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Friday, September 07, 2012 2:18 PM
When it comes to the beauty cabinet, fragrance is a woman’s best friend. Here are our tips to help you find your dream scent.
Christian Dior once said, “A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.” Yet with hundreds of new fragrances launched each year, the idea of finding a single defining scent seems to have vanished into the distance. Long gone are the days of simply heading to the beauty counter to replenish your favourite fragrance. The choice today is a much more complicated one. While a number of woman remain loyal to the same perfume they have worn for years, a growing number are searching for something new and unique. Yet finding that standout fragrance amongst the crowd of new contenders is no mean feat. To make the search easier, we've compiled a list of essential tips to help you shop for a scent and, once you've found it, get the most out of it.
Do your research. Coined “the Google of perfumes”, Scentmap.com is an easy-to-use website that lets you explore fragrances that may appeal to you based on the scent you currently wear. Once you've entered your usual fragrance, you can refine suggestions with the remote control on the right-hand side of the page, selecting options such as warm, classic, new or rare. While there's no guarantee you're going to love all the scents recommended, it's a great starting point and definitely comes in handy if you're buying fragrance as a gift.
Learn The Fragrance Wheel. Dubbed the “brain of the fragrance industry” by Women's Wear Daily, Michael Edwards created The Fragrance Wheel in 1983 to classify fragrances and it remains an essential tool in the industry today. The system, which now consists of 14 different fragrance families, may seem a little overwhelming in itself, however, according to Edwards, most of us indentify with fragrances belonging to just two or three of the families. Get to know the wheel and what fragrance families you enjoy before you set foot inside a store. Once you know which families you’re most fond of, arm yourself with a list and shop assistants will be able to point you in the direction of similar scents.
It's a seasonal thing. The scent you buy, to some extent, should depend on the season you plan on wearing it. Heat intensifies fragrance, so in summer it's a good idea to either opt for a lighter scent (try out fragrances with fresh notes: fruity, water, green or citrus) or tone down the amount you apply. We all know scent triggers a number of emotional reactions, and those from the above families remind us of summer and boost spirits. Something to keep in mind when battling the winter blues.
Embrace your unique side. Although rushing out to by the intoxicating new scent your colleague has just purchased may seem like the easy solution, this method of fragrance purchasing is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, the scent that smells like heaven on your colleague will, more often than not, smell completely different on you. We've all got our own unique “scent print” that is defined by our genes, skin chemistry, diet, hormones, lifestyle and skin temperature. No fragrance will smell the same on any two people.
Give it time. Even the experts conclude that finding the perfect fragrance can be a difficult and time-consuming task. But good things take time. So when you’re shopping for a fragrance, be prepared to dedicate some time to the search. Edwards recommends trying no more than three fragrances at once ¬– spray one lightly on each wrist and a third behind your elbow. Let your body heat work its magic and give the scents a chance to develop on your skin before making a decision.
You are what you eat. It seems hard to believe but your diet can dramatically alter the way a fragrance smells and lasts on your skin. According to The Fragrance Foundation, if you consume a spicy diet that’s high in fat, fragrances will smell more intense. On the other hand, if you consume a low-fat diet, skin tends to be less oily and fragrance will evaporate more quickly.
Know your pulse points. Pulse points emit heat and intensify fragrance, and while most of us are used to applying perfume on our wrists and behind our ears, experimenting with applying your scent to other pulse points will help it last longer. Because heat rises, fragrance applied higher up the body will evaporate sooner. Focus on pulse points located below shoulder level. Try spritzing your scent behind your knees or just above your hipbones to extend the life of your scent.
Add layers. As gorgeous as they are, body washes and moisturisers in your favourite scent aren't just there to make your bathroom look pretty. If you really want your scent to last the distance, invest in complementary bath and body products and begin your beauty ritual by bathing in scented body wash and follow with fragranced moisturiser.
Enjoy it. Fragrance is made to be to be enjoyed and for that to happen it has to be used. However, to get the most out of your scent, it needs to be stored properly. Exposure to light, air and heat will alter the fragrance so always store your scent in a cool, but not cold, dark place, such as a draw or cupboard.
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