BeYoutiful Beauty

Fragrance Favourites

11 Fascinating Things You Need to Know About Your Perfume

04 May, 2017
By BeYou[tiful]
You are a true perfume aficionada. You spritz and spray, layer and wear it every day. But have you ever wondered why your perfume doesn't last? Or why fragrance lifts your mood? Maybe you’ve been lucky enough to find your signature scent. Or are you still going through the highs and lows of trying to find the best match? Before you go on your next trawl for that seemingly ever-elusive perfection, we answer all your questions and bring you surprising (but important!) facts you never knew about your favourite smells.

Fragrances Don't Last on Me. What Should I Do?

Your skin may be too dry. One neat trick is to apply an unscented body lotion (or unscented Vaseline) before you spritz - moisturised skin holds a fragrance for longer. Or even better, a body lotion that matches your fragrance. Known as layering, the double dose of the same fragrance plus the moisturiser will make it last longer.
Also, certain fragrances have base notes which are not designed for extra-long wear, so you might have to experiment with different ones before you find 'the one'. Look for vanilla, musk or woods in the base note for good lasting power.

I Can Smell My Perfume When I Apply It but Then It Disappears. Why?

Did you know that your nose gets used to a fragrance after it has been around for a while? That's the main reason why you could be struggling to smell it any longer. You just get used to it. But that doesn’t mean others can't smell it.

Ask a girlfriend if she can smell your scent when you can't (be careful of asking your guy as women have better sense of smell than men). And be careful of reapplying your perfume if you think it has got 'lost'. You may just OD on the fragrance and land up smelling like a perfume factory...

Most importantly, know that the true sign of a well-suited perfume is if you can’t smell it on yourself.

Where Should I Spray My Perfume? Is It Better to Spray Fragrance on My Body, My Hair or My Clothes?

You can apply it anywhere. Fragrance reacts to the warmth of your skin so your best bet is to apply it on your pulse points where your blood vessels are closer to the skins surface - your inner wrist, behind your earlobes, your throat and the inner elbow.

If you love to be surrounded by a 'cloud of perfume', hair can be a wonderful diffuser of scent as it is always moving. However, fragrance is not particularly good for your crowning glory. It contains alcohol which is drying, so you could be doing more damage than it’s worth. Try spraying into onto your hair brush to reduce the risk.

Clothes can be a challenge particularly if you use different fragrances. And certain fragrances can stain so be careful - patch test first. But for those of you with sensitive skins it may be the only alternative.

Is It True That Fragrances Vary According to The Chemistry of Each Skin?

Yes - subtle differences can occur due to the skin's PH factor, the environment and even diet, but they are not significant. Certain people's skins change fragrances drastically, but this is extremely rare.

While some older fragrances with more natural ingredients can be fragile and therefore more likely to react to your skin's chemistry, the structure of modern fragrances actually makes them quite stable. The main reason you may think they vary so much is that a fragrance smells different when it is just applied (known as the top note) to when someone has been wearing it for a longer time (the base note).

Related: How to Choose a Perfume Which Really Suits You
 

Why Do Some Perfumes Last Longer on Me While Some Not at All?

Long lasting is due to two things - perfume concentration and the ratio of base notes (that last) and of top notes (that are very volatile).

Ever wondered about the difference between eau de toilette and parfum? Basically, it's the concentration of the fragrance oils (although it's not regulated so you have to be careful). Eau de toilette has a lower concentration than eau de parfum, followed by parfum or perfume.

The theory is that the higher the concentration the longer lasting the fragrance will be. But even the most concentrated perfumes won't last if they are made up of highly volatile materials. So a fragrance with powerful raw materials but lower concentration may actually last longer than a stronger one with weak raw materials. The bottom line - more expensive (aka perfumes) doesn’t always mean better.

Why Does My Friend Love Her Perfume but I Don’t?

Everyone has a unique 'smell-print'. Just like fingerprints are unique to each of us, no two people smell things in the same way. And all of us have scent blind spots, meaning there are specific smells you just can't pick up on.

That's why your bestie smells yummy cupcakes in her new fragrance while to you it is sickly sweet. There is only one scent that smells the same to everyone: citral, a lemony green citrus smell used in perfume and toiletries.

Fragrance also stirs up some of our most powerful memories from the first 10 years of our lives. Maybe that's why most of us just love the smell of baby powder. But you mom may have made amazing brownies and you find your mouth involuntarily watering whenever you catch a whiff of that smell. Or maybe you had sneezing fits whenever you smelt one type of flower. Guaranteed you now avoid that smell and have never quite known why. Your brain unconsciously reacts to all those memories.

Should I Always Try a New Perfume on My Skin Before Buying It?

Yes, you should. Firstly, a fragrance is designed to change with time. The top notes are around for about 15 minutes, then dry down to the heart and finally the base of the perfume, which is its real personality. So you really can't make a decision on the smell on a scent strip or a quick spritz in the store.

And then there is your DNA. Your sense of smell is much more complex than you realise. It all boils down to your 'major histocompatibility complex '(MHC), which are the genes that map out the immune system (complicated - but stick with us). Researchers have found that women look for mates whose MHC is different from their own to ensure offspring with better immune systems. We also tend to gravitate towards a perfume which suits our own MHC - instinctively wanting to improve our chance of finding a perfect partner.

