Perfume 101

many perfumes perfume 101

Life without fragrance would be boring indeed. We wear scent to feel good about ourselves, to feel more attractive and to smell great. There have also been studies that show citrus fragrance can elevate your mood and lavender scents can calm you down.  So it should be simple to find a perfume …but understanding the language of fragrance isn’t easy. There are all those French words, different fragrance families and ingredients, many you have never heard of or don’t exist in nature.


Decoding The Eaus

When you see Eau de toilette, Eau de cologne or Eau fraiche in a fragrance’s name it indicates the amount of pure perfume in the composition. Typically they will have from 5% to 12%

Eau de Parfums have between 25-18 % pure perfume in the scent.  Perfume or parfum  extrait can range to up to 50 % and are the costliest.

fragrance-pyramid notes

What Are Notes

 Notes are the names given to the ingredients in a fragrance. Each cologne or perfume has a top, heart and base note, which is commonly referred to as a fragrance pyramid. Top notes are what you smell right away, and don’t last as long as the heart notes which are  the key to every  scent.  Chances are if roses are your favorite type of fragrance there will be roses in the heart notes. Base notes are what you smell on your skin after the perfume has been on your skin for a while.  Vanilla, patchouli, woods and musk are commonly used in base notes.


How to Apply

Although you may be tempted to mix perfumes, it isn’t a good idea unless they are meant to be layered.  The best time to apply your cologne or perfume is after the shower on moisturized skin before you dress.   The best places to spray are the back of the neck, inside your wrists and   back of your knees. These areas are also known as pulse points. There is no wrong place to spray a perfume on your skin as long as you aren’t sensitive in certain areas. Another alternative is hair perfume, as some scents can dry out your locks due to high content of alcohol. Or spray on a scarf or handkerchief.

Basic Terms: Longevity and Sillage

Longevity is a term used to connote how long you can smell fragrance on your skin and can vary from 2 hours (usually with eau de toilettes) or overnight (with Eau de parfums or perfumes)

Sillage means trail and is pronounced see-yazh. It means “wake,” like that left by a boat as it moves through water. It is not the initial blast of the fragrance when you first apply but its projection. Sillage can range from close (where someone has to be within a few feet of you to smell) or can be very pronounced and travel an reach an entire room. For work or closed spaces, a scent with low sillage is preferable and when you want your perfume to make a statement go for the bold.

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