How to choose a perfume?
Our skin has its own odor and so called chemistry, which influences the fragrance of the perfume applied. The same perfume may smell differently not only on different persons, but also on your own skin, depending on the ambient, your mood, season, and many other conditions. Therefore, we advise not to rush to get rid of a perfume that you think does not have a perfect match note for you: perhaps, you just need to wait a bit and apply it under different conditions. Besides, taste changes with time.
The choice of perfume is very personal and subjective matter. Our advice is to primarily listen to your own feelings, inner world and ideals, as your perfume should be a part of your style. Very often, perfumes may ajar the door to the hidden corners of your soul, and tell a lot about your character and desires. Handy thing is to get free perfume samples and test fragrance for couple of days before you decide to buy it or not.
The best approach to selection of a perfume, if you have already decided to enjoy it, is to try to understand its beauty and uniqueness, just as you would try to understand a piece of art. Even if you think that it is not your favorite fragrance, do not despise it, as there is an artist with a distinct story behind it.
How to test a perfume?
The best way to test a perfume is to apply it on the skin, or, if you do not feel like applying it on your skin, smell it from a blotter. When you smell a perfume directly from the bottle, you will mainly feel the odor of alcohol and the top notes scent. Perfume should be allowed to unite with your skin, what takes 10-15 minutes after it was applied. The best thing to do is to take a walk and snuffle the perfumed spot on your skin from time to time. Do not try to test more than three perfumes one after another, as your olfactory sense can not take more than that. After smelling several perfumes you will not be able to capture their essence.
It is best to test the perfume in the same concentration you are planning to purchase – perfume, eau de perfume, or eau de toilette. If you are offered to test the fragrance in a form of deodorant or body oil and lotion, you will miss the richness of the fragrance composition, because deodorant and body care products are not meant to present the perfume, but to accompany it. Bear in mind that sometimes eau de toilette can be different from eau de perfume of the same type, not only in concentration but in composition as well (Allure Chanel, Crystalle Chanel, Coco Mademoiselle Chanel, Narciso Rodriguez for Her).
Perfume wardrobe, or how many perfumes we should have?
The answer is: as many as you wish to. Of course, this is not a question for a perfume collector. If you are not one of those rare lucky persons which have one perfume that has become like a ‘fragrant id card’, then better do not try to look for such a perfume for years. You can have a perfume for a particular season, evening, to the office, for yourself, for special occasions and for good mood. It is good to have perfumes of different fragrant groups, because your mood and circumstances may be different. A rational perfume wardrobe may include a fresh fragrance (citrus, water-like, light fruity) for warm weather and sports; it is good to have two day-perfumes, for the work and for socializing with friends, and two evening-perfumes, one for more official and another for more intimate occasion. However, this is just a tip for those with more rational approach to perfumes. At the end, a perfume is to such a degree intimate and personal detail, so that the choice should be yours only.
How to use a perfume?
Perfume should always be applied on a clean skin, on the pulse points. At the pulse points your skin is warmer than on the other parts, what helps the perfume to open up in all its richness. The pulse points are: behind ears, on the bottom of the neck, inner side of elbow and knees, inner side of wrists and under your chest. It is also good to spray the perfume above your head and then walk into the fragrant mist. Perfume trace remains in hair for a long time, but be aware that alcohol in the perfume might dry your hair out. Do not perfume your clothes, or better to say, do not perfume your clothes only as perfume opens best in a chemical reaction with your skin. Furthermore, do not apply perfume just before exposure to the sun light, because alcohol in the perfume is harmful for the skin, and some components might be phototoxic and damage your skin, or cause pigmentation on your skin. Also, when applying the perfume, do not rub the skin, as it will crush the smell.
It is not necessary to apply the perfume to all above mentioned spots of your body, especially if you use perfume, or eau de perfume. You should also be careful with oriental and strong fragrances, while the soft flowery, watery and green fragrances allow more intensive application. Day and night also dictate the intensity of the perfume – during the day time a milder concentration is more appropriate. In cold weather perfume usually remains longer on the skin, therefore the autumn and winter are more ‘perfume friendly’ seasons.
How to store the perfume?
In general, a perfume which was not opened is stored up to three years. Once the perfume was opened, it should be stored for up to 6-18 months. Yet, this has not to be applied to all of them, because some perfumes can keep their quality for decades, while some will get spoiled in a period of several months, particularly if stored in conditions which are not suitable for perfume preservation. There are three enemies to perfumes – light, high temperature and humidity. It is best to keep the perfume in its original box, especially if seldom used, or you have a quantity of it. When stored out of box, it should not be exposed to light, even the artificial. Never keep your perfumes in bathroom. A closet drawer or a cabinet would be the best place.
