“A woman’s perfume says more about her than her handwriting.”
– Christian Dior
In the novel “Perfume” by Patrick Süskind (on which the acclaimed film was based), the main character, a man gifted with a brilliant sense of smell, murders young women in search of the perfect scent. Of course, this macabre story has little to do with the daily life of the perfume industry, but it helps to realize one thing: each of us has our own natural, unique scent, different PH of the skin and, finally, different preferences, which is why perfume settles slightly differently on each woman. This makes it clear that the eau de toilette that captivated your friend may not necessarily appeal to you. How then do you find the fragrance for yourself? Check out what to look for when choosing a perfume.
Table of Contents:
- When buying perfume, it’s not worth rushing
- Fragrance Pyramid. Fragrance notes – which are the most important?
- Top notes
- Heart notes
- Base notes, also known as depth notes
- Types of fragrances
- Niche perfumes – original fragrances different from all others
When buying perfume, it’s not worth rushing
Crossing the threshold of a perfumery, one may feel a bit overwhelmed by the choice: especially in the largest stores, the number and variety of beautiful flacons on the shelves is downright enormous. Vendors, unfortunately, in many cases, do not help with the choice, recommending what is currently fashionable and assuring that “this fragrance is considered very sexy by men.” Such quick purchases very often end in disappointment when, after a few days, you find that a popular fragrance that millions of women love simply irritates you. Good quality perfumes cost a not inconsiderable amount, so such a mistake can sometimes be painful for the wallet as well.
When buying perfume, it is best to spend a little more time on the selection, so that you can get to know the different fragrances well, think about them, observe how they behave on your skin and how you perceive them. Of importance in this context are not only objective factors, such as skin PH or body temperature, but also deeply encoded associations in the subconscious. Some of the perfumes develop over time, changing their character greatly, so a quick puff on the blotter does not reveal all the nuances – only an initial selection.
To get a good feel for the fragrance, it’s a good idea to spray them on your wrist or use them globally and observe how they will wear. Ideally, if you can make a decision after several visits to the perfumery – it’s not worth testing more than three-four fragrances at once. Ordering home a set of samples can also be a good option. Sometimes you can get them for free.
Fragrance Pyramid. Fragrance notes – which are the most important?
Why it’s not worth rushing when buying perfume is well explained by the so-called “perfume of the day. fragrance pyramid. It allows you to understand how a particular fragrance was composed and – partly also – to imagine it without smelling it. Usually the most interesting, most artful perfumes are those that change with the times, surprising with their richness. This is due to chords, also known as fragrance notes. Lower-quality, cheaper perfumes are often quite flat and monotonous; they are based on single chords.
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It’s the initial notes you sense immediately after spraying that are responsible for your first impression. Most people choose perfumes based on this very thing, which often ends in disappointment – the head notes fade within just a few minutes to give way to the heart notes. Hesperidic (citrus) or floral, fresh accords are very often used as head notes.
They begin to “ring out” only after a quarter of an hour after spraying, and it is usually these that primarily determine the character of the composition. They often dominate , so if you do not like the heart notes, it is impossible to like the perfume. As heart notes, floral accords are classically used, as well as woody or spicy accords. They usually last for 2-4 hours.
Base notes, also known as depth notes
They appear at the end and are felt the longest, they determine the longevity of the fragrance – in the case of a good quality fragrance they can last for many hours on the body and even a few days on clothes Base notes are usually the most delicate, the most close to the skin. Typically, heavy and aromatic oils from the woody, amber and animal groups are used as base chords.
