A Consumer’s Guide To Fragrance

Christmas is less than one week away. If you are still scrambling for what to get for holiday gifts, fragrance can be a good option as fragrance is personal, and often being regarded as a luxury gift. People often ask me why does the fragrance cost so much? My simple response- Because you don’t want to smell cheap :-).

Below are pointers for all the fragrance questions you may have when you approach the counter:


  • Are you buying for yourself? If you buy for yourself, how do you want the fragrance to make you FEEL? Like Estee Lauder Beautiful? Clinique Happy? If you are not sure, jump to the fragrance types section to see what type of fragrances may appeal to you.
  • Are you buying for someone else?  What type of person are you buying for? their age? lifestyle? what kind of climate they live in? These all can determine the type of fragrance you should get. Athletic people may like Chanel Eau Fraiche. Office ladies or younger generation may like Chanel Eau Tendre. If she is sophisticated, chances are she would love Coco Mademoiselle. In hot climate weather, Estee Lauder White Linen, Dolce Gabana Light Blue are great choices.


Traditionally, fragrances are divided into 4 types with some variations- Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh.

  • Floral– This is the most popular and most safe option if you do not know what kind of fragrance you should get. Floral can be a single note or a bouquet of flowers. The most iconic fragrances usually contains rose and jasmine such as in Chanel No.5 , Estee Lauder Beautiful and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. More modern fragrances tend to use peonies as the key flower such as Versace Bright Crystal, Chloe, Estee Lauder Pleasures, Grand Central Beauty Peony Roller Ball. Within the floral family, you can also subdivide to fresh floral or fruity floral.
  • Oriental-This is the spicy category  with cinnamon, clove and patchouli specifically. It tends to give a more mysterious night persona and images of exotic lands. YSL Opium, Estee Lauder Youth Dew and Cinnabar are prime examples of this type of classics.
  • Woody– This is a warm fragrance often infused with sandalwoods. Estee Lauder Knowing, Sensuous Nude, Modern Muse are in this category.
  • Fresh-Often consists of citrus notes to give a clean feel. Dulce Gabbana Light Blue, Clinique Calyx are in this family.

The modern version of fragrance type are ozonic (Davidoff Coolwater. Armarni Aqua di gio), gourmand type (Angel, Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Prada Candy). The gourmand trend will continue in 2016.


Fragrance make people feel good and confident. Pure fragrance oil can be very expensive thus they are often diluted with solvents like water or alcohol or with emollients so it is more affordable. Based on the concentration of oil, the fragrance lasting power can vary.

  • Parfum 20%  fragrance, lasts 24 hours
  • Eau de Parfum 15%, lasts 6-8 hours
  • Eau de toilette 10%, lasts 4 hours.
  • Eau de cologne 5 %, lasts 2 hours.
  • Eau Fraiche/Veil/Splash  3% about 1 hour.


Similar to intensities, fragrances is like a piece of music with three main notes. The top notes usually consists of florals and last for 8-15 minutes. When the body temperature is warm, it blooms to the mid notes usually consists of essences from  lavender/rose for another 30 minutes. What determines if the fragrance will stick longer usually is in the base notes consists of woods, musk and vanilla. The basenotes can last for hours. Having said this, needless to say if you will be going camping and can not bathe for a few days, pick a fragrance that is in the oriental/woody family as they tend to have stronger base notes.


  • Do know which type of fragrance you prefer. Often times people are tired of what they are wearing. They want a NEW fragrance. However, when they switch the types of fragrance, they do not care for it after a few days. Chances are you are already accustomed to the old fragrance type and your skin takes it well. So, instead of jumping from floral to oriental, stick with floral but with a twist such as floral gourmand, you will have a better luck. It is true fragrance can smell different on different people but it can not deviate that much. When people walked by with a Chanel No. 5, you instantly can tell what it is So, the fragrance evolution on your skin would be minimum if you stick to the type of fragrance you  like.
  • Do wait 5 seconds before you sniff the blotter. If you smell the blotter immediately, you are getting whiffs of alcohol. You’d be “drunk” before you know what you are buying.
  • Don’t spray more than four fragrances at a time on your skin. You have your two clean wrists and two clean elbows. Those are the four spots you use after narrowing down from the blotter. You must try on skin to see how the fragrance evolve.
  • Don’t rub your wrists against each other. You will destruct the fragrance molecules and not getting a true wear of the fragrance.

How Should You Wear A Fragrance? 

According to Coco-Chanel- Wear fragrance where you’d like to be kissed.
According to Estee Lauder- Spray your fragrance in air and walk into it.
According to fragrance expert Sue Phillips- Spray on knees & on pulse points. Fragrance travels from bottom to top. If you just spray your hair, you are attracting flocks of birds.

Personally, the best way to wear it is fragrance layering. This is why you often see sets of fragrance and lotion together for you to layer. Often times people complain the fragrance do not last on them and refuse to buy a companion body cream or lotion. However, think for a second, if your skin is dry you have noting to grab on to the fragrance you are buying. If you apply a lotion or cream first then spray, the fragrance will be softer and stay on longer. You can even spray on the fragrance after you use your unscented body lotion and see if fragrance lasts longer on you.  Chances are you do not own unscented body lotion, so why not get the entire set of fragrance? Boxed deals are the best deals when it comes to shopping the cosmetic department. Always, always, get the value set!

Lastly, you have your summer and winter wardrobe, so should your fragrances. According to industry reports, the fragrance trend for Spring/Summer 2016 is praline, sorbet and freesia. Sounds so much like Prada Candy! The trend for Fall/Winter will be winterberries, violet and Oud (a type of wood very popular in men’s fragrance) so fragrance like Balenciaga B for woman and Ralph Lauren Supreme Oud may be popular.

Yes you can choose to have one signature scent but isn’t life more fun with more? It is just like a woman will never just have one lipstick. Build your fragrance library today. Personally, I wear a different fragrance each day according to my mood and who I will be seeing that day. Have some fun!

Happy Holidays!

xoxo!! Ginger



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Ginger King, a renowned cosmetic chemist and beauty business expert, is making waves in the beauty industry with her commitment to empowering entrepreneurs to create