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Selecting the right fragrance is all about you

November 7, 2009
By CARRA HIGGINS, Staff Writer

It's believed that in the ancient world fragrance was used to get closer to the gods, glorify beauty and power, and make the body more perfect. While fragrances might not take you closer to gods, the right perfume isn't far off from the other beliefs of our ancestors. After all, Marilyn Monroe once revealed she only wore a few drops of the iconic Chanel No. 5 to bed.

Finding the right fragrance to make you feel your best isn't easy. Advertising and celebrity names are splashed all over the market of uniquely designed glass bottles filled with blends of flowers and spices to entice buyers to jump on the Paris and Brittany fragrance bandwagons. But just because a perfume is trendy doesn't make it right for you or those who have to be around you.

Between the fresh glossy pages of magazines are folded ads that have been sprayed with the latest perfume to hit the market. It's difficult to resist peeling back the glued edges to get a whiff of what you can find in the glass cases of department stores. However, the fragrance shared with the masses on paper causes these sweet or spicy fragrances to smell appealing, but on the skin these perfumes can turn into an assault on the senses. Smelling the perfume on another person and presuming it will be appealing on you or buying a fragrance with a celebrity name can become mistakes, too.

Perhaps it's easy to be lured into buying a fragrance with a famous name. After all, you would think that if a celebrity put their name on a bottle, they would wear it themselves -and we are a culture captivated by the rich and famous.

In 2001, Chanel introduced Coco Mademoiselle, billed as the fragrance "Coco Chanel would wear if she were 21 at the dawn of the 21st century." Being nearly 21 myself that year and obsessed with Coco Chanel, I'll never forget the first time I grazed my nose over the scented ad for Coco Mademoiselle hoping the fragrance would smell as good on me as on the paper. I had determined it must be mine and jumped in my car and headed to a department store's fragrance counter.

Rushing to the store to test is fine, but don't immediately buy the perfume you've decided must be your own signature scent without following a few simple steps first. There are actually a lot of factors that can make or break a fragrance on you, for example, your body chemistry, diet and exercise. When you think you've found the right perfume, test it on a pulse point of your body, not your clothes. Above all, don't spray then buy five minutes later. It takes at least 20 minutes for the fragrance to go from the top notes to the bottom notes, which will be the scents that stay with you throughout the day.

Also, when selecting a fragrance, it's important to decide whether you want the parfume, which has the highest concentration of fragrance; the eu de parfume, the next highest concentration; or eu de toilet, the lowest amount of the oils.

If money is no object, parfume might be the way you want to go, however, the eu de parfume is less expensive and works nearly as well. The eu de toilet is the least expensive and often the only option depending on the brand, but usually empties faster because you're applying it more often. It's not unusual for two sprays of an eu de parfume to last all day, night and even into the next day.

After you've found the right perfume, don't wear it every day because your body will become accustomed to the scent and it won't smell the same after a while. If you want to wear a perfume everyday, find three that you enjoy and rotate them. To prolong the life of your perfume, make sure it's stored at room temperature and in low light.

At, you can learn how perfumes are made and more about the families of fragrances. The site also includes a quiz to find out what kind of fragrances may suit you best.

Careful selection and investing in a fragrance that's not available in a plastic bottle and quantities of five for $30 will be sure to garner complements instead of crinkled noses.



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