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PLS HELP: From top notes to Eau De... I'm sorry what? Our cheat sheet on fragrance because we're very confused.

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There’s something incredibly special about perfumes, the fact that a single spritz can instantly evoke emotions and can transport you to a favourite memory.             

So how do we determine what perfume to treat ourselves, or a loved one to? What's the difference between EDT and EDP anyway? Why do beauty lovers keep talking about notes?! So many questions.

Lucky for you, I’m here with a cheat sheet on all things fragrances – and which noteworthy scents to try from Myer. They're my go-to hub for all things beauty fix: from fragrance to serums, foundation to eyeshadow palettes. 

Myer's fragrance guide is exactly what I needed when I first fell in love with perfume. So here's my wrap-up of everything you need to know, all in one place.

The different fragrances in perfume (and how to tell them apart)

The first step to picking a perfume you’ll love is to understand what notes you normally gravitate towards. There are 7 main categories of scents: Floral, Spice, Amber, Wood, Citrus, Fruity and Fresh. Here's a quick breakdown:

Floral

Undoubtedly the most popular fragrance. Feminine and romantic, floral fragrances can hero a single flower, like the excitingly new Dior Miss Dior Eau De Parfum (I can't wait to get my fragrance fix from Myer with this highly-anticipated perfume, which combines the beauty of Grasse rose with the boldness of Damascus rose). Floral fragrances can also hero a whole bouquet, like Gucci’s new Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau de Parfum. This newly available perfume blends white gardenia with jasmine and pear blossom.

Some other floral fragrances might also include peonies and freesia.

Dior's Miss Dior Eau De Parfum. Image: Myer.

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Spice

Spicy fragrances are warm, sultry and a little mysterious, a perfect mix of sweet and spiciness. More common in men’s fragrances, spicy perfumes can include ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and pepper.

Amber

When you think of amber, you might think of something warm and glowing. Exactly like an amber fragrance, really. It’s what you’d wear on an evening out to make a statement. Tom Ford’s Black Orchid is the perfect example, which contains a seductive blend of warm amber, white musk, vanilla and patchouli. 

Other common notes in amber fragrances include benzoin, labdanum and styrax.

Tim Ford Black Orchid. Image: Myer.

Wood 

As the name suggests, woody fragrances usually contain base notes of sandalwood, cedar and pine. Used in fragrances for all wearers, woody scents can be smoky, leathery and give off a captivating feeling of sophistication and mystery.

Citrus

Citrus scents are light, uplifting and fun, like a refreshing summer cocktail. They’re usually characterised by notes like lemon, grapefruit and orange.

Fruity

Like citrus, fruity fragrances are perfect for summertime. They’re playful, youthful and bright. Normally combining fruity notes like pears, cherries, and tropical fruits like watermelons. Giorgio Armani’s Si Eau De Parfum is a chic, fruity fragrance that combines blackcurrant nectar with modern chypre and musky white wood accord. This beauty plays on emotion, true to the Giorgio Armani couture spirit.

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Giorgio Armani Si Eau De Parfum. Image: Myer.

Fresh

Fresh fragrances are light and simple, and can be beautifully refreshing, zesty and quite uplifting. These fragrances are versatile and can be made up of light floral notes like jasmine and iris, citrus notes like lemon and lime along with fresh fragrances like cucumber.

Okay, so... what are notes?

You know when you spray a perfume and the scent changes throughout the day? 

Well, that's due to the combination of notes – they’re essentially the scent ‘layers’ that make up a fragrance and it’s these combinations that make each perfume so unique. Most fragrances will contain at least 3 notes: the top, heart and base.

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Top Notes 

This is what you’ll smell immediately when you spray your perfume. It gives you your first impression of the fragrance. Top notes are normally light and fresh; they evaporate quickly, only staying on the skin for around 10-15 minutes. This is why it’s always important to wear perfume for a few hours before committing to purchase.

Heart Notes

As the name hints, these notes are the heart of the fragrance, they make up the majority of the scent and will emerge as the top notes dissipate. 

Base Notes

Normally made up of richer, smoother scents. Base notes work with the heart notes to add depth to a fragrance, they last the longest on the skin and are often the scents that will trigger your emotions and memories. 

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So what’s actually the difference between an EDP and EDT?

Have you ever noticed some fragrances last a whole day on the skin while others disappear a lot quicker? This is from the varying strengths of the fragrance.

Essentially, a fragrance is made by mixing perfume oil with alcohol. The more perfume oil, the stronger the fragrance is (and the longer it will last). Stronger fragrances tend to be more spendy too!

Pure Parfum is the strongest perfume you can get, they normally contain 40-80% fragrance and can last up to 8 hours. You’d wear these fragrances on special occasions, like a wedding or a longer evening out.

Eau de Parfum (EDP) has the second highest fragrance concentration, around 15-20%, lasting around 4-5 hours on the skin and is one of the most common types of perfumes. 

Chanel’s No.5 is an iconic, timeless and legendary EDP, Youbies will know! It's known as the "very essence of femininity", and a powdery floral bouquet housed in an iconic minimalist bottle.

Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum Spray. Image: Myer.

Eau de Toilette (EDT) is another popular option, different to our EDP beauty fixes, as they contain around 5-15% fragrance and will generally last around 2-3 hours on the skin. They make perfect ‘everyday’ perfumes. 

Eau de Cologne has the lightest concentration of each of them, sitting around 2-4% fragrance. They tend to last around 1-2 hours on the skin. A long-term favourite of mine in this category is Jo Malone London, who create their fragrances in the concentration of Eau de Cologne. Jo Malone's English Pear & Freesia Cologne is a gorgeous choice, with top notes of King William Pear, heart notes of freesia and base notes of patchouli. 

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This is one of those 'it' fragrances I repurchase time and time again from Myer:

Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia Cologne. Image: Myer.

How do I even attempt buying perfume for someone else (and get it right)?

So now that we have learned the basics when it comes to perfumes, how do we navigate trying to pick a new one, in-store or online, and even when we're gifting it to a loved one?

First, have a think about what fragrances your loved one tends to wear, or what they like when considering the any of the 7 categories we talked about earlier (floral, spice, amber, wood, citrus, fruity, fresh). Which type might they gravitate towards?

Next, think about the occasion that the fragrance will be worn: a special occasion, or possibly a perfume designed to be worn and last all evening? Opt for Pure Parfums or EDPs. If you're picturing more of an everyday, lighter fragrance, opt for EDTs or Colognes.

Find your next scent, or gift for a loved one, in-store or online at Myer. They have an extensive collection of new, timeless and trending perfumes to pick from (and proudly flex your newfound fragrance-shopping skills).

Shop your next beauty fix, including fragrance, from Myer – your hub for everything fixation worthy.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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