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  1. #1
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default How does a fragrance change on skin?

    I keep seeing, "It smelled great on the test strip but on my skin it was a scrubber." Or, "I love it when I smell it on a co-worker but my skin makes it smell completely different."

    How is it possible that a fragrance smells different on skin than on paper? Or on one person's skin than on anothers? Is there really a chemical reaction that changes one of the aromachemicals?

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: How does a fragrance change on skin?

    1. Some of the elements may be absorbed on paper more than it is on skin.

    2. Some of the elements act differently on different temperature (eg paper - probably 26-27 C, skin at 37 C). Just like even cool white wines taste better when you let it warm up a bit and not drunk straight from the fridge.

    3. Distance from the smell matters too. Some of the people here know I rave about the Prada IdI. What I didn't say as much is I actually do not like how it smells up close if I spray it on my wrist and bring my nose to it. But I do think it's heavenly when it's sprayed on my undershirt and I just catch the smell during my workday.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How does a fragrance change on skin?

    skin smells different from someone else's skin. but in general, i think perfume smells pretty much the same on most people.
    people might experience the same smell in a different way, though. personally i believe this is mostly based on interpretation. people can also be anosmic to certain scents. it's all still a bit of a mystery.

    blotters on the other hand, do not warm (unless you're in very hot environment) and that makes a big difference. on skin, the scent develops much more. especially the takeoff of the heavier molecules (the basenotes) profits from the warmth.

  4. #4

    Default Re: How does a fragrance change on skin?

    All of the above, especially the subjective bit. Hope to learn more about this myself!

    I have two theories so far (which could be junk, but have potential):

    1. Since all of us have a recognisably different B.O. (like a chemical odour fingerprint, which is unique), it may be that our own chemistry really does come into it.

    2. Many natural raw materials tend to have more of a complex (even "messy") character than man made aroma chemicals. It could be plausible that the way perfumes made up mostly of the former evolve on your skin seems to be (or really is) more unique than those made up mostly or entirely of the latter.

    Heat will have a lot to do with how we perceive scent, subjective memories and experiences, etc. etc, as has already been mentioned.

    But what's fascinating is that when sniffed side-by-side, under the same conditions (during various BN meets, for example), many scents really do appear to smell different between people (when sniffed by the same person - so this isn't dependent on description).

    It's a fun topic to explore and think about!
    Last edited by Nukapai; 29th June 2009 at 07:32 PM.

  5. #5
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: How does a fragrance change on skin?

    [QUOTE=Nukapai;1550838]
    But what's fascinating is that when sniffed side-by-side, under the same conditions (during various BN meets, for example), many scents really do appear to smell different between people (when sniffed by the same person - so this isn't dependent on description).
    QUOTE]

    This is the piece I can't see how to explain except by some sort of chemical reactions between aromachemicals and either the skin surface or the perspiration on the skin surface. I would think this would have been studied within the perfume industry. At least they would want to keep some people off their panels. But I haven't seen anything in the couple of months I've been reading & Googling. If you haven't seen anything either, I don't feel too bad.

    And I think you are right that these sorts of surprises may be more likely as the number of compunds in the juice increases - i.e., with natural extracts instead of synthesized ingredients.

    Thanks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: How does a fragrance change on skin?

    I totally agree about the same fragrance smelling completely different on different people, even to the same sniffer. The difference can be quite striking, I've found.
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    "One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other." ~ Jane Austen

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  7. #7

    Default Re: How does a fragrance change on skin?

    Believe it or not, what a person has eaten in any given day can have a significant effect on your skin chemistry. Your surface skin chemistry changes along with your internal body chemistry, hormone fluctuations, stress levels, health and environment, etc.

    Also a factor, I think, is that most people have an uncontrollable tendency to judge a perfume too quickly...immediately upon spraying, and thus, only judge it on it's top notes. This is a notoriously wide-spread phenomenon that only really experienced perfume-lovers know to avoid. So a perfume on the skin, by it's heat and chemistry, will evolve the perfume differently when it's given a chance to meld with it a few seconds or minutes. Top notes stay a lot longer on clothing or test strips.

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