How does this help you pick a fragrance? The bottom line - you should find one you really love. Start with fragrances you already like, check out their base notes in basenotes.net’s directory and then look for similar ones in store. Don't get swayed by beauty advisors or a friends' choice. Also, don’t try more than three at a time - this just confuses your nose. Get sprayed with your fave (even better, ask for a sample), go have a cup of coffee and see what it’s like after an hour. If it makes you happy and feel good, buy it.

Can Certain Fragrances Change My Mood?

Yes - they can. The scent of vanilla has scientifically been proven to be additive. It enhances sensations of pleasure across your entire body, gives you a sense of comfort, and is recognised as being the standard 'happy' fragrance most people respond to.

Foody, or 'gourmand' fragrances as they are known, are closely linked to all those yummy flavours your taste buds love. Your senses of smell and taste are very closely linked - ever wondered why you can't taste food when you have a heavy cold? It’s your nose (and not your taste buds) which registers certain foods as being delicious and draws you to the same smells in fragrance - they are moreish, indulgent, enjoyable and highly addictive.

If you have ever swotted up on aromatherapy, you will know that certain fragrances like lavender will help you relax when you feel stressed (and help you sleep), while a zesty citrus or even a sniff of cinnamon will give you a burst energy. If you are feeling a little down, a spritz of jasmine will help. Emotionally, sandalwood will help you gain a sense of inner peace when life gets too hectic. And if you’ve just blown your top, ylang ylang will help calm your nerves.

Related: Valuable Beauty Tips You Need to Know Before You Turn 30

Are Fragrances Containing 100% Natural Ingredients the Best Ones?

Definitely not! With the trend towards naturals, this is one situation where synthetics are getting a bad rap.

It's a little-known fact that natural fragrances very rarely smell exactly like their scent in nature and need some help from synthetics (a bit like mini perfumes in their own right) to enhance the fragrance to give you the smell you love and want. And that's okay. The upside of synthetics? The shelf life of perfume has now been doubled so it lasts longer without losing its distinctive smell.

It's also a fact that very few if any fragrances can claim being 100% natural. And don’t get conned by those sales people who give you the blurb about natural fragrances being better - they are different but not better.

What’s the Difference Between Male and Female Fragrances?

Despite what you may think, not much. How a perfume is dressed up - the bottle and the advertising - is what makes a fragrance into a feminine or a masculine scent. Men's fragrances aren't just for men. In fact, one third of men's fragrances sold are worn by women.

The fresh fragrance family is one that is truly unisex with its clean notes of greens, aquatics and citrus so tends to appeal to both genders. One of the most well know is Davidoff Cool Water, and you can also try Simply Blue in this family.

Oriental and chypre fragrances are traditionally quite heavy - they are very sensual and warm up well on the skin so are well suited to both sexes. Orientals are known for their rich, exotic, spicy and foody notes while chypres are defined as citrusy, mossy, woody and animalic. Our product picks:  CK Be (woody oriental), Beyoncé Heat (vanilla oriental), Revlon Unforgettable (floriental), Thierry Mugler Angel (gourmand oriental), Rihanna Rebelle (fruity oriental) and YSL Black Opium (oriental vanilla).

Our society does however classify florals (especially white flowers) as more female, and fougère fragrances (fresh, mossy, woody) as more masculine. But this doesn’t mean that these notes are not included in the development of either male or female fragrances. Some well-known floral fragrances include Clinique Happy, Coty Exclamation, Paco Rabanne Lady Million, Elizabeth Arden Pretty and Lentheric Hoity Toity.

The only difference between the two sexes worth noting is that men tend to a slightly more alkaline skin than women. The smell of a fragrance can be affected if the alkalinity level is too high. It’s just a matter of trying out which suits your skin the best.

Which Is the Best Perfume to Buy as A Gift for My Mom or Bestie?

After all you have read, you can now see that you could be stepping into a potential minefield if you give fragrance as a gift. The possibility of choosing a fragrance you prefer (or even one of the classics which you think would appeal), and which your mom or friend won't like, is actually very high.

So the only answer is to buy them their favourite fragrance. If they are truly in love the smell, your gift will be welcomed with open arms. If you know the type of fragrance they like, you could also opt for a selection of different miniatures in the same family to give them a chance to try out a few new fragrances of a similar type. And if you are really stuck and still want to give a fragrance, opt for a vanilla fragranced body product or room diffuser. Vanilla is the universal ‘happy’ fragrance which appeals to the most number of people.
 
For those of you who want to keep up with the latest and greatest in the world, these are the best-selling fragrances at the super trendy leading international beauty retailer, Sephora - right now.

Shop Your Products Now

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Beyonce Heat EDP 50ml
R 455.00

Calvin Klein Be EDT 50ml
R 660.00

Clinique Happy EDP 100ml
R 1255.00

Coty Exclamation Cologne Spray 50ml
R 279.95

Davidoff Cool Water EDT 30ml
R 575.00

Elizabeth Arden Pretty EDP 100ml
R 515.00

Paco Rabanne Lady Million EDP 50ml
R 1415.00

Revlon Unforgettable EDT 50ml
R 187.50

Simply Blue EDP 100ml
R 199.95

Thierry Mugler Angel EDP 75ml - Refillable
R 1685.00

YSL Black Opium EDP 50ml
R 1075.00
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