Learn more about the world of perfume and follow these handy tips on how to shop for your next scent statement.
Killing Eve’s Villanelle knew what’s what: fragrance can be a powerful tool. But whether you aim to seduce, intrigue, amuse or intoxicate, it helps to know some basics before you start testing out scents. Lovery has you covered with a quick primer on fragrance.
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Think of how a ripe strawberry smells—juicy, youthful, summery, fresh, red. Unmistakable, right? Now think about how you’d like to smell and be remembered. Not so easy! According to Coco Chanel, “No elegance is possible without perfume. It is the unseen, unforgettable, ultimate accessory.” Not to mention, smell is the sense most closely tied to memory; your choice of perfume could affect how your first impression comes across and lingers in the imagination. With so much at stake, fragrance shopping can be intimidating—especially for the uninitiated. Enter this handy guide.
First, consider how you’re likely to use fragrance on a day-to-day basis: do you expect to be touching up throughout the day and night, or are you a morning-spritz-and-done type? Personal preferences will dictate if you should shop for longer-lasting formulations. Here’s how most fragrance concentrations break down:
- Eau Fraiche: 1-3%
- After Shave, Mist or Splash: 1-3%
- Eau de Cologne: 2-4%
- Eau de Toilette: 5-15%
- Eau de Parfum: 15-20%
- Pure Parfum or Extrait de Parfum: 20-40%
A perfume containing a higher concentration of oil will last longer and perform differently than a scent that’s more diluted. For instance, while eau de toilette lasts about 3 to 8 hours from application, eau de parfum will last anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. The higher the percentage of pure perfume oil, the greater the expense—but don’t expect different concentrations to smell interchangeable. The identical brand of eau de toilette may not smell the same as its eau de parfum variation, even straight out of the bottle… so do always try a sniff test.
Next, you’ll want to take the different types of fragrance into account. Consider your favorite fragrances, whether they be food-related, environmental, or commercial perfumes you’ve noticed other people wearing; are they all reminiscent of the outdoors and fresh, lively growing nature? Then you may be a fan of green perfumes. There are four main fragrance groups:
Fresh: herbal, citrusy, aromatic, green, minty (think Tocca Giulietta; Jo Malone London Basil & Neroli)
Woody: woods, mossy woods, dry woods, aromatic (think Phlur Somebody Wood; Skylar Fall Cashmere)
Oriental: exotic, spicy, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, incense (think Dior Poison; Yves Saint Laurent Opium)
Floral: floral, soft floral, floral oriental (think Chanel No. 5; Gucci Bloom)
If your taste falls between the lines regarding these categories, you might want to experiment further to find what works for you. And whether you’re shopping for yourself or a friend, you might want to play it safe and choose a sampler so you’re bound to be exactly right… at least once!