Hi, everyone. It’s Justine. This video is a new episode of the “French series”, which you probably know if you follow my channel already. I’ve decided to do four more episodes. Today’s the first one and every Wednesday this month you’re going to get a new one, so look forward to that. So far we’ve discussed wardrobe, makeup. Today’s video is dedicated to fragrances, perfumes, which is a topic that French women take very seriously. I would like to show you how we apply perfume, dos and don’ts in general. I will also explain how we integrate perfume in the overall beauty routine and why my country is so famous for its fragrances. Actually, I’m going to start with that. Why is french perfume so famous? There is a small town in the South of France called Glasse. This little town has been providing Paris and the courts and the kings of all Europe with perfume for hundreds of years, so all the know-how and the craftsmanship is concentrated in that little area in the South. All the noses of the Luxury houses you can think of have learned there, even today. The nose is the job title of the perfume creator. There is only one per house at a time, not more. So there is one at Hermès, there is one at Guerlain, etc.. That individual is extremely valuable to a company because if he can create a perfume that becomes a “classic”, a “timeless” fragrance, It’s going to bring multi-million euros to the company. It’s a huge business. Anyways, Glasse and the area around it has excellent weather, great sun conditions, and that’s perfect for flowers. If you drive through the region in your car, you’re going to see fields and fields of mimosa, tuberose, orange trees, and the orange blossom from that tree is for instance extremely appreciated in fragrance making. In the past, perfumes were made out of flowers; distilled. So perfume makers found in Glasse the best for materials they could think of, and that still goes on today. From distilled flowers to modern perfume. Today, perfume makers use natural but also synthetic ingredients mixed together, so if you’re good, when you smell the fragrance, you might recognize a note or two, a flower or two, but as a whole it has a smell [that] you couldn’t find like that in nature. The first “synthetic perfume” very well known and early on the market was Chanel No. 5. Do you know why it’s called Chanel No. 5? [Chuckles] Gabrielle Chanel had, at the end of the process, little bottles, numbered to pick a winner from, and she said I’m just going to pick my lucky number, so she picked number five. The perfume was also launched on the fifth of May, which is the fifth month of the year, 1921, and that brought good luck indeed because to this day it’s, every year, on top of the bestseller list in every single store. What’s the difference between parfum, eau de toilette, etc.? If you smell Chanel No. 5 or fragrances from that time you’ll notice that they’re all extremely strong and not all women wanted to wear something that strong. So little by little, fragrance makers learnt and started to develop lighter versions. Now, you basically have three main levels. Parfum is the highest concentration. That one does not leave you, ever. You can’t get rid of it, anymore. The intermediary concentration- a bit more diluted- is called eau de parfum and the lightest one is called eau de toilette. That one will disappear eventually, after six hours depending on the acidity level of your skin, but it will eventually disappear so you’ll need to reapply. Eau de toilette is the most commonly worn today because people say the smell of your fragrance should not overpower the smell of your food otherwise, you cannot enjoy your food anymore. We’ve got our priorities quite right in my country. [Chuckles] Also, since the 20th century, people have running water in their houses and can clean themselves regularly. We don’t need perfume to hide our own body smell anymore. Sounds gross, but hey- there was no daily bath in Versailles. You know what I mean? How to apply perfume? In France, there are two clubs, two schools of thought: The first one says you apply perfume delicately onto your strategic body points. The first one is the inside of the wrist, not too close to the hands, because you’re going to wash them, so you want the perfume to stay a bit longer. Then, behind the ears, here, or here on the neck, underneath the jawline. That’s for when you kiss people [Smooching] French way, so they can smell you. Then, the inside of the elbow if you want to smell stronger, and, not to forget, behind the knees. That’s for when you walk past people who are seated, in summer, so they can smell you, too. Everything is completely thought through. Important to remember is that you should never rub perfume. It is already on the points that are hotter than the rest of your body because the skin is thinner on those areas, so it’s heating up the perfume anyway and it’s going to go into the