I thought I knew a lot about fragrance until I listened in on the talk of international fragrance expert Arnaud Marolleau at the Prestige Brands event held at Café Romulo last April. Not only was the presentation entertaining, it was also very informative.
It was interesting to find out just how powerful fragrance is. Many of us don’t realize how it creates a lasting first impression, as it speaks for us in ways no words can ever express. Which is why we shouldn’t wear just any fragrance, but really consider how the smell makes us feel and what it represents.
“Fragrance can help you become someone you’re not,” says Marolleau. “This means, wearing a certain type of fragrance can transform you into who you want to be. For example, if you want to become confident and powerful, you have to find a fragrance that will exude those qualities. Likewise, if you want to succeed in business, you need to wear perfume that translates into work and career.”
Our olfactory senses are actually so powerful that we can smell people before we can see them. Right away, our nose sends a signal to the brain to decipher a person’s looks, character and even confidence, all before we’ve laid eyes on them.
“When I advise people on fragrances, the first thing I will ask them is: Who do you want to be? And people describe who they want to be, and I will choose a fragrance for them,” Marolleau said.
As I found out, there are at least 150 ingredients in every bottle of fragrance, and when sprayed, they create a symphony of smells. This lasts between six to eight hours, and is composed of top, heart and base notes.
Marolleau compares these to vehicles (motorcycles, cars and buses) waiting for a traffic light. When the light turns green or go, smaller vehicles tend to move first and cross quickly, then the medium-sized ones pass through, and finally it’s the big and heavy modes of transport that start to move.
Fragrance notes work in a similar way. The top note, which is the lightest and sweetest scent (mostly floral-fruity), lasts for only five to 15 minutes. Then, the heart note, usually composed of flowers, herbs and leaves, will take over for two to three hours. And finally it’s the base that is left, which is generally amber, musk and wood; this lasts for three to four hours.
As much as we expect our fragrance to last for the expected time (six to eight hours), our humid weather seems to find ways to drastically shorten its life.
But there are ways to make fragrance last. Marolleau gives us some tips:
Choose an intense olfactory family. According to Marolleau, the most intense fragrances are chypre, woody or oriental scents. Chypre is a family of perfumes that are characterized by a citrus top note, a floral middle and a mossy-musk base.
“Chypre fragrance has more than 60 percent of its base; it is a very enveloping, sensual and sophisticated fragrance, while woody is very good for business.”
Outsmart humidity. “Humidity is the vampire of fragrance,” said Marolleau. In order for the scent to last, you must wear it in a dry environment. The best thing to do is to have a little bottle in your handbag and spray every time you go to an air-conditioned place, like the car or office.
“Every time you arrive at a place, spray your fragrance,” advised Marolleau.
Improve your skin condition. If your skin is dry, the fragrance will never last. Why? There is nothing for your perfume to grab. When you have dry skin, the fragrance cannot even penetrate skin’s first layers, so it will immediately evaporate. Marolleau suggestion is to wear body lotion all the time to keep skin moisturized.
Prestige Brands carries the following fragrance brands: Versace, Carolina Herrerra, Creed, Jimmy Choo, Oscar de la Renta, Mont Blanc, Nine West and Paco Rabanne.
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