Tips for Blending Fragrances

As everyone who uses perfumes, colognes and similar products knows fragrances shopping is a very personal experience.  You are, after all, trying to find a scent that is special and uniquely you.  Well, the best way to achieve this kind of customization is by mastering the art of blending fragrances in order to create something truly unique.  But what are the essentials of fragrance pairing?  What does one have to know about this science/art?  Here are some tips to help you create your own fragrance blends.Blending Fragrances

Define the kind of scent you are trying to create:  There are scents that are floral, fruity, masculine, sweet, etc.  Once you have made this determination begin to choose scents that are in the same category and begin to experiment.

Learn how to identify essential oil notes:  Blends are comprised of top, middle and base notes.  Top notes are the strongest most noticeable aroma; middle notes last longer than top notes but are not as strong and finally base notes last the longest.

Know the basics of essential oil blending:  As pointed out above, scents can be woodsy, minty, spicy, based on oriental ingredients, etc.  Learn the fragrances that blend particularly well together.  For example, floral blend pair well spicy, citrusy and woodsy essential oils.

Consider the strength:  Each fragrance you add to your blend will most likely vary in intensity.  One fragrance should not overwhelm the other.  If it does then you need to go back to the drawing board so to speak and continue mixing until you have a greater balance of the fragrances.

Use an eye dropper:  You will want to use an eye dropper in order to be more precise when creating your blend.  This will help later when you are trying to make adjustments to your fragrance.

Label your blend:  Once you have blended your new fragrance place it in a separate container and put it aside.  You may also wish to write down how you achieved your new blend so that it can be more easily replicated.

At Lily Direct we have many aromas for you to choose from.  You can begin your experimentation with a variety of the most popular fragrances on the market including essential oils, etc.  We’re sure that aided by these tips and a visit to our store you will create a blend that is deeply personal and absolutely distinctive.

 

History of Frankincense

In the Bible it is mentioned as one of the gifts of the Magi.  In fact, its importance is ranked right up there with gold in the Gospel of Matthew (2:11).  Going all the way back to the third century B.C, – or more than 5,000 years – the people of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula have been familiar with the aromatic resin known as Frankincense.  Indeed until recent times it was thought of as a highly coveted commodity to be traded and sold at a premium price.  In fact, in ancient Oman it was one of the key trade items in the Mediterranean region.  This is because Frankincense has many uses aside from its use as a fragrance.  It also has many religious and medicinal uses that are utilized even to this day.  Frankincense is used in products such as:

  • Clothing freshener
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste
  • Food flavoring
  • Drink flavoring
  • Medicine
  • Bath-Soak
  • Anti-Aging & Wrinkle Fighter
  • Aromatherapy

What is Frankincense?

Frankincense is a resin derived from the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacara tree that’s commonly grown in Somalia.  The word Frankincense itself comes from “franc encens,” which means quality incense in old French.  The essential oil from the tree is sourced from its leaves, stems or its roots.  The process of making it includes “wounding” the tree using a sharp tool.  After this the white sap the tree secretes is leached out and once it dries the hole drilled into the tree is deepened and enlarged.  The dry sap is what is used and collected about two week later.

Frankincense and its History

One of the oldest uses for Frankincense apart from its aroma is for religious services.  The Ancient Egyptians are said to have used it during animal sacrifices and while preserving human mummies.  Hebrews and Christians also used it in religious ceremonies as far back as the third century B.C. and fourth century A.D.  The aromatic resin continued being used for religious and medicinal purposes during the 1500 B.C., by priest who would used it to treat wounds.  Today, Frankincense is a common ingredient in perfumes and cosmetics.  There is also evidence that Frankincense can be used to alleviate asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, osteoarthritis and collagenous colitis.  Finally, though not as coveted as it was back 5,000 years ago, Frankincense continues to be a popular fragrance.  It many uses and its wonderful scent guarantees that people will still be harvesting and using it 5,000 years from now.

