It’s the 1st December, the Christmas adverts are out and the social media wars of who has the most impressively decorated tree have begun. It’s a time of office parties, socialising and looking gorgeous but also the pressure of finding the perfect gift for your loved ones.
A huge chunk of the perfumery industries sales are made throughout the festive period and year on year, the selection of fragrances and related products grows bigger and somewhat more confusing.
Fear not however! Your friendly neighbourhood makeup artist is going to share his years of experience working in retail and his fetish for fine fragrance to help you avoid the pitfalls of the perfumery!
Eau de Cologne -
Eau de Cologne is three to five percent oil in a mixture of alcohol and water. It tends to be lighter and refreshing, typically with a citrus oil component.
Eau de Toilette -
Containing about the same amount of perfume oil or a little more — somewhere between four and eight percent — than Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette is mixed with alcohol instead of water.
Eau de Parfum -
A higher percentage of perfume oil — roughly 15 to 18 percent — mixed with alcohol makes up Eau de Parfum. It is more expensive than Eau de Cologne and Eau de Toilette.
Perfume is 15 to 30 percent perfume oil mixed with alcohol. Because it contains such a high percentage of perfume oil, it is far more expensive than Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, or Eau de Parfum.
Fragrance Terminology -
A complete fragrance is usually formed of 3 sections – Top/head notes, heart/body/middle notes and then finally the base notes or “dry down”. As implied it is the top notes which register in your brain first soon after the fragrance is sprayed. These tend to be lighter “fresher” fruits, florals or herbs such as mint. The later “heavier” notes develop as the fragrance is worn with the heat from the body and the individuals chemistry of their skin.
An accord is a nicer way way of saying “smells like”. So if you see a fragrance containing “fresh cotton sheets” or “warm skin” accord. This means a selection of fragrances have been blended to give that effect within the fragrance.
Fragrance “Families” -
As new technology is developed using a combination of natural and synthetic molecules in perfumery the groups which perfumes and colognes fall in to become wider and blur more into each other. For example I love wearing Tom Ford Black Orchid which is by rights a womens perfume however with its chocolatey, musky sexiness it is also a popular choice for both men and women.
Fragrance Personality -
Im a big believer that fragrance has a massive effect on mood and memory and is a great way of expressing yourself. I wouldn’t get too hung up with a “does this fragrance suit me” mentality as sometimes its fun to wear something unexpected or change your fragrance to suit the occasion. Fragrance is a luxury and it should be fun to wear and compliment you.
As a general guideline, fragrances which you would describe as citrusy, watery, fresh, pretty, uplifting, fruity and which feature those ingredients are more suited to daytime, spring\summer, bright\pastel colours and those with a more “sporty” nature.
Fragrances which would be described as sweet, floral, feminine or romantic are the mid point between ages and suited for many occasions but especially weddings and summertime
If a fragrance is described as musky, woody, dark, sexy or spicy these are great for evening occasions, date nights, or during the winter months.
Once again, these are only a guideline. For example if you have a killer cocktail dress to wear to a party and you want to feel super sexy the natural choice would be to go for a smouldering sexy musk or wood based perfume – think of it as another accessory.
However if you wanted to wear that same perfume on a summers day doing your shopping, that’s more than fine too!
If you’re a guy that likes to feel sporty and fresh all the time, its perfectly acceptable to wear a zingy citrus aftershave during the day and at night also…the perfume police aren’t going to come along and arrest you for not wearing a leather and tobacco based scent because you’re at a black tie event.
You generally wont go far wrong though if you match a perfume or aftershave to the persons personality/dress sense or social life. You could of course do some digging and find out what they already wear!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Buying Fragrance -
DO – Give yourself enough time to make your fragrance purchases either for yourself or someone else. Allow the fragrance to settle on a card first for 10 minutes or so, if you still like it, try some on your skin then check again when it has had chance to settle.
DONT – Try perfumes directly onto your skin without trying them on a card first. If you hate it it will be stuck with you all day and throw your nose off any other scents you will be trying.
DO – Your research! Fragrance is a very intimate thing and expensive high end fragrances are probably best saved for your nearest and dearest. Dont be seduced by who has the most sparkly stand in the department store. If you want a fabulous present for a work colleague without breaking the bank, consider looking at the bath and body range of a fragrance. They are less expensive, usually are beautiful products and the fragrance itself is much more forgiving.
DONT – Go perfume shopping wearing a powerful fragrance or body lotion. It will throw your nose off. Bare skin is the best for trying a new perfume and preferably later in the afternoon as your sense of smell is sharper then.
DO – Accept a perfumed card from the promotions staff if you are looking for a new perfume. Not only is this polite but you may find a hidden gem you never expected. Make sure the advisor writes the name of the fragrance on the card so you can go back if you like it.
DONT – Rub your wrists together vigorously after having perfume spritzed on them. It is fine to gently spread the fragrance around if the spray has been applied too closely to the skin and it is wet but ideally it should be applied as a mist over the skin. Its the same principal as cocktail making. Some ingredients are best stirred rather than shaken as it disrupts the flavours.
DO – Go off the beaten track! We all love mainstream brand name perfumers however I would encourage you to check out more niche brands as stockists such as Cult Beauty or SpaceNK who do some amazing perfumes which are very luxurious and it shows a little more effort on your part than picking up the latest celebrity fragrance which everyone will have in their stocking this year….brownie points are never a bad thing.
Suggested Mainstream Brands;
Tom Ford – Expensive, luxurious, sexy and distinctive. My personal favorite for men and women.
Check out Noir or Grey Vetiver for him or Black Orchid -Unisex.
Chanel – Excellent mix of classic and modern fragrances, all beautiful and pretty much a sure thing as gift.
Check out Chanel Bleu, Egoiste or Allure for him and Allure, Coco or Coco Mademoiselle for her.
Dolce and Gabanna – Wide range and a good selection of sexy Italian musky numbers. Seductive warm feminine fragrances and some impressive fresh citrusy ones too.
Also some of my favourites…
Viktor And Rolf – Flowerbomb\Spicebomb
Hermes – De Terre for Him
Bulgari – Pretty much the entire range for him and her!
A little known fragrance worth checking out is Molecule 01 available from Cult beauty and Harvey Nicols. It is a unique concept in that it smells different on everyone and seems to disappear and then reappear almost like an magical aura. I can safely say I get more people asking me what I’m wearing and paying me compliments when I wear this than anything else. Ive also found it works well when lightly layered over another fragrance as they seem to enhance eacother. If you’re looking for something a little different then definitely check it out.
I hope you found this article useful, please feel free to comment with your feedback and indeed your favorite fragrances, I would love to hear about them.
Best wishes as ever and stay gorgeous,
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