Types of fragrances
As you discover new fragrances, you will probably quickly notice that the ones you like have something in common, often belonging to one type. We can distinguish:
- floral fragrances – light and subtle, ideal for spring and summer. Floral perfumes are like bouquets enclosed in a bottle. The main role in them is played by floral extracts, for example, rose, gardenia or jasmine. This group includes, for example. Gucci Flora Georgeous Gardenia, Bulgari Rose Goldea, Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream;
- fresh/citrus fragrances -. Juicy and refreshing, liked by many people for their lightness and unpretentiousness, they will do well on hot days or when traveling, for example. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca; Armani Aqua di Goia; Dolce Gabbana Light Blue;
- Oriental fragrances combine notes of ambergris, vanilla, spices, precious wood or resin. Usually quite heavy, recommended for evening or cooler seasons, e.g. Guarlain’s Shalimar; Carolina Herrera‘s Good Girl; YSL’s Black Opium;
- gourmand fragrances – they smell of sweets. “Gourmand” from the French means “glutton,” so notes of vanilla, chocolate, caramel and even pralines or cotton candy will dominate the gourmand fragrances. Popularity in this category has been gained, for example. Thierry Mugler Angel; Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Prada Candy;
- fougere fragrances – from franc. “fougere” means fern. This type of fragrance is dominated by notes of lavender, oakmoss and coumarin. Although classically associated with masculine fragrances, contemporary manufacturers of women’s perfumes are also experimenting with similar accords worth testing, for example, YSL Libre.
- chypre fragrances – the name comes from the French name for Cyprus. Typical chypre perfumes are distinguished by citrus (especially bergamot) in the top notes, which give way to chords of moss, labdanum and patchouli, for example. Armani Si, Chloe Nomade.
An important consideration when buying a perfume is its concentration, which determines the intensity and durability of the fragrance. Pure perfume(extrait) is very strong. It’s a blend that contains between 20 and 43% fragrance oils alone. They usually appear on store shelves in tiny bottles – just a drop is enough to make the aroma noticeable throughout the day. Due to the very high prices of pure perfumes and the fact that it is very easy to overdo it, you are much more likely to find eau de parfum (EdP), eau de toilette (EdT) and eau de cologne (EdC) in perfumeries.
- Perfumed waters or EdPs contain 10 to 19% essential oils in 90% alcohol. They are characterized by high durability. They are often chosen by both men and women, as they allow you to choose at a reasonable price a product that has great durability.
- Eau de Toilette or EdT are slightly less durable. They contain 4 to 10% essential oils. They work well if you are looking for light and refreshing fragrances. They are often available at an attractive price.
- Colognes or EdCs are characterized by a low concentration containing 3-5% essential oils. These are usually inexpensive fragrances that do not last long. In Poland, the term “cologne” is often applied primarily to men’s fragrances; abroad, the term has a broader meaning.
You can sometimes also find products with even lower concentrations, such as 1-2%. Among them are various types of fragrance mists, which serve only as a quick refresher.
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Niche perfumes – original fragrances different from all others
When choosing a perfume, it is worth not limiting yourself to only the most popular, classic items available in any perfumery. The artistry of many perfumers makes it possible to create truly original, interesting offerings, although they are often not mass-produced, due to their non-commercial nature. For example, the independent brand Imaginary Authors offers perfumes that refer to stories. Each fragrance of the company’s perfume describes a passage from a fictionalized novel, and in the composition, in addition to the “usual” notes, we can find a chord of alpine air, warm sand or… a tennis ball.
Many of Tom Ford’s compositions offer a rich, complex olfactory experience. Sniffing the Black Orchid women’s perfume, one can even get intoxicated by the multitude of notes. Depending on the season, you can smell truffle and chocolate, gardenia, incense, damp forest and fresh resin running down pine trunks or honeycomb. At the other extreme are perfumes that captivate with their simplicity – like the Chloe Atelier des Fleus series, in which each of the 15 eau de parfum captures the character of a single flower.
There’s a reason why Marilyn Monroe used to say that “to bed she only puts on a few drops of Chanel no. 5”. A true GentleWoman is distinguished not only by impeccable manners, but also by a subtle, sensual fragrance. Although the huge selection means that it’s not always easy to choose a perfume, by following the tips outlined above you’re sure to find something for yourself. A beautiful flacon on the dressing table will herald an extraordinary experience.