An Introduction To Perfumes And Colognes


 An Introduction To Perfumes And Colognes

A perfume is a mixture of oils, alcohols, and other ingredients that give off the smell or fragrance of flowers, fruit, herbs or other scents such as amber. Perfume can also be classified as eau de parfum according to its concentration - with the best type being perfume oil. Cologne is a type of eau de toilette that typically includes alcohol and natural essential oils such as lavender in its composition.

In this blog post we will be discussing colognes and perfumes from an historic perspective so you can see how they have evolved over time. We'll also share some historical facts about scent in general so you have a better understanding of how to use these products today.

Where did perfume and cologne come from?

Perfume can be traced back to ancient Egypt where it was used to mask the smell of decay and death during mummification practices. It was also known as "Egyptian halloween" because pharaohs would wear it before their burial ceremonies so that they could "live again" once they were entombed, and so that their souls would enter the afterlife smelling of good fragrance. Perfumes are also mentioned in the Bible, where King Solomon is credited with creating incense for his people to use as part of worship services.

The Roman Emperor Nero is said to have invented modern cologne when he introduced the practice of spraying perfume on his person. The practice was later adopted by the upper classes, who started trying to create an "agreeable" scent which would only be noticeable to those who were familiar with their scent. The word 'perfume' comes from the Latin word "per fumare" – which means "through smoke".

First invented in the 15th century, the perfume bottle became popular during the Italian Renaissance. Crowned heads used perfumes to mask their less than pleasant odors – which ranged from sweat due to over exercising, disease or even old age (both of which are common occurrences in the life of a monarch!) and so many of these scents were made up of herbs and flowers.

Sumptuary laws in England meant that only members of the royal court could wear scent. The law also stated that it was illegal for "any woman under the rank of a duchess" to use perfume. Despite this, the middle classes flocked to the practice when Queen Elizabeth I married and gave birth to a son who became Henry VIII. She later died an old woman without ever organizing a wedding for her daughter – Queen Elizabeth II, who eventually abolished the law when she came into power.

In 1836, a controversial law was passed in France that banned the use of perfume by women. The law was overruled by Napoleon III who brought the practice of wearing fragrance back into fashion and scent sales subsequently boomed. Some think that Napoleon's wife Empress Eugenie may have helped to bring about the change through her personal influence, which she used to keep her personal smells covered up.

One of the best-known scents is Chanel No 5 , created by Coco Chanel in 1922. This was the first fragrance to be entirely created by a woman as she insisted on a light scent which would not offend men or the public. Today, it is sold in more than 11 countries and is still the best-selling female perfume of all time.

Scent and Romance

The French writer and literary theorist Roland Barthes states that "the function of perfume is to create an odor around the body". When we smell a scent it will immediately give us pleasure. The feeling can be so strong that it will make us feel like we are in a place that we associate with the smell. This can be an emotional experience – which is why scent and romance go hand in hand as a great perfume will remind you of your other half.

In fact, perfumes have been associated with sexuality since ancient times. We know that Cleopatra used musk to keep her skin soft and fresh for her romantic conquests, while Queen Elizabeth I was said to have bathed twice daily in jasmine scented waters to maintain her youthful beauty.

In 1981, perfume sales were worth $1.4 billion in North America, with both men and women wearing it regularly. Then came the economic recession of 2008 which brought about a 30 per cent drop in sales to $0.89 billion dollars as people cut back on luxury items like perfume – but millions like to still make a splash with their fragrance choices today.

Scent and Health

Perfumes are made from a variety of different ingredients, some of which may be hazardous to health. For example, fragrance oils can contain phthalates – a family of compounds that are used as plasticizers in products such as perfumes. The chemicals produced by this process can be carcinogenic. Another concern is that some types of essential oils can have effects on the nervous system or cause allergic reactions according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Using perfume daily may also increase your risk of developing asthma if you use an oil scent such as jasmine or ylang-ylang which contain allergens like coumarin.


Perfume and cologne have come a long way over the years and have been used for centuries to create a pleasant smell that can be sensed by our noses. They have become an attraction feature in today's modern society, whether it is used to freshen up your outfit or boost your image at work.

However, their popularity has also led to an increase in their harmful effects on health due to some of the ingredients they contain. It is always wise to be aware of what you are putting on and into your body as even small amounts can cause significant damage. So ensure that you use only natural fragrances and avoid any synthetic perfumes that may contain hazardous chemicals or allergens.

Post a Comment