Have you always been too lazy to buy a perfume? If you've received most of your collection as gifts, I'm totally with you. I just don't have the time or energy or willingness at times to go to the mall and find the perfect match for my pulse points. Alright, alright, I admit I'm lazy! But when I exhausted my collection of perfumes recently, I was really petrified about what to do. Although I had a few small unused bottles on the dresser but they were ‘unused' for a reason – I just hated the fragrance. Some of my friends have funny noses but they're okay otherwise. So I decided it was time to pull up my socks and go sniffing around.
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So I head to the mall and walk up to the perfume counter, and that was when I faced a bigger question – how do I choose the right one! I had already started feeling woozy with all the mixture of fragrances lingering in the air. The ever-so-smiling, scent-spritzing face of the assistant was gnawing at my senses and I just had to go back home empty-handed. Such was my hard luck. But fellas, you will not experience the trauma that my nose and I went through because I've been kind enough to compile a ‘how to' for you. Read on...
Before you decide to go perfume-shopping, it is important to relax all your senses. So a helpful tip here would be to go only on a weekend when you're far more hassle-free than what you are in the middle of the week. Begin by understanding the proper terminology. There are 5 types of perfume, yes, 5.
These are the pure, untarnished and the most natural form of perfume oils that come from the flora and fauna. They are usually very expensive for a small amount. They are often confused with essential oils which are actually less concentrated. Examples of absolutes: pure lavender oil or Itr that is used widely in Arabia.
Eau de Cologne:
Eau de Cologne is a diluted version of perfume. Containing only three to five percent of pure oil mixed in water or alcohol, it tends to be much lighter than absolutes. It often contains a hint of citrus oil.
Eau de Toilette:
This is almost the same like Eau de Cologne except that it's always mixed with alcohol instead of water.
Eau de Parfum:
This is a more dense perfume as it contains 13 to 15 percent of oil mixed in alcohol. So it's relatively costlier than Eau de Cologne and Eau de Toilette.
This is what Georgio Armani calls ‘Acqua di Gioa' or ‘Armani Code'. Basically it's the expensive stuff that we buy once in a year only. It's made by mixing 13-15 percent of pure oil mixed in alcohol or water. Because it contains such a high percentage of perfume oil, it is far more expensive than the other diluted versions of perfume i.e. Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, or Eau de Parfum.
Apart from this, you'll also hear other terminology like, citrus, fresh, floral, leather, tobacco, musk, oriental, sweet, spice, or wood. Don't be intrigued; these are just classifications of the fragrances based on where they come from and how they smell. Remember, choosing the best perfume requires a lot of time. We all smell different fragrances differently, so a certain smell that speaks to you won't do so with your friend. Also, we tend to break down a fragrance in different notes that it carries. For example, if you smell a scent first, you may find the top note or the dissipate to be strong, then gradually after a minute you'll gauge the middle note (or bouquet) that probably smells lighter and it's close to the final fragrance that the perfume will actually give out. Finally, after 5 minutes, as the pungency fades, you can smell the basic note which is what speaks to you. If you think it suits your taste then you've found the one!
Signature scents: You probably remember a few people who came into your lives by the way they smelled. It could be your history professor who always smelt like a garden or your boyfriend-turned-husband who has smelt of Ralph Lauren all these years. Or probably the next-door neighbour who had foreign visitors every weekend and always smelled somewhat...French. These are called signature scents. A certain fragrance that becomes a part of you, a part of your personality and it's what defines you. But you need a lot of trials and errors to get there – I'm still searching for my signature scent. Anyhow, do keep in mind the tips mentioned above and good luck sniffin'!