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  1. #1
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    Default Are our skins really that different?

    I'm sure there are some differences on our skins (however it could be moreso our brains perception), but I think the differences are often exagerrated. (Let the controversy come).

    1. Humility
    "This fragrance is one of the best, on my skin" instead of "This fragrance is one of the best of all time"

    2. Politeness
    "This fragrance doesn't go well on my skin" instead of "This fragrance is god awful"

    3. Sales Tactics
    It personalizes things much more, to make a fragrance seem unique and tailored to you, an SA will say, oh this fragrance is great on your skin chemistry. Going back to #1, it's the easiest way to justify an unpopular fragrance without getting into a debate.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Your skin is your largest organ; a living part of you, although the bit that you spray with perfume is dead. A layer of dead cells that is constantly sloughing off and being replaced, which protects you from the outside and prevents most of the outside from getting inside. It is part of you, and each "you" is different. It has just been (re)discovered that the cocktails of chemicals in your breath is unique to you and a good indicator of your health, lifestyle and metabolism; so too is your skin a good indicator of your health, lifestyle and metabolism. Fragrances appear different on different people because of their health, lifestyle and metabolism.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Luca Turin- whose solid scientific approach to perfume I highly appreciate!- claims that skin chemistry is not that relevant, although skin temperature is: the warmest your skin the fastest bigger molecules (i. e. mid and base notes) will leave the skin and reach the nose. The differences one could perceive in the same fragrance on different people could arise from the different mix of molecules evaporating from each individual skin at any time.

    That said, I think that you' re right in points 2 and 3!
    "Your fragrance with a fume of iodine" L. Cohen

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I only have to compare the same scent on my sister and I to know that nearly every frag we compare is turned into an utterly different creature on each of us. Not one frag but many frags over years and years of trying. We have presumably similar metabolisms, body types, diets etc etc etc. The frags just couldn't smell any more different. My skin knocks out the top notes and highlights all the deeper notes and hers kills every base note dead and the same frag will smell like powdered flowers on her. It never ceases to amaze us both.

    When you think thought that micro amounts of one ingredient can change a frag design from one thing into another, then it is no wonder that chemicals in the skin can do the same.

    1, 2 and 3. Yes, I am with you there.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I think that each person's skin chemistry is extremely important in the way a fragrance is manifested.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Perhaps to some extend as it mixes with the scent of the person, I'd think.

    That said, after 12 sprays of Le Male, most people should mainly smell of Le Male.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rüssel View Post
    Perhaps to some extend as it mixes with the scent of the person, I'd think.

    That said, after 12 sprays of Le Male, most people should mainly smell of Le Male.
    after 12 sprays of le male, most people should be locked away

  8. #8

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I think you said it yourself - people use "on my skin" or "on me" when they're just trying to qualify loving or hating a fragrance.

    It may not just be humility or politeness. It may just be that I don't like a fragrance when I wear it, but I've liked it much better on other people - or I'm not ruling out that it might smell better on someone else.

    Luca Turin notwithstanding, I do think perfumes smell different on different people, and I'm not sure it's just a matter of skin temperature. People without perfume smell different because of various factors (cleanliness, diet, etc.), so it stands to reason that people wearing the same perfume may smell different, and I've certainly noticed a couple of perfumes smelling very different on different people.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    As different as fingerprints.

  10. #10
    Super Member CompassRose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Sorry, Luca Turin is full of it. I know -- I know -- that my skin destroys certain fragrances, and so does my mother's. And I amplify and exaggerate some types of notes to a ridiculous degree. There are so many fragrances that I'll really never know, because on me they're unearthly bad (like, spoiled bad), but many have been praised for decades, so I'm pretty sure it's just me and in that respect I'm a reasonably special snowflake.

    I also react to, and corrode, metal costume jewellery, and corrode sewing needles within a few hours during long sewing sessions.

    By the same token, since I know that, I know that I can only condemn perfumes based on what they do on me, and any reviews I might post are probably only useful to the few people who share my Unfortunate Condition.

