Although this blanket statement by Coco Chanel may not necessarily hold true, I think the mechanics of a good perfume is good know for a discerning lady such as yourself. Don’t you hate it when you spend a small fortune on a bottle of sweet elixir that evaporates as soon as it dries on your skin? How are you supposed to attract that special someone without enhanced pheremones?
Perfume is essentially the mix of water, ethanol, and a concentrated aromatic compound. I never put much thought into this, but the fancy french names of colognes actually indicate where they fall on the perfume concentration scale.
-Eau de Parfum= 10-20%. Described somewhere as “olfactory shoulder pads,” this class usually embodies the strongest, most concentrated scents. Think CoCo by Chanel.
-Eau de toilette= 5-15% (usually around 10%). The less aggressive, poorman’s daytime scent for all occasions, coming from the French phrase “faire sa toilette,” describing the ritual of getting dressed.
-Eau de Cologne= 3-8%. A light, citrus perfume without a base scent. Sold to the masses at apothecaries and now in the Duane Reade, to get more bang for the buck.
The higher the concentration, the “stickier” the scent is and the longer it will last on your skin. The lower the concentration, the more water and ethanol there is and POOF, just in like that, your sexy scent is gone for the day.
My interest in fragrance was piqued after a visit to Atelier Cologne, a fragrance boutique in Nolita NYC, where I was treated to a 45 minute crash course in the art of scent. After years of buying the hottest Marc Jacobs scent (usually around 10-12%) and ending up smelling like myself (ew) after a few short hours, I discovered this brilliant combination of a light, citrus scent in the concentration of eau de parfum, at close to 20%. It sticks like nothing I’ve ever tried and because of that, the scent evolves and changes to the personal chemistry of the wearer. After 14 hours of wear, I still can smell it on myself. You can’t find that kind of fragrance satisfaction just anywhere. My scent, Oolong Infini, is described as “cool gin and citrus opening followed by an afternoon tea heart of smoky oolong before retiring to the wood paneled drawing room for a whiff of tobacco.” Doesn’t get sexier than that.
Another little nugget I got from that fateful day was how to apply perfume. NEVER RUB. It crushes the fragrance molecules, altering the anatomy of the scent. Spray on pulse points (wrists, base of the throat, behind ear lobes, inner elbows, behind knees), where the radiating heat warms the scent, making it stick, all the while emanating the scent into your space.
This is my homage to fragrance, the finishing touch of any diva beauty routine. Spend a little time searching for your signature scent, it’s an investment worth making. You gotta work to WERQ.