Fragrance is very clearly set apart from the rest of the beauty sector. After all, perfume has no cosmetic effect on its wearer; it won’t give you a clear complexion, it won’t create glossy, flowing hair, nor help disguise the signs of aging. Yet fragrance remains the most inspirational and glamourous beauty item you can buy, its very ethereal qualities capturing the imaginations of consumers and manufacturers alike.
To wear a fragrance is to wear the image surrounding it, and to smell wonderful too. As you know, feeling confident about yourself is the elusive key to beauty, and the end to which we all strive.
Fragrance has a language all its own; a code that is defined by the unique qualities of its compilation. Each fragrance consists of three layers, and the ingredients in each layer are described as its notes. The layers of a fragrance emerge and fade in succession, and the combination of individual notes within each layer is responsible for the change in scent from the time the fragrance is applied, to the point where it has dried completely.
Top notes are evident as soon as the liquid touches your skin. If you are spraying your fragrance you will first smell the alcoholic solution in which most fragrances are carried. You must allow this to disperse before attempting to sample a new perfume. Top notes can be floral or fruity. They are usually lighter than the other ingredients, and function by shaping the primary fragrance burst. Shortly after application, the top notes give way to middle notes, sometimes called ‘heart’ notes or ‘the heart of a fragrance’. These are usually floral, as most fruity notes are too light for this layer.
Middle notes make up the core perfume as it sits on the skin, and it is these layers that define the ultimate dry down, when the perfume settles on to the skin.
The bottom layer, or base notes determine how long a fragrance will last, and provide a background on which the heart notes can be appreciated. Interestingly, most fragrances are similar base notes, popular ones being sandalwood, amber, musk and vanilla. This is because there are only a certain number of notes that will last long enough on the skin to form the base of a fragrance.