    I don't know why, though, why one should argue with, or feel the need to justify, loving or hating a fragrance. Fragrance is hardly an objective science; it's an experience and sometimes an art. It will always to a greater or lesser degree be personal to the individual, and trying to argue with another person about whether a fragrance is "good" or "bad" seems to me like trying to argue that because you, personally, find a person you are sleeping with to be the sexiest on the planet, therefore everyone else should too.
    Last edited by CompassRose; 8th April 2013 at 04:46 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Longevity on skin interests me. I have just read a review of Opus 1870 where the reviewer complains that after 2 hours it is barely discernible. On me it is a 'powerhouse'which I can smell on clothes 2 days later. Of course, the amount sprayed would need to be factored in, but I can't think of a single fragrance that has died on me after 2 hours. Maybe 'dryness' of skin counts?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I think each person's skin is as unique as his/her eyes. There are similarities in type, but no two are exactly alike. Just like snowflakes.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    Longevity on skin interests me. I have just read a review of Opus 1870 where the reviewer complains that after 2 hours it is barely discernible. On me it is a 'powerhouse'which I can smell on clothes 2 days later. Of course, the amount sprayed would need to be factored in, but I can't think of a single fragrance that has died on me after 2 hours. Maybe 'dryness' of skin counts?
    Frankly I'm convinced that what you describe is just olfactory fatigue. When you're surrounded by a smell consistently over time, you become desensitized to it. A colleague recently was wearing Angel, and you could smell it from at least 15 feet. When I mentioned in passing that it smelled good on her, she was so embarrassed that anyone could smell it because she couldn't smell anything. I've had some version of this happen numerous times in recent years.

  14. #14
    Super Member VintagePoison's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    My sister and I sample the same scents together many times and there is always a huge difference in the way the fragrance smells. And I say this as someone who has a hard time identifying notes and differences.

    I've always thought it was just a myth and dismissed it until I discovered it for myself.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I'm with those who say that skin *can* be different.

    I've learned that my skin draws out cumin. Overwhelmingly. I asked a friend of mine (another woman) to spray Bois de Violette on her wrist, and I sprayed it on mine right after she was done. I smelled my wrist, and the cumin was instantly detectable, but I didn't say anything at all. I smelled her wrist and only smelled woody violets with a bit of general spiciness. I asked her to smell her wrist and then my wrist and describe any differences she smelled. She smelled violets on her own wrist and then wrinkled her nose at mine and said "OOO, yuck! BO!" (body odor) Admittedly a small sample size, but I've experienced similar things with other fragrances (Chergui, Sarrasins, Portrait of a Lady) and other people (boyfriend, sister, another friend).

    But I also suspect that it's not all about differences in skin temperature or skin chemistry. I think it also has something to do with how each of us perceives certain smells, and I think THAT is very individual and very subjective. For example, some people are highly sensitive to musky smells, some are completely anosmic.

    When you combine these two notions, I'm not a bit surprised that fragrance is such an individual pursuit. I'm don't think that it's necessarily just about making a sale when an SA says "that works so well with your skin chemistry...." You might run into the rare SA who actually has a good nose, knows what s/he is talking about, and appreciates the fragrance adventure in its own right. However, I take anything salespeople say with big helping of salt, whether they're selling fragrance, clothes, wine, or art -- because their sole reason for being (in that role) is to make a sale, not to utter Truth. Most of the time, it's going to be some more or less polite version of Rodney Dangerfield's immortal line "Looks good on you, though" (cue eyeroll).

    Humility? Eh, not sure I agree with that. I don't really get humility in your first example -- unless when you say "humility," you're equating it with "lack of confidence" in stating an opinion. I do think both are examples of politeness or diplomacy, and I don't think there's anything wrong with being polite/diplomatic.

    If you are inclined to make grand, unqualified, sweeping declarations about what is the best of all time and what is god-awful, you should expect disagreement and some disdain at perceived arrogance.
    Last edited by ExtremeK; 8th April 2013 at 07:12 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    Fragrances appear different on different people because of their health, lifestyle and metabolism.
    Yep, as well as hormonal differences.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    It has just been (re)discovered that the cocktails of chemicals in your breath is unique to you and a good indicator of your health, lifestyle and metabolism; so too is your skin a good indicator of your health, lifestyle and metabolism. Fragrances appear different on different people because of their health, lifestyle and metabolism.
    THIS.

    Quote Originally Posted by juanderer View Post
    Yep, as well as hormonal differences.
    AND THIS.

    The scent that made me aware of how much a scent can wear differently on different people was Givenchy Pi. I've always liked the smell of Pi. I finally got around to picking up a sample when a friend and I were on the train sitting behind a guy who smelled fantastic. My friend asked him what cologne he was wearing and he told her it was Pi. We were headed downtown anyway, so we dropped by Sephora and got a sample. As soon as we smelled the bottle, we knew it was what the guy had been wearing. Pi smells very distinctive. I went home, took a shower and gave Pi a shot. I wore four sprays from the tiny sample vial, which is probably closer to two from an actual bottle.

