I’m a perfume junkie. I love scents. They remind me of good times, bad times, friends and boyfriends just by sniffing in a bottle. It is a power enhancer, a mood changer and my dose of everyday luxury. Being a loyal type I stick to one particular fragrance for a long time. When my life has a big turn and I enter a new phase usually my scent changes as well. This is not a conscious decision I’ve just noticed it over the past decades. I think your perfume (if you choose to wear one) should be part of your personal style just as much as the clothes you wear. It could be one of your most powerful accessories.
Unfortunately perfumes are hard on the planet. They use petroleum for the production, the production of the package is extremely resource intensive and most of it ends up in the trash. If you are a hard-core environmentalist, you probably have ditched wearing a perfume a long time ago and you don’t need my advice. In that case you bare all my respect. However in this blog I’m trying to give advice to those who are not yet ready to do such a drastic change but would like to make their routine friendlier to the environment. I do belive that this is still a big group who can make a big difference if they have the information to make better choices and value that precious bottle for what it is, a true luxury item.
Bottles lying around on your vanity catching dust and eventually be thrown out because it has gone bad is the biggest waste. Get 1 maximum 2 scent that you adore and has the ability to make you happier each time you put it on. Recycle the bottle when gone and don’t buy scents as presents unless someone specifically asks you to pick out one or tells you the exact brand and concentration. Gifted perfumes are the most notorious dust collectors.
This is going to be a long post, so grab a cup of coffee or a fröccs if you in Budapest before you head on 🙂
What is perfume?
Perfume that you can buy in pretty little bottles is a blend extracted from flowers, animal products and synthetic scents distilled and pressed oils diluted with water and alcohol. But it is much more than that. Perfume can be one of the most powerful tool in your beauty arsenal if used right. The beauty of scents is that they can awoke a whole range of emotions that can deliver a strong impression of you and how you want the world to perceive you before even entering the room.
Selecting your perfume however can be a complicated process as it evolves and changes throughout the course of your life just like your personal style.
Where there are many suggested approaches to find the ONE I think the only one that works is to try on a bunch.
First I would suggest to try to define the main theme that you like. Are you into:
- fruity scents,(like: Be delicious by DKNY, L’Elixir Eau De Parfum for Women by Nina Ricci, Clinique Happy)
- floral, (like: Armani Code, Dior J’adore, Moschino Light Clouds, Chloe Love, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb)
- woody ones (like: Gucci Bamboo, Zadig&Voltaire This is her, Tom Ford Black Orchid, YSL Mon Paris, Armani Si)
- oriental or oud (like: Gucci Oud, Versace Oud Noir)
- light clean crisp (like: Dolce Gabbana Light Blue, CK One, Issey Miyake L’eau d’issey, Elisabeth Arden Green Tea)
If you have a main theme in mind you can find a couple of scents alike. An application that is pretty basic but might come handy is ScentMap
An other guideline might be what a Swiss lady told me once. If you like a designer try out his/her scent, chances are you’ll like that too. It might sound too simple but I have to agree that in 90% of the time it is true in my case. Whether that scent suits me or not that is a different story…
If you have narrowed it down to 3-4 options head to your local retail store and try it on. Make sure you allow it to fully develop so wait up to an hour before you make a decision. Even better if you can ask for samples and try it out for a couple of days if that is available in your store. Perfumes mix with the unique scents of your body hence can dramatically change on each individual. Plus you may not be comfortable wearing a scent day-long that you like after the first spray. Our sensitivity to scents develop throughout the day, so its best if you plan your trip to the store in the afternoon.
Selecting the perfect perfume
Talking about fragrances is a bit like talking about music or flavour, a sort of mission impossible but I will try nonetheless.
A bottled fragrance can consist of about 250 ingredients as mentioned above a blend of natural oils, synthetics, alcohol and water.
Fragrances are named according to the concentration. Although they vary based on each brand this is a common guideline:
- Perfume is the most concentrated containing 15-50 % of oil. This is rarely available in regular retail stores and will not leave you forever 🙂
- Eau de perfume is 10-20% concentration, and can last about 5-6 hours without reapplying. This is a good choice is you have a stable perfume that you like and don’t want to bother reapplying throughout the day. If you are sensitive to scents though I would go for a lighter concentration.
- Solid perfume is around 15% concentrated. Many brands issue out solids of their popular fragrances. This is easy to carry around in a purse and refresh lighter concentration throughout the day.
- Eau de toilette is about 5-15% concentration and last about 4-5 hours throughout the day. Thought to be the choice of french women as they think that your scent should not overpower the scent of your food 🙂 Also good to grab an eau de toilette version of your favourite scent for the summer and scents are actually stronger in hot weather. (Because humidity and sweat agitate the fragrance molecules, so they evaporate faster rather than sticking to your skin.)
- Eau de cologne is 3-8% concentration and evaporates in 2-3 hours.
- A splash or body splash is the lightest concentration that only last 1-2 hours.
The prices of the fragrances usually match its concentration. The higher the concentration the higher the price.
Different notes of perfume
A fragrances is a well composed accord of scents that are called notes. It is about the molecules and their weights. Each note follows the other and the full scent develops after 40-60 minutes.
Top or head notes:
This is what you can smell right after application and extremely important from the point of sales. The first impression of the scent that can make or break a sales. Fresh crisp scents are usually in the head notes like citrus or very light florals. It is gone within 10 minutes.
Middle or heart notes:
It is the main body of the perfume which develops in 15-30 minutes. Popular heart notes are heavier florals like rose or lavender or herbs like sage.
The base and the middle notes are the main theme of the perfume. Deep and rich scents that develop after 30 minutes. These include vanilla, musk, sandalwood, patchouli and amber.
How to apply your perfume?
According to Coco Chanel a woman should apply perfume where she wants to be kissed 🙂
On a more serious note there are two main schools of application:
- Application on your pulse points: Behind the ears, wrists, behind the knees. These points are warmer parts of your body and the skin is thinner here so the scents will be stronger. Behind the knees might sound weird that is for those who are sitting while you walk by 🙂
- Spray in the air and walk through: Some think that the perfume shouldn’t directly be applied to the body. This is definitely not an eco-friendly application as half of the bottle will end up on the floor. If you are into lighter scents, choose a smaller concentration.
However you apply it, never rub the perfume as it will overheat the molecules, break it and will change the scent for worse.
My current choice is Armani Si, which is a great everyday perfume for me and I’m also waiting for a special occasion to gift myself with an Aqua di Parma Cologna which is originally a mens perfume but I decided to ditch the rules and go for it. 🙂 This is an other advise, if you like a scent and can wear it don’t be discouraged from it just because it is labelled as a mens fragrance. Your body has different hormones that will make it more feminine anyway.
Well I think I should wrap it up for now as it is just getting too long 🙂 I hope this was helpful and before you go let me know which is your current perfume?