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Have you ever read the back of a perfume box and felt – well – confused? Yeah, I know that feeling!

Truth be told, the world of fragrance is one that is jam-packed with a blend of very confusing jargon. So, if you don’t know the difference between your “Eau de parfum” and the “Eau de toilette”, never mind; Help is here!!!

Before we go on, its helpful to know that fragrances or perfumes as its more popularly called is ‘simply’ a mixture of fragrant essential oils and aromas used to give the human body a pleasant scent. These fragrances are divided into four broad categories listed below:


Eau de Cologne: An eau de cologne is the lightest of the fragrances, made up of a solution of about 3 per cent perfume. It’s an ideal choice for hot, summer days; I mean the typical Nigerian weather! Get the drift?

Eau de Toilette: Made up of 3 to 8 per cent perfume compound, an eau de toilette is ideal for warm spring and summer weather. They tend to be refreshing fragrances that fade quite quickly and are perfect for people who prefer scents that are ‘light on their feet’; a.k.a when the sun isn’t ‘smiling’ so hotly 🙂

Eau de Parfum: Eau de parfums demonstrate top, middle and base notes. Perfect for spraying on the body, hair and clothes (although avoid delicate fabrics), it’s a less intense version of parfum and are just perfect all year round – Summer (sorry, Hot Smiling Sun), Rains or Harmattan.

Parfum: A parfum (or perfume) has the densest concentration of the perfume compound. It’s top, middle and base notes slowly release over time, changing throughout its wear. It’s the strongest of the fragrances and should be applied to the skin only at pulse spots. Ideal for everyday wear (or better still, night wear :)), especially for folks who love to leave notes of their fragrance in a room long after their departure.




Chances are the fragrance you choose will also have several “notes.” Perfumes often contain layers of scents to create their unique scent. These layers are referred to as notes, and rather than noticing only one type of scent (rose or vanilla), you’ll pick up on several notes that become more apparent over time. So what you smell when you first spray on a perfume, will change by the time you get to work.

Accord: This is a scent that’s made up of several perfume notes or ingredients to create a distinct fragrance.

Top Notes: Your initial reaction to a fragrance is formed on its top notes. This is what you smell immediately upon applying your perfume. It’s the scent that first hits your nose, but then evaporates quickly.

Middle Notes: Middle notes or heart notes, sit between the base and top notes, and emerge as the top notes are dissipating. They are usually floral or herbal scents like rose and lavender. The middle notes make up the majority of the scent.

Base Note: This refers to the heaviest ingredients in a perfume. The base and middle notes create a scent’s main theme. These notes are richer and are often not detected until you’ve been wearing a scent for at least 20 to 30 minutes. These notes provide depth and back up the middle notes to create the overriding theme of the scent.


Floral: Probably the most popular scent option, floral perfumes capture the scent of a bouquet. The floral family often combine notes of orange blossom, peonies, neroli and freesias. Alternatively, a single floral fragrance is dominated by one particular flower, such as the rose. Floral perfumes are feminine and romantic.

Love Floral Scents, try ~ Voyager EDT and Floral by Gucci

Oriflame Voyager EDT Oriflame Voyager EDT


Citrus or Fruity: An old fragrance family that until recently consisted mainly of “freshening” eau de colognes due to the low tenacity of citrus scents. Development of newer fragrance compounds has allowed for the creation of primarily citrus fragrances. From raspberry and apples, to grapefruit and lemon, fruity scents tend to be fresh and feminine.

Love Fruity or Citrus Scents, try ~ Giordani Gold EDP and Estee Lauder Sensuous Noir


Oriental: These scents tend to be muskier and smell rich, with a spicy hints of vanilla, cinnamon and clove; Amber is the cornerstone of the Oriental fragrance family. A sweet and warm smell, it’s one of the perfume world’s most legendary scents. Tonka bean and vanilla are often found in Oriental fragrances.

If you like Oriental Scents, try ~ Amber Elixir EDP and Escada Elixir EDP

Oriflame Amber Elixir EDP Oriflame Amber Elixir EDP
Oriflame Fire EDT Oriflame Fire EDT


Spicy/Woody: Step into a forest and these are the notes you will get with a woody scent. Think pine, cedar, sandalwood – scents that are earthy and musky. Warm and enveloping, this spicy fragrance might be peppered with tobacco, cinnamon, sandalwood, cedar wood or vibrant ginger. Patchouli is commonly found in woody or spicy colognes.

If you like Woody Scents, try ~ Men’s Collection Dark Wood EDT and D&G Pour Femme or Pour Femme Intense

Oriflame Men's Collection Dark Wood Oriflame Men's Collection Dark Wood
Oriflame Rival EDT Oriflame Rival EDT


Oceanic: These scents are influenced by the sea and evoke being by the ocean (sandy beach, salty air). Oceanic scents are clean, almost-masculine with hints of spice and citrus.

If you like oceanic fragrances, try ~ Elizabeth Arden Green Tea ranges (Exotic, Tropical & Lotus)



Teni Beauty

Resident Chief Editor, Signature Reporter. Teniolami is an accomplished makeup artist and beauty therapist with almost 10years experience in the beauty industry. She is a full-time Beauty Business Coach, Brand & Product Developer, Educator and a soon to-be published Beauty Author

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