Some Charming Facts of Perfumes and Fragrances
Perfume is not just a fragrance; it is the essence of beauty. It can provoke and invoke, suggest or initiate sensation and feelings. It exudes sophistication and mystery. The power of scent goes beyond a distilled portion in a bottle, it is signature of the wearer and the art of wearing perfumes has never been more popular. The business of smelling good with the help of fragrances dated back to ancient times. Anthropologists suggest that the earliest perfumery begin with the burning of gums and resins as incense. Eventually, richly scented plants were incorporated to make it pleasant to the sense of smell, while performing religious cleansing rituals. History accords the Mesopotamians with the use of incense as fragrance some 4,000 years ago. Its use was then adopted by the Chinese, Hindus, the Israelites, Carthaginians, the Arabs and then the Greeks and Romans.
And who can blame them? After all, a very large part of the human genome (about 1,500 of our 30,000 human genes) is used to code the receptors of smell. Smell, as we know, play a very important part in our human existence and we often associate smell with events, memories, places or people. We gravitate towards pleasing smells. We have to thank Avicenna, the 11th century Alchemist and Physician for discovering how to extract the scent of flowers and preserving it with alcohol distillation. The art of perfumery continued to this day with more and more experimentations on how to incorporate different bases to make tantalizing scents.
So what is the basis for this fascination with fragrances?
1. Sets Up a Mood
Scientific studies show that there is a close relationship between scents and the emotional side of our brain. Putting on the right fragrance can put you in the right mood. Feeling a little down? Try a floral or fruity scent like Bergamot (citrus fruit from Italy) or give yourself an energy lift with a scent infused with Ylang Ylang. Wiped-out?—choose a pick-me-upper with Geranium. Lavender clams, Patchouli flirts. Choose one that is in keeping with your goal for the day.
And while we’re on the topic of moods—perfume experts say that the best time to buy a perfume is when you’re in a good mood. Why? Your sense of smell is at a peak and you’re able to distinguish the subtle tones of various fragrances.
2. Boosts Confidence
Wants to exude confidence? Allow your favorite fragrance to do just that. In a study done at the University of Liverpool, participants were divided into 2 groups: One group was not allowed to shower for 2 days and the other group was asked to wear AXE body spray. Women were asked their opinions of these men through the use of video tape, no close proximity allowed. Results? The women favored the men wearing AXE body spray. Conclusion? AXE men projected more confidence.
Fragrance affects the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls the seat of emotions. A good smell can put you in a positive spirit that can set you apart in the crowd.
3. Enhances Sensuality and Sexuality
Many perfume commercials in glossy magazines and on television promise sex appeal. It promises to accentuate your sensuality or sexuality and make you more appealing. Ask Cleopatra, she knew a thing or two about that—she cleverly used aromatic essences to aid her many amorous escapades.
Specifically, pheromones enhanced perfumes work on the principle of sexual attraction. Pheromones are also known as “secret seducers,” that can affect biological processes and make one more attractive to the partner. Consider these commonly used scents for their aphrodisiac properties:
a. Patchouli—sweet, earthly, musky scent that is considered very sexy. While it may be too strong on its own, when combined with other notes in a perfume, it can provoke sensuality.
b. Ylang Ylang—strong, womanly scent. May be overpowering on its own, but when used lightly or blended with other scents, can put one in a romantic mood. It is ideal for the romantic night out.
c. Jasmine—the essence of a dainty white flower, Jasmine is sensual and exerts an effect on the female hormones. It is often used in aromatherapy to balance hormones and to boost confidence. It also has a strong erogenous effect on people in general.
d. Musk—potent masculine scent. When blended with other scents, it promotes an air of mystery.
4. Therapeutic and Practical Purposes
Although fragrances and perfumes are often associated with aesthetic uses, they can serve very practical purposes too. In such cases, essential oils or nature’s fragrances extracted from plants are used. Researches have shown how essential oils can be used to stimulate, rejuvenate and balance our delicate life-support systems. The Chinese have long supported the use of aromatic herbs for medicinal purposes from as early as 2697 B.C. in the Chinese Yellow Emperor of Internal Medicine.
More and more researches are promoting the use of essential oils for holistic healings. The University of Cincinnati, America, found that the use of Lily-of-Valley and peppermint oils can improve task concentration by 15 to 20%. Eucalyptus is often used to ease congestion and treat sinuses. Sweet orange and vanilla are often used to diffuse stress and enhance calmness. Tea Tree Oil, spicy oil from Australia has been commonly used as an antiseptic from dental products to skin care. Rosemary and Bergamot are commonly used to fight depression
Other Pressing Questions about Perfume
WIth many different brands of perfumes out there, which do you choose?There are basically 8 scents: Aldehyde, aromatic, aquatic, citrus/fruity, floral, oriental, gourmand and green. Your choice should be based on personal preference, how your body interact with the perfume and what you're hoping the perfume would do for you.
If you're undecided, here are 10 top fragrances for 2012:
1. Someday by Justin Beiber
2. Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift
3. Poppy Flower by Coach
4. Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf
5. Poppy by Coach
6. Viva La Juicy by Juicy Couture
7. Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel
8. Chance by Chanel
9. Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana
10. Jadore by Christian Dior