Perfume – Your Guide to Choosing the Right Fragrance


So often I hear women complain that they don’t really know what perfume they like, or they are afraid to buy something new, so they just stick with the perfume they got introduced to decades ago. True these days we are bombarded with new perfume launches every time we go to the shops. There are literally thousands of different fragrances.

How do you pick which is right for you? Perfume is a very personal choice. What suits one person may not suit another. Not only do fragrances need to reflect the personality of the wearer but they smell different on everyone as they mix with your natural oils and acids on your skin. Perfumes are generally categorised in eight different areas, so once you know what category you like best you can narrow your search down.

1) Floral

By far the largest and most popular category. An accord of different floral notes including Rose, Carnation, Jasmine, Gardenia and Orange Blossom. It easily combines with any other family, flowery perfumes are universally loved. This also includes the single flower compositions such as rose, jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley or ylang ylang. Think Christian Dior J’adore, Gucci Eau De ParfumII and Britney Spears Curious.

2) Flowery Aldehydic

These fragrances are often described as a little powdery. These are quite soft although the aldehydes add sparkle to flowery notes. Think Chanel No5, Carolina Herrera 212 and Bvlgary Omnia Cristalline.

3) Citrus

This fragrance group is light, tangy, refreshing and uplifting. The light, fresh characters of the citrus notes (lime, tangerine, bergamot, orange, lemon, petitgrain, mandarin, etc.)are often combined with more sweeter scents (flowers, fruits and chypre).Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune, Clarins Eau Tranquility and Donna Karan Be Delicious.

4) Green

The green fragrances are fresh with a hint of sharpness often reminding one of the freshly cut grass, pine and herbs. It is almost an outdoors or sporty fragrance. Green notes are natural in character; often married with fruity and floral notes. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca and Christian Dior Tendre Poison

5) Oriental

These are very sensual, warm and exotic fragrances eluding to mystery. Containing musks, oriental resins, vanilla, precious woods and dark chocolate. These perfumes are not for the fainthearted or the shrinking violet. Christian Dior Poison, YSL Opium and Guerlain Shalimar.

6) Soft-Oriental

Soft-orientals combine oriental notes with various florals. Top notes are often fresh. Britney Spears In Control, Clinique Simply.

7) Chypre(Woody)

Based on a woody, mossy and flowery complex, containing Cedar, Patchouly, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Pine and sometimes with aspects of fruits, chypre perfumes are rich and tenacious. Guerlain Samsara, Narciso Rodriguez For Her and Donna Karan Cashmere Mist.

8) Watery

These are aqua or marine notes reminding one of the ocean or the smell after a big downpour, sea breezes and cool, fresh dew. Think L’Eau d’Issey by Issey Miyake, Bvlgary BLV Notte.

Once you have decided on the perfume you like you have a further choice. What strength you want your perfume to be.

Here are your choices:

PERFUME – The strongest, longest-lasting fragrance form. Apply at all the pulse points; wherever you feel the beat of the heart, behind your ears, the nape of your neck, at the base of your throat, at the bosom, the inside bend of your elbows, at the inside of your wrists and behind your knees. The heat of the body at these points will assure a well-balanced fragrance application. It usually comes in a dab on bottle. This form will last on the skin for 8-12 hours.

EAU DE PARFUM – One of the most common forms of fragrances to be found in many of the fine fragrance collections. It should be smoothed or sprayed just before dressing. This usually is a spray bottle and it lasts on the skin 6 – 8 hours.

EAU DE TOILET – Usually less concentrated than Eau de Parfum, it should be applied in exactly the same way as Eau de Parfum. Always in a spray bottle and will last on the skin 4 – 6 hours.

COLOGNE- The lightest form of fragrance. Perfect for splashing liberally all over the body. It is the perfect refreshant. It does not last very long on the skin.

Once you have familiarized yourself with the different choices available to you it’s time to hit the fragrance counter. But go slowly. Our noses only recognize up to three smells only. So don’t go dousing yourself in twenty different perfumes. Once you have tried on three different smells on your skin walk away.

Leave the perfume area as the air is full of smells here. Leave the perfume on your skin for ten minutes before smelling it again. This way you should have a sense of the true fragrance. If you still like it you’re on to a winner.

Note: Never rub your wrists together after spraying your perfume. This bruises the fragrance notes and you will not get the true perfume.

Happy Perfume shopping!

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