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Fragrances and Perfumes
Everyone loves to wear a fragrant perfume. It makes you feel special to be wrapped in a blanket of fragrance. Both men and women have their own reasons for using fragrances. For some, smelling great makes them feel good. Other people like to use them to make a statement wherever they go. Of course, perfumes have also been used for countless years throughout the history as a seduction method of attracting someone of the opposite sex.
Purchasing a perfume is not just a matter of picking up a bottle and paying for it. You really should test the perfume on your skin first. Fragrances smell differently on each person; what might smell great on someone else will not necessarily smell good on you.
The reason that fragrances smell differently on people has something to do with each person’s signature scent. It refers to our chemical makeup of our body which in return dictates how our skin will react to any fragrance we apply to it. A person’s signature scent is determined by his or her lifestyle, dietary conditions, medications, skin type and color. These factors make us all unique, and the same is true for each perfume which we wear.
A perfume is a blend of fragrant oils, fixatives and solvents to produce a pleasant scent. In this context, fragrance notes are the aromatic compounds that make up a perfume’s scent. This is also known as the impression of a fragrance, that lingering odor which is left in the air after you spray the perfume. All fragrances have three notes which are:
- Top notes
- Middle notes
- Base notes
Once you understand the structure of a fragrance, you will be able to decide which perfumes would suit you the best.
1. Top notes
The top notes are the most volatile part of a fragrance and are therefore detected first after spraying the perfume. They usually fade within 5 to 15 minutes giving way to the middle notes. The top notes can be associated with the first impression created by the fragrance. The whole purpose of the top notes is to draw attention to the fragrance.
The top notes usually include citrus scents such as lemon, orange, mandarin and bergamot as well as aromatics like lavender and rose.
2. Middle notes
The middle notes, also called heart notes, are often referred to as the main body of the fragrance, the actual essence of the perfume. It conveys the feeling what the fragrance is all about. The middle notes last for a good portion of the fragrance’s total lifespan, staying prominent for a few hours. When the middle notes dissipate, the base notes come through.
The middle notes are usually comprised of aromatic floral oils like jasmine, geranium, neroli, ylang ylang as well as fruits and spices.
3. Base notes
The base notes stay in the air after the top notes and middle notes have dissipated. They are the last notes to appear after 20 to 30 minutes once the fragrance is released. They create the main theme of the perfume together with the middle notes. They last the entire lifespan of the fragrance, often 5 to 10 hours and are the ones you remember most. The base notes are stronger and richer than the top and middle notes, adding depth and solidity to the fragrance.
The base notes are usually made up of strong, deep scents like amber, sandalwood, cedarwood, moss, musk, patchouli, vanilla, smoke and tobacco.
Fragrance notes can be combined to obtain a fragrance with a complex scent profile that can be grouped into fragrance families. Every note adds a certain quality to the fragrance. Some of the most common fragrance families include citrus, floral, fougere, fruity, gourmand, green, oceanic, oriental, spicy and woody. Each of them is typically used in specific note categories. For instance, fresh and floral scents are almost always top notes while woody and musky scents typically appear toward the bottom of the note pyramid.
Citrus fragrances are infused with the tangy essence of fresh smelling citrus fruits. Citrus scents provide a crisp and naturally refreshing feeling, usually characterized by scents such as lemon, lime, tangerine, orange, mandarin, grapefruit and bergamot.
Floral fragrances are the most popular type of women’s fragrances. Their scents add a natural, flower-like feel to the fragrance. Floral fragrances are sweet smelling and romantic. They are composed of flower scents such as rose, violet, lily and jasmine.
Fougere, meaning fern in French, is a popular scent with a clean and natural smell that are made by blending lavender, oak moss and coumarin which is a synthetic form of Tonka bean.
Fruity fragrances are quite popular due their fresh, sweet and pleasant smells. They are made of scents like apple, berry, cherry, peach, mango, pear and watermelon. Fruity scents that are evocative of summer days are often blended with floral scents to create a compelling aroma.
