A fragrance is a mixture of scents that can be applied to almost any product. The main purpose of a fragrance is to enhance the consumer experience. This can include perfume, cologne, and make up. Fragrance is often associated with flowers, but it can also include toxic chemicals.
In ancient civilizations, fragnance was used for religious ceremonies and everyday attire. Today, it is primarily used for marketing purposes. There are three primary structural parts to a perfume: top notes, middle notes, and base notes. Each note has a different connotation, affects the other notes, and forms the foundation of a perfume.
Perfumes are often described as calming and evocative. They can be derived from petroleum or from other natural sources. However, some of the ingredients can be hazardous, and many of them have been linked to chronic health problems.
Some examples of the top notes of a fragrance are citrus fruits, lavender, and mint. During the age of the Romans, perfume was refined and mass-produced. Cologne is a type of fragnance that is diluted with alcohol, or a solution of alcohol and water. It is typically ten to twenty percent oil dissolved in water. Other common components are musk, tobacco, coumarin, and linalool.
Middle notes are more complex than the top and base notes. They add solidity to the perfume, and are often associated with a richer, more intense scent. These notes are usually not perceived until after the perfume has been applied.
Base notes are generally richer in aroma and more lasting, but they are often not noticeable until thirty minutes after they have been applied. They add depth to the fragrance and also mask unpleasant base notes. Examples of base notes include amber, musk, and tobacco.
The most common method of obtaining aromatic compounds is by solvent extraction. This process involves putting the material into a liquid and then forcing it through the desired material. Liquids can be made of ether, hexane, or a mixture of the two. Traditionally, the most common source of aromatic compounds is plants, but synthetics are increasingly being used.
When making a perfume, the first step is to collect raw materials. Typically, these are plant or animal material that has been steamed or crushed. After they are steeped in heated oils, they are then filtered through fabric or a cotton cloth.
Another process of obtaining aromatic compounds is by absorption. This is the most common process of obtaining perfume. If a material is too delicate for distillation, absorption is often used. Materials are absorbed through the pores of the skin or through wax.
Many modern perfumes are composed of synthetic odorants. These are inexpensively made from terpenes, which are naturally occurring compounds. Several of these compounds have been found to have negative health effects, including hormone disruption and cancer.
Unlike other types of cosmetics, fragrances do not legally require allergen labeling. Tiny amounts of fragrance can cause allergic contact dermatitis, a delayed hypersensitivity reaction. Patch testing is recommended to confirm that a person is not suffering from an allergy.