Following the popular demand, and the endless questions relating to perfume, we simply couldn't compact it into one article… So here is our second edition of your most asked perfume related questions answered by us.
1) Does my perfume change on the skin?
Yes, yes, and a million times yes! Body chemistry has everything to do with fragrance. From one’s individual diet, to body temperature, to your skin type, to the pH level, and the level of melanin in your skin; perfume will not only smell differently from the blotter paper, to your skin, yet it will also change on different skins!
Furthermore, even your colouring will change the way your perfume smells on you. For instance, darker skin tones absorb more oriental notes, whereas fairer skin such as Caucasian skin, absorbs the citrus and green notes better. Therefore, it is safe to say, you should be careful of falling into the trap of simply buying a fragrance because “you loved the way it smelt on someone else”!
2) What do Top, Middle, and Base Notes in Fragrances mean?
Top, middle, base…words you often hear in the fragrance aisles, when someone is describing the scent of the perfume. Comparable to music, fragrance is received and enjoyed by our senses, and thus perfumes, like music, are composed in notes. In perfume the three notes are essential in finding the perfect fragrance for you, as it will help you discover which notes you like, and what will suit you best, lasting longer on your skin.
Commonly also referred to as ‘head notes’. These are the scents, the notes that you smell, catch immediately, upon the first spray. They are the fist smile of your perfume, sparkling and attractive. These notes are usually light, with low molecular weight, evaporating rather quickly, thus lasting between 5 to 15 minutes. Your first impression of the fragrance is dependent on your portrayal of the top notes, and hence, they are the most important in the first selling aspect of the perfume. These usually compose of citrus, aldehydes, ozonic, spices, such as ginger and pink pepper, and green notes.
Referred also as ‘heart notes’; these compose the main body of your fragrance. The middle notes aren’t always the most evident ones you initially smell, as they generally emerge and bloom more once the top notes transition, lasting from 1 to 5 hours. They most commonly bring the core/body of the fragrance, which commonly compose of floral and green ingredients, including Jasmine, Rose, Muguet, Lavender, Sage and Vetiver only to name a few.
They bring the core depth to your perfume and they last longest on your skin. They are usually oriental and intense, and support the top, and middle notes, giving the fragrance more holding power and are a good fixative. The base notes, along with the middle notes compose the main character of your perfume. These scents usually evaporate slowly because of their heavy structures and molecular weight. They are typically the most expensive of oils, including ingredients such as resins like incense or benzoin, balm tolu, musks, animalic notes, Orris, Vanilla bean, Tonka Bean, heliotropin or coumarin.
3) What's the difference between men and women's fragrances?
In general, there is no precise distinction between men’s and women’s fragrances. The habit of gendering fragrances dates to the ‘50s, when mass-marketed fragrances were initially introduced and were targeting women in particular.
With packaging, cultural influences and marketing aside, there is not much of an obvious distinction. Nevertheless, a factor that still remains significant in identifying the gender of the fragrance, are the ingredients used. Woody, aromatics like lavender or sage, tobacco and leathery perfumes are usually considered to be used in masculine fragrances, whereas, the more floral, fruity, sweet scents are usually regarded as the feminine fragrances in the prestige market.
Nevertheless, it should be stressed, that scent is a subjective experience, and shouldn't be dictated by outside influences. In the more recent years, we have seen a shift, with more unisex fragrances, as well as the rise of niche, both sampling ways on how the fragrance could be more personal to you, rather than your gender.
4) Should I smell coffee when trying different fragrances?
A myth, to add on a fairy-tale sell to your fragrance! When smelling multiple fragrances, to find the perfect fit, your nose may experience ‘nasal fatigue’, meaning that it has been ‘over worked’, as your nasal receptors, overwhelmed, closed themselves, hence becoming less and less sensitive, making it difficult to distinguish each scent from each other. Similar to the sampling of sorbet (“trou normand”) in between your culinary experiences to cleanse your palate, sales assistants in perfume shops often encourage to smell coffee beans in between the smelling of multiple fragrances. That’s completely wrong, even a big mistake. It will almost constitute the end of your smelling session. Coffee’s smell will just block your nose receptors!
The truth from Maison 21G exclusively is that your best neutraliser, to reset your nose, is just yourself! Simply smell your skin (the inside of your elbow), to reset yourself with a neutral familiar odour. And voila, after 1minute of pause in your smelling session, some fresh air, you’re ready to visit the next scent!
