Perfume 101

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Perfume reviews are something I love to read. Like most areas in beauty industry, the market is constantly overflowing with new products, and choosing a new fragrance can be a bit of a daunting thing. Despite most females wearing perfume daily, very few can discuss or describe them confidently. If I had a pound for every time I saw in a review ‘I’m not very good at describing fragrances’, (a crime I’m also guilty of) I wouldn’t be using my student discount like my life depended on it. As bottles appear to have become more embellished, so have fragrance descriptions, and they can leave us pondering what the actual scent is! In a bid to understand this myself, I’ve done some research on commonly used terms and thought I’d put together a little guide. Hopefully it will be of some help.

I think most people are aware that fragrance comes in 4 categories. Perfume is the highest concentration, and so needs the least amount, Eau de Parfum lasts longer than Eau de Toilette and aftershave often has antiseptic properties for after shaving (funny enough). This is also usually reflected in the price, with eau de toilette being the cheaper often, but needing far more to get the same effect as two drops of Perfume. Whatever the strength, do not rub your wrists together! It will bruise the scent and waste your money. 

The confusion generally starts when notes are discussed. Top notes generally describe the most prominent ingredients in the scent when it is first smelt. Middle, sometimes known as heart notes, dictate what category, or family, the fragrance falls into whilst base notes linger the longest.

Leading right into families, there are 5 main ones used to describe fragrances; Citrus, floral, fruity, oriental and woody. Citrus scents are those reminiscent of lemons, oranges etc. whilst floral scents can be either of one individual flower, or a blend of a combination. I tend to get floral and citrus scents confused with fruity fragrances. These tend to have hints similar to berries and apple blossoms. I don’t really go for woody fragrances being more of a girly girl but these are those that smell like freshly cut dry wood and include significant quantities of sandlewood or vetiver. Similarly, oriental fragrances are another family not in my collection. These are those mainly stated to be evening or winter appropriate and focus on spices.

So there’s my overview of fragrance descriptions. I hope its helped in some way. What’s your favorite fragrance? Do you stick to certain families?

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  • Such a useful post! I was awful at describing scents/knowing the difference between perfume and eau de parfum etc. but feel as if I know so much more now!

    Thank you 🙂

    Laura