How to Tell if your Perfume has Gone off

Does something seem to be amiss about the smell of your favorite perfume?  Have you noticed that your favorite fragrance containing citrus notes that no longer smell as citrusy?  Well, if you’ve noticed either of these things then the answer to this mystery is quite simple – perfumes expire.  They go bad.  As much as we would like to think that our favorite fragrance is eternal, the bottle of perfume you buy is not.  This is because perfumes are a complex balance of many ingredients that work together to produce just the right scent we desire but that also, over time, change chemically.  For example, the natural oil in many perfumes comes from a long chain of substituted allyl aromatics which are susceptible to decomposition and bacterial growth.  This is a fact that many people are blissfully unaware of as they choose their favorite fragrance.  Moreover, the reality that fragrances do expire is obscured by the fact perfumes do not come with expiration dates stamped on them.

Tests for whether your perfume has gone off

The Nose Test:  Ultimately, then the best way to tell if your perfume has gone bad is the same way you chose it in the first place – smell it.  If it smells “off” it probably is.  If the smell is not one you are used to then toss it out.

The Color Test:  Color changes – getting darker for example – are not a normal process in colognes.  Color changes signify chemical changes and these changes mean that the fragrance has reached the end of its life.

Look at the label:  As stated earlier, perfumes do not come with a “use by” date stamped on them.  Still there are ways to tell if your perfume may have a particularly short lifespan by reading the label on the bottle before buying it.  Some ingredients are notorious for shortening the life of perfume.  (One example is listed in the first part of this article.)  For example, perfumes containing natural ingredients tend to last less time than those containing artificial ingredients.

If all this seems discouraging there are some ways to extend the life of your favorite fragrance.  First, know that many perfumes containing essential oils last 6 years on average.  Next, minimize the contact your perfume has with oxygen and direct sunlight.  Store your perfume in dark, cool place in order to extend its life.  Finally, minimize your perfume’s contact with heat which is another natural accelerant to the aging process of fragrances.  Try these tips and you may spare yourself the disappointment of watching your favorite fragrance go to waste.

Great Perfume Houses- Penhaligon’s

What is the measure of a great company?  It is longevity?  Is it the popularity it enjoys with the public?  Is it the dedication that company has to innovation?  It is the respect it has garnered from its peers?  Penhaligon’s – which was established in 1870 by William Penhaligon as a hairdressing salon and later evolved into a fragrance house – claims all four achievements.  Penhaligon grew his business the old fashioned way – by making and using only the best ingredients for the perfumes which were originally inspired by the aromas wafting from the London’s Turkish baths.  These elemental fragrances would later be refined and developed from his original shop on Jermym Street in London and at a second shop at 33 James Street.  Eventually Penhaligon’s opened a shop in 1975 in Convent Garden with the help of Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli.  His original fragrance formulas would live on and be recognized for the truly unique and distinctive mixes that makes them bestsellers to this day.  This is especially true of his Bluebell fragrance.

Today the company has continued to evolve diversifying into the field of fragrance including bath and body products, gentlemen’s grooming items, candles and gifts such as hand creams, lip balms and even an elegant oval scent bottle necklace.  Penhaligon’s scents are so well respected and so known by its users to be made from the finest ingredients like jasmine and hand-squeezed bergamot that it has long been used by the British royal family itself.  Penhaligon’s users know that they will experience a product that is based around old school formulas but one that is also made using the latest fragrance technology.  Its most notable products include:

  • Hammam Bouquet – 1872; the company’s first scent
  • Blenheim Bouquet – 1902; the company’s first bespoke fragrance for the Duke of Malborough at Blenheim Palace
  • Elizabethan Rose – 1984
  • Cornubia – 1991
  • LP No.9 for ladies – 1998
  • Artemisia – 2002; which was nominated for a FiFi Fragrance Foundation award in the Nouveau Niche category in 2002.
  • Bayolea – 2014; A modernized version of a bay rum tonic from Penhaligon’s archives

At Lily Direct we carry many of the products that are a result of this innovation and dedication to quality and that has made Penhaligon’s so well respected by its peers and well receive by its users.  These products include Penhaligon’s Sartorial Cologne for Men, its Bluebell Perfume for Women, its Blenheim Bouquet Cologne for Men and many other quality fragrances.  We invite you to see why the name Penhaligon has lasted for more than 145 years.