Gourmand fragrances consist primarily of synthetic edible elements such as honey, chocolate, toffee, candy, vanilla and caramel. They have a sweet and desert like scent.
Green fragrances are natural and energetic type of scents with a modern appeal. They are composed of scents of fresh leaves and newly mown grass. Green fragrances are known to be sporty with a unisex slant.
Oceanic fragrances are regarded as modern type of scents. They have a crisp and fresh smell. They use a blend of synthetic aromas to evoke natural scents like mountain air, ocean spray and various other aquatic smells such as algae, salt and sea air.
Oriental fragrances are a mix of exotic and sensual scents such as incense, amber, animal musk, resins and spices. These add a warm, seductive tone to the fragrance. When they are combined with floral scents, these sophisticated scents are called “florientals”.
Spicy fragrances are warm, sensual and alluring in an old-fashioned way. They are composed of scents like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, incense and pepper. This is the fragrance which conjures a feel of mystery.
A blend of wood and moss characterizes the main theme of these fragrances conjuring scents of a forest setting. Woody fragrances use scents of moss, bark and tree resins to create a strong and sharp fragrance.
Types of Fragrances by Concentration
The concentration of a fragrance refers to the strength of the fragrance. In other words, it tells us the amount of essential perfume oils which have been added into the fragrance.
The essential oils and other elements of a fragrance are in fact very concentrated and may not be very pleasant unless it is properly diluted and blended. Also, extremely pure perfume has been known to cause skin irritations when directly applied to the skin. To prevent this from happening and allow the user to fully enjoy the fragrance, perfume oils are mixed with some ethanol as well as water occasionally.
Fragrance concentrations come in five basic types: Perfume, Eau de Perfume, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne and Eau Fraiche. Each type of perfume shows the concentration level of the fragrance found in the bottle. They are made up of a specifically mixed perfume essence which is made from a variety of ingredients such as essential oils, absolutes, animal extracts and synthetic compounds. In addition to these, there are also mists, aftershaves and other types of fragrances available.
The most concentrated form of fragrances in the perfume world are perfume extracts, also known as extrait de parfum or pure perfume. It contains anywhere from 15 to 40% fragrance in it. However, concentration of fragrance generally varies between 20 to 30% for most perfumes. Perfumes usually last up to eight hours. This is the strongest and priciest of all fragrances due to the high degree of concentration of fragrance it contains. They are considered to be suitable for people with sensitive skins. As they contain much less alcohol compared to other fragrance types, they are not likely to dry out the skin.
2. Eau de Perfume
Eau de Perfume has the next most concentration of fragrance. It usually contains a concentration of fragrance anywhere between 15 to 20%. It has a lighter scent which lasts about four to five hours. It is generally less expensive than perfume as it contains a higher concentration of alcohol and water in it. Eau de Perfume is one of the most commonly used fragrances for daily wear and suitable for people with sensitive skin
3. Eau de Toilette
Eau de Toilette has a lower concentration of fragrance essences than either perfume or Eau de Perfume, varying between 5 to 15%. It is less expensive than the previous two and is one of the most popular types of fragrances available. It has an extremely light scent and lasts about two to three hours. Due to its relatively low concentration of fragrances and high percentage of alcohol, it dissipates by the end of the day and the wearer can then apply a heavier fragrance for the night.
4. Eau de Cologne
While most Eau de Cologne is designated as a male fragrance, there are still many colognes that are sold as female perfumes. It has a much lower concentration of fragrance than the above types, containing anywhere from 2 to 4% fragrance with a high concentration of alcohol.. Its scent generally lasts for up to two hours. As it is one of the most diluted fragrances, it is also very inexpensive.
5. Eau Fraiche
Eau Fraiche means “fresh water” in French and is similar to Eau de Cologne. While it has a lower concentration of fragrance than the other types, varying between 1 to 3%, it does not contain a high amount of alcohol. It has an extremely light scent which generally dissipate within an hour or two. This fragrance is one of the most inexpensive products available on the market. As its name implies, it is basically scented water that you can use to freshen up.
