The Etiquette of Fragrance

By: Madhiha Taseen


The fragrance category is determined by its ingredients. Here are some common fragrance categories:


  1. Citrus

These fruity fragrances include lemon, lime, orange and peach. They are light, tangy, fresh, and clean, and work well with light skin. The fragrance relates to spring and to morning. They work well on people in the Spring palette.


  1. Floral

Made of one flower, such as rose, jasmine or lavender, these fragrances are classic, feminine, soft, easy, and light. The fragrance relates to spring-summer and to late morning and early afternoon. They work well on people in the Spring or Summer palettes.


  1. Floral Bouquet

A blend of flowers introduces more complexity. The fragrance is feminine and romantic. The fragrance relates to summer and to mid-afternoon. They work well on people in the Spring and Summer palettes.


  1. Spicy

Spicy fragrances include vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger. They are warm, natural, exciting, lively, and intense. The fragrance relates to early autumn, and to late afternoon and early evening. They work well on people in the Autumn and Winter palettes.


  1. Woodsy-Mossy

These fragrances are often made up of oak moss, sandalwood, and fern. Natural and casual, they are great for people who are authentic with deep reserves of power and energy. They harmonize well with a medium to deep skin tone, and relate to late autumn and evening. They work well on people in the Autumn palette.


  1. Oriental

These heavy, deep fragrances are made of musk, balsams, or exotic flowers, they are mysterious, dramatic, urban, powerful and work well with a deep skin tone. The fragrances relate to winter and to night. They work well on people in the Winter palette.


  1. Aldehydic or Contemporary

These essences may be natural, synthetic, or a combination, and can be similar or dissimilar to the other six categories. Modern and unique, they may work well on most people.


Fragrance comes in a variety of forms. Alcohol is used as a carrier of the scent; however, the higher the alcohol level, the faster the essence dissipates and is lost. Here is a listing of fragrances in order from the purest form, to the least concentrated form.

  1. Perfume
  2. Eau de Parfum
  3. Eau de Toilette
  4. Cologne (for women or men)
  5. Eau Fraiche
  6. After-shave lotion (for men)



Your individual body odour is characterized by age, hormones, pigmentation, health, nervous stress, medication, diet body heat, smoking, perspiration, air pollution, time of day, weather, climate, etc. The fragrance combines with your own body chemistry, so that the effect can vary from person to person.

Try on new fragrances in the afternoon, when your sense of sell is keener, Experiment with no more than 3 at a time; you may need to smell coffee beans to “cleanse the nose palette”.



Once you put on a fragrance, it typically takes about one hour for the scent to go through the three stages – called notes – to get to the heart.

  1. Top note: This is the fragrance within the first 10 minutes of application.
  2. Middle note: The top note deepens into the middle note, which can last up to an hour after application.
  3. Base Note: This is the heart of the fragrance, after it has had an opportunity to interact with your body chemistry.



Fragrance use has become a sensitive subject over the last decade. As many people are allergic, caution needs to be exercised as to when to indulge. Generally, it’s best to avoid wearing fragrance in business situations. When you do wear a scent, do not over-indulge! You may not be able to detect the fragrance on you, but others can.

Here are some tips on using fragrance.

  • Apply to pulse points, especially lower areas, as scent rises. Avoid behind the ears, as this is a particularly sensitive place. Spraying the air and then walking through it just makes very expensive air.
  • Once you put on the fragrance, do not rub it in. You are crushing the fragrance.
  • Do not wear in the sun, as the combination with UV rays may cause a negative reaction.
  • Do not let fragrance touch your hair, as it can cause damage.
  • Do not spray on natural fabrics or precious stones, as they can be damaged.

Store in a cool, dark place, and avoid exposing to extreme temperature changes.

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