Perfume Part 2: Perfume Notes and the Fragrance Wheel
In Part 1, we covered the basics of perfume. (you can read it or watch the video on my blog here.)
Part 2 can be viewed at the bottom of this article, or click here to watch it on YouTube.
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How many people have beat you over the head when they walk into a room? They’re 50 feet away but you can smell what they’re wearing. This happens when someone shouts their fragrance instead of whispering it!
Oftentimes, people become so accustomed to their perfume that they don’t realize how much they are covering themselves with.
It is important not to overdo it, to know what notes you’re dealing with, and how strong they are.
What are notes?
Top notes, middle notes, and base notes are components of every fragrance. Knowing the difference between them is important when choosing between cheap or expensive perfumes.
Sometimes referred to as head notes, top notes are the lighter, more volatile notes that evaporate more quickly.
Medium notes, often referred to as the heart notes, make up the body of the fragrance blend. Although you may detect them when you first put on your scent, it usually takes about 30 minutes for someone to notice the heart notes.
As the central part of your signature scent, these notes are the ones that usually classify which family your perfume belongs to.
Base notes have the greatest molecular weight. They are the aromatic part of your perfume that slows down the evaporation rate and makes the fragrance last longer.
Scents like oakmoss, patchouli, wood, musk, and vanilla are common base notes in fragrances.
A question I receive often is, “Do you match your perfume to what you’re wearing?” For example, if you are wearing a floral print or pattern, do you wear more of a Floral scent?
The answer is no. Each scent comes with a personality.
I am in the process of developing a quiz so you will be able to see what perfume scent indicates your personality!
Just like your Style Personality with the clothing you wear, you will have a primary, secondary, and tertiary personality type with fragrance.
Orientals may be your favorite with a secondary inclination for Florals.
And each of the scents on the Fragrance Wheel all blend together, somewhat like the color wheel. Once you learn about the scents, you will realize how complex your personal tastes really are.
The Fragrance Wheel
What is the Fragrance Wheel? It really holds the key to all your favorite fragrances, comprised of 14 different families that all lead to one another. Florals become soft Florals, soft Florals translate into Floral Orientals, and so on.
What are the differences between the fragrances?
Florals are your fresh notes. They include fresh cut flowers, or the softer Floral notes. Making our way around the fragrance wheel, you have a Floral Oriental with more orange blossom and sweet spicy smells. And a soft Oriental is mostly Oriental with a little bit of Floral, such as incense or amber.
The second main group of fragrances is Orientals, which include resins such as frankincense and vanilla. As you move around the wheel, you see an Oriental Woody fragrance, which is like sandalwood and patchouli that I mentioned earlier.
Further around, you get into Agarwood (or OUD), which actually cannot be purchased in the States — but they smell truly amazing.
Vetiver and moss are signatures off the Woody notes. As you move around the Fragrance Wheel, the Woody Orientals are oakmoss and amber. And finally, the true dry woods have a distinct scent of wood, leather, and the more musky smells.
Finally, lavender and herbs are signatures of Fresh notes. Sweet, spicy Orientals are across the wheel from Fresh scents, and Fresh Florals are more of an aquatic, watery scent.
As you can see, they gradually all blend into one another and there are thousands upon thousands of different kinds of perfume. I have developed a course on perfumes, in which I really break them all down bit by bit.
The e-book links to all the different colognes and perfumes that fall into those families too. I also include more information on what kinds of perfumes are appropriate for different occasions.
Send the Right Message
If you’re attending a business meeting or your husband’s work party, should it determine which fragrance you apply?
The answer is yes.
The perfume you wear will always send a subconscious message, and you want the right message to be sent.
Due to this, I often advise female clients to wear men’s cologne when working with men.
Fragrances smell different on everyone, so a “men’s cologne” will not smell the same on a man as it will on a woman.
Somewhat along those lines, many people ask what to do if they and their partner disagree on fragrance preferences.
Because you eventually get desensitized to your own personal scent, I generally advise wearing the perfume that your partner prefers.
After all, they will be the one who notices the smell day after day.
The higher the quality and more expensive the perfume, the longer it is going to last. The cheaper a fragrance is, the shorter its shelf life is, lasting about a year. However, even quality items need to be treated well to last, right?
Oftentimes, it is tempting to keep your pretty bottle of perfume on the counter, but hide it away! Even direct exposure to air can cause your fragrance to break down and the scent to be ruined.
As a final tip, keep in mind things you need to avoid with your perfume, such as heat. Don’t rub your wrists together after applying your fragrance. You cause friction, which is heat!
Be aware, spraying a cloud of perfume and walking into it is not effective either.
What really makes the scent stay on our bodies is the oil, and oil drops fast. By the time you walk into the cloud, you’ve lost the vital part of your scent.
Apply your fragrance to your pulse points, and always remember: dab, don’t rub!
What is YOUR favorite perfume?