room thanks to that. If you rub on top, you’re overheating the perfume. It’s breaking the molecules and it’s going to change for worse, the smell of the perfume later, so you want to avoid that. The second school of thought says- very easy- perfume should not be touched at all. So you spray a cloud into the room in front of you, [Spritzing] And then you walk through the cloud to catch the molecules, if that makes sense. [Laughter] It’s not rocket science, but everybody will tell you the same thing. The good thing about that is that then your hair smells, too and when your hair is moving, when it’s windy, wherever you’re going today, then it’s really nice to smell for people who follow you. But if you use this method, you will need to reapply a bit more often during the day because it’s going to vanish away faster. For that purpose, many brands now offer a solid version of the liquid perfume that you have at home so you can carry it around in your purse and use it anytime during the day. That’s one by Fragonard: one of the most famous houses in Glasse. I bought it there. It’s orange blossom, in beeswax, so it’s actually more traditional fragrance. It does smell like nature. I don’t wear this one. I put it in the box with all my pens and tools, so every morning when I open the box, it smells like the South of France. It’s fabulous. [Laughter] Which type of perfume would french women actually wear? I would say, definitely, it evolves throughout a lifetime. Every Frenchy I know would probably agree with that statement. Young women go for sweet things: brands like Mugler. Angel is a typical teenager or young women fragrance. Cacharel: That’s a brand I used to wear. When I smell it now on somebody else, I think oof– –way too sweet! My God! Ha! I can’t stand it anymore. And then, growing up, women turn away from light… sweet, light, flowery fragrances and turn towards more intense scents, like sandalwood or like tuberose; deeper types of jasmine flowers, etc.. If you walk through a perfume store in France, you will hear women trying things on and saying I’m too young for that one. Fragrances for different age targets smell very different indeed in French houses. Usually french women own more than one perfume so they can actually pick from a whole range based on the occasion, the day, the mood. My basic one is Chloe Eau de Toilette: That’s a classic. It’s a top seller so I also know that I’ll be able to refill when that bottle is over. It’s my third or fourth one already. It’s good for any setting, kind of. It’s not too heavy. It’s not flowery, because I don’t like it. It’s somewhere in between and it works pretty much all the time. When I need a confidence kick, I use Chanel No. 5 Eau de Toilette. That’s something I would match with my men’s shoes and on those days, I can swear, people take me more seriously. Really! Perfume is a weapon and French women know that very well. But, here, I also have to say it took me years before I felt ready and grown-up enough to actually be allowed to wear Chanel No. 5, even though I stick to the eau de toilette, because it’s such a symbol. Those fragrances from big houses come with such an image behind them that they’re not easy to support, I have to say. Then, I have a couple more playful ones that I would not use up the whole bottle of, so I usually get those in mini sizes.
Saint Laurent is typically one that does great sets of five or six little fragrances so you can switch up based on the mood. All of them are quite heavy, but I’d wear that to go out, for instance. How is perfume integrated into the beauty routine? Your perfume is you: it stands for you, and usually you spend a lot of time finding the one. So, all the rest of your beauty products have to work around it and adapt. So French women would typically not wear coconut-flavored body cream or watermelon lip gloss or something, because imagine when you add perfume on top of that, strong perfume… horrible! That’s why French cosmetics usually have very decent, discreet scents: it’s to not compete with your perfume. Another thing: You wouldn’t wear perfume every day of the week because the nose gets used to it, and after some time you can’t notice it anymore and you feel like you have to increase the spray to still be able to smell it. At the price of the bottle, you want to notice when you’re wearing it, and you want to enjoy it, so you typically hear women saying oh, not today or this week, I’m on a perfume break. I’m not wearing any. When French women wear their perfumes, they fully appreciate it as the luxury that it is. Now you know the whole philosophy behind French women wearing perfume. Finding the right one is a bit like finding your style in fashion: It’s fun, but takes a while. [Laughter] Now I’m curious. Do you wear perfume? What’s yours? What’s the history behind? Why? See you on Wednesday and Sunday, every week. Here’s some perfume for the wait. Bye, bye.