands a few hours before leaving the house, it will have an almost neutral scent that will qualify as the perfect kind of perfume to wear at a funeral.
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While the option above is suitable for men, this one’s great for women as it features a white floral note. Again, keep in mind that pure oils can be very strong and must be diluted before application. Alternatively, you can apply the oil directly to the back of your hand and wash your hands to leave behind the subtle floral hints that can be detected only when someone’s right up against you.
This unisex fragrant lotion is the safest perfume product you can use for a funeral because it is hard to overuse. Since the lotion isn’t made primarily to replace a perfume, it is not going to be too strong or even detectible after a few hours of application. It also features vanilla and almost woody, or forest-reminiscent, almond making it a respectable note for funerals.