Myth, magic and a bit of science

BEAUTY CORNER

Myth, magic and a bit of science

Keep in mind that body chemistry and climate play an important role in the effect a fragrance has on your body.  PIC GETTY IMAGES

Using a fragrance is very much a part of grooming. Perfumes add the finishing touch to the grooming process by adding that ‘x’ factor — whether it is femininity, sensuality or individuality. Which is why the perfume industry is booming.
Nature has also bestowed upon us some wonderful fragrances. Imagine what a rose or jasmine would be like without their fragrance. During ancient times, plant products were used to treat psychosomatic problems due to their calming and soothing properties.

Your signature fragrance

Perfumes can be derived from natural sources. For instance, flowers, citrus fruits, sandalwood and other essential oils are a great source of natural perfumes. A perfume can be obtained by blending essential oils. You can try blending two or three different oils and choose the blend which appeals to you the most. Essential oils are very different from pressed oils like coconut, almond, or olive oil. Pressed oils are called carrier oils. Essential oils cannot be used by themselves and must be added to water or a carrier (pressed) oil. While experimenting with essential oils, it is important to understand their potency. 

*You can use essential oils of rose, sandalwood, orange flower (neroli), lavender, or lemon to prepare blends. Adding a citrus oil — like lemon oil — to the blend is a good idea. Citrus oils have a refreshing effect and are good as summer balms. Some essential oils are fixatives and are used by the perfume industry. Sandalwood oil is one of the best known fixatives. Glycerine can also be used as a fixative.

*While blending essential oils, it is important to keep the dosage low. Keep in mind that the actual fragrance emerges only after 20 minutes of application and its effect on the body differs from person to person. One way of using natural fragrances is to apply a few drops on a tissue and tuck it inside the clothes in your cupboard.

*You can also make your own fragrance. Take 2 cups of water and add 1 cup of chopped rose petals to it. Place a clean cloth in a bowl as a filter. Pour the rose petal water over this. Cover and leave it overnight. The next day, remove the cloth with the petals and filter the water into another smaller vessel. Heat the collected water over a low fire until only 1 teaspoon of the essence is left behind. Cool and store in a small bottle. This perfume will stay for a month.

Most of the perfumes we buy are synthetic blends. They contain essential oils, which are blended with synthetic ingredients. Perfumes are all about the delicate balancing of different ‘notes’. In other words, a perfume is made up of different fragrances, obtained from different sources. The ‘top’ note is the first fragrance you get when you inhale a perfume. The ‘middle’ note surfaces after you wear the perfume for a while. The ‘base’ note is the fragrance which lingers on. Synthetic blends were developed due to the controversy surrounding the killing of animals like civet and musk deer to make perfumes. Many perfumers believe that modern synthetic blends are better than ones derived from natural sources.

Choose light, choose right

To select the right perfume, one needs to keep in mind the following factors — Body chemistry and Climate. It is best to try out a new fragrance on one’s skin. The exact fragrance is apparent only when it comes in contact with the skin.

Climate is another factor to watch out for. In hot and humid conditions, it is better to go for light and fresh fragrances, rather than heavy ones. The effect of a perfume intensifies in humid weather. A heavy perfume can be quite overpowering. In fact, some perfumes can even trigger a headache. In cold and dry weather, a heavier scent can be used. Lemon and lavender are light fragrances.

Colognes can be used during the day or could also be added to bath water.

Colognes and Eau de Toilette constitute mainly of water or a mixture of alcohol and water, with only 2 to 5 per cent of perfume.

*Apply just a drop or two of perfume on the pulse points  — at the temple, wrists, crook of the arm, beneath the neck and behind the ears.

*Apply perfume before wearing your clothes, as it tends to linger on the fabric.

*If you have an oily skin, colognes are more suitable.

*Store your perfumes away from direct light and heat.

*Avoid using a perfume if you are going to be out in the sun for a long time. Some perfumes may be photo-sensitive and could lead to a reaction on the skin, like a rash or blotches.

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