While the florals and fruity notes are the stuff of summer, they come with a price… the sensual florals can be short lived in humidity or occasions that cause our skin to sweat. Beautifully put by the perfumer Arnaud Marolleau: “Humidity is the vampire of fragrance.”
We love botanical slow perfumes because they are more subtle and interact with our skin, our moods and environment. The floral and fruity summer notes can be short-lived during hot weather, but by following these principles you can prolong your perfume’s skin life:
Hydrate your skin
Skin tends to dehydrate quickly with summer sun exposure, swimming and aircon, and dry skin is a poor carrier for fragrance.
Botanical oils need other oil molecules in the skin to adhere to and interact with. My go-to summer antidote for this is a wet-skin oil start to the day:
I jump out of the shower, wrap in a light turkish khadi, open the coconut oil, drop the towel and from top down massage the oil into my damp skin. Massage through all the gland/pulse points – neck, underarms, breasts, wrists, the glands on your bikini line and behind the knees too!
This ensures that when you choose your points for perfuming, the oil content in your skin will trap the fragrant oils. As your skin dries, the oil absorbs into the deeper layers leaving skin nourished and soft. You are also feeding antioxidant oils through the skin surface into your dermal layers and into your blood stream to keep skin healthy.
If you don’t like coconut oil, consider jojoba oil for its similar composition to skin’s own sebum. A quick dry body brush before you shower will stimulate your circulation and prep the skin to receive more hydration.
Balance your perfume choice with the weather
Cold weather tends to prolong the floral and balsam notes on the skin, so they will travel better during summer when you are spending time in aircon environments (but not so well if exposed in the heat of the day).
The summer heat tends to evaporate off the volatile oils and alcohol in perfume and this changes the evolution of your perfume – you might miss subtle stages as the perfume more quickly dries down and some notes can disappear altogether.
Heat and humidity causes our body to sweat more and this can evolve a perfume in unexpected ways or cause it to disappear from our skin. The best antidote is to carry a small bottle of your floral favourite and renew more frequently.
Concentrate your fragrance
Another method for extending the life of your florals on summer skin is to choose a more concentrated version of your favourite fragrance. Perfume concentrates are expressed as a ratio of botanicals to alcohol with different terminology.
Here are the concentrations from highest to lowest:
Eau de parfum
Eau de cologne
Eau de toilette
So in summer you can choose from the first 3 concentrates for a stronger and longer lived fragrance experience, rather than the lower concentrates of a cologne or toilette.
For a longer living cologne or toilette, choose a fragrance that is constructed with heavier woody base notes in the formulation – these anchor the perfume and will express for longer because of their lower rate of volatility.
I find a certain attraction in wearing an etheric light fresh aroma that evolves into the humidity with my body temperature and then disappears. On a hot summer day, our Ioannis eau de cologne leaves only a sweet woody aroma that threads my olfactory memory back to the sacred Basil top note. I can detect it at the nape of the neck, in the bed linen, and the shirts in the washing basket. These subtle reminders at close proximity, are the magic and beauty of living with slow perfume.
And don’t forget that botanical natural perfumes need to be protected from extreme temperatures and sunlight. They are not as robust as the synthetic fragrances.
Radiate your fragrance
To create lasting intensity in a perfume you need to choose fragrances that radiate and have presence. Choose these perfumes from the oriental, chypre or wood families. These share a similar architecture of strong base note ratio and the use of heavier molecular botanicals that will stand up to the heat and continue evolving on your skin.
And to finish off my January romance with the masculine Jasmine aroma, here is a favourite by Lynn Al-Abiad that she posted on hellopoetry.com :
ولد الياسمين – Jasmine Boy
و ركض لتحت الشجرة و قميصه مجعلك, صبّاطو موَحّل و بنطالونه واسع
بس ريحتو مثل الياسمين
عيناه بيِعْكسو نجوم درب التبانة كلها
و صوته موجة عالية بتوصل على الشّط و بتسَرْحِب رغوتها على الرملات ل توصل على إجريك
He ran towards the tree, his shirt rippled, his shoes muddy and his pants
too big for him
But he smelled of Jasmine
His eyes were the home of the Milky Way
And his voice was like a high wave that hits the shore as its foam would run up
the silky sand to softly touch your feet.
لين اا –
– LynnAA, 14/5/2016
… proving that even wild muddy boys can wear Black Ghazal and rock the masculine Jasmine aromas.
photo credit: Kieran Mangan