Everything You Need to Know About Fragrance

perfume bottles in a flat lay arrangement

Head into your nearest department store, and you’re likely to feel bewildered by the perfume section. Not only are there hundreds of designer scents on the shelves, but they’re all called different things, and have confusing ingredients! With that in mind, here’s a guide to help if you're after a new fragrance. 

What are the perfume types? 
There are several different perfume classifications. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional perfumier to understand them – here’s a basic run-through. 

-Parfum (or pure perfume)
This is the highest fragrance concentration, so it’s the most potent. As you might expect, it’s also the most expensive. 

-Eau de parfum
Eau de parfum is the next highest concentration. It’s still got good longevity, but it’s less powerful. Even so, many high end brands use this for their perfume blends and it's a good choice if you want a scent that will last most of the day and night.

-Eau de toilette
This has a lower concentration than eau de parfum and is considerably cheaper to buy. It's usually the choice of mid or lower end perfume brands, but some higher end brands use it too as a lighter alternative to their eau de parfum varieties. Expect this to fade in a few hours so a topup throughout the day will be needed if you want it to last. 

-Body spray
Body sprays are really only for freshening up, as they’re a very low potency and the effects don’t last long. 

Types of ingredient 
The ingredients are what make each perfume distinctive; however, there are some commonly used ones that you’ll see in a lot of designer fragrances. These are some of the notes you can expect to see if you look on the back of many perfume boxes. 

Citrus scents are very popular, particularly in day-time perfumes. If citrus is a dominant aroma, you can expect the fragrance to be lively and fresh. 

Various woods are used to provide the base notes, such as cedarwood, agarwood and rosewood. These usually add depth and richness to a perfume, and counter-balance any sweet ingredients, like vanilla or jasmine. 

You might not be familiar with this one. Ambergris is found washed up on beaches, and it’s very sought-after. It gives perfume a slightly sea-salty tang, which is quite contemporary and ‘outdoorsy’. 

-Oud oil
Oud oil is one of the world’s most exclusive ingredients. It’s known for being decadent and exotic, which makes it ideal for evening wear. 

Musk is another base note that creates a sense of mystique. The bestselling Aventus Creed cologne is a great example of a fragrance that uses this ingredient to great effect. 

-Floral notes (jasmine, lilac, lavender etc)
Some feminine perfumes are floral-dominated. However, the days of heavy rose are long gone. Instead, modern fragrances tend to choose lighter, more musky floral scents – such as jasmine blossom, lilac or lavender. Enticing flowers like ylang ylang are also popular. 

-Pink pepper
Admittedly, this sounds like a strange ingredient for a perfume; but it really works. It provides a sharp punch, which immediately neutralises any otherwise sickly-sweet scents like apple or vanilla. If you’re looking for something a bit different, seek out this ingredient. 

Which one is for you? 
Work out which perfume suits your personality. It should reflect your ethos; whether that’s playful and fun, or smart and sexy! The best thing is to test out as many as you can; either at the perfume counter or online. Some online retailers sell sample bottles, which provide the perfect opportunity to try each fragrance out in different situations.

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