What You Should Know About Perfume Allergies

With thousands of fragrances on the market, it is not only likely that some people will develop allergies to some perfumes, it is a certainty.  In fact, back in 1999 the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) identified 26 ingredients as allergens in perfume.  As a result of this, some 2 million people suffer allergic reactions to one of more of the many ingredients in perfume.  Some of the symptoms of perfume allergies include:

  • Headaches.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Worsening asthma symptoms.
  • Runny and stuffy nose.
  • Sneezing.
  • A skin allergy like contact dermatitis — an itchy, red rash that appears on the skin.

Fortunately only a small number of fragrances actually cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  The allergens that do and that are also present in other cosmetics include Cinnamic alcohol, Eugenol, Hydroxycitronellal, Oak moss absolute and others.

Identifying a Perfume Allergy

The problem with identifying which ingredient in a particular perfume is causing an allergic reaction is tricky since there are so many ingredients in fragrance products.  The best way to identify the specific ingredient causing a reaction is by patch testing.  A positive patch test result to a particular fragrance indicates that you are allergic to one or more fragrance chemicals.  An estimated 1-2% of the general population is allergic to one or more fragrance ingredients.

Treating a Perfume Allergy

While some doctors doubt that the fragrance itself is the cause of most “fragrance” allergies and believe that these reactions caused by some ingredient in a particular perfume, there can be no doubt that fragrance sensitivity is on the rise.  The best way to treat an allergy once it has been identified is to stop using the perfume in question.  If that ingredient is common to other scent-based products that you use it is also advised that you stop using those items as well.  The next best way to treat a perfume allergy is with nasal antihistamines and corticosteroid medications.  Both can control allergy symptoms caused by these sensitivities.  Ultimately, discovering that you have an allergic reaction to a particular perfume may cause you to seek out what may be an even better, more compatible perfume.  At Lilydirect we have a vast selection of perfumes and other fragrances that you can experiment with until you find the right scent that is safe and that helps you make your own unique statement about who you are.  If you believe you are developing an allergy to any fragrance consult with a dermatologist so that he/she can narrow down the specific cause and can develop a course of treatment.

Some Tips for Men on Layering Fragrances

It’s one of the trickiest grooming habits to pull of successfully and one that is not made easy by the thousands of colognes, body washes, scented deodorants and aftershaves that are available on the market.  The grooming habit being referred to here is matching the right combination of fragrances together in just the right manner.  This grooming ritual is also referred to by many as “layering.”  Men in particular should be carefully when they layer fragrances so as to not create a heavy scent that is off-putting.  Layering in an incorrect way also has the effect of shortening the duration of the scent one has achieved.  Below are some tips for men on smart layering that will produce the effect of creating a long-lasting, distinct scent that will last all day long and into the night.

  • Simple is best:  Try mixing one or two-note fragrances together.  Vanilla, amber, or coconut-based scents go together well in particular.
  • Consider scent duration:  Different cosmetic products have different levels of intensity and duration.  For example, shower gel generally last for only seconds.  Cologne lasts longer than aftershave and of course under arm deodorant lasts all day.  Try using a neutral aftershave and deodorant and then pair it with more assertive colognes.
  • Go unscented:  If you believe your overall layering may become too overpowering try using unscented deodorant.  They have become increasingly popular and are very easy to find.
  • Don’t spray your clothes:  Mist your pulse points but don’t ruin your clothes.  Doing so risks creates an overbearing scent.
  • Use similar scents:  Don’t blend scents that are too diverse.  For example, if you are using one product with citrusy notes trying pairing it with a product with a similar base.
  • Know the difference between cologne and deodorant:  Deodorant is less assertive than cologne.  Generally, it is designed to keep you from having an unpleasant scent and keeps you from sweating.  Cologne is designed to make you smell better than deodorant would alone.  Don’t confuse the two and never, use one in place of the other.

