Monday, 8 August 2011

Part 1 - Fragrance: what's it all about?

I decided to do a mini series of posts on perfume and fragrance. I don't talk about perfume too much but it can be an absolute minefield why trying to decide what type you like, what strength, where do you spray it etc etc etc. So todays post is a basic guide on all of the above.

What is a fragrance type?
When I worked for a beauty retailer and people asked me advice on fragrance one of the first questions I asked them was 'what type of fragrance do you normally wear?' and this was mainly greeted by a blank expression. There are many different types of fragrance and these are sorted into classifications. Since 1945 the majority of perfumes fall into one of the modern classifications:
  • Bright floral - floral bouquet e.g. Estee Lauder - Beautiful
  • Green - cut grass & cucumber e.g. Calvin Klein - Escape (for men)
  • Ozone - clean e.g. Davidoff - Cool Water
  • Citrus - lemon, grapefruits e.g. Calvin Klein - CK One
  • Fruity - fruits other than citrus e.g. Jimmy Choo - Jimmy Choo
  • Gourmand - edible scents such as vanilla, tonka bean e.g. Thierry Mugler - Angel
  • Oriental - sweet animal scents from the middle and far east e.g. YSL - Opium

How do the scents work together?
To make a fragrance a number of oils are blended together to make the finished product. These are added in different quantities depending on how strong they are and what overall fragrance you want to create. These are normally described as notes.

There are three different categories of notes: top, middle and bottom.
  • Top notes - these are what you smell first when spraying perfume. They evaporate quickly and these are normally what you form an opinion on. Generally they last for between 5 and 30 minutes
  • Middle notes - these begin to come through after the top notes. These are sometimes called the 'heart' notes as they form the main body of the fragrance. These last for between 10 to 30 minutes
  • Base notes -  these are the last scents to come through. They are often heavy, rich and deep scents which you begin to smell around 30 minutes after application

What's the difference between EDP and EDT?
There are many different strengths of perfume and each lasts a different amount of time. The larger the amount of perfume oil the longer it will last:
  • Eau Fraiche - 3% perfume oil or less
  • Eau de Cologne -  2-5% perfume oil
  • Eau de Toilette -  4-10% perfume oil
  • Eau de Parfum - 8-15% perfume oil
  • Parfum - 15-25% perfume oil
So eau Fraiche is the weakest formulation and Parfum is the strongest.

Where should I spray perfume?
To make your fragrance last longer you should spray it onto your pulse points: behind your ears, base of the throat, the bend of your elbows. If you apply it to your wrists don't rub them together as this will crush the different notes and you won't get the full scent.

Also to prolong the scent layering is key. This involved using the matching perfumed body lotion, shower gel, deodorant and other products. Not all scents have a bodycare line but Chanel do the most complimentary products.

Why does a perfume smell lovely on my friend but not on me?
So you've tried a perfume which smells gorgeous on your friend but on you it smells awful, if you can smell it at all. You assume you've tried a different variety because why the difference in scent but in fact every fragrance will smell different on each person.

Everyone has a different skin chemistry and the different oils in the skin will 'react' to different scents in different ways, this is why perfumes will smell different on people.

I tried a perfume how long should I wait before deciding to purchase it?
It is so easy to try a fragrance, get hit by the top notes, buy it and then half an hour later can't smell it on you any more. As a rule I would wait at least an hour when trying a perfume so that all the notes will have had a chance to come through. Personally I would wait 24 hours before making a final decision on purchasing a fragrance

How do I store my perfume?
To make you fragrance last store it in a cool room away from direct sunlight. Perfume does go off so if you've had a bottle for a long time test it on your wrist before spraying it all over, trust me there's nothing worse than dousing yourself in your favourite perfume only to find it's gone off and you smell like cat piddle. By spraying it on your wrist you can wipe it off using soap or a face/baby wipe.

I hope this has cleared up a few things for you and if you have any questions leave them below and I'll try my hardest to answer them. In the mean time this mini series will continue all this week so please keep reading!


Vintage Beauty said...

great post! davidoff cool water is one of my favourites :D

maddie xx

Miss A said...

Such an informative post.

I look forward to reading your scent posts! Woudl love to see your collection :-)


Miss A said...

I meant would*. Ugh!


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