Ultimate Perfume Cheatsheet - Everything you need to know

Woman hanging the Ultimate Perfume Cheatsheet on the Wall

Published: Mar 18, 2024 • Last Updated: Mar 18, 2024

If you are new to perfumes and don't know where to start or are feeling overwhelmed with all the jargon and abbreviations thrown around in perfume circles, this post is for you.

We'll help you get up to speed on everything you need to know and how to get started. We have also linked each part to a more detailed article if you want to dive deeper.

Perfumes are a wonderful way to elevate your style and mood. In fact, lets start here.

Why wear perfume at all?

Perfumes have many benefits that are undeniable. No wonder they've been used in almost all cultures for thousands of years.

  1. Alters your mood: Citrus has a relaxing effect, Florals reduce blood pressure, peppermint enhance performance. The list goes on and on. Smells have a real effect on your brain and body.
  2. Triggers memories: You've probably heard this before and its true. Smells can trigger long forgotten memories.
  3. Social Perception: The people around you judge you by your smell whether you like it or not. You can use it to your advantage.
  4. Complements your style: Your scent can be the finishing touch and an accessory to enhance your style.

Types of Perfumes

When you start to get into perfumes, you'll notice there are thousands of options to choose from. Let's start with different strength/concentration of perfumes.

Concentration is the amount of fragrance oils in the carrier that is alcohol. More the oils, the longer it will last on your skin, stronger the projection and higher the cost.

Typical duration
Parfums20-40%10-12 hours
Eau de Parfums (EDP)15-20%6-8 hours
Eau de Toilette (EDT)5-15%4-6 hours
Eau de Cologne (EDC)2-4%2-4 hours

Using the Fragrance Wheel

The fragrance wheel most often used today was created by Michael Edwards for retailers. It has been well received by consumers as well.

Fragrance Wheel

You can use it similar to a color wheel by looking at adjacent and opposite notes family.

Start with a note family that you like already. You can then look for that note and the ones adjacent to it in perfumes. You can also look notes that are opposite to your favorite note if you want to try something completely new.

Tailoring the perfume for the occassion

Some perfumes are truly versatile, meaning you can wear them anywhere, anytime to any place like Dior Hypnotic Poison. Most perfumes however, not so much - so you have to pick the right perfume for the occasion otherwise you may come off as an irresponsible person.

  1. Work: Go for a light, clean and fresh fragrance with a weak to moderate projection.
  2. Date: Leather, amber, musk and gourmand are some of the categories that are highly seductive and appealing coming from the opposite gender.
  3. Formal event: Avoid notes that are silly or child-like for instance bubble gum. Also pay attention to the sillage of the perfume, you don't want the sillage to be too strong.
  4. Everyday: Wear whatever you want!

Finding the right perfume

You now know about perfume concentrations and fragrance notes. You probably have the right ocassion in mind for your next perfume as well. This narrows down the list significantly.

Now let's look at how to actually find and try the right perfume for you.

  1. Test on your skin: A perfume smells very different on skin than on a piece of paper. Infact, perfumes smell different on different skins. So spray them on your skin to judge how it smells on your skin.
  2. Give it time: When you spray a perfume, you only smell the top notes of the perfume. There's a lot more to discover underneath. Give it 2-4 hours to develop on your skin and smell it throughout before you decide if you like it or not.
  3. Don't try too many at once: Spray one perfume on each of your wrists and walk out the store. Don't test more than 2 perfumes at once.
  4. Buy Samples: The best way to find your favorite scent is to buy samples and test them for a few day. Our subscription is designed for just that.

Where & How to Spray

  1. Pulse Points: These are areas of your body that are naturally hotter than other areas. The heat helps the perfume dissipate more strongly. Your pulse points are behind the ear, neck, inner elbow, wrists and behind the knee.
  2. Clothes: Spraying on clothes can make the perfume last longer
  3. Apply a moisturizer before perfume. Perfumes don't last long on dry skin.
  4. Carry ScentGod with you for convenient top-ups.

Where & How not to spray

  1. Hair: The alcohol in perfumes can damage your hair over time. Try a hair mist instead if you want to perfume your hair.
  2. Face: The skin of the face is highly delicate.
  3. Armpits: A common area of irritation. Avoid perfumes here.
  4. Genitals: Like the face, the skin here is too sensitive for alcohol and perfume oils.
  5. Don't rub your wrists. This breaks down the delicate molecules of the top notes.
  6. Don't spray perfume in the air. Spraying perfume in the air and walking through it is not an efficient way of applying perfume. Spray directly at your skin and clothes.
  7. Take care that your other products are not heavily fragrances lest they clash with your perfume.

Read more on where and how to spray your perfume.

How to Store Perfume

Congrats on reaching here. You are really determined to be pro at this! Now that you have your perfume you want to make sure you don't lose it prematurely.

Here are some tips to keep your perfume from expiring. And yes, perfume does expire, here's how to check.

  1. Keep away from sunlight
  2. Keep away from humidity
  3. Always put the cap back on
  4. Avoid excessive shaking
  5. Decant perfumes when travelling or use ScentGod's perfume cases
  6. Decant the last drops if you are planning to save it for future.
  7. Store perfume in its original box for long term storage.

The Ultimate Perfume Cheat Sheet

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Photo of Preet Singh

Preet Singh

I have always been enamored by the power of perfumes to evoke emotions and capture memories. This profound love for fragrances led to the creation of ScentGod, a platform designed to allow everyone the luxury of discovering and wearing premium scents without the commitment of a full-sized purchase. My vision for ScentGod is more than just offering fragrances; it's about sharing passion, creating experiences, and helping people find their signature essence.

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