Monday, April 28, 2014

Perfume 101: The Makeup Examiner’s Crash Course on Scent

The Makeup Examiner’s brief crash course about perfume is my kick-off for an ongoing series of perfume and scent reviews. Since age 13, when my father gave me my first “grown up” bottle of perfume, I’ve been fascinated with the healing properties of scent. That has led me on my own personal journey to figure out the what, why and how of fragrance. Scent has transformative power and has a direct effect on our mood. For you, the reader, TME is going to share a simple rundown about fragrance. But, I hope that you visit often and join me on this scent-filled journey.

History of Perfume: The Ancient Egyptians are the most noted group of people to use perfume and use of perfume in their culture can be traced back to 1000 BC. Egyptians utilized fragrances as part of their religious ceremonials, believing that they could communicate with the gods with scented smoke, which is actually where the word perfume comes from -- per fumum -- Latin for by means of smoke. Incense was used for religious purposes, while balms and ointments were used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes. Myrrh, frankincense, peppermint and rose were common ingredients in early perfumes.

The Persians perfected the art of preserving scents; while the Greeks categorized perfumes according to the part of the plant they came from and kept records of their compositions. Alexander the Great brought perfume to Greece after invading Egypt, and the Romans took on the Greek's perfume culture when they invaded Greece. Meanwhile, Islamic, Chinese and Indian cultures had been using perfume as part of their religious and social rituals as well. The first commercially marketed perfume, Bouquet a la Marichal, was introduced in 1675 and the rest as the as they say … is history.

Storing Perfume:
  • Perfume should be stored at room temperature out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources.

Applying Perfume:
  • Scent hugs best to moist skin, so apply perfume directly after you shower.
  • Apply perfume to your pulse points -- inner wrists, inner elbows, behind ears, between breasts, back of knees and ankles.  
  • Never rub perfume because that crushes the molecules of the fragrance and ruins the scent.
  • As we age our sense of smell does diminish, so stick to the less is more rule. This can also occur is you’ve been wearing a particular scent for along time! 

Different Concentration Levels: The concentration of fragrances is measured by the amount of oil in a scent.
  • Perfume Extract: 20-50 percent
  • Eau de Parfum: 10-30 percent
  • Eau de Toilette: 5-20 percent
  • Eau de Cologne: 2-5 percent

Fragrance Notes. Scent has three notes that blend like music and reveal in stages. That’s why, upon first spritz of a perfume you may love it and then find that it isn’t one you like.

  • Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately upon application of a perfume. Also referred to as head notes they usually last about five minutes. 
  • Middle notes: This is the scent of a perfume that emerges after the top notes dissipate. The middle note, also referred to as heart notes, last about 10 minutes to one hour. 
  • Base notes: Middle and Base notes are the main theme of a perfume, with the Base notes being the “anchor”. You’ll notice the scent of the Base Notes after approximately 30 minutes during what is referred to as the drydown. The drydown occurs as a fragrance’s Top and Middle notes begin to dissipate.

Due to factors such as body chemistry, every perfume will smell different on each individual wearer. Therefore, when selecting a new scent it’s important to take time to allow for the entire process to occur. Thank you for stopping by, my fellow beautynistas, and I hope that this Perfume 101 Crash Course is helpful to you! ~xo Yvonne

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