The Anatomy of Fragrance (Get It Right, Leave People Wanting More)

In General by Emi Ladrillono

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The Anatomy of Fragrances:
(Get It Right, Leave People Wanting More)

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I think a fragrance is more of a signature than even what you wear — something you’ll remember more down the road than a shirt. ” Ryan Reynolds
It is often said that the best things in life are invisible to the human eye.

A passionate kiss, a hearty laugh, a pleasant dream —including the smell of your favorite fragrance.

Unseen, enigmatic, and enticing, fragrances are among the most powerful substances in the world.

They have the ability to

  • Open doors to memories that have long been closed.
  • Boost pleasant mood and reduce stress.
  • Empower and increase self-confidence.
  • Connect the ordinary with the extraordinary.
  • Seduce and build intimate connections between people.

Wild, right? The individual formulas of these liquid marvels are unique, making one more favorable than the other (under certain circumstances).

Understanding how fragrances are made, the anatomy of a fragrance, and the differences between the types of fragrance formulations can help you harness its power to better suit your needs.

Think of fragrances the way you think of music: a blend of individual components coming together to create magic.

Notes are used to describe a scent, and are equivalent to musicians. They fall under three categories, namely: the top notes, the middle (or heart) notes, and the base notes, which collectively form an accord.

Top notes are the first among the three notes of fragrance that your senses will encounter. They’re meant to captivate and allure; to hook you in to the sensational experience. Composed of light, volatile oils (such as rose, citrus, lavender, and chamomile), they’ll last up to thirty minutes after application, and then they’ll evaporate and the fragrance transitions into heart notes.

Once the veil of top notes has evaporated, you encounter the layer of heart notes. The blend of compounds that make up the heart notes (such as lemon grass, jasmine, and coriander) are more soothing, pleasant, and longer-lasting than their top note counterparts. Heart notes also notably influence the base notes. Once you’ve been drawn in by the top notes, heart notes combine with base notes to keep you enthralled in a state of euphoria.

When the top notes and heart notes have dispersed, the base notes will take over. Base Notes are the underlying, rich, deep, final notes (like oak and musk, cedarwood and sandalwood), that impart the lasting elements of a fragrance. Formulated to be the longest lasting scent of the three notes, base notes are responsible for the sensual imprint a fragrance leaves on your skin, and in your memory.

The art of making fragrances is as rich as the history behind them (not to mention the resulting aromas they produce).

The moniker perfume arose from the direct translation of the Latin phrase per fumus, meaning through smoke.

Essential oils from plants or flowers are extracted by a number of methods.

Now for the pièce de résistance.

What separates a fragrance from the other?

No, it’s not just the unique orchestra of notes that come together to produce a symphony of sensation.

The differences lies in the amount essential oils in the formulation.

  • Eau Fraiche

    Light, affordable, and equally sensational, Eau Fraiche is perfect for those of you who just need a touch of fragrance.
    The subtlest of the fragrances, Eau Fraiche is only comprised of 1-3% essential oils. Eau Fraiche is French for fresh water.
    Like its namesake, it is composed of mostly water, which accounts for its short-lived fragrance (which will last you 1-2 hours max).

  • Eau de Cologne (EDC)

    This simple, yet refined fragrance contains 2-4% essential oils balanced in water and alcohol.
    Associated with masculine scents, colognes are the product of a blend of natural ingredients combined to complement each other, and to enhance your natural scent for up to 2 hours.

  • Eau de Toilette (EDT)

    Higher levels of alcohol and a fragrance content of 5-15% essential oils constitute Eau de Toilette, a lighter cologne formulation which will last you 2-3 hours of wear.
    Commonly used after showering or shaving, its light formula makes it a top choice for daywear and warm days.

  • Eau de Parfum (EDP)

    Containing a concentration of 15-20% perfume essence, this long lasting fragrance has you covered for the next 4 to 5 hours.
    Despite having a high alcohol concentration, this formulation has been found to be friendly for people with sensitive skin, and is great for everyday wear.

  • Parfum

    Extrait de parfum as it is otherwise known, is the purest form of fragrance, boasting a concentration of 20-30% essential oils.
    High fragrance concentration means longer lasting fragrance (around 6 to 8 hours).
    Parfum has the least amount of alcohol among the different fragrance formulations (which means it won’t dry your skin out), making it an excellent choice for those of you with sensitive skin.

Believe it or not, there is a time (specifically a season) and place (anatomically) which you should wear your fragrances.


Deep, earthy, or spicy blends are best suited for winter

Light, fresh, and zesty fragrances stand out more in the summer!

Spray Routines

An authority figure on fragrances reveals the secrets to the how, where, and when to spray fragrances in 3 different routines.

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Save your clothing, save the Earth, and smell good while doing it.

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