A Practical Guide To Choosing The Perfect Perfume

Finding the right perfume can be a transformative experience. The perfect perfume will fill you with confidence, happiness, and calm, and add depth to your life and the memories made while wearing it.

Men and women often wear perfume or cologne as a way to attract a prospective partner, as the perfect companion to an outfit, or to evoke memories. More people than ever before are wearing perfumes and colognes these days and the range of perfumes available have expanded accordingly. 

Deciding the right perfume for you involves a mix of careful consideration, your own personal preferences, and understanding how perfumes work. 


What Is Perfume?

Perfumes have been around for thousands of years. From Ancient Egypt to ancient Rome right up to today humans have adored and found comfort in beautiful scents. 

In ancient times perfume was only for the rich and powerful but nowadays perfume is available to all. As a result, the amount of innovation and incredible variety has skyrocketed, leaving perfume hunters with a wealth of scents and styles to choose from. 

Modern perfume is made up in part from essential oils, which are extracted from herbs, flowers, and spices. This is what gives your perfume its scent. The other components can include alcohol, water, and fixatives that make your perfume stay on your skin providing you with a long-lasting scent. 


Choosing The Best Scent For You

This comes down largely to personal preference so it is worth deciding which scents appeal to you. The other considerations include how long you want the perfume to last on your skin and when you will want to wear your perfume. Testing perfume is also key to ensuring you make the right choice.  

Perfumes are as individual as we are, so choosing the right one can be a fun if complex task. 

Choosing The Right Concentration 

When deciding on a new perfume, one of the most important decisions you can make is how concentrated you want your perfume to be. There are four different concentrations of perfume:

  • Eau de Cologne
  • Eau de Toilette
  • Eau de Parfum
  • Extrait

How concentrated your chosen perfume is can affect the way it interacts with your natural scent and how long it will last after application. Have a look at this great guide from Officina Delle Essenze for more information on differences among Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Extrait, so you can find the perfect gift. 

Therefore to decide on the perfect perfume you need to decide whether you want it to last all day from the first application, as Extrait will provide, or if you are happy with it providing a shorter lasting, quick burst of scent, as Eau de Cologne will provide. 


What Are Perfume Notes?

Perfume notes are composed of the top, middle and base notes. These notes are key to choosing a perfume that you will love for years to come. 

Top notes are the fragrances you will scent as soon as you apply perfume. They are the first impression that a perfume will give to you and are usually light and fresh to provide an idea of the overall scent of the perfume. 

Middle notes will be stronger and last longer than the top notes of the perfume. They are a bridge between top notes and base notes and provide continuity to the perfume. These can include deeper scents like freshly cut grass, flower essences, or citrus fragrances. 

Base notes are the true power behind the perfume. They are the longest lasting scents and will truly connect the perfume to your skin. They are typically made up of scents like woody tones and musk or spicier scents like vanilla and coffee. 

These three notes come together to create a harmonious interactive scent that will delight you for hours. 


Deciding On Olfactory Families

Olfactory families are the groupings of different kinds of smells. Choosing the right olfactory scents is one of the most enjoyable parts of choosing a scent. They are more specific types of scents than the overall perfume notes. 

Olfactory scents are grouped broadly by type into several main types or families;

  • Citrus 
  • Floral
  • The fern
  • Orientals or amber 
  • Woody
  • Leather
  • Fruity

Different perfumers will include additional olfactory families depending on their own preferences and practices. 

Each olfactory family will include unlimited amounts of different scents to choose from. For instance, the floral olfactory family will include the scents of flowers and plants, as well as some fruity tones. 

This is where your personal preference plays the biggest role. Do you prefer sweet, rich scents like caramel or vanilla? Or fresher scents like lavender or freesia? It can be helpful to make a list of scents you find enjoyable and then identify which olfactory family they fall into. This will help you be best prepared when it comes to selecting the best perfumes for you to try. 

When Will You Be Using Your Perfume?

This is another important consideration for choosing your perfect perfume. You will need to decide not only what season you will be wearing your perfume in, but also what kind of occasion you have in mind for it. 

Many people enjoy choosing a perfume for each occasion, for example, a work perfume, perfume for meals out, and so on. If this sounds like something you would enjoy then you could consider a fresh invigorating perfume for work, perhaps with notes of coffee or cinnamon. If you would be using your perfume for meals out then a floral scent could suit, without being too overpowering while eating. Equally many people enjoy owning a signature scent which will suit any occasion. 

The time of year will also change the way your perfume smells against your skin, so this is something worth considering. You may want to choose a perfume that will suit each season, for instance, a fresh scent for spring, a citrus scent for summer, a woody scent for autumn, and a musky scent for winter.


How To Test Perfume

This step is vital. Never be tempted to buy a perfume you see online without trying it first. The testing phase is important in ensuring that the perfume you have chosen will be right for you and your needs. 

Spray the perfume on a testing card or into the air before trying it on your skin. Once it passes this first test, and you enjoy the scent in the air then test the perfume on your skin. The human body’s natural scent can change the way a perfume smells. You need to decide if you like this change and then go from there. 

Never make the mistake of testing too many fragrances at once. Ideally, you should try one at a time and never more than four in one go. The mingling of the perfumes will mean that you won’t get a true idea of their fragrance as each scent will change the others. 

You should always test a new perfume for a few hours. Let the fragrance settle on your skin and see how the scent changes throughout the day. If you enjoy the perfume still after this test then you may finally be ready to select that perfect perfume.

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Gemma Etc.
Gemma Etc.

Hi, my name is Gemma, and I’m the writer behind GemmaEtc.com. I’m a true beauty obsessive, and love writing about anything to do with beauty. In addition to Gemma Etc., I also own MakeupMuddle.com, and love sharing my thoughts and feelings about beauty and lifestyle products.

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