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Buying Guide: How to Shop for Fragrances, Perfumes or Colognes

Bella Reina Buying GuideThis guide will help you shop for fragrances, because shopping for perfumes and colognes online can seem like huge ordeal. Even shopping for fragrances in a store can be a huge ordeal, because there are so many choices.  Spraying perfume strips, this celebrity there, just the sheer number of perfumes and colognes makes the task of shopping almost like a chore.  With this simple guide, hopefully it can help break down the task so that you can buy the perfect fragrance for you.  

Notes of a Fragrance, Cologne & Perfume

When a fragrance is first sprayed, you will smell what is known as the top note.  As the initial fragrance starts to dissipate, you will then get the middle note and then low or base note.  The dry down scent is what gives a perfume it's special quality and it is usually a combination of the middle note with a hint of the low note.  Famous perfume houses are known for their "noses" and being able to combine the different types of fragrances to create exotic, sexy, happy, and romantic fragrances.  When the fragrance dries, you must love the scent.  Additionally, the scent will react with your body.  The final fragrance is what determines if you like it or not.

Types of Fragrances

Just like essential oil blends, fragrances have different classifications as denoted by the fragrance wheel. The fragrance wheel was the first attempt to organize and classify fragrances by Michael Edwards.  The online magazine Sniffapalooza has an amazing article about Mr. Edwards.   The fragrance wheel divides the fragrances into groups and subgroups based on the fragrance types. 

There are four main groups of fragrances with subgroups in each main category.

  1. Floral -The floral speaks to flowers, but as you can tell from the fragrance wheel, florals can be fruity, oriental, softly floral or even warm florals.  When you think of floral fragrances, you think of rose, jasmine, gardenia or just any flower.
  2. Oriental - The oriental section of fragrances includes the soft orientals to the woody orientals.  When you think of oriental fragrances, you think of cypress, amber, musk, cloves, and cinnamon.
  3. Woody - The woody group of fragrances often makes you think of mens' colognes and fragrances, but includes fragrances like patchouli, sandalwood, cedar, leather and mossy scents.  Woody fragrances can often be termed as spicy.
  4. Fresh - Fresh includes some of the smells of the earth, including grass, citrus, lavender, and water.  The smell of the ocean breeze, or the smell of a waterfall can all be captured in a fragrance.

Strength of Fragrances

The more concentrated the components of the fragrance, the more it costs (yes) and the longer it lasts.

High to Low Concentration of Fragrances
  1. Perfume is the Most Concentrated.  You may see Eau de parfum or Eau de perfume.  Both have the highest concentration and will cost the most.
  2. Eau de toilette
  3. Eau de cologne
  4. Scented lotions

Choosing Your Fragrance, Perfume or Cologne

  1. Determine which of the main groups is your favorite.
  2. Choose 2-3 fragrances from that group. Spray lightly on your skin in 3 different places.  Don't rub into the skin
  3. Wear for at least an hour and determine which one you like the best.  This allows the fragrance to settle down and do it's thing with your body chemistry.
  4. Choose the 1 you like the most with the strength that you prefer.  (More is not better! - it's the quality not the number of sprays!)