Perfume Guide: A Complete Look at Perfume

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Are you trying to spruce up your scent in 2022? Why not start wearing perfume? 

How much do you already know about perfume? Sure, you know that it’s a popular scented cosmetic item, but is there more to it? Where did it come from and what are some of the benefits of it?

We’re here to talk all about perfume in our brief perfume guide. Read on to learn more.

What Is Perfume?

A perfume is a fluid substance (or at least a substance that starts as a fluid, there are gel and stick perfumes) that “emits a pleasant odor.” Perfumes can be for people, objects, and even animals (though it’s not good to place scents on animals if you can avoid it). 

Perfumes are made of essential oils, fragrances (both natural and otherwise), solvents, and fixatives. 

While we mainly think of perfumes as sprays or oils, they can also be gels or rollerballs. You can put them in rooms to “perfume” the air. 

Perfumes and fragrances are often used interchangeably, but they are different. Fragrances go into perfumes. Fragrances can also apply to objects that smell nice but that aren’t perfumes (for example, you’d describe the fragrance of an essential oil diffuser, but that doesn’t make it a perfume).

Basic History of Perfume

People have been wearing fragrances and perfumes for thousands of years. Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Greeks, and people from ancient China all had some form of perfumes. The oldest known perfumes come from Cyprus and they’re about 4,000 years old. 

Old perfumes were often made in rudimentary perfumeries. Perfume makers used herbs, spices, and flowers to make perfumes as extracting essential oils wasn’t yet possible. 

Later on, a Persian chemist discovered a way to extract these oils from flowers and other substances. This made it easier for perfume makers to develop “recipes” for their perfumes.  

It also wasn’t uncommon to use perfume for dead bodies as a part of funeral rites. This allowed people to hide the scent of decay while their families grieved before the body’s deposition. 

Ancient societies often used perfume as a part of worship. Once perfume returned to the western world, it was used more conventionally (as we would use it today). People would use perfume to attract partners and hide their own scents. 

Wealthy people bathed infrequently during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. To hide their body odors, they used perfumes instead of cleaning themselves and following other good hygiene practices

While we have a larger variety of perfumes today, they haven’t changed much. We still use many of the same ingredients and scent notes to adorn ourselves. 

Perfume Types

Many people just use “perfume” to mean “any scented oil or liquid.” They may also use “cologne” when they mean “fragrances for men.”

While this makes sense colloquially, it’s not accurate. In reality, there are several different “levels” of scents that all have different names. Perfume might be used as an umbrella term, but it isn’t one. 

The highest “level” is parfum. It consists of an average of 20% aromatic compounds, but it can range from 15% to 40%. This is too strong for most people.

Esprit de parfum is next. It ranges from 15% to 30%. 

Many people choose to use eau de parfum. This is 10% to 20% (and averages around 15%). This gives the user a strong scent that shouldn’t be overwhelming even if they choose to re-apply it. 

Eau de toilette has 5% to 15%. It’s a common fragrance level for men alongside eau de Cologne (which is 3% to 8%). 

Eau fraîche is more of a splash of fragrance. This is common for body sprays or mists. The fragrance is no higher than 3% and it’s water-based rather than oil or alcohol-based. 

What Are Scent Notes? 

People often describe “notes” of perfumes, but what are scent notes? 

Notes are the layers of scent that make up the final fragrance. It’s uncommon for a perfume to have a single fragrance. Instead, several fragrances are combined to get a pleasant and unique end result. 

Top notes are the most noticeable notes. They’re the notes that you’ll be able to identify as soon as you smell the perfume. They often include light scents or citrus scents that can draw people in. 

Heart notes or middle notes are foundational scents. This layer of scent is longer-lasting and will become more obvious as the top notes fade away. These scents are often pleasant and well-rounded so they don’t overwhelm the top and bottom notes.

Bottom notes or base notes deepen the perfume’s complexity. They create a lasting impression. Deep scents (such as smoke, sandalwood, and musk) are popular for base notes. 

Benefits of Wearing Perfume

So why do people wear perfume anyway?

We already discussed some of the reasons that people wore perfume throughout history, but why wear it now? If you already have good hygiene, why would you add anything? 

Here are a few benefits of wearing perfume.

Contributes to Your “Aesthetic”

Are you trying to build a personal aesthetic? Many people only consider their clothing and makeup when they want to build a “look,” but if you’re not using perfume, you’re missing out on a key factor of your personal “brand.”

Picking a signature scent (or signature notes if you’re interested in using a variety of perfumes) is a great way to pull your aesthetic together. Once you start using the perfume in question, people will recognize you by your scent. They may even think of you when they smell similar notes elsewhere. 

