Perfume is as old as humanity. Even before people began to decorate themselves, they were attracting each other and their gods through the use of fragrances. Initially, they used flowers, herbs and resins, but soon realised that under the influence of heat resins and balms gave off a special intensity fragrance.

Body odor, in general, can influence interpersonal relationships. It is a sensory cue critical for mate selection because it is a signal of immunological health. It can determine whether a woman will be attracted towards a specific man.

Body odor plays a critical role in the development of infant–mother attachment and is essential to a child’s social and emotional development. A mother can discriminate the odor of their own child, a child can recognise and prefer the body odor of their mother and feel safe and secure, instead of that of another woman.pheromones

To add a bit of extra magic into our own personal scent we wear perfumes. Perfume is the most intense form of memory and having a signature smell is more than pretty. It is your personal trademark to everyone you meet and offers a sense of comfort and love to the ones close to you.

Choosing the right fragrance for you, to match your natural body odor and captivate those around you, while exciting and invigorating it can be, can become a real burden.

It is important to know, before starting your perfume quest that there are three different elements in the scent of a perfume, its theme, notes and concentration. And of course, each perfume smells differently from person to person.

A. Perfume theme (or accord)

A theme in fragrance is the skeleton around which the perfume is based and build on. It is a harmonious blend of different essences combined so well together that it is like you are smelling a single smell, a single note as it is mentioned in perfumery. The combined scents are so well combined and balanced together  that you can no longer individually identify them but instead they create a complete new note.

Some common themes which you have definitely heard before include citrus, floral, fruit, wood, spice, oriental, chypre.

B. Perfume notes

Is it possible fragrance creation and music composition to have things in common? The answer is yes. Like a chord in music, a fragrance contains a top note, mid or heart note, and a base note.

fragrance accordsThose three notes unfold after you apply the perfume on your skin and are the reason behind why your perfume smells differently when you first put it on and why it alters during the day.

  • Top notes: you smell them within minutes of application. They are the compounds of the fragrance that evaporate first. Perfume makers often use in this phase strong, spicy smells that evaporate quickly. This way the strong smell catches your attention but the quick evaporation does not give it enough time to offend you.
  • Heart notes: they start to kick in after 3-4 hours post application. Here, makers put the essence that make people understand what the perfume is about. If, for example, it is a spicy perfume, spicy smells are added to this step.
  • Base notes: are those that appear last, usually 5-8 hours of application and are those that give the main fragrant message.

C. Perfume concentration

Eau de Parfum, Eau de Cologne, After Shave, Eau de Toilette are terms we have all heard of while searching for a perfume. These terms all refer to the strength of the fragrance, or more specifically, to how much high grade alcohol and/or water has been added to the fragrance oils.

essential-oilsParfum is the most concentrated form of all and therefore comes in very small quantities. You only need a tiny amount to smell divine as it contains 15-30% perfume oil dissolved in alcohol something that makes it very costly too. Any mixture with a lower proportion of perfume oil to alcohol than that is an eau, meaning water.

Eau de parfum is the most concentrated of all containing 8-15% perfume oils, eau de toilette is less concentrated and eau de cologne is the least concentrated of the three.

An aftershave contains 3% or less perfume oil, as does eau fraiche.

D. Same perfume, different smell on different people

How often have you smelled a perfume on your friend and adored it but the minute you put it on is a complete disaster? Personally, many and of course this is normal.

Each one of us has a special body odor, like a fingerprint. When we apply a perfume, our natural body odour and the fragrance blend together. The perfume takes a life of its own and creates a unique mark of identity for us. So, before choosing a perfume, you need to try it on your skin.

Observe how long it lasts and if after a couple of hours you like what you smell, then you can consider this perfume a possible option. Just remember that some people have that certain type of skin that no matter what is purchased, they need to apply it more frequently throughout the day.

Ready for some perfume shopping?

Helpful Tips:

It’s best not to buy a perfume the same day as you test it. Try it, check its effect after a few hours and then go back to the store when your mind is made up.

Only use the paper test strips to rule out the fragrances you don’t like.

Never try to smell more than 3-4 perfumes per day. Your nose will get confused.

Apply your perfume to the warm spots of your body, wrists, neck, décolleté, behind your knees, your ankles, so that it blends in with your own natural oils faster.

To prevent your perfume from evaporating too fast, mix a couple of drops to a scent-free moisturiser and apply it all over your body.

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Lab scientist, sharp dresser and cooking guru Maria is one half of the original alwaysladies.com founding team. She brings her opinions with earnestness and a smile, even when there are razor blades inside.

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