Bonjour! One of the few words that I learnt on my recent two-week trip to Europe. The first leg of my Europe trip began with Paris, France. When you think of France, you probably think of the food, wine, fine leather goods, and maybe even luxury perfume. While in Paris, the city of lights and romance we visited the Fragonard Parfumeur and Museum for a guided tour. The tour covers the history of perfume, the history of Fragonard, perfume manufacturing techniques, displays of perfume equipment and special bottles, and an olfactory game. After the tour, participants are led to the Fragonard store to smell some of the most popular Fragonard perfumes. Expect a soft sell at the end of the tour, but no purchase is required.
So in this post, I would like to share with you some of the information that I gained on perfumes during this tour. And we will begin with
WHY IS FRENCH PERFUME SO FAMOUS
While France didn’t invent the perfume (the credit goes to the Egyptians for the origin of perfume over 2000 years ago) Catherine de Medicis, wife of King Henri II, introduced fashion fragrances to France during the Renaissance. From the Renaissance onward, perfume existed mainly to hide the smell of body odor—unfortunately, bathing wasn’t a priority and also for waking women up after fainting from tight corsets! Paris may be the French perfume industry headquarters, but the real aromas are found in the small town of Grasse, France. Due to its mild climate, it’s a horticulture heaven for a variety of popular flowers, such as: jasmine, lavender, myrtle, rose and mimosa. So all the know how and craftsmanship is concentrated in that little area in the south. The perfume industry in Grasse involves some sixty different companies and employs almost 3,500 people; and even though Grasse has had to move with the times and now produces synthetic as well as natural fragrances, it is the natural fragrances for which it remains famous. All the Noses (‘Nose’ is the job title of the perfume creator) of the Luxury houses of perfumes have learned their art from here. There is only one per house at a time, not more. The first synthetic perfume that became world-famous is Chanel No 5. Till date it is the top seller in every single store.
PERFUME Vs. EAU DE TOILLETE
There are three main levels in perfumes. First is the Perfume, its the highest level of essence concentration (20% to 30%) lasts upto 24 hours or longer. The most expensive of them all. The intermediary concentration (15% to 20%) a bit more diluted is called Eua De Perfume which lasts upto 5 to 8hours and the lightest one is called Eau De Toillete (5% to 15%) will disappear probably after 3 hours dependant on the acidity level of your skin and so you may have to reapply.
TESTING PERFUME SCENTS
After our tour of the museum, we tested some perfumes. Did you know? Smelling coffee grounds isn’t the real way to clear your nose? Smelling your own scent by smelling your skin is the best way because your scent in neutral to your nose!
Fragrance shopping tips:
- Limit the number of scents you test to three at one time. The brain can’t recognise between more than three.
- Shop for perfume in the morning. That is when our sense of smell is at its peak.
- If you have a signature scent you love, ask the fragrance expert for other fragrances with similar ingredients and personality, that way you will limit your testing to your choice of scent.
- Retain the box the perfume comes in. The best way to store your new purchase is to return it to its box after every use Keep it in a cool, dark place and it will last for a good 12 months.
- When you finalise on your purchase, do not shy away from asking if there are any gift sets or gift purchase offers. Often you can get samplers, mini bottles, body lotion or shower gel in addition to your eau de toilette for the price of the scent alone.
HOW TO APPLY PERFUME
In French, you apply perfume delicately and strategically on your body parts. The first on the inside of your wrist. Not too close to your hands as you may wash them and you want your perfume to stay a bit longer. Important to remember you should never rub perfume after applying on the wrist as by doing that you are overheating the perfume and that causes change in the smell of the perfume. Then behind the ear or underneath the jawline. That’s for when you kiss people they can smell you. Then the inside of the elbow if you want to smell stronger. And behind the knees thats for when you walk past people who are seated, so they can smell you too. Everything is thought through.
Here are some tips to get the most of your fragrance
- Moisturise first – perfumes lasts longer on oily skin, so to have a long lasting effect apply very little vaseline at the pulse points before applying your perfume.
- Never ever spary on your clothes ( i am sure most of us are guilty of doing this)
- For your hair to smell good too, spray it on your brush let the alcohol evaporate and then comb through you hair.
- Heat, light and humidity is bad for perfume so don’t store them in direct sunlight, or bathroom but in cool, dark and dry place.
HOW IS PERFUME INTEGRATED INTO THE DAILY BEAUTY ROUTINE
Your perfume is you; it stands for you. And usually you spend lot of time finding the one. So all the rest of your beauty products has to work around it and adapt. So french women would typically not wear coconut flavoured body cream or watermelon lip gloss or similar because imagine when you add your perfume on all of those other strong product fragrances …its horrible. So french cosmetics have very decent discreet scents, its to not compete with your perfume.
Another thing, you shouldn’t wear perfume everyday of the week because the nose gets used to it and then you can’t notice it anymore and then you feel like you are not wearing enough so you increase the sprays to still be able to smell it. At the price of the bottle you want to notice it when you are wearing it. So you must be on a perfume break few days in a week. When French women wear their perfume they fully appreciate the luxury that it is.
Keep these tips in mind and make your perfume wearing experience a pleasant one. Until next time
be bold. be beautiful.