A Beginner’s Guide to Perfume Notes
Have you ever been a little overwhelmed when you enter the perfume section of a store? You will probably find the shelves lined with bottles of scents that are made up of a confusing range of notes. For anyone new to using perfume, notes can be one of the most difficult concepts to grasp. In this article, we will provide a beginner’s guide to understanding perfume notes and layering fragrances.
The Basics of Perfume Notes
Perfume notes are different aroma compounds that blend together to form a complex scent. Three broad categories can be used to classify perfume – top notes, heart notes and base notes.
- Top Notes: Top notes are the most immediate part of a scent but have the shortest life span. These lighter, more volatile molecules evaporate quickly, wearing away from the fragrance blend within minutes. Examples include citrusy-smells such as bergamot and mandarin, along with herbal aromas like sage and basil.
- Heart Notes: Heart notes provide the main body of the scent. These aromatic chemicals come through after the top notes have evaporated and tend to last longer than start notes; however they are still quicker to disappear than base notes. Fruity smells such as apple and strawberry make up some of these middle level aromas as well as floral fragrances like poppy and jasmine.
- Base Notes: Base notes are the least volatile of all the perfume ingredients, therefore giving your scent long lasting power. These primary aromas linger in the air after the top and heart notes have disappeared. Woodsy scents such as sandalwood, musk and patchouli form part of this foundation tier as well as earthy aromas like amber and vetiver.
Layering Fragrances for Better Wearability
Once you have understood the different types of fragrance molecules that go into making a perfume – top, heart and base – you can use this knowledge to layer multiple products for better wearability. Layers which contain different ingredients from each note category mix together better than those which include similar components from a single note family. Spritzing on multiple products in this way also helps build intensity into your fragrance, giving you high levels of smellability throughout your day.
Understanding how perfume notes work is key to making informed choices when picking out your perfect scent or trying something new. Remember that what stands out in one person may be entirely different in another — always trust your nose.
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