Yes, you can click ‘buy’ before you smell
Is it just me or do you feel like your missing something when you step out of the house without a spritz of fragrance? Though I’m not partial to any brand, I know exactly the type of scents I like wearing: fresh citruses, green and herbal, and exotic for when I’m feeling bold. But what do they mean exactly? ?
Here, we attempt to break down fragrance jargons to help you find your signature scent and how you can buy online without having the chance to smell it first. Because let’s be honest, choosing a fragrance (unless you already know what you’re getting) is not like trying on clothes; you can’t just keep trying them on—even when there’s a shot glass of coffee beans lying around the fragrance counter.
Fragrance Notes 101
They are what make up your perfume. It’s especially important to know this when you’re buying in-store
- Top Notes
The smell at first spritz. It’s important (for you, the buyer) when making an impression. They’re usually made up of herbs, spices and citrus ingredients.
- Middle Notes
Appears after the top notes dissipate into the air. It forms the body of the perfume (along with the base, but more on that later) and usually includes florals.
- Base Notes
It’s what introduces a scent’s depth or character. You can smell it long after application and can last up to 24 hours. Common base notes are resins, woods and roots.
A list of the most common fragrance categories
Keywords: Light, tangy, energetic
A shot or cocktail of: Orange, bergamot, lime, yuzu, tangerine, grapefruit, clementine and mandarin. Can also be orange-tree ingredients such as neroli, a citrus extract from leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree
Keywords: Spicy, sensual, bold, mysterious
A shot or cocktail of: Peppercorn, clove, vanilla, cinnamon, oud
Keywords: Sweet, romantic
A shot or cocktail of: Rose, peony, tuberose, neroli, freesia, jasmine, lily, honeysuckle, violet
Keywords: Fresh, spicy, bright
A shot or cocktail of: Raspberry, strawberry, peach, mango, apples
Keywords: Also sweet, smells so good you can almost taste it
A shot or cocktail of: Chocolate, caramel, cotton candy, sugar
?Green or Herbal
Keywords: Of fresh leaves or freshly cut grass, vegetal, also energetic
A shot or cocktail of: Grass, tea leaves, juniper, vetiver
Keywords: Alludes to leather, earthy woods, strong, classic
A shot or cocktail of: Cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, moss, patchouli
EDP v. EDT
Always remember, eau de parfum is 10 to 15% perfume oil to alcohol, while eau de toilette is 8 to 10% perfume oil to alcohol. If you want longevity on skin, go for EDP.
Your Fragrance Wardrobe
So now the question is: from a scale of reserved to bold, which end of the spectrum do you belong to? Some say it’s good to have a wardrobe of two or more scents categorized according to mood or occasion. For me, a two-bottle selection fits the bill; one for day (citrus or herbal), the other for night (exotic).
How to Choose?
For everyday scents, perhaps something citrus, fruity or green for a burst of energy. Meanwhile, special occasions call for something a bit more unique. How about a floral or exotic scent? But if classic, fuss-free and gender-neutral is what you’re looking for, a woody fragrance might just be your best bet.
Found the one? Remember to always apply onto clean skin and spritz on places you want it to be discovered. Smell ya later!
Art Alexandra Lara