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All you want to know about fragrances

I have come across fragrances that smelt really great on others but once it was on me I was no longer as impressed and it did not smell as fantastic as it would have initially.

I got hold of a local expert at an exclusive perfumery and cosmetic store to explain some of the things to be taken into consideration when using or buying a fragrance.

What is the difference between a cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfum and perfume?
Cologne is usually the lightest form of fragrance because of its concentration of perfume. It is perfect for splashing liberally all over the body and is a perfect refreshant. An eau de toilette is a lighter concentration than the perfume and eau de parfum. It is ideal for the whole body, from head to toe. An eau de parfum assures a long-lasting concentrated application and is best applied when smoothed or sprayed before dressing. You’ll smell great all day long. A perfume is best in strength. It is the most highly concentrated form of fragrance. It provides the intensity and emphasis.

What is a scent made up of?
All perfumes have three notes — the top note which is what one smells initially and disappears after a few minutes, the middle note which develops a little later and the base note which is the true scent and which is what remains hours after application.

When buying a fragrance for yourself what factors should you bear in mind?
Everyone has his or her own unique scent-identity or “aroma fingerprint” which is determined by many factors including our genes, skin type, diet, medicine, mood state and even weather. No two people smell a scent the same way. It is advisable to test not more than two fragrances on your skin and observe how they develop on your skin as the fragrance settles. Try not to smell more than three fragrances at a time. This ensures that you can still distinguish between the scents.


Can a person’s medication or smoking affect how a fragrance smells?
Yes. The wearer may think a fragrance formula has been changed when instead it is a change in diet, medication or lifestyle which has caused the new perception of the scent.

What one eats on a regular basis can affect the way a fragrance smells and lasts on a person’s skin. If one is on a high fat, spicy diet, for example, fragrance will be more intense. If the customer has recently changed his or her diet dramatically, skin chemistry may change, causing fragrance to smell different on the individual.

Medication can change one’s chemistry too. If a person is on medication it can influence the way a favourite fragrance smells on the skin. Smoking can dull the sense of smell and make us less aware of odours, good or bad.

Is it true the sense of smell is not as keen in the winter as it is in the summer?
Yes. Heat increases the impact of odour. In the summer there are so many fascinating “smell” signals around us and we are more conscious of our sense of smell and certainly enjoy it to the fullest. In hot weather, each fragrance application goes a long way — so lighter fragrances should be worn.

Perfume makes for a great gift but the task of choosing one may be daunting. How can one choose the perfect gift for her and for him?
It is important to consider the personality of the recipient of the gift and then match this with the ingredients contained in a fragrance or the fragrance character. For example, if he’s dynamic, energise his motivation with “innovative vibrancy”. Leather and smoky, blended with birch and cade oils, will enhance his vivacious charm. If she’s ultra-feminine, seek “single florals”. A single flower note such as rose, jasmine or lilac will accentuate her sophistication. The Beauty Advisor will assist you in finding the perfect fragrance.

Can perfume be kept indefinitely?
Once a bottle of perfume is opened it is meant to be used, otherwise it will fade with time. Long exposure to strong sunlight or extremes in temperature can disturb the delicate balance of the perfume and change its scent. Perfume, to last, should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct light to prolong its life.

If fragrance is applied in the morning, will it last throughout the day?
No. fragrance is not formulated to last all day. It should be refreshed periodically as scent slowly rises and disappears. A scent is worth the pleasure it gives.

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