Finally, following these tips should make layering a less confusing and tedious job.  It should also help make you and your aroma stand out in a positive way.  Men can be as capable and knowledgeable about this area of personal grooming as women and can make their colognes, aftershaves, etc., last the entire day.  The next time you apply these personal products remember it is more about doing so in the right combination as it is about the scent of any particular fragrance.

 

How Perfume Formulations have Changed in Past 20 Years

Back in the 1980s Coca Cola made either a huge marketing mistake or a genius move depending on how you look at it.  It changed its tried and tested formula for Coke for the first time in decades.  Immediately the public was outraged at such a move.  Coca Cola executives had to apologize and instantly return to the formula the public had come to love.  In the perfume industry reformulations are common and happen for a number of reasons such as companies finding cheaper ingredients, the decision to replace natural notes with synthetic substitutes and even trade restrictions involving certain ingredients.  What this means for consumers is that a particular cologne that they purchased back in the 1990s, for example, may have a different formulation altogether.  In fact, as little as two years ago Chanel and Dior were forced to reformulate perfumes under new EU laws.  The reason it gave was that these fragrances contain mosses which could cause allergies.  Another change that has been made in perfume formulas over the past 20 years is that there has been a push towards a classification of perfume known as “gourmand.”  Gourmand fragrance are perfumes that consists primarily of synthetic edible notes such as honey, chocolate, vanilla or candy as opposed to perfumes that contain floral notes.

As recently as 2008 the IFRA (the International Fragrance Association) issued restrictions on certain fragrance materials such as vanilla, jasmine, oakmoss, coumarin, birch tar, citrus oils, heliotropin and styrax.  This caused many manufacturers to change their formulas to come into compliance with these regulations.  The fact is perfume reformulations are being made more rapidly than in the past and this has some consumers concerned.  After all, people who wear perfume and cologne are very particular about the fragrance they have chosen.

All this means that your favorite perfumes may have been subtlety changed and may be continuing to “evolve” right under your nose.  The best way to determine if your favorite perfume has been altered recently is to trust your nose.  There are even several sites that list the formula changes for popular perfume brands.  Finally, perfume formulations are not as static as Coca Cola but the public has by in large learned to accept some of these changes.  Of course, there is nothing like having your old cologne or perfume…

Scents to Wear While Camping

Summer has finally arrived and many of the more intrepid among us are heading out onto the campgrounds to commune with nature and enjoy the company of our friends and family.  Before doing so we carefully pack and plan our trips in order to get the maximum experience from our long awaited vacation in the wild.  We pack the usual supplies such as a tents, sleeping bags, canteens, cooking equipment etc.  However, as we pack our various camping accoutrements we should also take special care in which toiletries and personal items such as soaps, lotions, toothpaste, deodorants, colognes and perfumes, etc.  This is because we are no longer in our homes when we are camping.  We are among wildlife.  Bears in particular have a keen sense of smell and have been known to be attracted by certain scents they interpret may be food.  So, how does one maintain proper hygiene and not offend others with our scent yet at the same time not place a welcome mat out for bears?  Here are some tips:

Scents to Use in Camping Sites with Bears

Neutral scents:  Wear colognes, perfumes and deodorants that have a neutral scent.  A bear’s sense of smell is much stronger than dog’s.  They can even smell toothpaste from miles away.  Be careful not to wear overpowering fragrances in the wild.

Use a Bear Bag:  If you do pack scented items pack them in a bear bag and hang this in a tree to dissuade bears from coming into your tent.

Stay Clean:  Wash your body with a soap that has a neutral scent.

Scents to Use in Camping Sites without Bears

Peppermint Oil:  Ants hate the smell of peppermint and this essential oil deters them from ruining your meals.  Apply around your tent and container that hold your food.

Lavender Oil:  This essential oil is not only a great insect repellant but it also – in combination with Aloe Vera – can soothe rough skin.

Lemon, Eucalyptus, Citronella, Lemongrass oils:  The scent from these oils has been known to repel insects and is pleasant smelling to humans.  They can also be purchased as a mixture of the oils or separately.

