Understanding the Life Cycle of a Fragrance


The ‘anatomy’ of a fragrance is so much more complicated than one might think. After all, how it smells immediately after you spritz it onto your skin is unlikely to be how it will smell two or three hours down the line. Hence the reason why it is so important to put fragrances to the test directly on your skin, and to keep smelling them throughout the day, before you buy.

In an effort to help you find the fragrance that works best for you, here is everything that you need to know about the life cycle of a quality perfume or cologne.

The top note

The top note is the first scent that you will smell immediately after the perfume or cologne has been applied. It is usually light yet powerful. Top notes generally linger for around 15 minutes in cheaper perfumes, and up to two hours in more expensive ones.

The medium note

The medium note is the scent that gradually takes over from the top note over time. It is also commonly referred to as the ‘heart note’ or the ‘middle note’. It generally features the ‘main’ element of the fragrance and works hand in hand with the top note to create a more complex, pleasant aroma. The medium note will last between three and five hours following application, usually becoming noticeably evident one to two hours after it has been applied.

The base note

Base notes often incorporate stronger scents that act as the ‘base’ or ‘foundation’ of the fragrance. They generally are at their most noticeable from three to four hours after application and can linger on the skin for up to 10 hours in total. If you are using parfum, which is the strongest type of fragrance available on the market, base notes can remain on the skin for well over 24 hours.

Non-linear fragrances that follow the life cycle as mentioned above are generally more interesting scents. The vast majority of non-linear fragrances are also of a higher quality than their linear counterparts.

Tips for investing in non-linear fragrances

  • Due to the fact that these types of fragrances are costlier, it is recommended that you test them out in person, but actually purchase them online. It is now possible to purchase all sorts of discount cosmetics online, including fragrances. Some online stores currently offer up to 70 percent off!
  • Never test more than four fragrances at once. Spray one fragrance on each wrist and one on each inner elbow and stop to smell how the scents are developing throughout the day. Take note of which fragrance you enjoy the most throughout all of its stages, and which one remained noticeable on your skin the longest, before you make a final decision.
  • Take your time. If you are even slightly uncertain that you are making the right decision, test the fragrance again! You are making an investment, after all.

Best of luck in successfully finding the fragrance of your dreams!

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