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How to pick the Right Perfume

Updated on April 24, 2013

Perfume is a mixture of solvents and essential oils used to give a pleasant scent. The word perfume is derived from a Latin word per fumum which means “through smoke”. Usually 10 to 250 varieties of materials are used in the manufacturing of perfumes, among which the main ingredients are alcohol, water and essential oils. Generally the concentration of essentials oils only decides the quality and price of the perfumes. If the content of essential oil is more than 22% then the perfume is more costly.

Generally, Perfume contains ten to twenty percent perfume oils, which are dissolved in an alcohol base whereas Cologne would usually have around three to five percent of essences mixed with eighty to ninety percent alcohols and the remainder is water.

Various varieties of perfumes

The intensity and longevity of a perfume is based on the concentration of essential oils used. Depending on the concentration of essential oils used perfumes are given specific terms or names. They are:

  • Perfume extract or Perfume: It contains 20-30% aromatic compounds. The scent remains for longer duration.
  • Esprit de Parfum: It consists of 15-30% aromatic compounds.
  • Eau de Parfum (EdP): 12-15% concentration of essential oils are present in this variety. The smell remains for more duration thus best suits for travelling." Parfum de Toilette” is a less common term that is generally analogous to Eau de Parfum.
  • Eau de Toilette (EdT): The concentration of aromatic compounds is 5-10%. It has medium strongness hence suits most of the people.
  • Eau de Cologne: It contains 2-5% concentration with a mild aroma, hence preferred for daily routines.
  • Perfume mist: 3-8% aromatic compounds in non-alcohol solvent which typically is used.

Pick the right perfume

Perfumes are formed using many aromatic compounds, essential oils and various ingredients. The perfect formula of commercial perfumes is always maintained as a secret. Based on the smell, duration and evaporation of the perfume three types of Fragrance notes are listed. These notes are very helpful in selecting a perfume.The fragrance notes are:

Top notes: The scents are perceived instantly after application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small and light molecules that evaporate very quickly. It is also called the head notes because they are helpful for a person to form an initial impression and are very important in selling.

Middle notes: The scent of a perfume that comes out just prior to when the top notes dissipate. This remains for a brief period. They are also called the heart notes because they form the heart or main body of a perfume often act to mask the unpleasant initial impression created by the base notes, which become more pleasant with time.

Base notes: The scent of a perfume that appears after the dissipation of middle notes is base note.The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and deep and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after application and remain for a long period.

One should always purchase a perfume based on these fragrance notes only. Apply a test dose to your body and wait for an hour. Perfumes are always used to elevate the mood so check whether it is showing any impact on your mood and the time period of smell stays with you. Some perfumes may cause headache which does not suit you much.

How to use perfume

Single perfume doesn’t suit for all occasions, many of them spray on the clothes which is not recommended. So it is important to know how to use a perfume. It is better to use one in the morning and other in the evening or select depending on the occasion or party.

Perfumes are usually worn on pulse points in small quantities rather than spraying on the clothes. Preferred areas to apply are side of neck, on throat, behind the ears, on wrist because these areas are rich in nerve supply and retains the fragrance. On oily skin and in hot weather the perfume evaporates very quickly. It is advisable to apply Vaseline in the area prior to the scent.You can also use talc over the area and another coating of scent which can make the smell to last long.


  1. Never spray perfumes on clothes and jewelry. Clothes take the stain and jewelry loose shine.
  2. Especially pearls are very delicate and strictly avoided from the spray. They should be worn after scent application only.
  3. Alcoholic based perfumes don’t suit everyone they may cause nausea, headaches. In such cases nonalcoholic perfumes are preferred.


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    • swathi180 profile image

      swathi180 4 years ago

      Thank you for voting up Mr. Rajan

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful tips, swathi. I had no idea there was so much to look for in a perfume. Thanks and voted up.