Cologne Guide Part 1: What Is Oil Content & What Are Notes?
Know What You’re Buying
The oil content determines how long the scent will last on your skin. The scent life is not final, as scent always varies based on temperature, your activity, and your hormones.
Pure Perfume – Can be hard to find, as it’s the most concentrated option at 15-30% oil, which makes it very expensive but the scent will last you up to six hours.
Eau De Toilette – 4-10% perfume oil which is the highest concentrated solution for men and gives you a scent life of four hours.
Eau De Cologne – 2-5% perfume oil and lasts around three hours.
Eau De Fraiche – 1-3% perfume oil and lasts less than three hours.
Always Try Before You Buy
You may love the scent of a cologne that you spray into the air at the store or how it smells on your friend, but keep in mind the makeup of your skin is different from one person to the next. You may have more oily, dry, hairy, or sweaty skin; it all depends on your genetic makeup to determine how long a fragrance will last and how it smells on you. Your best bet is to sample the fragrance for a day before you buy, as it does take an hour for cologne’s true scent to emerge and chemically mix with your skin.
Fragrance marketing and descriptions always discuss a cologne’s individual notes. Summed up, these are the scents that combine to produce a particular smell. Each fragrance has a base, middle, and top note. When you combine all of these notes together, it’s called an accord. Simply put, it is the blend of all three notes and how they mix together.
As the smell evaporates, different levels of notes are released. Top notes only last a few minutes, middle notes last less than a half hour, and base notes stay until the fragrance fades away.
The first scent you experience the moment you spray the product is the top notes. The scent is supposed to attract your senses and offer a smooth transition into the other notes. Top notes are small molecules that evaporate quickly, and since this is your first impression of the cologne, most people use them as the deciding factor on if they like the smell or not.
Middle notes are known as the heart notes as they are the foundation of the cologne and makeup anywhere from 40-80 percent of the total scent. Once your initial impression evaporates, the middle notes set in from anywhere to a half hour or more. More mellow as compared to the top notes, middle notes are the scents that hit your nose after your done getting ready for work and driving to the office.
This is the cologne’s final stage. Base notes are the scent that emerges after the product sits on your skin for 30 minutes to an hour and has warmed to your body temperature. Base notes also work with the middle notes to deepen the scent as it fades.