How to pick the perfect perfume

With over 200 new women’s fragrances to choose from this year alone, you appreciate a bit of help from The Fragrance Foundation to find just the right scent to give as a gift or drop some not-so-subtle hints for what they would like to receive.
“Perfume is one of the great art-forms of the world and the creative geniuses behind these wonderful scents are dream alchemists who pour their passion, vision and sensibilities into each and every bottle,” enthuses Rochelle Bloom, president of the Fragrance Foundation.
Known as “noses” (yes really) for their sensitive sniffers and well-trained olfactive memories, these magicians blend and balance, mix and match, add or extract from an astounding variety of flowers, herbs, spices, fruits, chocolate, even wine to tempt us all with heaven sent scents. “In these challenging economic times, fragrance is the perfect gift. It’s an affordable fashion accessory when your budget doesn’t quite stretch to the entire party outfit,” Bloom continues. “Plus, research shows that fragrance has the added benefit of elevating your mood and reducing stress … a definite bonus at this hectic time of year!”
But with over 200 new fragrances on the market this year alone, even Santa might need a bit of help to as he noses his way to the fragrance counter before dropping down the chimney. Therefore, here are some tips and hints to find the perfect perfume.

Hire an expert
Did you know you could find a fragrance “personal shopper” in many of the department stores? The Certified Fragrance Sales Specialist at your favorite retailer is a highly trained expert in the fascinating and complex nature of fragrance. Over 6,000 of these fragrance gurus have successfully completed an intensive course created by The Fragrance Foundation and wear with pride a special C.F.S.S. pin that identifies them. They will be happy to help you sniff your way to the perfect perfume.

Know your notes
Perfumes are like musical compositions. The overture is the “top” note of a scent when you first open the bottle or spray it on. The impact is immediate and sets up for the next chorus of the fragrance, which is the “middle note.” The “middle note” is the very heart of the fragrance and stays with you longer before the final “base note” comes into play. This is the moment when the fragrance has truly developed to its fullest, lingering on the skin for many pleasurable hours.

Fragrance Families
Holidays are all about families and fragrances certainly fit right in. Here is a guide to several earthy and distinctive aromas:
Sporty Citrus: The crystal-clean fresh tang of such fascinating ingredients as lemon, orange and lime.
Green: The zest and energy of freshly cut grass and dewy-green leaves.
Earthy Woodsy-Mossy: Refreshingly, “foresty” sandalwood, rosewood, cedar and other aromatic woods combined with earthy oak moss and fern notes.
Romantic Floral Oriental: Sophisticated, mysterious and sultry, it is an uninhibited mixture of exotic flowers, herbs and fixatives.
Individualistic Spicy: Pungent notes like clove, ginger and cinnamon or the haunting aroma of carnation.
Ultra-feminine Single Florals: The dominant fragrance note captures the distinct and identifiable scent of a single flower such as rose, jasmine or lilac.
Career-minded Modern blend: An inexplicable top note always personified by a brilliant sparkle. It is one of the perfumer’s most imaginative creations.
Traditional: A creative blend of individual flower notes balanced by a variety of contrasting notes from the perfumer’s palette.

Spray, splash or pour?
Fragrances today are available in many forms, including body crmes, shower gels and dusting powders. However, as a rule the concentration of fragrance works like this:

Perfume: The longest lasting and most highly concentrated form of fragrance.
Eau de Perfume: Usually in spray form, a lighter concentration of the exact same fragrance
Eau de Toilette: A good choice for the “less is more” fan
Cologne: Most used for men’s scents
Solid perfume: Mixes perfume oil with wax, solid scents often come in jewel-like boxes, terrific to slip into an overnight bag
Body Lotions: Scented body lotions can be layered with perfume and that helps the scent last longer.

Do’s and don’ts
Do wear fragrance all over. As Coco Chanel once famously said “wherever you want to be kissed.”
Do make it a rule never to try more than three scents at one time when you are shopping for a new fragrance. The nose gets tired and won’t be able to tell the difference between fragrances.
Do use fragrance throughout the day. It makes you feel good and adds a bit of pleasure to you and those around you.
Don’t overdo it! Everyone has a personal “scent circle” and fragrance should be one of the most subtle, personal messages.
Don’t forget the men. There are some great men’s fragrances out there, sure to turn him into the lover of your dreams!
Don’t rush it. Wander around the department store fragrance counters and just absorb the atmosphere, look at the beautiful bottles.

Tip: when trying a fragrance, always wait at least 5-10 minutes for the full-on effect.
Still not sure that perfume is the right gift?
Then think about a scented candle, a fragrant wreath, or a delicious room diffuser.
Your thoughtfulness in finding just the right scent for just the right gift will last well into the New Year.

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