Fragrance Files – How to Find Your Favorite Fragrance
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Fragrance Files

Fragrance is our guide to the world of perfume and cologne. As you explore our collection, we’ll help you find the scents that suit your personality and sense of style. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of scents available, but there are some basic rules that will help you find your favorites.

First, familiarize yourself with the fragrance wheel and scent families. It’s important to understand that a fragrance’s different components (often called notes) can be classified into four major families: citrus, floral, woody, and fresh. The scents within each family are further divided into sub-families to allow for more precise distinctions. The notes that appear at the top of a perfume evaporate more quickly, those in the middle have more longevity, and the base notes are longest-lasting.

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A fragrance’s composition consists of dozens of compounds and chemicals. The term “fragrance” or “parfum” on an ingredients list refers to a mixture of these substances, and it’s not uncommon for a single perfume to contain several hundred different chemicals.

While some chemicals used as fragrance ingredients have been deemed safe by government agencies, others—such as the synthetic odorants linalool and coumarin—are known to be carcinogenic and are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. In an effort toward transparency, the International Fragrance Association has created a website listing over 3000 fragrance ingredients along with their safety ratings. However, since many of the thousands of fragrance compounds have not been extensively tested, it’s difficult to evaluate their overall safety.