Perfume Basics

November 30, 2009


By Michelle

There is not much in the world more intimidating than the perfume counter at a big department store.

Edie at Sephora's in Paris

Edie at Sephora's in Paris

If you are like me, there is not much in the world more intimidating than the perfume counter at a big department store. It’s not just because of the incredible mixture of scents hovering in the air, though that’s part of it.  It’s all those choices, all those special words they use, all those ladies behind the counter that seem to have access to some alchemical secret that’s … well … secret.

I recently had the good fortune to meet with Parise Yun, a perfume expert and representative for some of the unique scents available at Qortezan.  She shared some of her experience and wisdom with me and helped to demystify the art of choosing the right perfume.

Most perfumes are fairly complex and have at least 30-40 different ingredients in them.

Durance Pillow Perfume

Durance Pillow Perfume

First of all, most perfumes are fairly complex and have at least 30-40 different ingredients in them.  Some have more than 100.  All those ingredients are mixed together so carefully that they actually take 20 minutes or more to “settle down” on your skin so you can smell them properly.

The first thing that hits you is the top note.  This is the first impression you get when you spray a perfume and it can actually be quite fleeting.

Next, as the top note disperses, the middle notes come through.  This is the heart of the fragrance – a bit of everything that is essential to the perfume.

After about 10 or 15 minutes the perfume begins to “warm down” and the bottom notes begin to surface.  These are often warm woodsy lingering components.

Chemistry is everything.  Every scent will take on different characteristics depending on your skin and its acidity.  Once you have waited for all these layers to emerge, you can start to get a sense of how it reacts with your body chemistry.

Here are some tips for trying a new scent.

Fleur D'Ombre - Ombre Bleu

Fleur D'Ombre - Ombre Bleu

When you first test a perfume, spray it into the air and then wave your hand through the mist.  This way you won’t be stuck smelling like it all day if you don’t like it.  It will disperse quickly and you’ll be able to wash it off easily.

If you think you’ll like it, spray it on your wrist.  Resist the urge to rub it – that will mash up all the ingredients and they won’t get a chance to settle and develop in all their intended complexity.

Wait about 20 minutes before you decide to buy a perfume.  It takes that long for you to know if you really like it.  If you find yourself smelling your wrist for the whole 20 minutes, you’ll know it’s right for you!

Visit Qortezan and let us help you find a scent you’ll adore.  Our collection of exquisite women’s and men’s fragrances features unique perfumes that you won’t find anywhere else.  And that means no more department store fragrance counters!

Perfume Selection at Qortezan

Perfume Selection at Qortezan

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