It is believed that how a person smells, makes all the difference to how they feel, look and how they are perceived.
‘Perfume’, derived from the Latin ‘per fumus’, literally translates into ‘through smoke’. Not only can a fragrance make you feel and appear extremely attractive! It boosts confidence, reduces stress, and if the right perfume is used, can improve your mood too!
How are perfumes made?
Firstly, essential oils are extracted from natural substances like fruits and flowers through methods such steam distillation, solvent extraction, maceration, and expression. Once these essential oils have accumulated, they are combined according to a special formula that was developed by a perfumery or a company. Once the smell is complete, alcohol and water is added in the desired amounts. Perfume is like wine – the more expensive varieties are left to age for months, or sometimes even years after the final blending happens until they are bottled and finally sold.
How do you apply perfume?
You have most probably heard many perfumers, or experts mention ‘pulse points.’
‘Pulse points’ are those points on your body where your blood vessels are closest to the skin. Since blood circulation is occurring just under the surface of the skin on these points, the heat emanated helps release the fragrance more effectively. The pulse points to watch out for are the inner part of both wrists, at the base of your neck, behind your ears, inside the elbows and behind the knees. While applying the perfume on your wrists though, try not to rub them together; you will disturb the perfume’s composition of top, heart and base notes by doing so. Also, do not re-spray until necessary – if you respray too frequently, you will disturb the layering of top, heart and base notes, not to mention overdo the pleasant whiff and turn it into an overpowering, overwhelming smell that no one can make sense of!
Lastly, perfume is for your body, not your clothes. While your clothes may undoubtedly take on the smell of your body, do not contribute directly to this by spraying on it! Not only is it the worst sort of aroma ever, but the oils may also stain your clothes permanently.
What are the different perfume types, based on concentration?
Fragrances can be classified based on the concentration of their ingredients, which in turn affects how strong they are and how long they last. The more the proportion of perfume oils as opposed to alcohol, the more the concentration.
So, a full-fledged ‘Parfum’ will have the most longevity, with anywhere between 15 to 40 percent concentration. Most parfums though will contain around 20 to 30 percent. These tend to be the most expensive, although they are the most effective, and are also better for people who are prone to allergic reactions since the alcohol content is lower. Next in line is the Eau de Parfum (EDP), which typically lasts around five hours, and contains a concentration of 15 to 20 percent. This is the most used in the market because it is moderate in both cost and efficacy. The third highest concentration is seen in the Eau de Toilet (EDT) – around 5 to 15 percent. It is ideal for a day or a work scent because it is cost-effective and not overpowering.
Lastly, the Eau de Cologne (EDC) with an extremely low concentration (2 to 4 percent) and mild fragrance, comes in big bottles and needs to be sprayed on every hour. It is also not very layered, so you will not find the complexity of top, heart and base notes.
What should I keep in mind while using perfume?
Perfume needs to diffuse well on the skin so that the fragrance is stronger and lasts longer. Moisturizing your skin with a non-fragranced lotion will help achieve this, and protect the areas you’ve sprayed the perfume on, from drying out. Also, do not use perfume on your hair – however, tempted you may be to add that extra whiff. The alcohol content causes dryness. Common sense demands that you keep your perfume bottle tightly stoppered, otherwise the contents may begin to evaporate, and the aroma may also change because of its contact with the air and environment. Avoid going out in the sun directly after spraying on perfumes. This is because store-bought perfumes can contain up to 14 different secret ingredients, which are not listed, some of which are chemicals that attract harmful UV rays. Lastly, what is good for some may not be good for others!