    It. Smelled. Awful.

    Rather than wash it off, I thought I'd get my friend's opinion since she had been with me on the train when we first smelled a guy wearing Pi. We met up for drinks. I didn't tell her what I thought though. I just asked her opinion. She hated it. In fact, she asked why I wasn't wearing the sample of Pi we'd picked up earlier, and she was shocked when I told her that's what it was. I ended up giving the sample to another friend of mine, and sure enough, it smelled amazing on him.

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's Gucci Pour Homme II. So many people claim it disappears on them after a few hours, but I easily get 10+ hours from it.

    The idea that skin is all the same is patently false. One easy piece of proof is scent. Different people smell differently enough that animals know and/or can track individuals by scent. If you have cats and you want to make them really happy, wear a t-shirt to bed a few times. Then, buy the cats one of those small round fluffy cat-beds. Lay the worn unwashed t-shirt at the bottom of the bed. Your cats will love it.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  18. #18
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Shortly after Bulgari produced Green Tea perfume, I smelled it on a co-worker and was completely enraptured. I had to have it. I asked for, and received a bottle for Christmas. I sprayed it on and decided that, on me, it smelled nice and refreshing at first, but after the dry down it seemed to smell like insect repellent. And, just this afternoon, I received a sample of Sycomore from a kind BNer. I dabbed it on the backs of both hands. The initial scent was lovely for a few second then it quickly moved into a piney, cannabis sort of scent. After about 10 minutes, it had almost vanished. I grant you, my hands were dry so I will try again after rubbing in some unscented lotion.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curly11 View Post
    Shortly after Bulgari produced Green Tea perfume, I smelled it on a co-worker and was completely enraptured. I had to have it. I asked for, and received a bottle for Christmas. I sprayed it on and decided that, on me, it smelled nice and refreshing at first, but after the dry down it seemed to smell like insect repellent. And, just this afternoon, I received a sample of Sycomore from a kind BNer. I dabbed it on the backs of both hands. The initial scent was lovely for a few second then it quickly moved into a piney, cannabis sort of scent. After about 10 minutes, it had almost vanished. I grant you, my hands were dry so I will try again after rubbing in some unscented lotion.
    The same thing happens to Sycomore on my skin. I've tried multiple wearings and everytime I can't smell it and neither can anyone around me. Could be the climate I live in.
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I sometimes wonder whether it is just the different distances we are smelling scents from. Scents perform differently on different parts of my body, but I'm pretty sure that comes down to how exposed to air it is (e.g. chest vs. back of the neck) and distance from my nose. I suppose there are also differences in the amounts, and maybe even the composition, of oil, etc. on different parts of my body.

    My skin tends to be dry, but I get very good longevity from scents. then again I don't expect my scent to be gassing out a room and leaving long sillage trails all day. Scents also tend to smell sweeter to me than they are on paper, and I get good longevity from top and heart notes. Occasionally I get dissapointed that they haven't fully evaporated down to the pure base notes.

    I don't know about humility, but it may be a defensive mechanism to prevent their preferences being attacked or prevent other posters from thinking they are being accused of lieing or not knowing anything, so it comes across as "In my experience..." rather than "You are wrong..."

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by silentrich View Post
    The same thing happens to Sycomore on my skin. I've tried multiple wearings and everytime I can't smell it and neither can anyone around me. Could be the climate I live in.
    Well, it was very humid today. Last night we had a lot of rain, and the temperature was around 65F.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    The idea that skin is all the same is patently false. One easy piece of proof is scent. Different people smell differently enough that animals know and/or can track individuals by scent. If you have cats and you want to make them really happy, wear a t-shirt to bed a few times. Then, buy the cats one of those small round fluffy cat-beds. Lay the worn unwashed t-shirt at the bottom of the bed. Your cats will love it.
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    l have also experienced first hand the simple fact that fragrances can & do smell different on different skins.

    To the OP; you say "humility" & "politeness" as if these were bad things. Personally, l believe that making sweeping statements like "this is the best perfume ever" smacks of arrogance. l feel it shows respect to others to qualify one's love or hate for a fragrance by stating "this is how it smells on me", & accepting that others may experience it differently.
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    i did notice that in general perfumes can only smell worse on my skin then on the blotter never the other way around, if a perfume is bad it will never smell nice to me on skin .....it seems like skin alters especially initial phase of development or it eats up certain parts?.....

