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Women's perfumes are fragrant liquids that are blended from various essential oils and aromas, fixatives, and alcohol. Steam distillation, or "enfleurage," is used to obtain the essential oils and aromas from certain flowers and plants. Fixatives made from balsam, certain animal secretions, and synthetic materials are used to bind the fragrances together and prevent them from evaporating too quickly.
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During the 19th century, advances in organic chemistry made it possible for synthetic scents to be manufactured. While perfume made with synthetic scents were popular for a while, the industry has come full circle and today's most popular scents are once again made from essential oils.
Some fine perfumes contain hundreds of ingredients and are aged more than a year before they reach store shelves. There are several different categories of women's scents, depending upon the essential oil to alcohol ratio. Perfume, the costliest scent, is about 22 percent essential oils. Eau de Perfume is 15 to 20 percent essential oils, while Eau de Toilette is eight to 15 percent essential oils. The least costly of scents is Eau de Cologne, which is a mere four percent essential oils.
Women's fragrances are generally divided into categories, based on the type of aroma they are associated with. The most popular scent category is floral, which includes scents from a combination of different flowers such as rose, lily of the valley, carnation, and narcissus, as well as gardenia, tuberose, and violet. Fruity scents often rely on essences that come from mandarin, bergamot, and apple, as well as melon, passion fruit, and pineapple. Green scents come from pine, juniper, hyacinth, lavender, and rosemary, while spicy scents are derived from cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom. Orientals include woods, resins, musks, and amber, while florientals include these essences combined with flower scents. Ozone-oceanic scents, the latest family of popular fragrances, are derived from synthetic materials that smell like the ocean, mountain air, or just-washed linen.
Perfume fragrances rise, so they should be applied to pulse points such as the ear lobes, the throat, the bend in your elbow, or the wrist. In order to keep the scent true, fragrance should be re-applied as the molecules break down. A good rule of thumb is to apply fragrance in the morning, at lunch, in late afternoon, and before bed. Perfume should never be applied directly to clothing, because scent can cling to fabrics; in some cases, perfumes can even ruin fabrics.
Please browse this fragrance designers page and the information resources listed below, where you can and learn more about the perfume and fragrance industries.
Perfume & Fragrance Resources
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Womens Perfume - Guide to Women's Perfume