Perfume FAQ, Part 4

I’ve collected some more questions over the months along with commonly confused or misunderstood information about perfume. While I try my best to ensure these answers are correct and detailed, I am but a hobbyist and if you wish to know more the community at Basenotes is very knowledgeable along with several other smaller communities if you do a little searching.

Q. I hate musk is there a perfume that doesn’t have musk in it?
A. Probably, but very few. Now, I know that when most people say they hate musk, it’s out of a misconception that a perfume that lists a musk note smells “musky” when in actuality, these people might mean they don’t like fragrances that smell dirty and over-sensual like Muscs Kublai Khan for instance. Almost every perfume that exists out there probably uses musk in some way and you likely don’t detect it or it’s too well-blended to detect. Musk is a fragrance fixative, be it synthetic or natural, and has been used in many more scented products than perfume and it’s been used in fragrances for a very long time. It’s in the soap you use, your shampoo, your conditioner, body mists, detergents. If it’s got a scent it’s probably got some sort of musk in it. So just because a perfume might list musk on its notes list, doesn’t mean it will necessarily end up smelling musky.

Q. What would happen if I “accidentally” drank some (or all) of my perfume?
A. I have no idea how this happens but a lot of people have asked what would happen to them if they drank perfume. And not just a little either. There were people who were admitting they may have drank about half a bottle–or a whole bottle. Somehow. What are you guys doing out there? Now, once again, I’m not a doctor and can’t speak for your general health but thanks to a very helpful comment (Thanks, Nina!), if you or anyone you know decided they’d like to chug some perfume, you need to call a poison control center or get them to a medical center immediately. A person’s reaction to drinking perfume varies depending how old they are, their general health, and how much they consumed. If a healthy adult accidentally sprayed perfume in their mouth once or twice (really? Twice?), they will probably be fine. But the same can’t be said for everybody, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and get medical help!

Q. Is it okay to mix and wear essential oils as a perfume?
A. Yes. A lot of people make their own fragrances using essential oils and are very happy with the results. But, these people did their research to ensure they use the essential oils properly. Like with all oils, I highly recommend you read up on whatever essential oil you might have before putting it on your skin. Many essential oils need to be properly diluted before it’s skin safe. Some essential oils aren’t skin safe at all. Cinnamon oil is one example of an oil which can cause severe reactions on the skin if not diluted and treated properly. Finally, many people do not realize there are different grades of essential and fragrance oils. Lower grade oils are meant to be used in candles and other scented items that do not come in contact with the skin–for good reason. So do your research! I am very serious about this. You can injure yourself if you do not handle essential oils with care. Don’t be lulled into thinking that just because it’s natural that it’s harmless. If you can’t find any information about your essential oil and you’re unsure whether it’s safe to put on your skin, then file it away and don’t wear it. Better safe than sorry.

Q. I don’t want to spray perfume on my wrists or neck, can I spray it somewhere else?
A. Sure. You don’t need to put your perfume on your wrists or neck. there are no rules that state where you can or can’t apply perfume. Those are just two spots that most people tend apply perfume because they’re pulse points. You can spray perfume wherever you want on your body, you don’t even have to apply it on pulse points. Except, you may want to avoid getting perfume into orifices because I can’t imagine an ear full of perfume to be very beneficial to you. I personally like misting my arms, chest, and sometimes the backs of my knees. Go with what you’re comfortable with.

Q. I see coffee beans at some perfume counters. What are they for?
A. Coffee beans are kept around for you when you test scents to “clear out” your olfactory senses so you don’t get overwhelmed with smells. Some people who get overwhelmed with fragrances can get headaches. More often, people go scent blind and experience that funny sensation where they can’t smell any perfume anymore or all the perfume ends up smelling the same. The effectiveness of smelling coffee beans varies between person and person and some people don’t like smelling the coffee beans. Sometimes the beans don’t help at all. If you don’t want the beans, you can opt to take a few deep breaths in a non-perfumed area instead or get some fresh air. It works the same way.

Q. How come this perfume smells so different on the testing paper than it does on my skin?
A. Always test a perfume you intend to buy on your skin. The paper is there as a reference  but perfume doesn’t evolve and go through all of its phases on paper. To get the full effect and get a real sense of how the fragrance will smell on you, you need to test it on your skin. And that’s your skin. Not your friend’s. Not the sales rep’s. Yours. A testing paper will only show you some of the notes–usually the top notes–so don’t go with what the paper says because you’re missing out on most of the fragrance.

Q. At some perfume stores and in some commercials I see people with these giant perfume bottles. How come I can’t get one?
A. You actually can! These giant perfume bottles are called factices. They’re often big versions of the actual bottles and are used primarily for marketing and as displays in stores. Most factices are not filled with real perfumes but either alcohol or colored water. They are fun to look at though and many factices are simply gorgeous. There are some sellers on eBay who sell factices. But like with all things eBay-related, you should scrutinize the seller and do your research on what you want to buy. Also  make sure you get to know the terminology as factices come in many different sizes, materials and qualities.

Got any questions not addressed in this FAQ? Please leave a comment.

2 thoughts on “Perfume FAQ, Part 4

  1. Hi there,
    my boyfriend just pointed out to me (after I read the question in drinking alcohol to him) that some perfumes say ‘alcohol denat.’ on them. This means denatured alcohol, which can be very toxic as it may of had things added to discourge people from drinking it. So don’t. Call a poisons hotline if you have…

    • This is good advice! Thank you! Definitely get yourself to a medical professional or call poison control hotline if you, or someone you knew drank large quantities of perfume.

      Even though fragrances contain denatured alcohol that would discourage consumption, somehow grown adults still manage to chug full bottles of this stuff. The things people do continue to perplex me.

      I’ll also edit my answer to reflect a more appropriate course of action. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention. 🙂

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