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Not ready to buy? Why not read our style notes for all you need to know before choose a mens trench coat

Your guide to finding your signature perfume for 2012

When asked what she wears to bed, Marilyn Monroe famously replied “five drops of Chanel No.5”. The two became synonymous and to this day, in 2012, it’s arguably the most iconic perfume pairing. Scent is a powerful and personal part of a woman’s beauty routine; you can tell a lot about her style and personality from the smell she chooses to wear, and it leaves a lingering reminder of her long after she’s left the room.

It can be overwhelming trying to buy perfume online, but let us take your hand and guide you through the myriad of notes, brands, designers and cheap perfumes available online to help you find your perfect signature scent. Using our comparison tables and reviews you’re guaranteed to find the best deals and latest offers on your gorgeous new perfume, which means you can afford to splurge on two!

Ways to wear your women’s perfume

Parfum The most potent and concentrated type of perfume for women, parfum is created to last a very long time on the skin with a minimal amount of product and is the purest form of fragrance. Parfum is the most expensive fragrance and has up to 30% concentration of perfume oil to last from six to eight hours.

Eau de parfum EDP is the next most concentrated fragrance and is created to give a long lasting scent at a cheaper cost. EDP is a popular choice for a stronger, more enduring fragrance at more reasonable prices with 7-14% of perfume elixirs created to last five to seven hours.

Eau de toilette EDT is arguably the easiest way to wear perfume and makes for one of the cheapest forms of fragrance. It contains a higher percentage of water and fewer essential oils and is nearly always in a spray form that will last 4-6 hours.

Eau fraiche Eau fraiche is a popular option in the summer months because it provides a lighter, ‘mist-like’ covering and is often alcohol-free which makes it the best option on sensitive skin.

Deodorant Deodorant stick perfumes are a cheap and subtle way to wear ladies fragrance and have the added benefit of protecting you against sweat.

Shower gel Shower gel is a cheap way to wear fragrance subtly, or to enhance your perfume. Use on its own and douse yourself in your favorite scent in the shower for a refined smell, or layer under your EDT or EDP for a long lasting scent.

Perfume notes explained

Ever wondered why the hints of smells in perfume are referred to as ‘notes’? Us too. Since the 19th century, fragrance experts often use music metaphors to describe different parts of a fragrance; the layers of a perfume – top, middle and bottom – are sometimes referred to as the chords of a perfume. Notes and tones are also used to describe the different layers found in a perfume. This formula for describing fragrances was devised by perfumier Charles Piesse in an attempt to arrange perfume notes in the same way a classic composer would arrange music.

To engage the other senses experts have also started to describe the warmth, coolness or softness of a scent and use the ‘fragrance pyramid’ to visually explain layers of a perfume.

A perfume’s ‘top note’ is usually the most volatile oil/smell and is the first thing you notice when spraying a scent. The ‘middle note’, or ‘heart’, of the smell is designed to last 1-3 hours and is the defining character of a perfume. Next comes the ‘base note’, which is designed to linger on you and your clothes for up to 24 hours. The base note is normally warmer, darker and more sensual.

Perfume groups

Floral Floral womens perfume is one of the most popular sellers in 2012 because of their distinctly feminine smell. Trends have recently moved from including green notes, white flowers, carnations, roses and jasmine to fresher, sweeter fruit notes. Floral fragrances are often laced with fruity notes of apricot, raspberry and lychee. Lacoste Touch of Pink is an example.

Oriental Oriental fragrances are usually exotic, sensual and heavy withnotes of oriental resins, exotic flowers, vanilla and musk. Oriental perfumes tend to be strong, warm and rich with hints of musk, vanilla and wood. YSL Opium is an example of a popular oriental scent.

Citrus Citrus oils are a key element in fragrances such as CK One. Predominant notes are citrus and fruit such as lemon and peach and they tend to be light, fresh and easy to wear.

Water Perfumes for women that fall in the water category are usually light and bright and a great option for a summer fragrance with notes of sea air, water and fresh water plants, mixed with citrus and fruit notes.

Woody Woody fragrances have recently been revived for the contemporary fragrance market, with scents like Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely flying off the shelves. Oakmoss and citrus hints tends to be the main notes in woody fragrances, combined with fresher floral or oriental tones for a modern take on the traditional smell.

Tips for finding the perfect perfume for you 

  • Oily skin tends to hold on to fragrances easier than dry skin. To make ladies perfume last longer on dry skin, or if you’re wearing a cheap perfume with less endurance, apply a scented body cream or mix your perfume with body oil and apply to skin. 
  • Fragrances react differently on different people’s skin so a scent that smells gorgeous on your friend may not work as well on your skin. A good bet is to stick to fragrance groups you know fit your skin; if you have a floral perfume that you love, try another floral perfume.
  • Lighter scents work better for daytime whereas heavier perfumes are ideal for nighttime. Similarly, an Eau de toilette or Eau fraiche is usually a good option for daytime use. At night, more concentrated fragrances are a good bet. 
  • Stress, certain foods, medication and hormones can affect the way a perfume smells on you so if you’ve dismissed a perfume in the past try smelling it again – you may be surprised to find you love it!
  • Garlic and spicy food can dramatically alter the way a perfume smells. So avoid testing a new scent for around 3 days after eating either of those unless they’re a regular part of your diet.
  • Wear your new perfume on your pulse points: wrists, behind the ears, neck, crook of the arm and back of the knees or, for a more subtle way…
  • Mist your fragrance and walk into the cloud for an all-over covering. 
  • Spraying on the hair also helps your scent last longer because it absorbs the fragrance easier than your skin.