Have Questions About Cologne and Perfume? You're Not Alone
If you've ever entered a perfume or cologne store and been unable to make a decision, you're certainly not alone. The process of picking a scent can be quite a challenge and stores are often full of aromas, sights, and questions that can leave any shopper confused. Your nose will pick up dozens of different scents, your eyes will glance over display cases filled with glistening bottles in a myriad of shapes and colors, and without a doubt your mind will be full of questions. Whether you are on the hunt for your own perfect signature scent, seeking out the perfect gift for someone special, or simply looking to change up your old standard, having base level knowledge will help you cut through all the stimulus and find the perfect fragrance. Below are five common questions answered to help you get started on your perfume or cologne buying journey.
The Five Important Questions
1. What are the differences between perfume and cologne anyway?
A: One very common misconception about fragrances is that the distinction between perfume and cologne is the gender of the person it is intended for. This difference actually comes from the concentration of the oils that give the product its scent. Pure perfume, also known as parfum, is the most concentrated, with Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and Eau de Cologne being progressively less concentrated in the order listed. The most powerful and long lasting scents are the more concentrated perfumes, but a cologne will provide a subtler fragrance.
2. How should I test a fragrance?
A: When testing perfume or cologne it can be tempting to test every beautiful bottle in the store, but to gauge a scent accurately, you'll need to limit yourself to no more than three at a time. When testing a fragrance in the store, look around for a sample bottle and a blotter. If the bottle is a spray bottle, spritz downward and move the blotter through the mist to pick up the scent. Gently waft the blotter, and if you like the scent apply a bit to one of your wrists. After 30 minutes or so, check the scent again to see how it has dissipated and combined with your body’s chemistry.
3. What are top notes, and why are they important?
A: In a way, top notes are a perfume's greeting to your nose. Top notes are often the first scents described on the product's packaging. These are the scents that your nose will pick up when a fragrance is freshly applied, but will dissipate over time. This is one reason why, when testing a perfume, it is helpful to give the fragrance a bit of time on your body before making a decision. Aromas that linger after the top notes are gone are called mid notes, and the heaviest and longest lasting scents are called bottom notes and will last and hour to several hours.
4. Why do some scents smell better on me than others?
A: The surface of the skin is covered in a thin layer of naturally occurring oils that protect and moisturize it. Since smell of a perfume or cologne comes from oils, these oils combine with our own to create a unique bouquet. If you have ever borrowed a fragrance from a friend and noticed that it smells different on you, this is why. Because hair color is related to the amount of oils your body produces, consider your natural hair color when shopping. As a rule of thumb, lighter scents like fruits and florals are great for natural blondes, woodsy scents, florals, and musk all work well for brunettes, and redheads should start by avoiding sweeter scents.
5. Why is perfume expensive?
A: When shopping for a perfume you may notice that some of your favorite scents leave you feeling as if you have got champagne taste on a beer budget. Before succumbing to sticker shock, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Just like a symphony in which dozens of players come together to make music, perfume is an orchestral arrangement of scents designed to evoke memories of a favorite place, time, or person. The memory of a scent is one of the most powerful and long lasting memories that a human being can form. Additionally, perfume is very concentrated. A little bit will last all day, and even a small bottle will last and last. Used sparingly, you will find that the perfect scent is worth every penny.