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The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 3. How Concentration Affects Fragrance Longevity

In beauty, fragrance, lifestyle on May 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm


How many times have you applied your favorite fragrance before leaving the house only to have it fade away rather quickly?  You find yourself re-applying throughout the day but still don’t get the satisfaction of your fragrance lasting more than an hour.

You are not alone.  With the amount of money you spend on your fragrance, you would want it to stick around for a bit and radiate off of your smooth, silky skin.  You want to be excited about what you smell like and perhaps impress or excite those around you.  However, before you reach for that bottle to have yet another spritz, make sure you understand the composition of what you are spraying.  This will give you some insight regarding scent longevity.

Any time you shop for fragrance, you have the option of choosing from various formulations which include parfum, eau de parfum, and eau de toilette.  Every fragrance formulation is made up of varying concentrations of perfume oil which is the base of any fragrance and is what makes the actual smell.  This smell is usually unpleasant by itself and needs to be paired with or diluted by something else like alcohol (ethanol) and water to create various concentrations.  These concentrations are what gives fragrance their staying power.  There are many fragrance concentrations but here we will discuss the five most common:

  • Perfume (or parfum) is the most concentrated of all forms of fragrance.  Created with a perfume essence of 20-30% concentration, it is usually thicker and oilier and lasts the longest (up to 24 hours).  It is the most expensive and is usually sold in bottles with stoppers for the least amount of evaporation.  The best way to wear parfum is to dab in a few key areas such as behind the ears and/or the wrists so as not to overwhelm your nose or the nose of others.
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP) has less perfume essence (15-20%) and is diluted with alcohol and water.  It can last up to 8 hours and can come in a bottle or spray.  Although it is lighter than parfum, it can still be strong.  You can be a bit more liberal in your application, applying lightly during the day and and more for the evening.
  • Eau de toilette (EDT) is a perfume essence of 5-15% which is dissolved in an alcohol and water base.  It usually lasts up to 3 hours, and can be a better option for work, interviews and even first dates because it is lighter.
  • Eau de cologne which is usually reserved for masculine scents, only has 2-4% perfume oil concentration and lasts up to two hours.
  • Eau fraiche is the most diluted form of fragrance.  Almost like a body splash, eau fraiche has only up to 3% of fragrance oil and lasts up to an hour.

In addition to understanding scent concentration as it relates to longevity, there are some other things to consider when wearing and storing fragrance to make it last longer, such as:

  1. Spray your pulse points:  inner elbows, back of knees, ankles, back of ears, chest/decolletage, and inner wrist.  These places are warmer and will help emit the fragrance better.  When applying, be sure not to rub as that breaks down the fragrance.
  2. Use a combination of ancillary products.  These are the accompanying products such as shower gels, body lotions and powders in the same scent as your fragrance that you will layer to help that help to carry the scent and make it last longer.  These are usually purchased separately and can also be found in gift sets.
  3. Consider using a hair perfume or same fragrance in your hair.
  4. Moisturize your skin.  Fragrance evaporates more quickly on dry, flaky skin.  Try exfoliating first and following up with a rich body butter or oil (preferably light in fragrance or no fragrance at all if not using ancillary products) then layer your fragrance on top.
  5. Store your fragrance in a cool dark place.  Fragrance can go bad (discoloration and rancidity) so be sure to keep your fragrance in the original packaging, keep the top on and keep it away from heat and humidity.
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The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 2. Understanding The Evolution Process Of Scent Through Fragrance Notes

In fragrance, lifestyle on April 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm

 

English: A fragrance pyramid

English: A fragrance pyramid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Understanding the process of how fragrance notes develop and evolve can help you make a more informed decision when choosing a new scent.

 

When shopping for a new fragrance, chances are you have heard references made to fragrances in terms of notes.  Just as a musical note is assigned to the sounds in the music we hear, fragrance notes describe the scent you smell.  These notes, whether in music or fragrance, evoke memories and moods that can usually be recalled in an instant.  These categories of scents are expertly crafted with the knowledge of how they interact with each other and how they evolve over a period of time.  Actually, this process can be thought of as an exact science.

Perfumers often refer to the fragrance pyramid when creating fragrances.  The fragrance pyramid is composed of the three notes (categories) that make up a fragrance and are referred to as the top (head), middle (heart) and base (bottom) notes.

The top note is the initial scent that you smell.  It is your first impression of a fragrance, usually lasting anywhere from 5-30 minutes.  As the most volatile, the top note is made of lighter ingredients, including alcohol, and will evaporate very quickly.  From the top note you can get a slight idea about the fragrance and if you are somewhat intrigued but not really sure, allow the fragrance to continue to develop.  Common top notes include bergamot, lemon and grapefruit.

The Middle note, often referred to as the heart note, develops 10-30 minutes after the initial top note.  Here is where you get to “know” the fragrance.  It is usually composed of more oils since it will need to last on the skin as opposed to the alcohol in the top note. It is the body or foundation of the fragrance and is usually warmer.  It can also act as a buffer between the bottom note which may or may not smell pleasant on its own.  Common middle notes include lavender, cardamom, and black pepper.

The bottom, or base, note gives the fragrance its weight and slows down the evaporation of the fragrance that has developed after a few hours.  This is where the true scent of the fragrance lies once the top and heart notes have evaporated and can last anywhere between 4 to 6 hours, sometimes longer.  Common bottom notes include vanilla, jasmine and sandalwood.

