Your frequently asked fragrance questions, answered

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Your frequently asked fragrance questions, answered

Fragrance can feel baffling because it’s really scientific but really personal. To help crystalise things, we’re answering some frequently asked questions about perfume. Director of Agence de Parfum, Nick Smart, has helped us out with answering some of our members’ burning fragrance questions.

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Without further ado, your frequently asked questions, answered…

Applying perfume

#1 I would love to know if rubbing the area changes the scent, you know you see people spray and rub their wrists?

“You are bruising the fragrance by rubbing your wrists together, the heat generated from the friction unfortunately will sour the scent, “ Nick says.

#2 Does spraying perfume in the air and walking into it distribute the smell?

It does distribute the smell, but it will only do so lightly. So it’s a good idea if you don’t want your perfume to smell as strong as it normally does. It can also work if you want to spritz your hair with perfume (that isn’t specifically made for hair). The alcohol in normal perfumes can dry out hair, so the spray and walk-though process will distribute the scent through your mane without risking as much damage to your strands. Otherwise, Nick explains the best ways to distribute a scent in the next answer…

#3 What are the best points to apply perfume? I used to do it on the neck and found I got a headache, so I’ve heard pulse points and the back of the knee are great.

“Spritz the fragrance on wrists, neck and elbow pulse points and yes! even the backs of your knees. These are places where the veins are closer to the skin, giving off more heat which warms the fragrance and strengthens the scent. Also consider layering alternative scents to give fragrances more longevity, “says Nick.

Choosing perfume

#1 Why does my mood or the weather determine which fragrance I want to wear?

Your olfactory receptors (two nifty smell-detecting spots in your nose) are directly connected to the limbic system (the part of your brain involved in emotional responses and memories). So a scent can trigger immediate emotional responses based on your memories or associations with it. I’ve found if I’m in a bad mood I make a beeline for a perfume I’ve worn on holidays to conjure up the same carefree feelings I had while away.

 “Weather is also important when choosing what scent to wear,” Nick explains. Heat intensifies perfume, whereas cold weather tones it down. Basically, wear lighter fragrances applied more often in warmer weather and stronger, more potent scents when it’s cool. The same idea can be applied on an average day. “In the evening, you can get away with wearing a richer, heavy bodied scent, these have more depth and longevity than a lighter daytime eau de toilette,” Nick says.

#2 When you’re a perfume-aholic buying fragrance online because you’re too far away to go try them in person, what are the keys to success?

“Our boutiques including Libertine Parfumerie and Galerie de Parfum and in Myer Sydney and Melbourne utilise the Michael Edwards Fragrance Wheel,” Nick explains. “Using this fragrance tool, together with your fragrance history, will help determine which notes are compatible with you. You can use this information to then find a scent which heroes the best notes to suit your fragrance style, much easier online. Most sites (including Libertine Parfumerie) now offer the option to purchase samples, this a great inexpensive way to sample those that have caught your eye!”

Image via @fragrancesoftheworld

After you’ve applied it

#1 So we all know that body can react to perfumes right? I want to know how basically, is it the heat/ hormones or just bacteria on our skin that makes the scent change?

There are a range of factors that can change how a perfume smells on your skin. Ever wondered why you and your friend smell different when wearing the same perfume? Fragrance expert Michael Donovon explained why to Byrdie. “The pH balance of the skin differs slightly, which can change the way a scent smells,” says Donovan. Your hormones, diet and whether your skin is dry or oily can all affect your perfume’s characteristics. Heat is also important as fragrances need the warmth of your body to bloom and diffuse.

#2 You spray, let it settle, think it’s average and forget about it. Later in the day, you take a whiff and love it. There’s top notes, middle notes and I must love the bottom notes?

Top notes are light and usually fade after about 10 to 15 minutes. Middle notes diffuse next and are the heart and theme of a fragrance. Base notes (often woody or musky) bloom last and usually linger. So yes, chances are you like the base notes. But, the full body of a fragrance comes from the mingling of middle and base notes, so it’s probably this combination that you love.

Do you like going through frequently asked questions? Is there any more information or tips you’d like to know about perfume?

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