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The ultimate guide to...

Buying Fragrance

Finding your ideal perfume or a perfume for a friend is much more than choosing the right brand. Your perfume should represent your personality, your unique style and personal mood. With so many brands offering, eau de parfum or eau de toilette, and talking about top notes, base notes, floral tones and perfume extract, it can be hard to understand what it all means. To help you we have put together a useful guide to get you onto the right scent.

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Fragrance Concentrate

Fragrances/perfume come in four different concentrations. Perfume Extract, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette or Eau de Cologne. The amount of solvent mixed with perfume oils determines which of the four fragrances you're buying.

  • Perfume Extract - Contains 20-40% of aromatic compounds and can last between 3-8 hours
  • Eau de Parfum - Contains 10-30% of aromatic compounds and can last between 4-6 hours
  • Eau de Toilette - Contains 5-20% of aromatic compounds and can last between 4-6 hours
  • Eau de Cologne - Contains 2-3% aromatic compounds and can last between 1-4 hours
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Fragrance Notes

You've probably heard fragrances and perfumes being referred to as top notes, heart notes or base notes. When you spray or dab on a perfume, the heat from your body causes the solvent to evaporate. The rate of evaporation and the strength of the perfume odour determines the note classification of the fragrance.

  • Top Notes - These are the scents that you can smell as soon as you apply the perfume. They instantly give you an initial impression of the perfume, but it lasts for a very short time. The scents of this note class are usually described as sharp and assertive
  • Heart or Middle Notes - These describe the smells that emerge after the top notes have disappeared. The heart note complements the sharpness from the top notes and they are usually more mellow and smoother. Typical heart notes are lavender and rose scents
  • Base Notes - These are the smells that develop slowly and will linger until the end of the day. When you choose a perfume make sure you wait until the base notes have developed so that you are sure you like the whole scent and not the initial top notes

Finding aftershave

Aftershaves are specially designed to moisturise skin, clean small cuts, and numb skin irritations that often occur after shaving. To help you find your perfect aftershave, we've put together some useful tips.

  • Eau de Parfum - The strongest fragrance with long-lasting results and is perfect for special occasions
  • Eau de Toilette - In second place for strength is the eau de toilette
  • Cologne - The weakest of the fragrances, a cologne is ideal if you're looking for an understated fragrance.
  • Aftershave - The perfect finish to your shaving experience that helps to soothe skin after shaving whilst giving off a subtle fragrance.
  • Aftershave balm - Ideal for sensitive skin, a balm soothes the skin, leaves a subtle scent and provides added protection after shaving.

Top Tips & Advice

You may want to test out some fragrances before you buy online. Head down to your local Debenhams store and follow the points below to find your perfect scent.

  • Don't try to test out too many fragrances/perfumes in one go, your nose will get confused
  • When sampling fragrances/perfumes, request for them to be sprayed onto blotting strips. This means you can sample as many perfumes as you like and the scents won't clash together. Once you have found a scent you like ask for a test spray on your skin
  • Take your time trying out a fragrance/pefume, let the base notes have time to develop too and don't just buy a perfume for the scent of the initial top notes
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