In addition to the traditional pyramid fragrances, there are some fragrances which are referred to as linear.  With a linear fragrance which doesn’t “develop”, one will usually experience a singular note or a group of similar notes at the same time.  “Juliette Has A Gun – Not A Perfume” is a fragrance in the linear category.  Made of a single element called Ambroxan, it is used in perfumery as a back note.

 

 

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 1. Understanding The Power Of Storytelling Through Your Fragrance

In beauty, fragrance on March 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel

Do you remember the first fragrance you ever wore?  How old were you?  Where did it come from?  How did it make you feel?

Fragrance is a form of self expression and can be considered the ultimate accessory.  It can “linger – in rooms, clothes, your fingertips” and has the ability to seduce, boost confidence and evoke memories.  Scent can connect a person to a specific moment in time, a geographical location or even a person.  If applied correctly, fragrance makes you smell incredible, leaving wonderful lasting impression.

Signature vs Fragrance Wardrobe

There are two schools of thought when it comes to purchasing and wearing a fragrance.  There are those who believe in having a signature scent they are known by.  Those who prefer a signature scent might find it advantageous to do so because they want to be known by a specific scent.  It might be that it holds sentimental value because it was presented as a gift from a loved one or was worn for a particular moment in time. It may be for no other reason than it is a favorite, a go-to, eliminating the need to find the “right” fragrance.

On the other hand, there are those who take great pleasure in building a fragrance wardrobe (or closet) with a collection of fragrances.  A fragrance wardrobe can be like a photo book of snapshots relating to various moments in one’s life.  They can be worn in the same way as accessories – like shoes and jewelry- to complement various looks, moods and occasions.  In addition, many take great pleasure in collecting fragrance bottles, which look beautiful on one’s vanity.  With their beautiful design, every bottle, as well as the actual fragrance is created with a perfumers inspiration.  Knowing a perfumer’s back story can lead to a deeper appreciation of a fragrance (in both instances).

Whatever your preference, fragrance is personal and, in that regard, there is no right or wrong way to select and wear a particular scent.

Tell A Story

Because it is the ultimate accessory,  fragrance can be worn in different ways.  It can be seasonal, worn during specific times of the year. For instance, lighter, clean, fresh fragrances are usually worn in the spring/summer as well as the earlier part of the day vs deeper, richer, more full bodied fragrances which are reserved for the fall/winter as well evening.

Other factors to consider when wearing a fragrance include details such as fabric/material of clothing, venue and mood.  What comes to mind when you think of soft, crushed red velvet, smooth to the touch or a romantic, candle lit evening at your favorite hideaway?  Perhaps Dior J’adore or Tom Ford Black Orchid.  What comes to mind when you think of a gentle breeze and white linen or silk on a bright, warm sunny day at a beach resort?  Perhaps Nest Citrine or Tory Burch Bel Azur.  Are you feeling bold, playful or confident?  When in close proximity to other people, will your scent be appreciated or a nuisance?  Whatever the case, however you choose to wear your fragrance will tell your unique story to others.

How To Approach Selecting A Fragrance

With hundreds of fragrances to choose from, how do you choose what smells good on you?  Like finding the perfect pair of jeans, hairstyle or skin care, choosing a fragrance is trial and error – a journey if you will.  And, just because a fragrance is new, popular or your favorite celebrity wears (or creates) a fragrance doesn’t mean it will smell good on you.  Here are a few fun facts and simple tips to help you understand fragrance and discover what you like.

  1. Ever wonder why the fragrance that smells amazing on your BFF smells like hot garbage on you?  It’s because body chemistry/pH level affects the way a fragrance develops and smells on a person and therefore does not smell the same on everyone.  Spray one fragrance on 5 different people and you will get 5 different smells – some good.  Others not so good.
  2. The juice (concentration of oils in a fragrance) smells different inside the bottle, the nozzle, what is actually sprayed in the air as well as what is sprayed on a fragrance strip.  Yes, you can form an initial impression or idea by spraying it in this manner but it is best to begin judging a fragrance based on the way it develops on your skin.  Fragrance evolves over a period of time and has a dry down period.  This dry down period can be anywhere between 30 minutes (top note) and an hour and a half (bottom note).  The bottom note is where you will get the lasting impression of a scent and is where you will be able to make an informed decision about how a particular fragrance smells on you.
  3. When starting your fragrance journey, stick to smelling three fragrances per visit.  Smelling more than that leads to olfactory fatigue where your sense of smell becomes overwhelmed and you have difficulty distinguishing between the fragrances you are smelling.
  4. No coffee beans please.  Those shopping for fragrance have been trained to ask for coffee beans to reset their nose.  Coffee is another strong scent that can actually affect the way you perceive fragrance.  Instead, sniff the inside of your elbow that doesn’t have fragrance so you reset your nose with your natural scent.
  5. Get a sample of the three fragrances you are considering.  Spray the sample on an area of your body that won’t be disturbed.  Check in every 20 minutes or so to see how it is developing on you.  Another way to test a fragrance is to put it on a few hours before you retire for the evening (after your bath or shower).  This way you will able to experience the evolution process of the fragrance, thus allowing you to make a more informed decision.
  6. Enlist the help a trusted source.  Sure the ultimate decision is yours to make but because your fragrance will be experienced by many, getting a second opinion can be a good thing.  You want don’t want to be THAT person wearing that stank a$$ scent by which people will harshly judge you.