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Perfume Advisor

Q. How do you find the right perfume for you?

World-Class are the UK's largest exporters and manufacturers of perfumery, Established in 1975 World-Class currently exports all over the world. World-Class is the consumer name for products manufactured by Milton-Lloyd.

Q. What does the term "Fragrance Life" actually mean?

Perfume is a mixture of substances with different degrees of volatility. Fresh notes are predominantly light, very volatile substances which characterise the first phase of the fragrance's life on the skin, the top note. Substances with less volatility produce the bouquet, the body, or in other words the middle note of the perfume. Substances with very low volatility and longer adhesion characteristics produce the foundation.

A good perfume is built very carefully, with the objective that similar smelling substances will be effective throughout all three phases of the fragrance life, making one continuous impression. As the moment of the first try, the user is aware of only the initial smell - the top note. With good perfumes, there should be little difference between this and the succeeding phases. With not so good ones, the phases can be disturbingly different.

Q. What is the difference between eau de toilette and perfume?

This is not simply a matter of price. Some women love to use their favourite fragrances generously. The following concentrations of fragrance (in an alcohol-water mix) are normally to be found on the market today.

  Concentration of Fragrance Essence
Extrait (or perfume) 15 - 30%
Parfum de Toilette or Eau de Parfum 8 - 15%
Eau de Toilette 4 - 8%
Eau de Cologne 3 - 5%
Splash Cologne 1 - 3%

Q. How many different fragrances can one try without becoming fragrance blind?

Though the sense of smell becomes tired more quickly from similar fragrances than fragrances of varying character, there is a little rule to follow; with different perfume types, it is possible to judge five to six perfumes. With similar perfume types, you should not compare more than two or three. Further, your nose will tire more quickly of heavy fragrances than of light ones. So always begin with the lighter ones. And fragrance samples should be applied as far apart from one another on the skin as possible.

Resist the impulses of any salesperson to cover your arms and wrists with too many scents.

Q. Does a perfume smell different depending on the person who wears it?

Yes. Everyone has her/his own individual smell. It depends on the condition of the skin, and on the life-style, particularly the diet. If a perfume smells good on another person, it's no guarantee that it will smell good on you.

Q. Does what we eat influence the smell of a fragrance?

The fragrance of the perfume doesn't change, but the smell of the skin changes, because spicy dishes have an effect on the skin's discharge. This causes a change in the skin's smell, and the change in the skin's smell causes a change in the overall impression of the perfume.

Q. Where and how should you apply perfume?

This is basically a question of the concentration of the fragrance. There's a reason for the well known drop behind the ear. Perfume is most effective where the skin is especially warm and there is a good circulation of blood. Behind the ear, and the pulse in the bend of the arm are two beautiful places for perfume. Freshly washed hair is also a good fragrance carrier, and so are clothes made of natural fabrics, and also of course furs. Fragrance stays for especially long periods on skin underneath clothing. Those who like to change their fragrances often should be careful about the spraying of clothing with perfume. The left-over fragrance in a wool dress for instance, might not be at all compatible with the fragrance you select the next time you wear it.

Q. Why not use several fragrances at the same time?

Every perfume is a harmony in itself. If you use more than one at the same time, a disharmony generally results which destroys the characters of all of them. Even worse, it could cause an unpleasant impression.

Q. Can you perfume your surroundings with a favourite perfume?

Yes. There are room sprays from several manufacturers. Economy tip: you can also spray a little perfume on your light bulbs. When the light goes on and the bulb gets warm, it gives off the fragrance of the perfume. Furthermore, perfume adheres well to upholstered furniture. But you can overdo room perfuming. Not everyone appreciates the same perfume and a person can become irritated when a room, especially an office, is saturated with fragrance.

Q. Why can we not detect the smell of a perfume after wearing it for a while?

Our sense of smell becomes quickly fatigued. After a period of smelling your perfume, because you simply cannot move away from it, you become used to is and it seems to disappear. But for others, it can still be very strong.

Q. Can a perfume influence mood?

Definitely. When an occasion is boring or particularly stuffy or the mood in the office depressing, the stimulating fragrance of the right perfume can lighten the situation surprisingly quickly. A pleasant fragrance can both stimulate and calm, can bring a little happiness, realisation, revitalisation where none existed before.