For example, if you choose sweet notes (such as vanilla), people may think of you whenever they pass a bakery. 

Boosts Confidence

Perfume is a huge confidence booster!

Not only will you feel better when you know that you smell great, but aromatherapy can also improve your mood and confidence. While perfumes aren’t for aromatherapy per se, they still come along with all of the aromatherapy benefits.

You can relax, feel happier, and thus feel more confident when you enter a room

Hides Body Odor

Like our ancestors, you can also use perfume to hide your body odor (within reason). 

You should still bathe regularly, but if you’re out and about, using a spritz of perfume is enough to hide your body odor for a few hours until you’re able to get home for a shower. 

Make sure that you don’t overdo it. It’s easy to tell when someone is trying to mask bad body odor with an aggressive perfume. If you’re not careful, the scent of the perfume could mix with your body odor and create an unpleasant result. 

Choosing a Perfume

So how do you find your signature scent (or scents)? Choosing a perfume might seem overwhelming when you have so many options at your disposal. 

Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when you’re making your decision. 

Perfume Price: Does It Matter?

Many people think that they need to pick the most expensive perfume to get the most out of it. While there’s nothing wrong with picking a higher-end perfume (though you should see if you can save money on a site like Perfume Price), you don’t have to choose something expensive in order for it to be effective. 

When you buy your first few scents, consider opting for more affordable options, like scent sprays. This will help you determine what scent notes you like before you drop a lot of money on something higher-end. 

There are often “dupes” for popular perfumes at fast-fashion shops. Some of them are almost identical to the “real thing” while others have almost nothing in common with it. That’s the risk that you take when you’re buying cheap perfumes.

Cheap perfumes tend not to last as long and their heart and base notes may be less pleasant than their expensive counterparts. That said, you won’t know until you try.

Picking the Right Notes

When it comes to picking your scent notes, you’re going to have to consider your personality and the impact that you want to make on the room when you enter it.

People who try to be more “masculine” tend to prefer darker and deeper notes. People who want a “feminine” vibe often choose floral, citrus, and sweet notes. There’s no reason to adhere to these masculine and feminine options, however. 

Mixing and Matching

Did you know that you can layer scents? You don’t have to use one perfume at a time as long as you mix and match carefully. You can also go through a perfume rotation without losing your signature scent profile.

When you’re choosing perfumes, try to pick ones that are cohesive without being identical. They may all have the same base or heart notes with different top notes. 

You could also pick scents that you know will go together even if they aren’t similar. For example, you could mix vanilla with cinnamon. 

Testing in Person

Before you buy perfume, it’s always a good idea to test it out in person. Even if you’re shopping online, that “real-life” test is crucial.

First, you don’t know how a perfume will smell until you try it. Sure, you may know the notes, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll come together in the way that you think. 

You also want to get an idea of the wear-time. When you spray a small amount of perfume on your wrist, you can continue checking it throughout the day to see how long it lasts.

Testing the perfumes ahead of time will also ensure that you don’t pick a perfume that irritates your skin. It would be unfortunate to spend a lot of money on a new scent just to discover that you can’t wear it without developing a rash.

Perfume Application Tips

There are a few things that you can do to get more “bang for your buck” when it comes to perfume. If you apply it the right way, you’ll get better results and a longer-lasting scent (if that’s what you want). 

Here are a few tips for perfume application. 

Appropriate Amount of Perfume Guide

When you first start using perfume, it’s in your best interest to use less than you think that you need. Remember that you may go “nose blind” to your perfume, but other people will not. 

A few small spritzes around your body will be plenty. You can re-apply your perfume as the night or day goes on to make sure that it’s still effective. 

Wearing too much perfume can affect other people in the room who are sensitive to scents. You don’t want people to be able to smell you from across the room, even if you smell nice. 

Where to Place Perfume

Did you know that perfume placement is everything when it comes to the effectiveness and longevity of your perfume? 

Start with the parts of your body that get warm. These are your pulse points. They include your belly, your wrists, and your neck, and behind your ears (among other places).

Make sure that you spray or dab perfume instead of rubbing it. Don’t rub your wrists together when you apply perfume to them.

You can also spritz a small amount of perfume onto your hair or clothing. 

Start Finding Your New Signature Scent Today

Has this perfume guide inspired you to start looking for your new signature scent? Using perfume is a great way to elevate your aesthetic and make you feel better.

Start researching scent notes and testing new perfumes to find your new favorite scent. 

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