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Would you splurge your paycheck on fragrance?

Women were given a choice between giving up sex for a week or their favorite beauty product in a recent survey by L'Bel USA. It's not surprising that sex took the back seat on this one. The one that surprised me, though, was that they would give up their favorite pair of jeans or shoes. I'm not sure I could ever give up my comfy jeans just to keep my MAC foundation.
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Iconic perfume bottles as art

Over on BellaSugar, there is a series of surrealist-type portraits posted by photographer Paul Graves. What do these photos have to do with perfume? Graves uses iconic perfume bottles as his subjects for this piece he did for Elle France.
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Spring and summer fragrances

Strawberries, homegrown tomatoes, lemonade and fresh rain are just a few summertime scents that trigger the olfactory senses.

Naturally when the weather warms up, we begin to shed our layers. One such layer is our favorite winter fragrance, which tends to be heavier and warmer, like our that old winter blanket. We toss it aside and hunt for a new scent that captures the essence of summer.

Not only does our personal preference change for a certain fragrance, but our body chemistry changes as well. We sweat and shower more, use bug spray and sunscreen. All of these factors can change the way a perfume works for us.

During the summer, we look for lighter, crisper fragrances that scream fruity citrus sexiness or breezy ocean rain air.

Think light, fruity, citrusy and crisp. Think summer.

A sampling of fun, summer fragrances:

D&G Light Blue: Light Blue opens with a green apple top note, giving it its notorious crispness.

Lola by Marc Jacobs: The girl who wears Lola is a flirty, fun, free spirit who lives and breathes summer!

Le Feu d'Issey Light by Issey Miyake: Subtle sophistication, perfect for romantic summer nights.

Boucheron: Flowers and citrus all rolled into one.

Pleasures by Estee Lauder: A summertime flower garden dotted with lilies, violets, roses and peonies!

Halle by Halle Berry: An edgier fragrance that draws invokes summer sexy.

Burberry Summer: Refreshing, crisp with a hint of sweetness.

Givenchy Absolutely Irresistible Soleil d’ete: Irresistibly feminine. He won't say no to a summer night stroll.
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Fall and winter fragrances

Fall and winter fragrances

There is something to be said for the onset of winter. As the days draw in and the temperature plunges below freezing, there is a real sense of melancholy in the air.
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Fragrances with unique notes

Peculiar and interesting fragrances

For decades, many mainstream perfume releases have relied on million-dollar advertising campaigns in support of a new launch. In a struggling global luxury retail market, every company is striving to stand head and shoulders above their competitors using any means possible, and for many, the marketing and PR departments are working overtime to lure your nose into making a purchase.
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5 must-have fragrances for men

Acqua Di Gio cologneThe popularity of men's fragrances has risen over the years. It's not just Old Spice and Stetson for men anymore (although Old Spice did make our list). The playing field has certainly expanded when it comes to men's fragrance.
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Italian perfumer has launched blood-scented fragrances

It looks like an Italian company has beat Lady Gaga's blood and semen perfume to the punch. The perfumer, Blood Concept, created the blood fragrances in four versions to coincide with the blood types - A, B, AB, O. So, do they all smell like blood?
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Unisex fragrances

Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys. Or so they might once have had us believe.

Such antiquated modes of thinking and brutal stereotypes have fortunately (for the main part at least) been put behind us - our social and moral consciousness has evolved enormously as compared to our awareness only 25 years ago.

Men are now nurses and caretakers of children, and women are pilots and engineers. Our dreams and aspirations are infinitely diverse, so we now seem to be striking a balance in our lives where gender plays a more peripheral role in our professions, relationships and interests.

So why then, would we support and observe the classification of perfume by gender? In the vast history of perfume that has spanned the millennia, “men's fragrances” and “women's fragrances” as a concept is a relatively recent one.

The late 19th century saw a shift in perfume production from single-flower essences to blended formulas, which began to target consumers based on their sex - but for centuries prior to this, fragrance was gender-neutral.

Let me ask you … what is the smell of a man? Or of a woman? Are we doomed to reek forever of the sexual division of labor - he as woodchopper, leatherworker and spice merchant, and she of a food gatherer and nurturing mother?

If we can remove social conditioning and the division of labor from the equation for a minute, then is the scent of a forest a male smell or a female one? Or rain on asphalt? And what about freshly baked bread? Or even a rose for that matter!

In today's market, “unisex” fragrances tend to represent the closest return to traditional values as they have mass appeal, irrespective of gender. But for the perfume aficionado, he or she is doing him/herself a gross injustice by not exploring scents marketed to the opposite sex.

For starters, you're reducing your chances of finding your fine fragrance “Holy Grail” by half! My challenge to you is to take a deep breath, ignore the funny looks, and truly explore the other side of your local perfume store.

Fragrance is something to be appreciated - not for the gender suggested on the bottle or box - but for the fragrance itself.

Here is our short list of opposite-sex alternatives for both men and women to experience on skin:

LADIES, TRY: Issey Miyake Pour Homme, Jean Paul Gaultier Fleur du Male, Kenzo Power, Christian Dior Homme.

MEN, TRY: Tom Ford's Black Orchid, Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant, Juliette Has a Gun Citizen Queen, Guerlain Jicky.
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Fragrance affected by skin type

Fragrances smell different on different skin types because of the way the scent interacts with the skin's natural oils. If you have oily skin, go light on your fragrance for less intensity. Dry skin does not hold the fragrance as long; therefore, it is recommended you reapply your fragrance a few times per day.
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The art of the perfume bottle

perfume bottlesFor millennia, perfume has been intended as a means to scent oneself, and has evolved from primitive oils and salves made in ancient civilizations to the modern "headspace technology" synthetics and essences that perfumers use in their palettes today. One thing is a constant though, and that is the way in which perfumes are presented -- in beautiful flacons that speak of the enchanting elixirs within.
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