How to use perfumes ?
The art of perfumery is part of human beauty. To start of, let us know more about perfumes.
To look good, smell delightful, be captivating and be desired for - these are all part of self fulfillment and human beauty.
We all wish to smell perfectly good, and even better, to have that scent the whole day.
This makes the choice of perfume essential.
To get that touch of "special fragrance", let us go to the exciting part of understanding the world of perfumery. We must delve into knowing the people and processes involved in the creation of these scents. This way, you can know how to choose perfumes that fit you personally.
After all, beauty is not just visual. It is dependent on the nose of the beholder too.
How is a perfume created ?
A perfume is a mixture of several aromatic molecules or essential oils.
Some of them can be of natural origin (extracted from flowers like rose, jasmine or ilang-ilang for example), but today most of them are synthetized in laboratories.
Creators of perfumes are called "Noses", because they are able to recognize about 3000 different fragrances (unlike regular people, who can note only 500 scents).
But this skill is not enough. The "Noses" have another special talent. They can imagine the final result of the perfume when they combine several fragrant molecules.
Some perfumes can thus be exytremely sophisticated. The famous Habanita (Molinard, 1921) is a mix of 650 different aromatic molecules. The number of ingredients is however not a proof of quality. Nahema, from Guerlain, is composed only of 12.
"Noses" work either as freelancers or are employed by the great perfume houses. There are about 500 in the whole world, and 120 of them are in France.
How is a perfume produced ?
When the "Nose" has distinguished the whole composition of a new perfume, the industrial processes can begin.
Using the "recipe", technicians adjust the percentage of each ingredient to produce a concentrate of perfume.
Then this concentrate is blended with alcohol (ethanol) to produce : perfume (the most concentrated), eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de Cologne (the less concentrated).
The biggest quantities of concentrates are produced by huge companies like Robertet or Mane in Grasse (France), or Givaudan, Firmenich (Switzerland), IFF (USA), and Symrise (Germany).
However, a lot of smaller companies, especially in France, produce their own perfumes too. Others buy concentrate from them to sell eaux de parfum, or eaux de toilettes under their own trade marks.
How to choose a perfume for yourself ?
Choosing a perfume on a website is quite hard, because computers or smartphones cannot give us samples of scents (although some Japanese researchers have already created a "smelling screen" in 2013).
That is why we use olfactory pyramids. They define the structure of a perfume using 3 levels.
The top notes are the first we can smell, so they give the first impression of a perfume, but they disappear after 10 to 15 minutes. Citrus, or bergamot, are quite often used as top notes.
Middle notes appear when top notes dissipate and can last 3 to 4 hours. They are usually floral scents like rose, jasmine or tuberose. Middle notes express the personality of a perfume like floral, oriental, or gourmand.
This personality is accentuated by the base notes, the one we memorize best. Typical base notes include amber, musk, vanilla, moss and wood.
Olfactory pyramid (here Madame Romantique N°1) let us imagine (just a little bit) what the smell of a perfume might be by revealing the main scents. So if you like - or dislike - one scent, it will help you to choose one perfume or another.
How to perfume yourself ?
Of course the most sensual way of using perfume is to spray it on the skin, just like most women do.
To quote Marylin Monroe's famous line on spraying perfume on her skin : "What do I wear in bed ? Why, Chanel N°5, of course".
In this case, spray at a distance of 20 cm from the skin. Spray the perfume on the neck, on the wrists, under the ears, and on the elbows to truly appreciate the scent.
Do note however that spraying on the skin can bring some inconvenience to others. As we have noted, perfumes are mostly composed of alcohol and some people may be allergic, especially under sunny conditions.
Also, every person's skin has its own chemistry that may influence the smell of or duration of a perfume (especially if the skin is acidic : the scent will fade more quickly).
A good solution to avoid these factors is to spray on your clothes.
Clothing will not impact the real scent of the perfume, and the smell may last longer.
For this same reason perfumes should be kept in glass or aluminium bottles, and never in plastics which denature them.
But don't expect a morning spray to last the whole day in warm climates.
You better keep a small bottle in your bag (30 ml bottle is perfect size) so that you can use it as needed throughout the day.