How To Buy Perfume
If you are looking for that perfect perfume for yourself or someone special in your life, you might just be overwhelmed with selecting the right one. With so many brands and varieties to choose from with varying prices, it can be difficult to find the right perfume at a discount today.
Perfumes come in all types and price ranges. Prices of perfumes can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as the brand and quality of the perfume. Perfumes which are made with extracts from animals and plants can be expensive. Fragrances which are made from synthetic compounds are generally much cheaper.
While some of the top brands may be out of your reach, but if you know where to find them at a bargain price, you will not have to worry about being able to afford a quality perfume again.
General tips for buying perfume
- The main thing you want to remember when purchasing a perfume is not just the price alone. You should take into consideration the quality and the manufacturing process.
- Don’t buy a perfume because it smelled good on someone else. You have your own scent, and this affects how a certain perfume will smell on you.
- Don’t rush to buy a top perfume. A good method of testing a fragrance is to spray some on your wrist and let it stay there for about thirty minutes. It takes this long for all the notes of the perfume to be released. After thirty minutes have elapsed, if you still like what you smell, then by all means purchase the fragrance. If you wear a metal bracelet, spray it on the top of your arm as metal objects can often alter how a perfume smells.
- Always look for a scent which expresses your skin type, personality and lifestyle. A fragrance should become an extension of yourself.
- Don’t forget to test a fragrance sample first to ensure that you are not allergic to the perfume. Especially, a synthetic fragrance can sometimes be responsible for skin irritations which can cause allergies and hives.
- The quality of chemicals used in a perfume can affect the degree of allergic reactions it might produce. So if you are looking for a cheap perfume, ensure that you purchase one that has the highest quality of synthetics available.
- If you are looking for a top brand perfume but don’t want to spend a lot of money before trying it, you might actually be able to pick up some free samples at some retailers. This is a great way to test different perfumes or fragrances before purchasing a full sized bottle.
- Today, with so many competing online stores, you can find great deals on some top brands on the Internet. Just be sure to buy from a reputable store to make sure that you are getting the real deal and not some fake perfume..
How to buy perfume at a discount
- Many stores will offer their highest priced perfumes on sale at certain times of the year. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas are examples of this. This will give you the opportunity to purchase a high quality perfume at a cheaper price.
- If a perfume line becomes discontinued, it may be sold off cheaply to make room for newer perfumes. There is nothing wrong with the perfume. The store just doesn’t want to carry that particular line anymore. This can be your chance to snap up a top perfume at a bargain price.
- If a fragrance is seasonal and only popular at that time of year, any excess supply will be sold off cheaply to clear stock. You can find great bargains on top brands by following seasonal sales.
- Some online stores offer discount perfumes when purchased in multiples quantities. This is a great way to save money, if you have a group of friend or family members who all like the same perfume.
- Knock off or imitation perfumes are also known as discount perfumes and can be found in many discount stores. Basically this type of perfume is a copy of a well-known brand. The packaging will be very similar and they normally do not smell exactly like the original version. But if price is an issue, they can definitely be an option.
With all the types of perfumes and scents available today, finding the right perfume may not be easy. Top brands can cost quite a bit of money so doing some research beforehand can help you get the type of fragrance you are looking for at a good price.
Perfumes do not keep for long periods of time. So don’t purchase lots of fragrances just because they are on sale. Always start using your perfume when you buy it, and don’t store them for later use. The perfume will tend to lose its scent after some time, and it just won’t work on you properly. Only buy a small bottle of perfume at a time and enjoy wearing it.
The chemical makeup of a perfume is very delicate and can easily deteriorate. You should never store your fragrances in either very cold or hot places. Always store them in an upright position and keep them out of direct sunlight. This will make them last longer and continue smelling perfect for you.