    ....i only had 2-3 times doubts about not buying a perfume becasue its not nice on my skin....and that was with Bandit, some Montale...those perfumes that are demanding in a way....but i am sure if i try Bandit again i would like it on my skin as well its just a phase until it develops

    what i have noticed is that cold skin does not alter the scent and somehow is the most similar to a blotter.....


    i am not believer that skin makes + magic.....it can only make it worse or half beautiful lol

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by L'Homme Blanc Individuel View Post
    The idea that skin is all the same is patently false. One easy piece of proof is scent. Different people smell differently enough that animals know and/or can track individuals by scent. If you have cats and you want to make them really happy, wear a t-shirt to bed a few times. Then, buy the cats one of those small round fluffy cat-beds. Lay the worn unwashed t-shirt at the bottom of the bed. Your cats will love it.
    i dont think anyone doubts here that people differentiate by smell ? and we dont really notice it in general so i dont understand why you would notice it THIS MUCH when you put a perfume on

    it means we all walk by eachoter and say wow your skin smells better then mine
    Last edited by iivanita; 9th April 2013 at 08:32 AM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    Longevity on skin interests me. I have just read a review of Opus 1870 where the reviewer complains that after 2 hours it is barely discernible. On me it is a 'powerhouse' which I can smell on clothes 2 days later.
    Fragrances tend to last longer on fabric. So we shouldn't compare apples to oranges.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Fragrances tend to last longer on fabric. So we shouldn't compare apples to oranges.

    Yes -- I should have qualified that it lasts all day on my skin also. I have always been very lucky with fragrances lasting on me. I'm hoping it is because of a healthy metabolism but it might be the amount I spray.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    For the sake of science (and of Luca Turin !!)- saying that skin temperature can affect the way different molecules evaporates doesn't mean that a fragrance smells the same on every skin!

    Differences are definitely noticeable from skin to skin, only I have no idea on what's really- I mean chemically, physically- happening there.
    The aforementioned Turin keeps telling the example of iris plus something I now don't remember that unexpectedly results in a peach note.. There's much more than meets the nose!
    "Your fragrance with a fume of iodine" L. Cohen

  28. #28

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Skins are indeed different, just with with hair colour and texture.

    The skin is also an organ, as stated earlier, and is an indicator of respiration and excretion. For instance, has anyone ever smelled a person with ketoacidosis? The skin smells like vinegar or acetone.

    That said, everyone's skin is different depending on heredity, age or illness.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by iivanita View Post
    i dont think anyone doubts here that people differentiate by smell ? and we dont really notice it in general so i dont understand why you would notice it THIS MUCH when you put a perfume on
    By "differentiate by smell" I assume you mean "smell different," just based on context of your post. But I absolutely do notice it in general. People smell very different to me, and I notice it all the time - when I meet people at work, sitting next to someone on the train, even sometimes standing on line at a shop. And I'm not talking about people just wearing fragrance. There's a whole combination of smells - hair, breath, body odor, laundry soap, bath products, etc., and I can even tell from smelling some people whether they have certain health problems, like diabetes.

    It's not any special talent on my part; I'm just very aware of smells. I think anyone could be if they thought about it, although I admit sometimes it's not a pleasant thing.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I never really doubted that fragrances can smell different on different people (just think of how widely different the skins of different people smell) but one little experiment has convinced me for good. I went with a friend to a Santa Maria Novella shop and we both sprayed Tobacco Toscano on our wrists (same part of the wrist). A few minutes after the application it smelt dark and laden with tabac on me while on my friend all I could smell were flowers (none were detectable on me).

  31. #31

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I actually think it's silly to assume all skins are the same. I mean, come on now. We can tell by sight that our skins are different. It's more than just white/black/brown. There are so many different shades of each. And anyone who pays attention can tell by touch that our skins feel different. Some people have very smooth skin that feels so soft. Others, not so much. Some are more hairy. Others have more birthmarks. Some have dry skin. Others, oily. There are other differences as well.

    All of these factors play a role in how perfume wears on one's skin.

    The idea that skin is just skin and it's all the same... well... that's silly to the point of being absurd.
    "Follow your nose. It always knows." -- Toucan Sam

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I agree we have different skins,like different eyes, don't see much of an issue there.and healthy organisms are all more similar to one another then different , that is my idea as well.......

    But when i read perfume reviews i don't notice that its the skin that makes a difference but the mind of a reviewer.....also i can sometimes get very clear idea of a perfume from reading reviews only....so i don't give that much emphasis on skin effect, nothing more then i give it to my own skin.....i know longevity on the skin is shorter and , that skin can mask some parts, esp at the beginning, make it a little less beautiful...so the most objective way for me is blotter....

