Testing fragrance

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Looking for a new fragrance? When you’re out fragrance shopping, you can become overwhelmed by the array and all the competing scents.

When perfume shopping, don’t spray on the first thing you see, and don’t let anyone spray a tester on you at the entrance to the perfume counter. Smell the tester by spraying it on a slip of paper, and use this first test to rule out fragrances that don’t appeal to you. Chances are, if you don’t like it on the paper, putting it on your skin won’t increase your enjoyment of it.

Testing perfume

Sampling sampler vials

Once you’ve found some scents that appeal to you on paper, ask a sales clerk if there are samples you can take home to try. Many perfume companies put out little one-time use packages either in paper or tiny glass vials. This is the best way to try a perfume, since you can get away from the varied aromas of the perfume counter and department store and find out what the fragrance will smell like on you without any other distractions. It doesn’t make sense to purchase a perfume without testing it on your body, since your unique chemistry will work with the perfume oils to create the scent that is finally yours. For this reason, when you borrow your best friend’s perfume, while it may smell marvelous on her, it may as easily smell like baby powder or bug spray when combined with your individual pheromones. Finding your fragrance is a personal journey: enjoy the process.

When you test a scent, take the opportunity to evaluate it in three ways. You should like the way it smells when you first apply it: that’s when it is strongest, but it’s also when the alcohol in it contributes its unique smell before evaporating. After the scent has been on for around fifteen minutes, sniff it again. The alcohol scent will be gone, but the top notes will still be strong. This is when your perfume may smell sweetest, as the top notes of most fragrances tend to be florals and herbals. After several hours, the top notes will fade, and the heart and bottom or ‘base’ notes will make their presence felt. Many newer perfumes targeted to the younger set don’t really have base notes: they rely on the alcohol rush and a heavy dose of bright florals, but tend to fade to a single scent after an hour or two. Classic perfumes operate on the principle that perfumes are like people – the more you get to know them, the deeper you will find them to be. Well-balanced fragrances will maintain a portion of the top-note floral or citrus blend while the heart notes (oak moss and sandalwood are two favourites) provide a steady scent that fades slowly.

Perfume base notes

Musk, pepper, cinnamon or incense to name a few – add richness and body to the overall scent. Many people may not be aware of base notes because they are subtle and dark, but you can certainly tell when they are missing – perfumes without them lack depth and interest.

Do you love your perfume selection?

Whatever perfume you decide to make your own, you should feel happy and excited about its scent from the first spray in the morning to the hint of it lingering on your wrist at night. Perfume, more than any other fashion-related product is about pleasing yourself first. You may choose one perfume and wear it all your life, or create a fragrance wardrobe, wearing any scent that suits your mood and the occasion. Fragrance, like beauty, is utterly individual, an expression of your deepest self.

All it takes is a little investment in time and energy – and a little knowledge about how fragrances work – to create a fragrance wardrobe you will love, or your signature scent that captures you effortlessly.

This article originally appeared here

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  1. Ria Russouw

    I would love some perfume samples

    1 year ago •

  1. Ammara Patel

    I have tried so many perfumes and it’s so difficult to find THE ONE that states “THIS IS ME”. I will carry on my quest to find the perfect fragrance for me. I never thought it would be so hard so find a fragrance that sticks with me. Perfume should be like your signature, it’s yours for life.

    4 years ago •

  1. Zu

    “You may choose one perfume and wear all your life” i like this statement ive been on a quest, to find my signature scent, it so difficult! I hink because of that “one” hahaha.. Theres so much i like.. I cant choose!

    6 years ago •

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