Ultimate Fragrance Guide

Ultimate Fragrance Guide

BeautyAlex Bradburn

When it comes to buying a fragrance, whether it’s for yourself or as a gift for someone special, it can be hard to find ‘the one’. With so many scents to choose from, it’s no surprise that most people simply grab the prettiest bottle or a safe bet that they know will do the job.

Christmas is just around the corner and with a whole host of new celebrity fragrances, plus the vast array of fragrances for women and men available from your favourite designer labels, how can you make sure you find the right one?

Here at TJ Hughes, we want to make sure that you find the perfect designer fragrance, which is why we’ve put together our foolproof guide to busting through the jargon and finding a scent-sational match.

Fragrances Notes

The ‘notes’ of a fragrance are a bit like layers, they are the scents that can be ‘sensed’ after a certain amount of time. Notes are split into three classes, top, middle and base, each one specifically designed to enhance the experience of wearing a perfume. Understanding the notes of a fragrance can help you decide which one is best suited to you. When you’re testing out a fragrance for the first time, make sure you take the time to experience each layer of the scent. It usually takes up to 2 hours for a fragrance to really settle on your skin.

Top Notes

The top notes provide that all important first impression of a fragrance, known as the most volatile of the notes – these will be the first to evaporate on your skin. Once spritzed, the scent will normally last for up to 30 minutes. Typical top notes include citrus, fruit and herb scents.

Middle Notes

Often referred to as the ‘heart notes’, the middle notes make up the bulk of the fragrance. Although they may not be instantly recognisable, 10-30 minutes after you apply to the skin the middle notes will start to develop and give off a warmer, softer scent than the initial top notes. Jasmine, rose, lemongrass and lavender are all popular middle notes, acting as a great warm up for the final base notes.

Base Notes

The base notes are vital for any fragrance, lasting the longest and helping prolong the evaporation rates of the top and middle notes. Common base notes include sandalwood, ylang ylang and vanilla, relaxing fragrances that have great staying power. If the top notes are there to make a first impression, the base notes are there to create a lasting one!

The Fragrance Families

Now you know how the ingredients within a fragrance work together, it’s time to meet the families! Although there are many different types of scents that work together to create a fragrance, the majority fall with the 4 main ‘families’. This classification scheme is fairly new, set up in 1983 by perfume consultant Michael Edwards to simplify fragrance naming and establishing relationships between each one.


Probably the most popular fragrance choice, floral scents are romantic, light and sweet, offering blends of rose, lily, jasmine and lavender.


An uplifting, light scent that’s ideal for men and women. Fresh scents typically incorporate citrus and herbal notes to create an overall scent that aims to refresh and revive.


Exotic and sensual, oriental fragrances are made from deep spices such as cinnamon, pepper and vanilla. These scents are ideal for those looking for something a little darker!


Wood based scents are sophisticated and mysterious, ideal for those looking to create a little intrigue with their fragrance! Expect opulent, warm sandalwood, amber and patchouli scents.


Struggle to tell your Eau de Perfume from your Eau de Toilette? You’re not alone! The different names given to ‘types’ of fragrances refers to the intensity of each one. The higher the concentration, the stronger the scent is. We’ve broken down some of the most popular types of fragrance to help you find the right one for you.


Perfume has the highest fragrance concentration, and is often the most expensive! Perfume can contain up to 40% fragrance, therefore lasts the longest of all of the perfume types.

Eau de Perfume

With a fragrance concentration between 15% and 20%, Eau de Perfume is one of the most common fragrance types and ideal for everyday wear.

Eau de Toilette

Similar to Eau de Perfume, Eau de Toilette has a fragrance concentration of between 5% and 15%. Often cheaper than other options, this scent will normally last a couple of hours.

Eau de Cologne

Eau de Cologne has a much lower fragrance concentration at between 2% and 4%. The bottles of Eau de Cologne tend to be bigger than other perfumes, as is a much lighter display of the scent.

Wearing Tips

Are you a ‘spritz all over’ or a ‘make a cloud and walk into it’ type of perfume wearer? We all have our routines when it comes to putting on our perfume, but do you know how to apply it so that it gives maximum impact throughout the day?


The next time you’re heading out of the door, apply fragrance to your hair to create a long lasting scent. Fragrances will cling to strands of hair and to any products you’ve used after washing your hair. Instead of spritzing directly, apply first to a brush or comb to stop drying out your hair.


As a pulse point, spraying perfume behind your earlobes will help enhance your chosen scent and prolong the fragrance.

Neck and Collarbone

Sweep a little of your chosen scent across your collarbones, especially when wearing a lower cut top. The dip in the bone provides a handy place for fragrance to settle!


Wrists aren’t just for sampling fragrances, they are another key pulse point that will amplify your scent. You can also sweep a little perfume on the back of your hand for extra impact.

Knees and Elbows

Yes, really! The inside of your knees and elbows are perfect places to spray the scent, keep these areas well moisturised to maximise the power of the fragrance.


In the TJ Hughes fragrance store, you can find a wide range of top fragrances at low prices – perfect for putting your new found knowledge to the test and hunting down the perfect scent. If you’re buying fragrances as a present for someone this Christmas, we even offer a selection of fragrance gift sets that are ideal for wrapping up and placing under the tree!