Selecting and buying a fragrance can be a confusing thing. Many of the descriptions and terms used are unique to the fragrance world and unknown to most people. Making a mistake can be a costly business so this is a guide to help you understand exactly what you are buying.
Perfume is often described and defined as Eau de Parfum and other similar phrases. It is important to know what these definitions mean as they can describe totally different products.
Parfum, is the most concentrated and longest lasting form of fragrance. It will contain at least 22% of fragrance oils. For this reason this is also the most costly form of fragrance you can buy.
Eau de Parfum contains between 15 and 22% fragrance oils. Less concentrated than a parfum but still a premium product. Usually cheaper than perfum and the most common form of high end perfumes on the market today.
Eau De Toilette and Colognes contain between 4 and 15% fragrance oils. These tend to be very light, most suitable for light, floral fragrances for day time wear. If you are looking for a fragrance to wear every day then an Eau de Toilette is a good choice as it is usually the cheapest formulation and the fragrance is not overpowering if you are working or just going about your day.
You will often see hear the phrases "top notes, middle notes and base notes" used to describe a fragrance. top notes give you the first impression of the fragrance. It is the smell that hits you first of all and is often the most lasting impression you have of a fragrance. Although a top note will disappear quite quickly to be replace by the middle notes. The middle note is actually the dominant fragrance of a perfume. This will last for several hours. The base notes will help the fragrance to last as long as possible and will often remain once the other notes have faded away. That's the time to refresh your fragrance.
Perfume is divided into Fragrance Families. Chypre, pronounced sheep-r. A Chypre fragrance contains woody and mossy notes. Oakmoss, Sandlewood, Patcouli, Bergamot and Vetiver are often included in a fragrance of the Chypre Family. Examples of Chypre fragrance include Chypre de Coty, Mitsouko by Guerlain and Cuir de Russe by Chanel.
The Marine Fragrance Family is the name used to describe scents that evoke a feeling of the sea and the sea air. This is quite a new Fragrance Family. An ingredient called calone is used to suggest this sea side fragrance. Examples of marine Family fragrances include escape by Calvin Klein, Cool Water by Davidoff and Aquawoman by Rochas.
The Oriental Fragrance Family is used for both male and female perfumes. They are warm, spicy and sweet. Ingredients such as vanilla and tonka bean are used in oriental fragrances. Examples include opium by Yves Saint Laurent and Coco by Chanel.
The majority of fragrances for women are of the Floral Fragrance Family. Some can be a bouquet of complementary flowers, some use a main flower and other, lesser notes and some can ne the scent of a single flower like roses or lavender. These fragrances are referred to as single note scents. Examples of Floral Family fragrances include Chanel no 19, Anais Anais by Cacharel, L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci and Dolce Vta by Dior.
The Fougere, pronounced foo-jer, Frangrance Family are fragrances mostly used in fragrances for men. The name comes from the French for fern. Fougere fragrances often contain oakmoss, coumarin and lavender. They tend to be sharp and woody, sometimes with herby notes. Often citrus and green notes are added. Examples of fougere fragrances include Boss by Hugo Boss, Eternity for men and Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent.
Don't forget to apply fragrance to your secondary pulse points as well as your primary pulse points such as on the inside of your elbow and behind your knees for a longer lasting scent.