Q. Are there erotic perfumes?

Basically not, at least not in the sense of a directly functioning aphrodisiac. We all know the pleasant scent of an attractive person of the opposite sex is definitely erotic, no matter which perfume he or she happens to be using. It is one of the reasons perfumes exist. Heavy, warm fragrances lie in this category of closeness and intimacy. The lighter, fresh and more fruity a fragrance is, the less it is usually found to be erotic.

Q. Can you create a perfume scent to be compatible with my mate's?

Perfumes do not exist in the so-called partner mode, which is to be applauded. But there are quite a few men's notes which are used by women. Actually, feminine and masculine notes have been moving closer and closer together. Yet leather and some of the fougère notes belong definitely in the male domain. If he should use a drop of her perfume from time to time, or she his Eau de Cologne, this would have nothing much to do with the merging of men's and women's fragrances, it would simply be a compliment to the favoured fragrance of the other person.

Q. Are natural fragrance substances better than artificial ones?

No. The perfumer differentiates between natural and synthetic or half-synthetic substances. Natural fragrance substances are extracted in different ways (distillation is one) from plant raw materials such as blossoms, leaves, bark, wood, roots and the like; and from animal secretions. Half-synthetic fragrance substances are separated from natural substances, and sometimes from processed products. Fully synthetic fragrance substances originate one hundred per cent from the world of chemistry. All of these substances may be used in a single composition, they are of equal value to the perfumer. As to relative costs, there are extremely cheap essential oils from natural sources, and very expensive synthetic fragrance building blocks. And the other way around.

Q. What is a good perfume?

A perfume is good when the person who wears it feels comfortable surrounded by its fragrance, and when it is accepted by the people close by. Yet, there are also objective criteria for the quality of a perfume. The fragrance must develop from the prelude to the top note, to the middle note, to the foundation without losing cohesion. The user also should be able to expect of a good perfume fidelity in the fragrance dry-down. Part of the art of fragrance composition is the successful building-in of fragrance restrainers, the so called fixatives, in such a way that the heavier, volatile, more stable substances hold the lighter ones. This goes for natural fragrance substances such as resins, balms and animal secretions as well as synthetic fragrance substances. On top of this, a good perfume has to be technically OK which means it must be properly natured, carefully filtered, and dermatologically safe.

Q. Does perfume leave stains on clothing?

In most cases no, because it almost completely evaporates. Nevertheless, it is not recommended to put perfume on a white blouse. Discolorations can occur when the perfume is too old, or dark, or has thickened. If stains occur, they can usually be removed by washing.

Q. How can you tell if a perfume has spoiled?

A perfume has deteriorated when its colour has drastically changed, when it thickens and also, when you notice a sour, resinous smell on initial spray. When this occurs, some people are tempted to try to thin the perfume with alcohol. But this will not help.

Q. How long does perfume keep?

Around six months, usually longer, it is stored correctly. The ideal storage conditions: are in darkness, at room temperature. A new bottle of perfume will keep, unopened, for about a year. When you open a bottle of perfume, the best course to follow is to use it up quickly. the idea of keeping perfume in the refrigerator is of doubtful value - the perfume traces on the outside of the bottle could have an effect on the food.

Q. Can you mix perfumes?

No. Each perfume is a complex, balanced combination of many different ingredients, some of which occur in the tiniest of amounts. It is simply not possible for a hobby perfumer to obtain these substances. A do-it-yourself perfume kit does exist however. It consists of finished compositions which you can mix according to your choice. The results can be pleasing, but the whole idea is more a plaything than a real perfume-making apparatus.

Q. How many substances does a perfume contain?

There is no rule. Perfumes can be composed of sixty, seventy, of hundreds or ingredients - the sky is the limit. But this is not to say that a large number of ingredients has anything to do with a perfume's quality.

Q. Should a perfume be dabbed on or sprayed?

This is a question both of economy and comfort. When you dab perfume on, precious drops can be wasted. Aerosol spraying facilitates a fine, even, application.

An atomiser can be used also to apply perfume in a fine spray, but not a steady one, as is the case with the aerosol method.