    Many perfume reviews are written so that it seems to me we have all similar skins:-) .......people just don't realize how much more similar they are then different:-)

    When i put 6 sprays of something there is no such thing called skin :-) sorry

  33. #33

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Also remember that our skin is completely covered at all times with billions of microbes--an estimated 1000 different species--which contribute to the skin's odor by producing chemicals, and different people may have unique combinations of microbes that influence their own smell and perhaps account for some of the differences in fragrance.

    But in answer to the first post, yes I can see how it could also be a habit of politeness to say that something smells bad "on my skin" so as not to offend someone who loves the fragrance!

  34. #34

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I'd love to know more about the genetic component. My parents, willing guinea pigs that they are, have tried several different fragrances at the same time as me. Inevitably, scents smell identical on my dad and myself. My mom smells completely different. Most noticeable have been citruses. My mom smells gorgeous in citrus - they are fresh and light on her. On me, and my dad, most of them turn into a Lysol stench. Somehow, I've literally inherited my skin from my dad.
    The question that women casually shopping for perfume ask more than any other is this: "What scent drives men wild?" After years of intense research, we know the definitive answer. It is bacon. Now, on to the far more interesting subject of perfume.
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  35. #35

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Frederic Malle also believes skin types play a very minor part (only in rare cases). For what that's worth.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by iodine View Post
    Luca Turin- whose solid scientific approach to perfume I highly appreciate!- claims that skin chemistry is not that relevant.......
    Although while making a fragrance they test it on a few assistants, most of the great perfumers apparently feel the same way.
    Last edited by pluran; 6th May 2013 at 12:47 AM.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Looks like a case of 'self preservation' to me. If perfumers support the notion that skin chemistry plays a significant role in fragrance development, they'll probably be out of jobs... or worse, made to work on multiple variations of a fragrance to cater to multiple skin 'types'.

  38. #38

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    That's why silage is good for some people, and with others' you can barely detect fragrances

  39. #39

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I'm proving it today. Granny and I have both sprayed on the same amount of Tubereuse Criminelle and on me is the cough mixture and on Granny, the most delightful white floral bouquet. If I wasn't smelling this with my own nose having sprayed it on us both, then I would tell you we had two different perfumes on. They neither one relate to the other in the slightest. Even at drydown mine is a light floral vanilla and Grannies has vanished. Quite astonishing really.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    I can spray on two sprays of Angel or Ambre Narguilé, and my fiancée had to come within 10-20 cm's to smell it properly. On her skin, the same amount fills an entire room or sometimes the entire apartment. I am pretty sure that our skins are pretty different

    Therefore, when I write I wear 5-10 sprays of stuff, do not be so shocked
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  41. #41

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    I'm proving it today. Granny and I have both sprayed on the same amount of Tubereuse Criminelle and on me is the cough mixture and on Granny, the most delightful white floral bouquet. If I wasn't smelling this with my own nose having sprayed it on us both, then I would tell you we had two different perfumes on. They neither one relate to the other in the slightest. Even at drydown mine is a light floral vanilla and Grannies has vanished. Quite astonishing really.
    And my sister and I had a very similar result when testing Angel. We both sprayed from the same bottle and we both thought it was a fabulous scent on me, and we both loathed it for the sour and sickly smell that it turned out to be on her.

    If it's not down to skin differences (whether that's temperature, hormones or other chemistry) then what is it? We'd even both showered before going out with the same shower gel and applied the same body cream.
    'I suggest we learn to love ourselves before it's made illegal.'

  42. #42

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    As our skin has the job of cooling, triggering the immune system to protect against harmful bacteria, alerting the brain to danger through pain and expelling toxins it's a pretty complex organ in it's own right.
    Each individuals skin will be different according to hydration, temperature, medication and health factors.
    Strongly flavoured/scented food emerges in sweat. Curry spices, Fish, Garlic, Coffee are all noticeable in not only sweat but breathe and other areas of mucus membrane.
    Put all the individuality of bodily odour together in each person and it's no surprise surely that perfumes will react differently per person?
    However it's not 'just' the skin but the interaction of all the lingering smells we carry: Shampoo, the leather jacket you're wearing or the onion you peeled an hour ago.
    We smell of everything we do, eat and where we've been. Any Perfume we apply just joins the dance.

  43. #43

    Default Re: Are our skins really that different?

    If you smell a fragrance that you're familiar with on somebody else, you know what you're smelling. So it can't be THAT different. I think it's perception and brain trickery.

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