5) Why do some perfumes, make me nauseous?
A problem that unfortunately some of you may experience, with one in three Americans to report health issues traced back to fragrance. Beyond the special case, you are just pregnant (especially at the beginning of your pregnancy where you have an overdose of hormones in your body, making you super sensitive!), there are 2 main reasons behind this.
One, the quality of your perfume. There are potentially too many chemicals in cheap perfume. Since the fragrance manufacturers are not obliged to declare all the ingredients they use, the perfumes unfortunately include many “trade secrets” of cheap synthetics.
Two, the quality of the alcohol in your perfume. Some perfumes use low cost alcohol, which can induce a headache.
6) Are synthetics bad?
Synthetic, or even modern perfumery, started only in the 19th century, and often are mistaken to be ‘bad’, merely because they’re not ‘au natural’. Yet in reality, they can be highly valuable if used in right dosage. Without synthetics the majority of your favourite fragrances wouldn't have been created! Here are 4 reasons highlighting the importance of synthetics in perfumery:
#1 Positive olfactive aspect of synthetic molecules
Synthetics amplify the possibilities of the scent palette of the perfumers, their style, allowing them to invent new olfactory forms. For instance, the ozonic notes such as calone or floral ozone have created the huge trend of marine perfumes including your favourite Aqua di Gio or the fabulous L’Eau d’Issey Miyake!
#2 They are ‘eco-friendly’.
With many scents banned by the health authorities, due to the exploitation of animals, such as Civet, Castoreum, or Ambergris, all these precious smells for perfumery can be recreated by synthetic molecules without disturbing the animal! Additionally, fragrance deriving from rare or protected raw materials, such as Sandalwood, can be reproduced by synthetic compositions without the risk of extinction.
#3 They can imitate any smell you desire!
Unfortunately, we cannot extract essences from all natural ingredients! Don't you love the smell of the intricate Muguet flowers, or the smell of freshly cut grass or raspberry, or something deliciously like cotton candy…? Well thanks to synthetic perfumery you could reconstruct them all!
#4 Less allergenic than natural ingredients!
Allergens in perfumes are mainly contained in natural essences whilst synthetics are very rarely allergenic and highly tested before being launched! There are approximately thirty natural essences that can be potentially allergenic, including, Citral (contained in lemon oil), Eugenol (in clove oil), Geraniol (in rose oil), and Limonene (in orange oil), to name a few!
7) Does my perfume have an expiry date?
Yes, because oxygen and sunlight accelerate the oxidation of your favourite perfumes! Although majority of fragrances do not usually have a hard-and-fast expiration date and last at least 6 months, they do vary depending on their scent’s composition. Usually, oriental perfumes that have heavier base notes, such as amber, will last the longest. Comparatively, citrus and floral perfumes are more fragile, and thus don't last as long.
8) What are the best ways to store your perfume?
To preserve the lifespan, and indulge in the aroma of your fragrance for longer, we have 4 handy tips just for you:
#1 Keep your fragrances out of heat or direct sunlight. Although it does seem more convenient to store your perfume in the bathroom, yet the fluctuations in temperature can impact the fragrance negatively. Heat usually breaks down the chemical structure of perfume, making it lose its potency. We suggest keep your perfume in the fridge!
#2 Store your perfume away from moisture and humidity. These factors can also affect the chemicals within, thus shortening the lifespan of your fragrance. We suggest for the most stability to store your perfume in a cool, dry place. Perhaps your bedroom drawer or cupboard!
#3 Keep the perfume in its original bottle/ container. As soon as you open your perfume, spraying it onto your skin, or starting to transfer it into another bottle, the clock of expiration starts to tick…With the exposure of oxygen, a chemical imbalance could occur, causing the fragrance to expire faster.
#4 Buy smaller bottles. 25-50ml, you have time to use it up, thus avoiding the process of oxidation, enhancing the fragrance expiry.
These tips from Maison21G certainly ensure a longer life span, however, our best suggestion is, buy a perfume that you truly adore, and would want to use every day, to therefore not worry about its expiration, yet instead only hope for it to last longer and longer!
Doesn’t a personalised perfume, with handcrafted ingredients to suit your taste and character, from Maison 21G just sound perfect for that…?