Remember that as you go camping this year that Lily Direct has a variety of fragrances that are appropriate for all occasions.  Our fragrances are meant to be worn in settings as varied as intimate indoor situations or out in the wild with family and friends.

 

 

Great Perfume Houses Part 23-Molinard

Second only to the Parfumerie Galimard, established in 1747, Maison Molinard is one of the oldest and most venerated perfume houses in the world.  Molinard was founded a century later than Galimard in 1849 and began in the Grasse, Provence, in the south of France.  Although Molinard did start later, it still was able to firmly establish a name for itself and to this day and is distinguished from Galimard by being a family run business.  This fact adds gravitas to the company that many other perfume makers – many of whom come and go – do not possess.  They make a line of products, sell a few items and then fold or continue without distinction among the herd of perfume makers.  In contrast, Molinard literally created and thrived in the perfume industry of 19th century France.

Like every great company that thrives Molinard saw the need to expand and introduce new product lines.  It began modestly by first producing floral waters and Eaux de Cologne, which it sold in its “little shop” in the town centre and by 1860, began creating new fragrances such as “Jasmin”, “Rose” “Mimosa” and “Violette.”  Versions of these fragrances are still made today.  In 1900 Molinard further expanded when it purchased an old perfume factory whose designer had worked on the Eiffel Tower.  This allowed Molinard to create a showroom to display his works and to make fragrances that would become popular among the elite of the day.

The other thing that distinguishes this innovative perfume house is the design and intricacy of its elegantly made bottles which were originally made of Baccarat crystal.  Famous bottle designer Viad, created beautiful scent bottles for Molinard starting in the 1920s.  In the 1930s René Lalique, a famous glass maker would help to grow the aesthetic appeal of Molinard’s fragrances by creating bottles made from crystal.  This tradition continues to this day with the Habanita bottle.  Today the company continues to endure and makes products such as perfumes, soaps, body care products, candles and aromatherapy products.  At Lilydirect we carry Eau Fraiche Perfume for Women by Molinard – 3.4 oz Eau De Toilette Spray and other fragrances by other well known designers who have a rich history of quality and variety.

Perfume-Solids vs Spray

Every woman wants to get the maximum utility from her fragrances.  This is regardless of how many she may own.  This is in part why a small controversy has brewed since solid perfumes first came on the market.  Countless sites contain testimony from women who swear their allegiance to one or the other and even women who use both together.  For those who have not solidly (no pun intended) come down in one camp or another, here are some pluses and minuses of wearing solid perfumes vs. sprays. 

The first thing to know about the solid vs. spray colognes is that they can of course have the exact same scent and be from the same designer but here is often where the similarities end.  Solid perfumes are oil based as opposed to sprays which are alcohol based for the most part.  Other differences are:

Pros of Solid (Oil based perfumes)

  • No spillage or risk of leaking
  • Has a longer shelf life
  • Less likely to cause skin reactions
  • Non-flammable
  • Easy to apply and to desired areas

Cons of Solid Perfumes

  • Can be sticky and leave residue
  • Lasts 2-3 hours
  • Strongly scented

Pros of Spray Perfumes

  • Stronger but light scent
  • Last longer than solids

Cons of Spray Perfumes

  • More is wasted when applying since it is a mist
  • Prone to spilling or leaking

Solid Colognes Brands

We all know the usual suspects when it comes to spray colognes.  They have been around for ages.  However, if you decide that the pluses of wearing a solid perfume outweighs the minuses or if you just want to experiment then some of the more popular brands include:  34 Boulevard Saint Germain solid perfume (Diptyque), Limited Editions Precious Jewels Perfume Compact (Estee Lauder), Quelques Fleurs ‘L’Original’ Solid Perfume Compact (Houbigant Paris), Epic woman solid perfume compact (Amouage) and Lucky bay solid perfume stick (Le Soft Perfume)

In the end, the choice comes down to measuring the personal against the practical.  No one intends to buy any product without thinking of how they can best utilize it.  Perfume is no different.  That is the reason this controversy continues between women who swear that they get the best use from one or the other.  Whichever choice you make, Lily Direct can accommodate you with our wide selection of the most popular fragrances for men and women.