Perfume tips, tricks, and tools everyone should know.
A fragrance should be whispered, not shouted…
Are you still wearing the same perfume you wore in high school? Has it become an old scent, instead of a signature scent?
Times change. There are new perfumes and new things to learn! So, if you want to move on and discover your true signature scent, or perhaps buy a gift for someone, you’re in the right place!
Today, we’re going to learn all about perfume, fragrance, cologne, scent… What is it?
(Below is the video — subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the “bell” to be informed when new videos are released!)
History of Perfume
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at some of the history of perfume (coming from the Latin, ‘perfumare’ and the French, ‘parfum’, meaning ‘to smoke through’) with the Greeks.
Originally, pleasant smells were a reminder to the Greeks of their gods’ proximity, or that they were being blessed with the fragrance. It was important to them as a means of hospitality as well, and when a guest arrived in their home, they would bathe their feet in perfumed oils, and even practiced aromatherapy.
Bathing rituals were also important in their culture, as they were very clean people and pleasant smells were so closely tied to their beliefs. In fact, fragrances and oils were so important to the Greeks that they used them in ceremonies for birth, death, romance, and weddings.
In weddings, special scents were thought to be a good omen that would ensure a positive union between the man and wife.
Funerals were defined by the Greeks using perfumes on the shrouds in which they wrapped the bodies of their dead. They believed that if the bodies smelled good to their gods, they would be more graciously welcomed into the afterlife.
The true art of making perfumes originally started in Ancient Greece and Mesopotamia, where the first recorded chemist was a woman named Tapputi. Distilling flowers, oils, and other aromatics was what she did first, then she would filter it and distill it over and over to make her fragrances and scents.
She spread her knowledge and the Greeks had a great system of distilling their fragrances. However, later on, the Romans and Persians perfected many of those arts.
Evolution of Perfume
It wasn’t until the 16th and 17th centuries that the true modern idea of perfume began to form.
The belief that perfume is used to mask body odors came from this time period because wealthy people who had access to everything they wanted did not take the time to bathe. Because of this, they would spend their money on scented oils, and used it to cover up their body odor instead of bathing.
Giovanni Maria Farina, a perfume maker from Italy, who was living in Germany, became one of the biggest influences on modern perfume. From his home in Germany, he wrote to his brother, Jean Baptiste, who still resided in Italy, and said, “I have found a fragrance that reminds me of an Italian spring morning, of mountain daffodils and orange blossoms after the rain.”
Inspired by this, he named his fragrance ‘Eau de Cologne’, in honor of the town he was living in: Cologne, Germany.
‘Eau de Cologne’-the Many Meanings
‘Eau’ is also a French word, meaning ‘water’, so the name for this fragrance would roughly mean, ‘Water of Cologne’. As you can see, that’s the origin of the modern term ‘cologne’, but it has really come to have three different meanings.
Originating from Farina, the first meaning of the word is just any fragrance that is citrus-based, since that is the original meaning of Eau de Cologne.
As time went on, the second meaning of cologne came along. It was then understood to be a lighter, less-concentrated interpretation of an existing perfume.
Where the first definition was just a scent of a citrus base, now it has evolved into an idea of a more diluted product that is more cost-effective. Not everyone could afford heavy oils, so this lighter product was available to more people.
Finally, the third meaning of cologne is how we tend to use it now: exclusively a man’s fragrance. So, the three different meanings that have evolved over the years all came from an Italian man living in Germany, who was reminded of his hometown.
Power of Fragrance
Different scents can elicit different emotions, such as feelings of power, relaxation, or sexual desire; they can warn us of food gone bad, of a fire coming, etc.
Pleasant smells are also closely tied to a woman’s decision of how worthy a man is of being her partner. In a conversation with my friend one day, she said that, “I love how my husband smells—not his cologne or anything, I just love cuddling up next to him at night. I love how he smells.” So, you may not realize it, but pheromones and natural scents are very powerful.
Smells can also have an impact on your job performance.
Just as the Greeks used oils for aromatherapy, researchers discovered that certain smells will help you focus better, such as peppermint. It’s proven to increase alertness, improve performance, and sustain attention over time.
Pleasant scents are powerfully associated with memories, like grandma’s house, baking bread, chocolate chip cookies, etc… Smelling something musty and being reminded of helping grandpa out with a job in the basement is an indicator of how powerful the sense of smell truly is.
Why Perfume Costs Vary
So, what are the differences between all the perfumes we see at the store?
You could see something for $400 an ounce, $58 an ounce, or $48 an ounce. What’s the difference? It depends on how they are distilled, whether it’s in alcohol, water, or oil.
Now we’ll look at the differences between Eau Fraiche, Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette (which means ‘cloth’), Eau de Parfum, and true Parfum.
Least Expensive Fragrances
Eau Fraiche—Often referred to as ‘mist’, ‘splash’, and ‘aftershave’, this will probably last you about an hour. It consists of 3% or less perfume oils or aromatics.
Oftentimes, this is more popular among men than women, since they use it as a balm for their skin after shaving. Eau Fraiche is also alcohol based, so it will help in closing pores.
The oiliness of your skin determines how long a scent will last. Perfumes last longer the oiler your skin is, so if you have oily skin or put moisturizer on after a shower, your fragrance will last about 2 hours.
However, if your skin is dry, it may only last about 15-20 minutes.
Eau de Cologne—A little more concentrated than Eau Fraiche, EDC will last 1-3 hours. It is 3-8% perfume oils or aromatics and is very common.
Because of the lightweight nature of this product, you can use it all over the place—neck, inner elbow, wrist, behind the knee, maybe even behind the ear or over the heart.
However, if you wear a fragrance for a while, you grow used to the fragrance and don’t smell it anymore, so be careful not to form a Pig Pen cloud and throw yourself into it.You don’t want to be so smelly that your odor is a slap in the face as soon as you enter a room.
Be careful, too, of rubbing your wrists together after applying your scent. They do this often in movies, but when you use friction, it raises the temperature, denatures the scent, breaks it down and destroys it. Remember to apply very lightly in tiny dots!
Eau de Toilette—Generally the strongest men’s concentration you will find, at 5-15% perfumed oils or aromatics, it will last from 3-5 hours. Apply this at the neck, wrists, and behind the knee. Because of the concentration, be sure to use tiny dots and dab, don’t rub!
Eau de Parfum—Far more concentrated than the rest, sitting anywhere from 10-20% perfumed oils and aromatics, this will last you about 3-5 hours.
With this higher concentration, sometimes you start paying for the name so the prices will vary. All you need with this perfume is two spots: a dot at the neck and then the wrist, or behind the ear and the wrist. Remember, don’t overdo it!
Parfum—With 40% perfume oils or aromatic compounds, this is very rare. Since it’s a pure perfume oil and not alcohol based, you’re going to pay very good money for this.
They come in tiny, $400 bottles. Very expensive, but very concentrated and will last you about 12-15 hours. You could either spend $50 on an Eau Fraiche and reapply it all day, or spend $400 on an Eau de Parfum or Parfum oil and it will last you forever!
Again, with the oil, you only want a dab in two spots because it is so concentrated and you don’t want to go overboard with it.
There you have it—everything from Eau Fraiche, to Eau de Cologne, to Eau de Toilette, to Eau de Parfum, to a perfume oil. As they increase in concentration, the price will also increase, but so will the value and quality.
Always remember when putting on your signature scent in the morning, a fragrance should be discovered, not announced; it should be whispered, not shouted.