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A fragrance is a concoction of, as people refer in perfume industry, raw materials. These can be yielded from natural sources or synthetic ones. Perfumed oils are then dissolved into solvents like alcohol to maintain the aromatic mixture of scents. A higher percentage of concentration means a stronger fragrance, this determines how long the scent can last on your skin.

It is important to know that an identical scent may have a different fragrance on every person.

So what is the difference between fragrance, perfume, cologne and toilette?

Fragrance is a generic term, unisex, for perfume. It comes in many forms and hence defined by different terms but generally fall in to below categories.

  1. Eau Fraiche – This is the most diluted version of fragrance, usually with 1-3% of perfumed oil in water and alcohol. This mostly lasts less than an hour.
  2. Cologne (Eau de Cologne) – It is commonly used for masculine scents. Fresh, fruity and light, typically consists of 2-4% alcohol and water. Essentially used in younger people fragrances. They mostly lasts around 2 hours.
  3. Toilette (Eau de Toilette) – It is a light spray mixture with 5-15% pure perfumed essence dissolved in alcohol. This concoction lasts more than 3 hours.
  4. Perfume (Eau de Parfum) – This is basically genderless used to describe both women’s and men’s products and commonly used for describing fragrances. This contains 15-20% of pure perfume with alcohol and can last for approximately 5 to 8 hours.
  5. Parfum – Simply sleazing Latin phrase per fumum. This is the most concentrated of all fragrances, composed of 20-30% pure perfume essence, hence making it the most expensive. It is slightly oilier and single application can last up to 24 hours.
  6. Attar (Ittar) – Attar is a natural perfume oil produced from botanical sources through hydro and steam distillation. These are 100% natural and pure perfumes derived from flowers/herbs/spices, free from alcohol and chemicals. Though being 100% pure, they are affordable as being so concentrated that a small bottle lasts up to several weeks, sometimes even months. As a little dab of attar on neck or clothes can lasts up to 36-48 hours, based on the concoction.

This is what fragrances are about, but still there are two products that have taken the world by sweep; we are talking about Deodorants and Antiperspirants. They both have varied functionalities.

What Is the Difference Between Deodorants and Antiperspirants?

These two chemicals compounds are made for two complete different purposes and function variably on application over the skin.

Deodorants, as the name suggests, tries to kill the odour from your sweat by targeting the bacteria, which feeds on your sweat. They mainly contain alcohol or chelant-based material that makes your underarm inhabitable or have antibacterial chemical that attacks the bacteria before they could start ingesting your fluids.

Whereas antiperspirants stop you from much sweating. They consist of compounds that mix with sweat to form gel-like plug to block the sweat gland duct by constricting as well. If more pores are plugged then you sweat less, physically. This constriction is temporary, the plugs eventually come off by sloughing of skin. Its effect does vary from person to person.

Now knowing all about fragrances, let’s come back to the point on how to shop for fragrances?

Below are fie important tips that will come handy the next time you buy a fragrance.

  1. Never Judge Based on Perfume’s Description – A fragrance consists of hundreds of ingredients, so if you don’t like a note or two don’t let that cloud your opinion for a fragrance. You may know that there’s a specific smell that you don’t like, but it doesn’t mean that you may not be fond of that fragrance, and you may even fail to recognise it in the final product.
  2. Myth: Fragrances Smell Differently on Different People – It actually shouldn’t happen because everyone’s skin has same pH. What changes the smell of a fragrance is the already present product on your skin like moisturiser or lingering body wash. That’s why, before testing any perfumes, have a normal beauty regime that will allow you to have a better sense of how perfume will smell on your dermis daily.
  3. Test Your Fragrance – Wrists aren’t always the best spot to test your fragrance as metal jewellery can often alter the smell of a fragrance. Better, spray them on top of your arms or elbows corner, roll down your sleeves and wear it all day. That will allow the fragrance to come out through the day.
  4. Let It Dry on Blotting Paper – While testing fragrance, allow the perfume to dry that will give time for all the notes to accentuate. Or just toss the blotting paper in your purse and later on when you open it, let the fragrance envelope you.
  5. Overwhelmed Senses – This is a very common thing to happen when you look into too many fragrances at a time. Simple method to overcome this is to smell your skin or shirt. It will offset some of the strong notes still buzzing your nostrils, and enough time for your senses to adjust before next fragrance test.

Once you have found some fragrances that you are comfortable in wearing and have started to appreciate the fragrances that compliment your natural scent, you will be on your way to experiment with this mysterious olfactory world.

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