9.05.2013

Perfumes 101






I've been working with perfumes and beauty for the past few months and while I can't say I've become an expert, there are quite a few things I've learned along the way that I think are worth sharing. 

I hope you will enjoy these series of posts where I will share (briefly) the insides of this mysterious, charming and magical world.

Let's start by saying that if by any chances you ever do any type of training in perfumes, one of the first things you would learn is- grab a chair if you want- that there is no such a thing as summer fragrances and winter fragrances, day or night, young or more grown up. Astonishing right? All those terms are incorrect as any fragrance can be worn by anyone, at any time and at any occasion. 

Having said that, it is inevitable to use those terms to classified fragrances and also as marketing strategy. Same as it happens with the fashion industry and the change in trends and seasons. 

A fragrance is as much as how it makes you feel and what inspires you, the memories it brings to you, the emotion it awakes and the imagination. That's the reason coconut will always make you feel like vacation and spices like fall. Why you would prefer a lighter fragrance for the hotter months and a warmer for the winter. Or why you would want to keep a low profile at work but distinguished yourself from the crowd in a club.

But like I said, any scent can be worn at anytime =)

Now, another important thing to know is the differences between fragrance products. There are 4 different ones:
- The extract: main product or base of a scented line. It will be the most concentrated product of the line with 15% to 25% of perfume concentrate diluted in 96° alcohol.
- The eau de parfum (EDP): the most concentrated product derived from the extract with 7% to 15% of concentrate diluted in 80° alcohol.
- The eau de toilette (EDT): in most cases some refreshing notes will be added to the base to create a lighter perfume of 3% to 7% of concentrate diluted in 80° or 90° alcohol.
- The eau de cologne: a fresh a very diluted scented solution of 1,5% to 3% of concentrate diluted in 80° or 90° alcohol.

This numbers are approximate and by any means an extrict criteria. Some of the most common questions asked by clients about this matter are: Is the EDP stronger than the EDT? EDT means that it wont last in my skin?

Well, yes...and no. In most cases since an EDP is more concentrated it will be stronger (and by stronger I don't mean overpowering) and it will, therefore last more on the skin. However, there are some extracts that while being less concentrated have an exceptional power. 

Here is a real example: 
For years one of my favourites scents was Paco Rabanne's Black XS, a fruity warm spicy scent. If you've smelled it you will agree with me that it is quite a strong fragrance. Two-three sprays were enough to smell nice all night and I was even able to feel it in my clothes the next morning. That's is something I love in a fragrance. While it might not be every one's cup of tea, I always got compliments while wearing this one. By the description, you will think I'm talking about an Eau de Parfum...well, guess what? Black XS is an Eau de Toilette. A very powerful one. 

On the other hand, Bulgary just came out with a new fragrance for their Omnia line called Crystalline Eau de Parfum, described as a warm floral woody balmy scent. For being a perfume, this is quite light and while the woody warm notes bring character and some staying powder to the formula it didn't last on me more than an hour when I tried it. (I have the Omnia Coral EDT which actually stays very nicely on the skin)

So there you go. It all depends on the quality of the essence used, the way the perfume is applied- I'll talk more about that in another post- and specific characteristics of the person like skin pH's.


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