The more complex perfume ingredients, the more complex the scent - it is a philosophy with a history as long lasting as perfume itself. Perfumes today, while much more chemically complex than perfumes of centuries ago, still follow the same basic formulas. The foundation of most perfumes is a simple mixture of essential oils, alcohol and water.
Essential oils are what give a perfume its fragrance. A perfume's scent gets stronger as more essential oil is added - the greater the variety of oils, the more complex a scent becomes. Essential oils are scented oils like jasmine, musk or rose. These oils carry the scent of the flower or plant from which the oil has been extracted. The oil is very strong and potent unless you dilute it; the way the oils are combined denotes the scent of a perfume.
Alcohol is used as a fixative perfume ingredient. Alcohol is used to help the perfume evaporate from your skin after application. While the alcohol dries the skin, it does not remove the scent from the body. There is also a fixative in perfumes. A fixative is an ingredient that reduces evaporation rate and improves the stability of a substance. In this case, fixatives preserve the scent of the perfume, allowing the perfume to last longer both in the bottle and on your skin.
Aroma compounds help create the overall scent of the perfume. These compounds are made up of many ingredients, including some secret components that perfume companies have long refused to disclose. Aroma compounds can be found it just about everything, from perfume to food - they are even featured in wine.
In the past, perfumes were all made with oils other natural ingredients. This practice gave perfume a very natural smell and made perfumes easy to make. Nowadays, perfumes for women are typically synthetically made from chemicals that reproduce the smell of a flower instead of using the flower itself. This method of production is used to accommodate mass production and make production more cost effective.
Many people stick with one signature scent all year long. Finding the appropriate summertime fragrance, however, will give you a chance to make the right sunshiney sensory statement.