Some Perfume Myths

Marketing frustrates me. In college, I spent a large portion of my time learning how to market a product through visual mediums. I found myself growing steadily more and more frustrated with marketing gimmicks and tactics. Perfume ads, perfume commercials, perfume aesthetics, and most of the perfume industry itself is often steeped in over-the-top gimmicks and outrageous claims. For a lark, let’s take a look at some of the myths of perfume that were somehow perpetuated and continue to exist today.

The notes list on a perfume is the ingredients list.
Probably the most common misconception about perfume is that the notes list is some sort of indicator of what you’re actually getting in a fragrance. It doesn’t help that no one comes out and tells people not to rely on it as a list of ingredients either. The notes list on a fragrance’s ad is just a list of scents that you should smell when you spray the stuff on. The actual ingredients list could be hundreds of components long and most of them might be near impossible to pronounce. Notes lists are notorious for being inaccurate and often incomplete, they list notes that aren’t even there, they use overly flowery language, and sometimes they have made up ingredients that don’t exist. If you want to refer to a notes list, use it as a guide to what you’re smelling, but don’t cite it as an ingredients list because it is not.

Perfumes that last longer are higher quality.
Not necessarily true. Perfumes that stick around forever are often composed of robust fragrant ingredients that allow them to stick around for a long time. A stick of Secret deodorant will usually give off a scent for at least 9 hours. Does that mean the fragrant ingredients in your stick of deodorant is of a higher quality than the ingredients in your Amouage perfume? Not necessarily. It just means the fragrant ingredients in the deodorant are more robust and are made to be resilient. Resilience is not always an indication of quality.

You have to wear perfume on your pulse points in order for it to work properly.
While most people like to wear their fragrances on the pulse points such as the wrists and neck, no one is stopping you from wearing perfume elsewhere and so long as the fragrance is on your skin, it won’t react too differently. Also nothing bad will happen to you if you want to dab some perfume somewhere else on your body. Provided that ‘somewhere else’ is not in your eyes, nose, mouth, or in and around any other orifice. Use your common sense, obviously.

Eau de parfum concentrations will last longer than eau de toilette concentrations.
Concentrations do not necessarily denote the longevity or the quality of the fragrance. Just because you opt for the EDP of a perfume, does not mean you will get better wear from it. EDP and EDT concentrations of a perfume with the same name can often vary in ingredients. Sometimes the fragrance houses vary the amount of certain ingredients as opposed to just using more fragrant oils. So a lot of the time, you may get an EDT that smells completely differently from an EDP of the “same perfume”. If you want higher concentration = longer lasting perfume, you will have to graduate from the EDPs and EDTs to Parfum. Even then, ingredients can vary and scents can be drastically different. The bottom line is, you cannot base a judgement on how long a fragrance will last simply by assuming that EDT will always be weaker than EDP.