Each person’s skin is different, and there are few times when that is more obvious than when applying perfume. Perfume is made up of hundreds of complex chemicals, each of which reacts with the different compounds in your skin. The cacophony of clashes doesn’t stop there.
The temperature, acidity, moisture, fats, proteins, fibers, and sugar content of your skin all affect the fragrances you wear. Even the foods you eat may have an influence on your perfume. Depending on your chemistry, the colognes you wear can dissipate into the air or be absorbed into the skin at different rates.
Perfume manufacturers specifically blend scents to react in a certain way over time. Usually, perfumes actually have three distinct fragrances, known as “top notes,” “heart” or “middle notes,” and “base notes.”
Top notes are the lightest and airiest of the fragrances in a perfume blend. These are the scents that you first smell when you apply a splash of cologne to your wrist. They usually have a strong scent, but they also evaporate relatively quickly. Spicy or citrus scents are often chosen for top notes. Manufacturers spend a lot of time developing top notes, since most buyers make a decision within the first few minutes of smelling a perfume.
You might have noticed that shortly after applying perfume, the fragrance begins to change, becoming mellower. This effect is due to the heart notes coming to the forefront, replacing the top notes as they evaporate. The change from top to heart notes can be quite subtle or it can be very distinctive. Depending on your chemistry and the blend of perfume, this change can take anything from a few minutes to a full hour to occur. Flowery scents are common heart notes.
Approximately half an hour after perfume has been applied, base notes start making an appearance. These usually do not replace the heart notes, but rather blend with them to form the “true” scent of the perfume. As the perfume dries, the base notes become more and more prominent. Musk and resin are fragrances that are often used for base notes.
Designer colognes and perfumes are created so that each of these groups of notes makes an appearance at a certain time, and blends in a specific way with the other notes. However, the vagaries of the particular chemicals and compounds in your skin could throw off this blend, causing the notes to fade too early or to come in too strong. You could react badly with a particular scent, making the scent too sour or too sharp, or causing the chemicals to evaporate so quickly that you can barely smell them at all.
Conversely, your skin might react particularly well with a specific fragrance, causing it to smell heavenly on you. Because of this, it is very important to test a scent on your own skin before selecting a scent to buy. Something that has a lovely fragrance in the bottle or when worn by a friend could prove to be a disappointment when applied to your skin, and vice versa.
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