If there is one facet of the beauty industry that falls behind the wayside it would have to be fragrance. Why? We become infatuated with anti-ageing products and colour products for that instant 'wow' factor, and somehow we forget the power that a fragrance can have over us.
Of all facets in the world of beauty, I believe that fragrance is one of the most important because a fragrance can move you, change your mood and even evoke memories from your childhood - a flashback - your first kiss.
The world of fragrance is filled with millions of beautiful bottles containing scents of all kinds. A scent is not for everyone, so it is important to understand what ingredients you like in a fragrance to help you identify others which work with your skin ... and nostrils.
Fragrance expert and author of the annual Fragrances Of The World guidebooks, Michael Edwards explains that “Modern perfumery is based on the synergy of natural and man-made ingredients,” says Michael.
What are 'notes' and how do they work? The notes in a fragrance also represent the different phases through which a fragrance develops when it is worn on the skin. At each stage the notes in the fragrance have a different degree of volatility so it’s important not to judge a fragrance on the first encounter. The first scent from an open bottle has only the sharp bite of alcohol and the unstable top notes. A scent will bloom as it reacts with the warmth of the body to create a fragrance that is unique to each person.
Here is a list of commonly used ingredients as well as ways to identify them:
|Ingredient||Natural / Synthetic||Characteristic||Note|
|Aldehydes||Synthetic||Adds powdery, soft floral notes for a clean fresh effect.||Top|
|Basil Oil||Natural||Gives naturalness and liveliness. It is botanical while still adding sweetness.||Top|
|Carrot Seed Oil||Natural||Provides an unusual oily fruity-apricot nuance.||Middle|
|Damascone Alpha||Natural / Nature Identical||Gives rich depth to rosy heart notes and adds naturalness to fruity fragrances. Damascone Alpha occurs naturally in rose, tobacco, and tea.||Middle|
|Elemi Oil||Natural||Adds fresh, citrus, green, spicy, herbal or balsamic notes.||Base|
|Fennel Oil Sweet||Natural||Adds a sweet, smooth, liquorice effect.||Middle / Base|
|Geranium Oil||Natural||A fresh, floral, herbal, sweet note. Blends well with rose notes to give a full-bodied floral heart. Used in masculine fragrances that need a floral heart but need to avoid being overly feminine.||Middle|
|Indole||Natural / Nature Identical||Naturally occurring in jasmine and frangipani flowers, Indole adds an essential heady, narcotic depth to floral accords.||Middle|
|Jasmine Absolute||Natural||Used in fine fragrances to give luxurious, rich naturalness to floral hearts.||Middle|
|Lavender Oil||Natural||Fresh, herbaceous, floral, sweet and calming used in a masculine or feminine fragrances.||Top / Middle|
|Lemongrass Oil||Natural||Gives an element of zesty freshness and is uplifting.||Top|
|Maltol||Natural / Nature Identical||Naturally occurring in coffee, cocoa, raspberries and strawberries – this ingredient has a caramel-fruity smell and is used in gourmand accords.||Top|
|Orange Oil||Natural||Fruity-fresh sparkle can be juicy or zesty.||Top|
|Patchouli Oil||Natural||Classic woody note used in many modern classics.||Top|
|Pepper Oil||Natural||Tones down sweet notes and adds an uplifting spicy nuance.||Top|
|Rose Absolute||Natural||The heart of perfumery! Rich, rosy, woody, and earthy.||Middle|
|Sandalwood Oil||Natural||Precious, expensive oil giving a creamy woody effect.||Base|
|Allyl-Tiglate||Synthetic||Gives jammy, green, berry notes to fruity accords. Can make an apricot or peach accord more “ripe”.||Middle|
|Vanillin||Natural / Nature Identical||Provides a creamy, sweet, vanilla warmth. Used to build various gourmand accords such as marshmallow, praline, chocolate, fairy floss, toffee, caramel and honeycomb.||Base|
|Watermelon Ketone||Synthetic||Gives a melon, marine, fresh, watery, clean note. Can be used to enhance a floral fragrance or to add characteristic notes to fruity melon accords.||Middle|
|Musk Xylol||Synthetic||Dry sweet musk with great longevity.||Base|
|Ylang Ylang Oil||Natural||Used in the heart of several narcotic floral bouquets – not just Ylang Ylang but also tuberose, orange flower, frangipani, or jasmine. It adds an exotic floral nuance.||Middle|
|Zingiberone||Natural / Nature Identical||Characteristic note of ginger – occurs naturally in ginger and raspberries. Toner of citrus and herbaceous notes. Currently added to exotic woody, oriental, or floral fragrances.||Top|
|*Fragrance Foundation Australia|
The Fragrance Foundation Australia is the non-profit educational arm of the international fragrance industry and devotes its energies to expanding the appreciation, use and sale of fragrance. Following a well-established tradition in the USA and other countries, The Fragrance Foundation Australia (FFA) was founded in 2002.
Are you a fragrance connoisseur?