Fragrance can be a big part of feeling beautiful and sometimes we don’t really know what the best one might be for us. Perfume is probably the most expensive item when it comes to our beauty indulgences, it’s important that we know what scent or scents are best suited for us. Believe it or not, different skin types will have an effect on how the scent smells.

How to Choose a Fragrance

The number one rule of thumb when trying to find just the right perfume or cologne is never be overly impulsive. Always make sure that wherever you buy your fragrance at that you are allowed to try the different scents instead of just buying a bottle off the shelf and taking it home before you know how it smells on your body. It’s also a good idea, if you are really serious about getting some great perfume that you go to a place who has a sales person who works with the perfumes so they can help you out.

Now, before you start taking all kinds of bottles and spraying yourself, you should ask whoever is working there if they have any blotter, which are just strips of absorbent paper. Then you can spray the perfume on the paper. This can help you pick out which perfume you want to try on your skin. This way you won’t walk away smelling like you had a collision with the entire perfume section of the store.

Here’s how you can do this: take the blotter paper and hold it at the non-sprayed area and hold with your forefinger and thumb, then put the end that’s scented about two inches under your nose. Take your second finger and tap the blotter slightly so it will vibrate, this helps spread the scent into the air so you can smell it much better. After you found a couple you like most, then you can put the perfume on your skin.

You should only spray on one at a time so you can see how the perfume actually develops on your skin and not all the scents at once because it will confuse you sense of smell. Try closing your eyes when you are smelling the perfume and ignore everything else around you. Make sure to smell the scent a couple of times before you actually choose the one you want to buy.

Important thing to remember is that the perfume’s first impression really only lasts for about 15 minutes. So, it’s most important to pay attention to the middle and bottom notes of the scent, which are after that 15 minutes. All scents will smell different on each person because of skin type and even the diet we eat can influence a fragrance. So, never buy a perfume based on the fact that you liked how it smelled on your friend because, often it won’t smell exactly the same on you. It’s also a really good idea to have several different perfumes on hand because fragrances can change with moods, diet, skin condition and even the weather.

Know Your Body’s Scent Spots

There are 16 pulse points on the human body and these are the only areas that are ideal for placing perfume and behind the ears, believe it or not, is not a pulse point. So, you might as well stop putting your perfume there, it’s just a waste of fragrance. The pulse points best for your perfume would be:

•    Temples
•    Crook of your elbows
•    Wrists
•    Back of knees
•    Front of your ankles
•    On the neck about 3 inches under ears

You can also spray some scent on freshly washed hair because it is a pretty good carrier of fragrances. Another good carrier of fragrances would be clothes made from natural materials. Good places to spray perfume would be under the hems and collars of clothes.

How Much is Too Much or Too Little Fragrance?

Since we can’t go through life asking everyone else how we smell, we need to train our noses to pick up our smells because after a while the nose tunes out our scents. This usually takes only about 15 to 30 minutes. So, you need to deliberately sniff to wake the noses back up. The rule of thumb here is that if you can smell it, no doubt others can smell it even more than you can.

Depending how strong the scent is will determine how far it can be smelled and how long it will last. Should your fragrance have an alcohol base like cologne, eau de parfum or eau de toilette, it is going to plummet rapidly at first and then it will level off. However, if it’s an oil or cream base they will taper off a lot more gradual. If you combine the different bases you can create something that might linger longer. Here’s how long each type usually lasts:

•    Cologne – 1 to 4 hours
•    Eau de toilette/eau de parfum – 4 to 6 hours
•    Body lotions or creams – 3 to 8 hours
•    Perfume – 3 to 8 hours

Don’t forget, you can put any of these on your clothes for longer lasting scents, but it is harder to remove than off your skin.

Perfume Lingo

There is a language that goes with fragrances that many of us are not familiar with and might help you understand perfume better.

Top Notes – These are the initial smells that first hit your sense of smell when you open up the bottle and then spray it on. These last just for a short time.

Middle, Soul or Heart Notes – This is what describes the scents that develop after about 10 minutes of exposure to your skin and the oxygen in the air.

Base Notes – This is what eventually develops to hold the entire fragrance together and this is what will linger till the end of the day. Never buy any fragrance unless you actually like its base notes because these are the fragrances you and everyone around you will have to end up living with.

Layering of Fragrances

The most common mistake made is that we often put way too much perfume on our pulse points and hope this makes it last longer. Often this makes the scent way too overpowering for a few hours and then it just fades away. But, if you combine your perfume with bath and body products that have a complimentary fragrance you will be layering the fragrance on your skin so when the body heats up and cools off during your day, each of the products will come to life. This ensures a nice subtle and delicate aura of scent that will last through the day or night. An example of this would be to first use a body shampoo, soap or bath oil that has a matching fragrance to your perfume, then apply matching cream or lotion and then apply your perfume, cologne or eau de parfum to reach your layering goal.

Julie