Fragrance 101

Alright ladies and gents, in this post, I’m going to give you the DL on fragrances. I am personally addicted to purchasing luxury colognes, and if you’re anything like me, you know that’s an exceptionally expensive addiction. If you’re going to spend the $70+ on a bottle of cologne or perfume, you should be knowledgeable about what you’re buying! But don’t worry, I’m here to justify your retail therapy.


 

Let’s start with the basics– no, not the kind that drink PSLs, I’m still praying for them. Fragrances consist of a concentration of perfume oils and a solvent (typically alcohol), therefore the higher ratio of oil to alcohol you have, the stronger the fragrance will be. If there’s a higher concentration of oil, the fragrance will typically last longer as well. It’s also important to note if you have sensitive skin, sticking with a higher concentration of oil will be less irritating to your skin as there is less alcohol in the mixture. See the image below for a breakdown of the 5 basic types of concentrations available on the market:

Image from thefragranceshop.co.uk
Image from thefragranceshop.co.uk

Most often you will see Eau de Toilette or Eau de Cologne when shopping for fragrances, however most of the time each scent will be available in different concentrations. Try buying your preferred cologne of perfume in a higher concentration because that means you’ll have to apply it less often, and therefore spend less money on your fragrance in the future. Fragrances with higher concentrations will often be more expensive, but spending the extra $10 in the moment will be far less detrimental than spending another $70 a couple months earlier than you’d like.


 

The next thing to bear in mind when your shopping for a fragrance, are the notes. Have you noticed that your fragrance will smell slightly different a couple hours after you’ve applied it? That’s because fragrances are comprised of 3 different notes: top, heart, and base. As the fragrance develops, you will notice more of the ingredients in each note as the fragrance progresses through its respective stages.

Image from thefragranceshop.co.uk
Image from thefragranceshop.co.uk

The top notes are often comprised of citrusy, floral, or powdery scents. This initial scent is very light and will last around 15 minutes. The heart notes which are often heavier floral scents will begin developing around 30 minutes after the fragrance has been applied. Finally, the base notes help fix the fragrance to your skin. These bolder notes will be noticeable after the fragrance has completely developed and are often comprised of smokey or leathery scents.


 

The last thing you want to bear in mind mostly comes down to personal preference. This is the kind of scent that appeals to you. There are 4 major categories that fragrances are often placed in: floral, oriental, citrus, and chypre (woody). Check out this fragrance wheel for a quick breakdown of these categories:

Image from fragrancetraining.com
Image from fragrancetraining.com

Floral scents are the most popular, and as the name would suggest, are derived from popular flowers like rose, gardenia, jasmine, and carnation. Floral scents often exude a very flirty and girly attitude. Oriental scents contrast heavily to floral scents. Often comprised of spices, amber, or balsam, oriental scents are often suggestive, warm, exotic, and sensual. Citrus scents project a sharp, tangy aroma through hints of lime, orange, mandarin, and tangerine. These scents are naturally uplifting and revitalizing. Chypre, or more commonly known as woodsy scents, are rich, earthy aromas that are often comprised of ingredients such as bergamot, oak moss, and patchouli.


 

Whatever your preferred style of fragrance is, remember that perfumes and colognes are all vastly different and can sometimes mix and match between the major fragrance categories. It’s also very important to note that because everyone has a vastly different chemical makeup, fragrances will not necessarily smell the same on everyone. Something that smells amazing on your friend may make you smell like you just rolled out of a dumpster. Finding your perfect fragrance is a task that definitely requires a lot of trial and error, so make sure you utilize the beauty of free samples! Wear your samples for a couple of hours and let each note develop on your skin before you decide if you like it or not.

If you’re new to colognes and perfumes, or you’re itching to try something different, never fear. Here are my top 3 fragrances for men and women that I highly recommend you sample:

Men:

1. Viktor and Rolf, Spicebomb (My current personal favorite)

Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Cinnamon Leaf, Pink Pepper, Lavandin, Chilli, Saffron, Elemi, Vetiver, Balsam Fir, Tobacco Accord, White Leather Accord. Image from sephora.com

Image from sephora.com

2. Chanel, Bleu de Chanel

Notes: Labdanum, nutmeg, ginger, sandalwood, patchouli, mint, jasmine, grapefruit, citruses, vetiver, incense, cedar and pink pepper.

Image from sephora.com

Image from sephora.com

3. Versace, Eros

Notes: Mint Oil, Italian Lemon, Green Apple, Tonka Bean, Geranium Flower, Vanilla, Vetiver, Moss, Cedarwood.

Image from sephora.com
Image from sephora.com

 

Women:

1. Gucci, Guilty (The men’s version of this is amazing as well)

Notes: Mandarin, Pink Pepper, Peach, Lilac, Geranium, Amber, Patchouli.

Image from sephora.com
Image from sephora.com

2. Dolce & Gabbana, Light Blue

Notes: Sicilian Citron, Bluebell, Granny Smith Apple, Jasmine Sambac, Bamboo, White Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Musk.

Image from sephora.com
Image from sephora.com

3. Armani, Armani Code Pour Femme

Notes: Blood Orange, Ginger, Pear Sorbet, Sambac Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Seringa Flower, Lavender Honey, Precious Woods Complex, Vanilla.

Image from sephora.com
Image from sephora.com

 


I would love to know some of your favorite fragrances! Let me know by tweeting us @outre_mode!

xoxox Thomas

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