Scent Sense: How to Pick the Perfect Perfume
I always knew that perfume was powerful, but it only after joining Beautybay that I started to understand the science behind the magic. Why were certain perfumes intoxicating on some people and barely noticeable on others? Was there a reason the same scent smelled different on me at different times? How could I get my favourite fragrance to linger on me for longer? Time, testing and observation helped me make some sense of this heady art.
A question of chemistry
Every person has their own distinctive body chemistry, which depends on hormones, diet, overall health and the skin's pH balance. Perfumes mix with the body's natural aroma in a chemical reaction, resulting in either an enhanced smell, a neutral one or, in some unfortunate cases, an unpleasant one. The body's smell also varies by environment and mood, which is why the same perfume can smell different on you at different times. Oily skin tends to retain scent longer, while it easily dissipates on dry skin.
To determine whether a perfume's a good fit for you, spend enough time choosing it. Spray a small amount on the inside of your wrist, don't rub it, and wait. "Top notes" will unfold immediately, "heart notes" reveal themselves in 10-15 minutes, and "base notes" are those that remain after 20-30 minutes. If the perfume stays on long enough for you to detect the base notes, it's probably a good fit for you.
Follow these tips to ensure you smell good through the day:
- Bathe thoroughly before applying any fragrance to your body.
- Layer your perfumes before putting on your clothes or accessories - first use a matching body lotion (or an unscented one) to help your fragrance last longer.
- Lightly spray your perfume on "pulse points": the wrist, neck, cleavage, inside of the elbow, behind the knees and on the ankle. These points are where blood vessels are closest to the skin, giving off more heat and acting like mini fragrance pumps.
- Avoid spraying too much scent directly on your clothes - besides staining your garments, the scent can stick to the fabric, conflicting with different perfumes you plan to wear on other days.
- Don't overspray - the perfect perfume works best in small quantities, mixing with your natural body odour to create a balanced scent.
Smell good this summer
Summer means heat, sweat, and - quite often - body odour. Don't try to mask body odour with copious quantities of perfume, as it can just aggravate the condition. Instead, bathe regularly (multiple times a day, if possible and necessary) to keep offensive odour-causing bacteria at bay. Wear clean, fresh clothes (soft fabrics like cotton are best) to stay cool and dry, and layer small quantities of perfume to smell your best.
Light, bright fragrances in eau de toilette or cologne formats are best for the summer; keep the heavier parfum and eau de parfum concentrations for colder months. Fresh floral and uplifting citrus scents are optimal for women, while aquatic, citrus, and gentle woody notes work best for men.
What's your favourite scent this summer?
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