Love is in the air

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How would you like to make sure your special fragrance makes your Valentine fall in love with you all over again? Through the ages perfume has been a significantly sought-after item and perfume distilleries date as far back as 2000 B.C. One of the most ancient forms of applying fragrance was in the form of oil and wax. Egyptian women used to wear wax cones on their heads. These cones would slowly melt in the heat releasing the perfume and fragrance. Since Egyptian women used to shave their heads completely, they had no problem letting all the wax and grease deposit on their heads. Aren’t you glad we’ve moved on significantly from then?

Although it has become much easier to wear your favourite scent, choosing a perfume that suits you best is not easy. How well do you know yourself? Finding your perfect scent is about reflecting your personality, your preferences and passions, and not merely following trends and fashions.

Different plant oils break down at different rates – light molecules evaporate quickly, and heavy molecules at a slower rate. The composition of a perfume is called “accord”, and describes the three sets of “notes” that appear gradually on top of each other, thus creating an olfactive harmony.

Top notes (head)
The compounds that make up the top notes are usually sharp and volatile. When you spray the perfume on, you get the impression of these notes first. These notes will last for about 10-20 minutes before they evaporate.

Middle notes (heart)
These scents appear just before the top notes fade and are usually rounded and soft. Rose, jasmine and lily scents are typical middle notes. The “heart”, in combination with the base notes, gives the perfume its main character. The middle notes usually appear a few minutes after application and will last about 3-6 hours on the skin.

Base notes (dry-down)
These scents are heavy and large molecules that evaporate slowly. They emerge late in fragrant compositions and have a rich and deep character. They are also used to give lasting power to the perfume. You will probably detect the first base notes between half an hour to an hour after initial spray, and they can last up to 24 hours on the skin.

Each person has a different preference when choosing a perfume. Why? Well, firstly, perfumes are a mixture of essential oils and aromas. The smell of a particular perfume will vary slightly from person to person, as each person’s individual skin chemistry and body temperature will react differently to a given scent. Secondly, our olfactory memories are continually updated since the days we were born. Memories are therefore formed as an “emotional imprint” in our nerve cells, so what we like in a perfume may be the smells our brain registered as a positive memory associated with people/events in our lives and the comfort/contentment we were experiencing at a certain time.

You will notice that even if you do not stick to a particular brand, you will most likely choose a perfume from the same olfactive group(s). Personal preferences also change as we get older, which is mostly due to the fact that our skin texture and its chemistry changes. You have probably noticed that even wearing the same perfume day after day, it may develop differently. This behavior is further due to the periodically fluctuating hormones that your skin secretes during its monthly cycle.

In order to classify the various groups, you will note they often use a combination of characteristics, such as oriental-woody, floral-fruity, flora-aquatic, etc.

Here are some examples of different perfumes with different characters:

  • Aldehydic – Character – pure and fresh – examples – Chanel N0.5
  • Aromatic – Character – outdoorsy and fresh – BLUE de Chanel for men
  • Aquatic – Character – sea, mountain or fresh linen – Issey Miyake
  • Citrus/Fruity – Character – fresh and light – Issey Miyake Pleats please, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea
  • Floral – Character – sweet and delicate floral – BVL Pour Femme or Rose
  • Oriental – Character – warm and sensual – Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
  • Woody – Character – earthy and masculine – Issey Miyake Intense for men

How to Apply Perfume:

Fortunately applying a perfume correctly is far simpler than selecting one – simply spray, dab, or in the case of a solid perfume compact, swipe. (Avoid rubbing the wrists together after application, to prevent “crushing” the scent).

Some women enjoy spritzing their perfume into the air and then walking through it. While this does work, a lot of the fragrance goes to waste, so it’s not the best method if you’re on a budget.

Always apply perfume before putting on your clothes and jewelry. Some fragrances will leave permanent stains on fabrics, metals and pearls. (If you want to risk perfuming your clothing – say, spraying some scent on a scarf – be sure to test it on a hidden area of the fabric first, and spray lightly).

“A Successful perfume in one in which the formula is as beautiful as the fragrance. One that makes the woman wearing it smile and awakens desire in a man.” (“Francois Demachy”)

To help you find the perfect fragrance, or if you would like additional information or tips, please consult any of our beauty specialists, or contact Ansie directly at Durbell Palm Grove on (021) 9756570. Think of all the little smells that make you smile, that make your head spin and your heart come alive. There’s a winning combination for you right here at Durbell…and a whole world out there to celebrate it in.