Before you invest in a perfume that you are likely to wear for a long time, it is worthwhile knowing a little bit about fragrance as a whole.
If you see buying scent as an investment, then you should be focused on finding something that will last you for a long time and work as your ‘signature scent’, rather than having a number of cheaper fragrances. The only way to do this is to truly understand perfume in the first place.
There are various grades of fragrance, all of which basically refer to how much of the scent is in the bottle.
Absolute is just the basic aromatic compounds mixed together, and is the very strongest level of scent. For most people this will be too strong to wear on its own, and will be better mixed with lotions, body sprays and so on to limit the impact.
Eau de perfume is strong enough to last all day when it is sprayed on in the morning, and is ideal for a day to night scent.
Eau de toilette is slightly weaker, and would be ideal if you plan on wearing one scent during the day, and another in the evening.
Finally, eau de cologne offers a milder hit of scent that you can reapply throughout the day as required.
When you apply your perfume, the top note is the first scent that hits you, and will be strong, lasting for an hour at most.
The heart notes come through as the perfume warms up with your skin, and these fade into the base note, which is what the perfume will smell like at the end of the day.
The various top, heart and base notes of perfume tend to come in families, and bear lots of similarities within their groupings. Families include floral (which is generally a feminine, sweet scent of flowers), citrus (often used for summery, sporty perfumes, with a sharper tang to it), and oriental (spicy and woody, perfect for those who want to avoid a clearly feminine or masculine scent).
Perfume should be stored at room temperature and kept out of direct sunlight, as any light or heat could affect the scent and make it sour.
Fragrance should be applied to clean, dry skin, and will last longer around the pulse points, which is where your blood flows the strongest and your skin is the warmest. There are pulse points at your wrists, the base of your throat, behind your ears, behind your knees and on your chest.
Remember that over time you will become used to the scent and not be able to smell it anymore, but this doesn’t mean that everyone else can’t. If you are wearing a lighter scent then you may reapply after a few hours, but generally you will not need to.