What You NEED to Know Before Buying A Fragrance
A lone whiff can sometimes bring back the memories of our loved one, a childhood playground scene or mom’s kitchen. A scent often has deeper, emotional connotations; and also the outer, physical ones. Wearing a fragrance is an essential component of grooming, and unfortunately, most Indian men either don’t pay attention to it or blindly follow what’s told to them without much knowledge and awareness. From different types of fragrances to the kinds of aroma they give, there are a few basic things every man must know in order to make informed decisions about his purchase.
Types of fragrances
Based on the concentration of pure perfume oils in a medium, mostly alcohol, fragrances are classified into 5 categories.
1. Eau Fraiche – which literally means fresh water is the most diluted form with only 1-3% perfume oil, so usually lasts for about an hour
2. Eau de Cologne – heavily diluted with 4-6% of perfume oil in alcohol and lasting power of about 2 hrs, which means that the top notes are most prominent
3. Eau de Toilette – a light composition of 7-10% perfume oil in alcohol and lasting ability of about 3-4 hrs
4. Eau de Parfum – it contains about 10-20% pure perfume essence and can usually last for more than 6 hrs, which allows the middle notes to flourish
5. Perfume – the one with the heaviest concentration of perfume oil at 20-40% with longevity of almost a day
With increasing concentration of perfume oil, the product gets more expensive. Many prefer EDP or perfume at night for their deep scent and EDT and EDC during the day. But it all comes down to personal preferences, so think about how and what you want to smell like, from the point of application to a few hours after that, and buy your scent.
Families of scent
After knowing the kinds of perfumes based on their lasting powers, it is important to know the basic scent differences. We don’t mean that you be able to differentiate between oud, ambergris, patchouli, neroli, etc., but just know the area you like to play in without going into the nuances of the ingredients. If you still feel like becoming a connoisseur, a detailed list of different notes and ingredients can be found here.
1. Floral – a traditional romantic, sweet scent with floral tones like rose, jasmine, orange etc. that many times settles down to peaches, berries, etc. Generally preferred for the day time and summer months.
2. Oriental – a rich, exotic scent with spicy tones like vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, etc. Preferred during the night for the warm and sensual fragrance of the ingredients.
3. Woody – a very natural and manly scent including sandalwood, musk, moss, or other forest-inspired scents.
4. Fresh – includes the wide range citrus and aquatic smells. Preferred during the day for their refreshing nature.
Most of the times, a fragrance will have top notes lying in one category and will gradually settle into another. For example, the famous Acqua Di Gio by Armani starts with fresh notes and finally settles into a woody fragrance. Therefore, it’s important to test before you buy if you don’t want to get falsely carried away by the top note.
Buying a fragrance & application
1. Understand what you want to smell like according to the family categorization above. Going to the store and directly asking for these perfumes will help avoid unnecessary confusion as the salesman makes you try everything.
2. After smelling various cards, narrow down to 2-3 favourites and request the salesman to let them try those on yourself. Spray each on your forearm or inside of elbow and feel the top note, mellowing down into mid-note and finally settling into base note. This may take about an hour so don’t rush up your purchase. Mixed with body’s natural fragrance, a perfume reacts differently on everybody, so it’s important to make sure that you like it on yourself.
3. If the shop has testers of your favourite ones, even better! You can try in the comfort of your home over a period of days to make sure you like the scent.
4. Apply the scent on your pulse points as the body’s natural heat will distribute and activate the scent. These are – forearms, inner elbows, base of the throat, behind the ears, inner knees. Avoid spraying on clothes as the perfume oil can stain them.
5. Applying too much of the scent, so that everyone is able to smell it the moment you enter the room (i.e. high sillage), comes across as showy and loud. The point is to have a subtle style which is pleasing to the senses of everybody, so apply only 1-2 spritz. Oily skin tends to retain scent longer on them than dry skin so people with oily skin should be careful about not applying too much.