Monday, July 20, 2015

Fragrance Notes Explained

Fragrance Notes Explained

When reading fragrance reviews of any type: perfume, eau de toilette and even home fragrance you may have noticed myself and others referring to top, middle and base notes? It can be confusing choosing a new scent let along getting to grips with note terminology, I mean surely if it smells great that is enough? True but for describing fragrances, be it in person or in a review, note composure sure come in handy - let me explain...

Top Notes (may also be referred to as opening notes or head notes)
As the name may suggest this is what you immediately detect from any fragrance. I find the best way to think of them is as a fragrance first impression - when you first mist on a bottle of fragrance, what you immediately smell is the top notes, it really is as simple as that. As it is the first thing you experience it is important that they reel the consumer - it is often what makes or breaks a scent. Typically speaking top notes are the lightest notes within any fragrance composition and as such are the first to fade.

Middle Notes (or Heart Notes)
Once the top notes have faded next in line to make an appearance is the middle notes, or more commonly know as the heart notes. Such notes tend to be a little more robust than the lighter aforementioned top notes and as such longer wearing. In my opinion most fragrance wear comes from the middle notes so before purchasing any scent, mist it on, leave for around 30 minutes and then try again. If you don't like the heart notes of a fragrance there is frankly no point in purchasing it as you will be detecting those very notes pretty much all day.

Base Notes 
Lastly we have the base notes which are more often than not composed of musk or cedarwood, sandalwood which are chosen for the longevity. They are the last to make an appearance in any fragrance and only become detectable once the above top and heart notes have evaporated. The main purpose of such rich notes is to ensure the fragrance wears well and for a prolonged period.

It really is as simple as that! 

The way I got to grips with fragrance pyramids was more hands on; my advice is to look up the top, heart and base notes for your favourite fragrance - mist it on to yourself or a piece of card and over the space of a few hours see if you can pick up on the individual notes. I hope this helps.

I have also explained the difference between cologne, eau de toilette and more here.
Or find out if bottled fragrance can expire here.

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  1. Such an interesting post. I've never really been the best at describing fragrances and I get so confused over the different notes that people always talk about. This makes things much more clearer for me and Definitley a great little read :)

    Thanks for posting, Have a great day ♥

    Ying | * Y i n g c b e a u t y *

    X x X x X

  2. this is such a helpful post, i always struggle with perfumes but this post has definitely helped me out!

    love katy @ THE RAWRDROBE ♡

  3. Very simply explained. Thank you! :)

    With Love,
    Anna || Curly Scribbles

  4. Thank you for explaining. picking a new Perfume is a nightmare. I am really tempted by the Elie Saab collection though :)

  5. I had never noticed any one mentioning any other notes than the base notes so it's really interesting to read about. I definitely notice different notes when I spray a fragrance on and I have noticed that some do fade while others linger. I will pay more attention the next time I wear perfume :)

  6. This is so important! I love seeing how perfume changes on me and how it wears differently on different people.

    Erin | Erin and Katherine Talk Beauty

  7. This is such a helpful post, I really struggle with understanding what all the different notes mean in a fragrance!

    Jess xo

  8. This is a post I have been searching for my entire adult life, thank you for explaining it so well! I've always been stumped about the notes and frankly had no idea what they all meant. Really great explanation!

    Georgia x

    Georgia Petite

  9. What a great guide - now I'll know what it means better.

    Lizzie Dripping

  10. This was actually such a helpful guide! It's so refreshing for someone to explain it, will definitely be bookmarking this post

    A Little bit Unique // Instagram //

  11. Such a helpful guide to fragrance, sometimes I forget to let the top notes evaporate which is probably where I struggle when purchasing perfume!

    Freya |

  12. I love deep, musky base notes - it always makes me feel warm and feminine!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Beauty

  13. Thank-you for explaining this note composition in detail. I do look at all of the "notes" and fragrances contained before I'll purchase a perfume but never fully understood that each area is what lasts longer than others. Good to know!! :)


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