Perfume FAQ, Part 1

You spend a certain amount of time in the perfume hobby and a few things start to dawn on you that you didn’t know before. Feeling like a dummy for a few moments is the least of it until you realize that perfume and perfumery is a vast and complicated subject with a rift between the people who enjoy it and the people who enjoy it enough to sift through the how, what, and why of it. That rift is where misconceptions and confusions are born.

This FAQ was written on a bit of a whim to answer questions that keep coming up regarding perfume.

Q. What perfumes do guys/girls like?
A. This is like asking what food everybody in the whole world will like. There is a lot of variety in tastes and what people consider to be “good”. People can have more than one favorite. People might love something that everybody else hates. There’s simply no catch-all fragrance as it is all a matter of personal taste and opinion.

Q. What’s the difference between an Eau de Toilette and an Eau de Parfum?
A. Eau de Parfum has a higher concentration of fragrance oils compared to Eau de Toilette. Therefore, Eau de Parfums tends to smell stronger and last longer when used. Fragrance oils being those lovely things that give the perfume its scent. The higher the fragrance oil concentration in relation to the dilution agents, the more powerful the scent. Some houses also change the formulations between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette versions, making one smell different than the other. Guerlain is known to do this with their perfumes. More info >>

Q. Is it okay to wear cologne if you’re a girl? How about wearing perfume when you’re a guy?
A. Fragrances do not have genders or gender preferences. It is the people and the marketing that assign genders to perfumes and colognes. Something can smell feminine or masculine but I treat that as a “good to know” sort of thing rather than a hard and fast rule. If you like how something smells but it happens to be marketed to the other gender then wear it anyway. As long as it smells good to you, do what makes you happy.

Q. Is this perfume better than that perfume?
A. Something being better than something else is a highly subjective topic that’s entirely personal opinion. Technically, nothing makes one perfume better than another if we’re talking about personal taste and asking someone else what makes one fragrance better is not necessarily the answer you want because they’ll be judging based upon their tastes when you should be judging based upon your own.

Q. How do I make my perfume last longer?
A. Layering. There is a reason why some perfumes come in sets with soaps, lotions and shampoos. The main goal here is to layer, layer, layer. If you wash yourself with the same scented soap and use the same scented lotion before spraying on the perfume then you gather a few more hours worth of enjoyment out of the fragrance. If a fragrance doesn’t come in a set then you can use unscented lotion on your skin to help your fragrance last longer. Also keep in mind that in hot climates, perfume will fade faster than normal no matter what you do.

Q. Are perfumes made from essential oils safer than the synthetic stuff?
A. Not necessarily because essential oil usage can be dangerous as well. Citrus essential oils can cause photosensitivity. Some essential oils are made from plants that are dangerous and harmful to humans. Certain essential oils need to be diluted or they can cause injury to whoever uses them. Synthetics have a murky reputation. But they are also tested and regulated quite stringently. Basically, you cannot assume that just because something is derived from nature, that it is automatically better than something manmade. In short, no, natural essential oils are not safer than synthetic oils. They are, however, beautiful and useful in their own ways.

Q. How do I correctly apply perfume?
A. Tons of schools of thoughts on this and there is no correct way, just preferred ways. But I’ll make it easy. Perfume will work wherever you want to spray it. Most people will spray it on their pulse points. The most popular locations are the wrists and neck. Some people also apply perfume to the back of the knees, back of the neck, the chest, and sometimes the insides of their elbows. So long as you keep it away from and out of any orifaces on your body, the perfume will work just fine.

Q. How should I store my perfumes?
A. Perfumes should be kept away from their three major enemies, light, air, and heat. Store them in a dark, cool place with a stable temperature. A dresser drawer would be okay. A closet would be okay. A fragrance fridge set to the right temperature would be ideal but expensive. Avoid sunlight especially as sunlight is powerful and can break down the components in your perfume very quickly. Avoid keeping your fragrances in your bathroom as well because most people’s bathrooms will experience frequent temperature fluctuations. More info >>

Got any questions not addressed in this FAQ? Please leave a comment. I plan on doing more of these in the future.