How to Use the Olfactory Pyramid to Choose A Perfume

The choice of a perfume is something very personal that depends not only on the preferences of each one, but also on the emotions you want to convey. One way to make this choice easier is to learn about the different aromas that make up a fragrance and thus choose the brand that best suits your tastes.

Lancome , for example, specializes in the sweetest fragrances that combine fruity, floral and oriental fragrances.

Because when we smell a perfume, our natural gesture, breathing, activates our senses. When inhaling a fragrance, each of us perceives it differently. However, thanks to the composition of the fragrance we manage to feel it and discover it objectively.

This happens thanks to the olfactory pyramid that each fragrance has . But what is it? Why is the olfactory pyramid so important?

Do you want to choose the best fragrance for you? Next, we show you how to use the olfactory pyramid to choose a perfume.

What is the olfactory pyramid of a perfume?

Perfumes, there are hundreds… They are all designed according to the same structure… And yet they are all different. How do you explain that?

A fragrance is made up of different ingredients. It is like a walk in which different aromas are discovered. In general, the structure of a perfume is made up of top notes, heart notes, and base notes . This is called the olfactory pyramid.

Each note corresponds to very specific scents that represent the natural evolution of the fragrance and that perfumes express over time. Therefore, it is the main component to choose the perfume that best suits you.

Top notes

The top notes are important because it is what you perceive as soon as you apply a perfume; They are very intense and energetic, but they are the most volatile as they do not last long.

Indeed, it is the olfactory note that we distinguish in the first place when spraying a perfume, establishing the first impression of a fragrance , and the one that very often influences the purchase.

But because they are fleeting due to their lighter and smaller molecules, they evaporate quickly. Therefore, it is advisable to wait for the rest of the notes before making a choice.

Usually these notes have citrus and marine aromas that provide freshness and energy, but this does not mean that there cannot be other top notes. Your choice must be careful to allow a nice and smooth transition to the next part of the olfactory pyramid.

  • Popular Top Notes: Lemon, Orange, Bergamot, Pink Pepper, Black Currant, Ginger, Mint.
  • Average duration: 5 – 15 minutes

Heart notes

The perfume, if well structured, reveals nuances, subtleties and associated raw materials. This is called heart notes. They ensure the continuity of the top notes and prepare a smooth transition to the base notes.

Considered the “soul” or the personality of a perfume, they are what really define the perfume as such and that make it a unique fragrance. As such, they are evident throughout the life of the fragrance.

They are usually perceived after 15 minutes and their effect lasts approximately 6 hours.

  • Popular Top Notes: Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Violet, Rose.
  • Average duration: 20 – 60 minutes

Base notes

Finally, the base notes are what give the perfume depth and resonance and give it the final touch .

These notes appear more gradually, but they also evaporate more gradually and sustain the trail of the fragrance. And often, it is they who determine the attachment and fidelity that one can have to a perfume.

Usually, perfumers use woody, spicy, oriental, or leather notes to define the body of the perfume.

  • Popular Top Notes: Vanilla, Amber, Musk, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedar.
  • Average duration: from several hours to several days

How to use notes to choose a perfume

The creation of a perfume always begins with the selection and combination of the right mix of ingredients . Perfumers must draw on their in-depth knowledge of fragrance notes and their topology (that is, their unique molecular properties) to develop balanced and sensory-pleasing olfactory compositions.

Although perfumers often use certain ingredients to make the olfactory pyramid of a perfume, these notes vary to captivate the public and achieve an original aroma.

La Vie Est Belle is a clear example of an unconventional combination; This perfume uses pear and black currant in its top notes, jasmine, iris and orange blossom in its heart notes and praline, vanilla, tonka bean and patchouli in its base notes, which makes it a floral fragrance with a fruity touch, ideal for women with a lot of confidence.

Without a doubt, the best way to choose a perfume based on its olfactory pyramid is to let yourself be carried away by the first impression of the fragrance, but give it time to show you its essence .

Taking into account that each chord can be influenced by the pH of our skin, it is very important to go beyond the top notes to understand a perfume. It would be like drinking a glass of excellent red wine, perhaps vintage, without decanting it first.

Never hastily judge a perfume. Like a good piece of music, it is often necessary to listen to it two, even three times to understand whether we like it or not.

Heart notes are the key to choosing the one that best suits you based on the sensations it evokes on your skin.

The perfume changes over time, little by little, as it unfolds. For this reason, it is always necessary to do more than one test before the final choice . Don’t make hasty judgments and give it all the time it takes for the fragrance to fully reveal itself.

Those who choose a perfume in a hurry must accept the fact that each fragrance is expressed according to its own characteristics. We should enjoy our favorite fragrance for its natural predisposition and not for what we expect it to be.

Olfactory harmony

Regardless of the classification of the olfactory stages, we do not clearly perceive how a perfume evolves when we use it. In fact, the notes of a perfume intertwine with each other to give a natural olfactory harmony to the scent.

A delicate balance, created thanks to the right dose of each component. A game of parts based on a balance of natural elements that result in an unprecedented olfactory facet.

This is the beauty of artistic perfumery. The power of having new creations and always unique interpretations that are worth trying again and again.

How should you taste the perfume

Never smell a perfume on the counter. The smell in the store can be overwhelming. Think about it: How can you really smell the pure notes of a fragrance when mixed with a cloud of other, different scents? Instead, spray it on your skin and go .

Instead of sprinkling a bunch of options as you go down the aisle – we’ve all done this – sprinkle each of them onto a different test stick and get out of the store – or better yet, go outside – first. to smell it for the first time.

When you smell the aroma surrounded by fresh air, your nose will not only have the opportunity to “reset”, but you will have a better impression of how it will carry on from day to day.

Another bonus: saving your test sticks helps you keep track of your choices, rather than trying to remember which fragrance you sprayed on which part of your body – again, we’ve all done this.

Have you made up your mind but can’t make a final decision? Grab those freshly sprayed sticks, store them in separate pockets, and get on with your day. Yes, that includes leaving the mall.

Keep smelling the fragrances as you move . This way, you can check the scents as they evolve to make sure you continue to like them. Unless a clear favorite emerges immediately, wait a full day before making a choice, which mimics how you would actually wear a fragrance.

If you are sure you have a winner, do one last test on your skin when you return to the store: spray the fragrance on your pulse points – the neck, the wrists, the inside of the elbows – and, on the contrary which you’ve probably always done, don’t rub it ; friction heats the juice and alters the aroma chemistry.

Wait about 30 minutes after spraying before taking one last, final breath . Not only will the top notes evaporate during this time, but the rest of the notes will blend in with your natural scent, giving you a better idea of ​​how it will live on your skin.

If you still like it in the end, congratulations! You’ve got it. You’ve finally found your next flagship fragrance, or at least a new scent that you love enough to use every now and then.

As you have seen, using the olfactory pyramid to choose a perfume is the best way to connect with its ingredients. The heart notes are the essence of the perfume and, therefore, the key to choosing it and transmitting your own sensations.

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Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.

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