Shopping for a fragrance isn’t easy. Describing what type of scent you’re looking for is even harder. You need to choose a perfume that reflect your personality and suits you. Fragrances mix with the natural oils on your skin, so what smells great on you, may smell horrible on someone else.
There are thousands of ingredients used to create fragrances and they are grouped into several categories. Once you understand the differences and find out which one suits you best, choosing the right fragrance will be easier. Here’s a quick guide to help you:
Bottom notes: they are the base of a fragrance and make up about 40/50% of it. These notes are heavy and longlasting so you can smell them for hours.
Middles notes: they account for about 30/40% of the fragrance and are usually floral. They smell the strongest after about 30 minutes of wear.
Top notes: they are light scents that makeup about 20% of the fragrance. They’re the ones you smell as soon as you open a bottle of perfume but evaporate quickly once applied on the skin.
Aldehydes: also known as modern blends, these fragrances resemble those of the other categories, but there’s something unique about them that sets them apart.
Chypres: citrus or florals combined with woody or mossy notes. They are deep and dark.
Citrusy: notes derived from citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, limes and tangerines. They are light and refreshing. For that reason, they are usually used as top notes.
Floral: they capture the essence of flowers. They are very popular and usually diffusive.
Fougere: pronounced “foo-JHAIR”, it is a group of fragrance notes that includes certain citrus fruits, green, florals, geranium and lavender. They’re crisp, have a mossy aroma and are usually used in men’s colognes.
Fruity: derived from fruits like apple, peach and melon. They are sweet, fresh and cover the odor of other chemicals.
Gourmand: notes that have a food-flavored aroma like coffee, almond and chocolate.
Green/Herbal: they’re made from plants such as rosemary, sage and basil. They’re fresh, sharp and grassy. Because they diffuse very quickly, they’re mostly used as top notes.
Oriental: notes include amber, musks, myrrh and incense. They are warm, sensual and powdery. Because they are heavy and long-lasting they are usually used as base notes.
Soft-Oriental: oriental notes combined with floral ones. They tend to be fresh.
Spicy: pungent and spicy notes that include cinnamon, cloves, and ginger.
Watery: synthetic notes that smell like ocean, sea breeze or rain. They are watery and crisp.
Woody: they are based on woody and mossy notes and include pine, cedar and sandalwood. They’re heavy and longlasting and they are usually used as bottom notes.
Cologne: lightest form of fragrance. It evaporates very quickly.
Eau De Parfum: one of the most common type of fragrances, it lasts for about 6-8 hours.
Eau De Toilet: it’s not very concentrated and lasts about 4-6 hours.
Perfume: the stronger and longer-lasting type of fragrance. It lasts for about 8-12 hours.