Fragrance 101: The Difference Between Longevity and Sillage

Tuesday July 6, 2021

Fragrance 101: The Difference Between Longevity and Sillage

In the world of fragrance,  there are many terms that may cause some confusion. With the vast variety of notes and types of perfumes, there is always something to learn. While most consumers just want to explore and purchase the best fit for their personal taste, it is not rare to find websites that refer to a scebt by a category. This may be for what notes it is comprised of or which family it belongs to. Or sometimes, what it performs like. And especially with niche scents, the houses often use sophistaticated terminolgy that could stand to get broken down into easy to comprehend dialogue.

A couple of terms you should know when discovery your perfect scent is sillage and longevity. Perfumers love to show off the many unique facets of scent and display the best of what they offer. Even though fragrance is magical and seems to have superpowers that create mood and attitude, they are as different as the many houses that manufacture them. Thus, there is no one size for all. And there are varying results in any scent for any person. It could be possible that you will not smell like your friend even if you wear the same scent. Some of what creates that uniquely individual experience is in the sillage and longevity categories. 

What is longevity? Longevity is how long the scent remains on the skin after spraying. The way it carries on your person. This could be affected by your body chemistry and how well you or others perceive fragrances. Or even what quality resins and oils your fragrance is compromised of. The individual notes and scent family also has a varying element to how a fragrance stays on the skin over time. Some will develop faster from top note to mid notes and then to the final base note that will grab onto your skin and hold the longest. Others may dissipate or disappear quickly.  The ones that fade away or don't seem to last may in fact become a skin scent. That is only detectable to you. Those quiet notes may not get a full blast but could hold to your skin without major development. Some people may not have very well- developed olfactory systems that pick up on subtle changes and may think the fragrance is long gone, when they may just not smell certain notes at all. Many people may go what is called "nose blind". But lo and behold, the scent is not gone, just to that person. Those perfumes or colognes with a higher concentration of pure oils and resins and less water will hold best and not fade like certain body sprays that may need constant reapplying. 

What is sillage? Sillage is the way the scent follows or trails you in the air. The waft of scent that is left behind after you leave the room, or absence of one. Some fragrances aren't meant to have a strong sillage and may depend on the characteristics of notes and formulations. Others are based on your skin and body chemistry. How you carry the notes and the presence of certain notes with a mode of body heat may work in creating a bigger scent trail. This is completely a grab bag that will vary with the individual. In general, an eau de parfum versus an eau de toilette is a better way to potentially get stronger sillage from your scent. The manufacturing process will eliminate the amount of water and increase those quality notes, oils, and resins that allow for more concentrated wear. That goes a long way in not getting "watered down" fragrance. There are even perfumes made with the perfume extracts, a L' eau de extrait that is even more potent than an EDP (expect a higher price tag).  Also, the alcohol that is usually in any scent at the initial spritz may carry longer and further on certain body chemistry and boost the scent. Keep in mind choosing an eau de parfum over eau toilette also depends on climate factors. On a hot summer day, one may prefer an eau de toilette. 

Sillage is definitely a quality that has to be examined for the occasion and the place the scent is to be worn. Sometimes a quieter scent is much appreciated in an office or hospital environment or other places where you may be gathering in a more crowded than usual fashion or around people who cannot tolerate a stronger scent. The non-offensive and perhaps weaker sillage scent is often the choice for others around who may suffer from scent sensitivity. Know your fragrance and how it behaves to select the right one for the right moment We hope this has helped answer some questions about fragrance sillage and longevity for you! Share and continue to enjoy the surprise and wonder of fragrances with LUXSB!

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