Myths & facts about botanical perfumes
Myths and facts about natural fragrances
Applying a perfume seems like such a simple practice. Right;
Perfumery is a combination of science and art. And this combination does not lack the myths, the old records and habits we have for our perfume. When it comes to natural fragrances, myths and truths are often confused. Questions like “how natural can their composition be?” or “is their application similar to that of essential oils?” are some of the most frequent questions I’ve been asked. Today I want to share my experience with you.
To begin with, in order to define a perfume as natural, the criterion is that it has to be made solely of natural ingredients. In my opinion, essential oils are great elements that I love and use a lot, but in completing the formula of a natural fragrance there is a wider range of ingredients such as resins, moss, tinctures, extracts that help build a more complex profile in our fragrance, and give it a longer lifespan.
And if you ask me why you should choose a natural fragrance, I will definitely and spontaneously emphasize the first and foremost advantage: because it makes you feel happy. And secondly, because they are made of flowers, woods, roots, foliage and fruits, they are free from all the hidden and harmful effects of an unnatural perfume, and therefore they are an excellent choice!
Unfortunately, today the biggest stores and department stores have mainly non-natural perfumes. But what if someone buys a natural perfume or essential oil from a drugstore or bio-store? Phew, this is a very long story that we will discuss in another article. All I could say right now is that buying natural perfumes from a drugstore or a bio-store doesn’t guarantee you anything.
Let’s now look in more detail at the myths and truths concerning natural fragrances:
MYTH 1: Rubbing your wrists after applying the product makes the aroma last longer.
Do you think that this practice helps the skin absorb the perfume better? In fact, the heat and friction created breaks down the fragrance molecules and produces enzymes that will change the way it smells on the skin. The best application is to let the perfume touch the skin and be absorbed naturally.
MYTH 2: A good perfume lasts on the skin several hours.
The duration of the perfume is related to its notes. Each one plays its own role. Top notes glow for 5-10 minutes, middle notes last about 20-30 minutes, and finally base notes take about 6 hours to completely disappear from the skin. This is the maximum duration that a natural fragrance can have. From my experience, I have seen very few cases where you can smell the perfume on the skin until the next day, but this has to do with the skin’s pH, your diet and hormones, etc. What I often suggest is a regular renewal of the perfume, that is, the well-known layering. Small bottles are very convenient in our bag, so that we can apply our perfume every two hours; a process that renews the perfume and rejuvenates the senses. I must remind you that perfume stabilizers are very dangerous for our health. The more persistent a fragrance is on your skin, the more incompatible it is with the biology of your body.
Another important and interesting fact which can answer the question why herbal perfumes don’t last that long is that after about 30 seconds our nose gets used to the perfume you are wearing and stops detecting it. This is called olfactory fatigue, and its function is to relax our olfactory system. The nose does a good job ignoring all unnecessary information. Try to smell something different and your scent will return to your nose.
MYTH 3: One way to make my perfume have a more intense smell is to apply more of it on my skin.
Nope, that’s totally wrong. Fragrances last longer when they are applied on a well-hydrated skin. The most important thing is to keep your skin hydrated before application. Perfumes are not well absorbed by dry skin. You can use an unscented moisturizer, such as aloe vera gel, or apply a small amount of coconut oil, shea butter or any type of unscented balm before your perfume. Proper hydration seals the scent on the skin so that it evaporates more slowly.
MYTH 4: Perfumes smell the same on all skins.
I’m sure you have already noticed that natural perfumes smell completely different on different people’s skin. And why is that; It’s because skin’s pH balance varies slightly from person to person, and this can change the way a perfume smells. Natural perfumes’ smell is also affected by our diet. Spicy food, meat products or some herbs we consume can change the smell of our skin. Another factor that can change the character of a perfume is our hormones. When estrogen levels drop in your body (usually around the third week of your cycle), they also change the way the scent smells on your skin. It is also important to note that in herbal perfumes we use only natural ingredients that vary depending on the harvest, the climate and of course the energy of the creator. They are substances that are important to be a perfect match to your vibrational energy.
MYTH 5: The best place to store my perfume is in the bathroom or in my dressing room.
Again, no. When storing your aroma, think of it as a good wine. Never have it in direct sunlight, heat or extreme temperature changes. Your bathroom may seem like a sensible place to store your favourite perfume, as it is usually where you’re getting ready, but the heat and humidity can make your perfume go bad faster. So, the three main enemies of perfumes are light, humidity and heat. Therefore, we must be mindful and keep our perfume in a cool and shady place.
MYTH 6: Natural perfumes have no expiration date.
This is what we know so far with non-natural fragrances, but when we don’t use chemical preservatives in our perfumes, the scent tends to oxidize and become sour, acidic or metallic. You will not necessarily see it change colour or texture. But you will see that too much oxygen oxidizes the aroma molecules, affecting its overall smell.
MYTH 7: When it comes to expensive perfumes, what you pay is what you get.
It is often the case that big advertising campaigns of famous designers or celebrities act as a distraction, but it is important for us to focus on the product; we should familiarize ourselves with our own needs and preferences, and let our nose make the choice. In most cases, high prices are there to cover the high marketing costs of big aroma houses or packaging, and they are irrelevant of the product quality which you pay for. While this is true of non-natural fragrances, in terms of the essential oils’ quality, the price is a criterion for their quality. For instance, it is impossible to buy pure, insoluble rose or jasmine essential oil at a price lower than 60 euros on average.
MYTH 8: The best spot to wear your perfume is behind the ears.
Wrong, or better not just there. You must have heard me say it many times that the best place to wear your perfume is on the pulse points. These are the points where the blood circulation is closer to the surface of the skin and you feel your pulse more intensely. They are also called hot spots, and help the scent sound brighter and louder. What are these points? The wrists, the spot between your neck clavicles, the points behind your ears, the inside of your elbows and behind your knees (which was also the favourite spot of Cleopatra and Coco Chanel). A very good point of application, when you are working with the intention of healing through your perfume, are the ankles, calves, décolleté and navel, which are connected with the energy meridians of the body and create a more holistic feeling.
I have also seen that each fragrance depending on the frequency and energy of the herbs best suits different parts of the body, which also vary at different times of the day when applying a perfume.
It is important to remember that herbal fragrances were originally created by nature. Their application is different from what we are used to and it is a reminder of our connection with nature and its endless cycles.
If you know any myths about natural fragrances, I would love to hear them.