Beauty, Inside and Out.

18 December 2015

How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

Dino's Beauty Diary - How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

It's that time of year now where we're all rushing around trying to get last minute gifts and any finishing touches done in time for Christmas. Shopping centres and towns are now bustling with people looking around for last minute offers, and perfect items to get their loved ones this Christmas. But what better way to show your love than with the perfect fragrance?

Buying someone a fragrance is a lot more than just picking an item off the shelf: it is both an emotional and personal purchase - not one scent would be suitable for everyone. What makes perfumes the perfect gift is that they can also be changed with the seasons; a nice, fresh scent for the spring and summer, and a warmer scent for the colder seasons.

Choosing a scent for someone can be a difficult process. With such a wide variety of notes and fragrance families, it can sometimes be hard to pin down the perfect aroma. Before I started working at my new job, I had no idea how diverse the selections were. Spicy, Woody, Fresh, Fruity - there's so many choices that Christmas shopping would often give me a headache. Thankfully now I have a better understanding, I want to help anyone else like me that suffers when picking a fragrance.

Dino's Beauty Diary - How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

When trying to pick the perfect scent, it's important to know what ingredients (or 'notes' as they're called in perfumery) go into each scent. Typically, most fragrances are in a three note structure; Top Notes, Heart Notes and Base Notes. Each stage is crucial as each stage will be different, and will determine which particular notes become evident as the perfume is worn. Because of this, it is essential that each note combination settles down and they begin to compliment each other to create one harmonious fragrance.

Top Notes: As soon as the fragrance touches the skin, the top note will become evident. Typically the top note lasts for around 20 seconds and mostly consists of alcohol - this needs to dry down before smelling the fragrance, otherwise it may smell quite unpleasant at first!

Heart Notes: The heart notes are the true nature of the fragrance, and develop after the top note has settled down. Normally, the heart notes will last for several hours, and this is usually the scent that is easily identified and therefore the aroma that a purchase is based on. 

Base Notes: The base notes are the final layer of the fragrance after the heart notes, and will usually determine how long the fragrance will last, as well as providing a base that the heart notes can be appreciated on.

Dino's Beauty Diary - How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

One of the things that can be confusing about fragrances is the strength and concentration, which is what can be the difference between a £20 bottle and a £60 version of the same perfume. In short, the more essential oil the fragrance contains, the longer it will last once used - therefore affecting the price.

Aftershave - Oils: 3-5% Lasts: 1-2 hours
Sold in a splash format, aftershave is worn on the face and neck. Aftershave typically acts like more of a toner for after shaving, rather than more of a fragrance. It has a high alcohol content, which helps to heal any cuts that may have come from shaving. One of the most common mistakes people make when coming to mens fragrances is that all male scents are aftershave, but this is not the case as aftershave is not used to fragrance the skin, as it acts as more of a toner. 

Eau De Toilette - Oils: 4-8% Lasts: 2-4 hours
Available in both ladies and mens, this fragrance may need to be reapplied throughout the day. Unlike aftershave, mens eau de toilette is more of a spray format and therefore is designed to fragrance the body. For men, eau de toilette should not be used on the face as it may sting - if something is required for the face, then an aftershave should be used instead.

Eau De Parfum - Oils: 12-15% Lasts 4-6 hours
Eau de parfum is the most popular fragrance strength, as it is designed to last longer than a toilette version. It is normally sold in a spray format, and many brands will sell it in several sizes.

Perfume/Parfum - Oils: 15-30% Lasts: 6-8 hours
Due to the higher oil content, these fragrances are typically a lot more expensive and in a smaller bottle. Normally used in a 'dab on' way, they are a lot stronger and only need a drop or two on the skin. E.g. Chanel and Dior perfumes.

Dino's Beauty Diary - How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

When trying to select the perfect fragrance, it can seem quite overwhelming with all the options. One of the most confusing things for me was the 'Fragrance Families'. With so many options out there, it often gave me a headache trying perfumes to find the perfect one.  Thankfully, most fragrances fall into one of these categories:

Fresh: Mostly described as a refreshing and clean scent, with citrus, water and green notes.

Fruity: Described as exotic, delicious and juicy, they include notes from all different fruits except citrus.

Sweet: Sweet notes often smell good enough to eat, and are mostly described as smelling good and kind of sugary.

Floral: Floral notes normally smell like a bouquet of flowers, and like you've just walked into a florists. They usually contain notes of rose, peony, violet and jasmine.

Aromatic: Described as a more invigorating, herbal aroma, aromatic notes tend to smell like a herb garden.

Woody: Woody notes tend to smell warm, dry and aromatic. They are described as smelling a bit like you have walked into a carpenters workshop.

Spicy: A more exotic and warm note, spicy fragrances can contain notes of vanilla, cinnamon and peppercorns.

Dino's Beauty Diary - How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

With so much to know when it comes to fragrances, it can often be confusing. Stores will often have an advisor trained to help you when it comes to picking that perfect combination, so picking something for a loved one hopefully won't be too stressful.

Hopefully this post will help you when it comes to selecting that perfect gift for someone special - let me know if you have any questions in the comments below! 

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