How to choose the right concentration of perfume?
Perfumes are mostly produced in several concentration grades and each of them has its own advantages. Usually, perfumes are made in concentrations of perfume, eau de perfume, eau de toilette, cologne and other accompanying fragrant products. Difference between them is in concentration of perfume extract, essential oils, so called ‘jus’.
Perfume (parfum (extrait)) contains the highest concentration of fragrant components, 15 - 30 percent of perfume extract, sometimes even more, diluted in the high quality 96 percent ethyl alcohol. The perfume quantity for sale is usually 7,5 to 15ml, but because the fragrance of such high concentration is very intensive and long-lasting as it evaporates slowly. Only perfume concentration fully presents the perfume composition. The high price of perfume is compensated by pleasure of wearing it.
Perfume water (eau de parfum) is the most popular concentration of essential oils, because it has an ideal ratio between the quality and price. Concentration of extract in perfume water is still quite high, 10-20 percent in 90 percent ethyl alcohol, but the price is lower for the bigger quantity (30, 35 or 50ml). Some perfume houses produce perfume water as the highest concentration of perfume extract, because production in perfume concentration is costly and the perfume market dictates the trends. Perfume water is usually produced as spray, what is convenient for usage even while traveling.
Toilette water (eau de toilette) contains 4-10 percent of perfume extract diluted in 80 - 90 percent ethyl alcohol. Some perfumes are produced in this concentration only. In comparison with perfume and perfume water, toilette water looses in richness of its composition, but is at the same time more appropriate for day time use, in particular to be worn at work. For the evening is, however, higher-concentration version more suitable. Men's toilette water is usually more concentrated than women's, and therefore of a concentration closer to the perfume water, and thus men's perfumes are not produced as perfume water or perfume.
Cologne water (eau de cologne) usually has the lowest concentration of essential oils, 3 - 5 percent diluted in 70 percent ethyl alcohol. This does not apply to American products. Cologne in this case means 'perfume water'.
After shave contains no more than 3 percent perfume extract. It is usually applied before perfume and is not suitable to be used instead of perfume, because it very transient. It is known that oil base keeps the fragrance long-lasting. Lately there are new perfume products such as perfume oil or gel appearing on the market, such as Chanel #5 Elixir Sensuel gel (a product in between perfume oil and body crème), or Narciso Rodriguez for Her Musk oil. Fragrance in this concentration is quite expensive, but it is almost as long lasting as perfume and has a nice soft nuance. Perfume structure
Just like music, perfumes have their notes. Usually perfumes created in accordance with classical French tradition have three stages of composition opening.
This is the first fragrant impression that can be smelt immediately after perfume is applied from the bottle. It is present for 1-5 minutes after evaporation of alcohol base. The top notes usually contain components with weaker fixation properties. They fade quickly but give a nice and harmonious introduction in to the heart of composition. Those are mostly citrus, green notes, delicate flowers or fresh fruits.
Or the notes of the heart, are the one dominant in the perfume composition. It is mainly a flowery combination. The notes of perfume heart start appearing just when the top notes start fading and skin produces a chemical reaction with the perfume. Middle notes can be smelt on skin for about an hour, and with higher perfume concentration even more.
Base notes are the most stable and durable notes of the perfume composition. They appear approximately 10-15 minutes after application of perfume and remain on skin for about 24 hours, and depending on the concentration, even more. This part of fragrant composition is the warmest and most sensual, and unites harmoniously with the skin odor. Such long-lasting fragrance fixatives are used amber, musk, frankincense, sandalwood, vanilla and various raisins.
Therefore, remember, it takes 15-20 minutes before all the fragrant components develop completely and the entire composition can be smelt.
Modern perfumes may have their own original structure, such as the structure of ‘Echo’. The characteristic of this structure is that the fragrant notes are expanding in waves, like an echo, during the whole day. An example of such combination may be mentioned Lancome’s Tresor and many American perfumes.
Composition in a shape of ‘8’ is such a composition which, once completely open, it turns in the opposite direction, and then opens again from the beginning. As an example may be mentioned Lancome’s Magie Noir and many American perfumes.
Perfumes of the perfume house Comme des Garsons are characteristic for their original structure in which each note lives its own separate life and opens in accordance with the chemical properties of skin.