CATCH A WHIFF

What’s that? The sun is ac­tu­ally out? Then it’s time to nab a light, sum­mery fra­grance. Fol­low our guide to choos­ing a new sunny-weather scent and you’ll be smelling hot

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - AMELIA JEAN JONES words HAT­TIE NEW­MAN pa­per artist

How to pick your sum­mer scent

The smells of sum­mer are un­mis­tak­ably heady: freshly ap­plied sun cream, salty sea air, bin bags gen­tly steam­ing in the city heat. The same goes for fra­grance; some will smell ex­tra delicious in hot tem­per­a­tures, some not so much. You just need to know how to choose the right one for you. And – more im­por­tantly than you might think – for the weather. ‘Hot­ter cli­mates will af­fect the be­hav­iour of per­fume when it’s sprayed on to the skin,’ ex­plains Roja Dove, world-renowned fra­grance spe­cial­ist and per­fumer. ‘The warmer the cli­mate, the warmer the body be­comes. The in­creased blood cir­cu­la­tion heats the skin, which causes the scent to dis­si­pate faster – and the up­side of this is that the fra­grance be­comes in­ten­si­fied.’ The down­side of this in­creased dis­si­pa­tion, though, is that the ini­tial notes that prompted you to buy the fra­grance when you tested it in the shop be­come rather fleet­ing. THE EVO­LU­TION OF A SCENT ‘The first bloom of scent from a freshly ap­plied fra­grance is dom­i­nated by “top notes”,’ says Will An­drews, di­rec­tor and tech­ni­cal expert of fra­grance com­mu­ni­ca­tion at Coty. ‘Light­weight and volatile, th­ese are usu­ally fresh and cit­rusy or sweeter flo­ral notes – they set the scene. When the weather is hot, they are gone af­ter 30 min­utes. Once evap­o­rated, the “dry­down” phase of the fra­grance comes through, which is a com­bi­na­tion of the heart and base notes. This is the true scent pro­file you will live with from day to day and you can there­fore make a re­li­able se­lec­tion based on this.’ Scents fall into three camps – and whether you’re a fan of chypre (we’re talk­ing warm, dry and woody), ori­en­tal (spicy and musky) or flo­ral (does what it says on the tin), high tem­per­a­tures will make your fra­grance de­velop more quickly and could change your scent of choice. So, how ex­actly are you sup­posed to know which one to splurge on when the tm­per­a­ture starts to rise? ‘There is no uni­ver­sal lan­guage of fra­grance in any cul­ture, which means that de­scrip­tions for per­fume of­ten re­sort to metaphor

in or­der to ar­tic­u­late odour char­ac­ter,’ ex­plains An­drews. ‘This fre­quently falls short of ac­cu­rately de­scrib­ing the smell of the fra­grance.’ You can re­search the per­fumes that sound nice all you like, but smell is one sense that can’t be digi­tised: you can’t ac­cu­rately shop for scent on­line. You have to ac­tu­ally get out there and smell it. In. Real. Life. ‘The best time to shop for fra­grance is when you’re hun­gry, ide­ally in your lunch hour or early evening, be­fore you eat a meal,’ says An­drews. ‘Your sense of smell be­comes height­ened when you’re hun­gry, since you’re ef­fec­tively hunt­ing down the next meal, and this means you’ll be more dis­cern­ing when it comes to choos­ing be­tween fra­grances.’ TEST­ING TRICKS Al­ready have a sig­na­ture scent? Don’t spritz be­fore you hit the stores. Skin needs to re­main odour-neu­tral to ac­cu­rately test those new fra­grances. Once you’re in the shop, your nose will tire af­ter smelling three freshly sprayed scents. ‘The al­co­hol con­tent works like an anaes­thetic,’ ex­plains Dove. ‘Smelling the per­fume on pa­per af­ter the al­co­hol has evap­o­rated is the only sane way to test a fra­grance. Spray a few scents on blot­ter cards, tak­ing note of the names, and smell them away from the al­co­hol-heavy air of the per­fumery.’ Now wait. ‘Hold off for 30 min­utes un­til mak­ing a de­ci­sion on which are your favourites,’ ad­vises An­drews. This time de­lay is nec­es­sary to see how the fra­grance evap­o­rates and evolves into the heart and base notes once ap­plied. Next, go back to the shop and ap­ply the fra­grances you se­lected one by one to your skin to see how they com­bine with your nat­u­ral pheromones (those chem­i­cals emit­ted by the skin that af­fect how a per­fume will smell on you – and whether your crush will fancy you too). As for where to put them? ‘The back of your hand and the wrist are ideal,’ says An­drews. And don’t worry about ‘break­ing’ fra­grance mol­e­cules by rub­bing your wrists to­gether. ‘It’s im­pos­si­ble,’ says An­drews. ‘The worst it can do is warm it up and make it de­velop into the heart note more quickly, as it would in a hot­ter cli­mate.’ Turns out it’s a pretty good thing to do. Right, now you know what to look for and how to look for it. So stop read­ing, get out there and sniff out your new hot weather fra­grance. We can al­most smell sum­mer from here.

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