All about perfumes. Choosing the right perfume for the right occasion is fragrance guaranteed to impress

Spraying perfumeThe art of choosing and wearing perfume needs to be carefully acquired for the best results.

If you want your fragrance to linger long after you’ve exited the party, here is what you need to do. Before that, it is important to understand how a perfume you wear presents your personality. For, a perfume is much more than just alluring fragrance.

Perfume basics

The word perfume has its origins in the Latin, per fumum, which means “through the smoke.” In the good old days, fragrant resins were often burnt as offerings for the gods. Perfumes, today, are solutions made up of approximately 30 per cent of perfume oils and 70 per cent alcohol.

Understanding perfumes

  • Perfume is the purest form of fragrance; it contains 15-40 per cent of perfume oils
  • Eau de Parfum is a less concentrated perfume that contains 8-17 per cent of perfume oils mixed with alcohol. Around 70 per cent of Eau de Parfum is lost within the first three hours, but the final phase of the scent can last up to 24 hours
  • Eau de Toilette with its 1-6 per cent concentration of perfume oils is produced as a light scent that lasts only a short while. It was originally intended as a refreshing body spray to help people wake up in the morning
  • Eau de Cologne is a mix of light, fresh and volatile citrus oils. It’s intended to be a refreshing perfume with a limited life span.

The science of smell

  1. You know this, don’t you? The same fragrance smells different on different people, because of the body odour and heat that are inherent to each person. So, don’t rush out to buy the perfume your friend uses, or the one whose fragrance you fell in love with. Test the perfume on your skin, not your friend’s
  2. A fragrance will smell different even minutes after you apply it. Fragrances react to the oils present in your skin, and this changes the smell a few minutes later. So, visit the perfume counter first, wander the mall for a while, go back and make your final purchase
  3. It is best to test perfume on fresh and clean skin, i.e., in the morning
  4. When you dab perfume on your wrists, do not rub them together as this “bruises” the scent’s delicate ingredients
  5. To ensure you’re not allergic to a perfume, apply a small amount on your wrist, inner elbow or the back of your hand/arm. Wait an hour and watch for a reaction.

Applying perfume

  • Apply perfume behind earlobes, the upper sides of your palms and on the left and right sides of your neck. These are all pulse points; points where the fragrance has more staying power
  • Rubbing your wrists together after application reduces the effect of the top layer of the perfume. Simply spray and leave
  • Being potent, perfumes can sometimes bring on a bout of breathing trouble. Keep the spray away from your nostrils
  • One round of application to all pulse points is sufficient. But, if you’re the sort who perspires more than usual, go for a second round.

Types of perfume

Today, the perfume industry is advanced and savvy enough to produce perfumes to suit different occasions and moods. Broadly, however, there are six perfume categories:

Floral. Flowers are the dominant theme in this perfume. Feminine and light, this perfume is perfect for a mood that is typically girlie and fun

Fruity. The pervading aroma of fresh fruit is the essence of this perfume

Greens. Perfume with a natural smell; it is light, energetic and fresh

Oceanic. Reminiscent of the sea, this perfume is light and airy

Woody: Exotic and sensual, this is the perfume for a hot date. The aroma of bark, leaves, and the wood, combines to produce a lusty scent that lures

Oriental. This is a heavy perfume with intense, rich, sexy overtones. The aroma of spice, musk, vanilla and strong flowers creates this opulent fragrance.

For casual daywear, go with blends of floral and citrus scents.

Fresh florals, greens and oceanics work well in warm weather, while the more sensual, deep fragrances of wood and the Orient are best worn during cooler months.

For evenings and special occasions, spicy, or woody fragrances are a great choice.

Perfume for all Occasions

  • Always remember that it is the occasion that should dictate your choice of perfume. A corporate event or a meeting with just a couple of people demands a degree of sophistication. Pick a subtle scent for such an occasion. You should not overwhelm your colleagues and business associates
  • A perfume should complement your personality. It should spark those aspects that are unique to you. Bear this in mind while buying perfume. This could well be your regular wear or daily perfume
  • If you’re dressing up for a wedding, a party, or a night at the club, and the intention is to make a bit of a splash, opt for a perfume that is stronger
  • Apply a perfume that represents sensuality, jazzy or romantic allure, on a sizzling date.
Uma Girish
Uma Girish is a grief guide, a certified life purpose coach and author. Her latest book is a transformational memoir Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss And Life’s Detours published by Hay House. She is the co-founder of the International Grief Council.


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