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May 2000


by Gabby

Fragrance Basics
Part one: Less is more

The French invented modern perfumes, and still make most of the great ones. And despite a recent New York Times report that, indeed, the French do bathe less frequently than citizens of other industrialized countries, they don't have as heavy a hand with fragrance as Americans. Women in the United States have long been known in the industry as going for "stinker" perfumes. The 80's, saw the launch of some trendy smells that could fell an ox. The '90's lightened up, with fads for simple fragrances with moody names like Dream and Heaven, androgynous back-to-nature scents like Tomato and Grass and, okay gang, out of the garden and into the bar: Gin and Tonic.

But America's retreat from stinkers may be too late. The increase in scent allergies (or increased recognition of them) has given perfume a bad name in some circles. And, in fact, 1998 fragrance sales lagged noticeably. Or maybe it's all those colognes with names like Om and Dirt.

Most experts say layering your fragrance is the best way to increase its lasting power. DON'T!!! Most fragrance companies offer perfumes, body lotions and oils made in the same scent. Pick one, not ALL, and use nonscented soaps, deodorants, and hairsprays; every grooming product has its own scent and will only end up fighting with yours.

Apply perfume to your body's pulse points (where the heartbeat is apparent): inside your ankles, on your wrists, behind your knees, at the nape of your neck and between your breasts. Contrary to popular belief, there's no pulse point behind the ears. And for heaven's sake, don't douse yourself.

Never apply fragrance before going in the sun. The photosensitivity of the oils can cause sunburn and leave permanent marks on your skin. Avoid spraying fragrance directly on clothes. It can damage certain fabrics, especially silks or furs.

Finally, remember that your fragrance will be unique to you. Because we all have individual chemical makeups, scent smells different on everyone. Its aroma will change depending on your skin type (oily skin holds fragrance longer than dry skin), or if you change your diet, begin taking certain medications, or smoke. Your fragrance will smell different when you travel to another environment, and it can change at home depending on the humidity in the air. What smells great on your best friend may smell awful on you.

Perhaps if we think of perfume as an expression of personality rather than fashion, and wear it more like underwear than an overcoat, we can recapture the special sense of luxury once associated with a bottle of fine perfume.

Next month: Part 2: Aaaaaah, the sweet smell of...?

salutes this month's featured writer:


Enter our drawing to win one of the perfumes below; Nautica for Men or Tribu for Women. The winner will be randomly drawn from all correct entries, notified via E-mail on May 28th, and will have their name printed in our June edition.
Send the answer to the following trivia question to: :

What movie star has her own perfume line which includes
White Diamonds,
Diamonds and Emeralds, Diamonds and Rubies, and Diamonds and Sapphires?