The appeal of perfume is momentary and empowering. It creates a sparkling, invisible armour that lingers in a room long after its wearer has gone and permeates our imagination with a subtle power.
Scented oils, perfumes and other fragrances had been used by people since early civilization. Today, fragrances can be found all around, from scented candles to favourite bath and body products.
Perfumes are usually promoted by celebrities, have provocative names, and come in attractive bottles. Fragrances have time travelling propensities, evoking a nostalgic feeling – either some past pleasant memories or prompting a future vision of the wearer.
Women wear perfumes for different reasons. Human sweat is generally not pleasing to the nose. So, many wear perfumes to mask body odour; others fragrance themselves with a supreme-quality perfume to send message of affluence or gain compliments from their loved ones.
Veronica Emmanuel said she is not a huge fragrance person but wears body spray just to mask body odour.
“I don’t like perfumes, though I use it on some occasions because I find it difficult to breath. But if I have my way, I won’t use any. Strong perfume affects my respiratory system. I don’t know if it is a medical condition, psychological or mental,” she said.
For Adeola Bello, aside the fragrance, the second perfume factor that triggers her buying impulse is packaging. “The whole package is important; the bottle, its creative design, and the celebrity associated with that particular perfume,” she explained.
Hajia Madina Yahaya, an Abuja-based boutique operator, said she feels incomplete without wearing fragrances as perfume is part of her daily beauty routine.
“I don’t just feel complete without it,” she said. “I wear perfumes to complete my daily beauty routine; without it I can’t step out. This is because I won’t feel comfortable, especially when I sweat and in the midst of people.”
Some scents may be annoying to certain people but Mrs Shuaibu said that didn’t influence her choice of perfume.
“I don’t consider people when choosing fragrance though I don’t wear perfume with strong bouquet. I just consider whatever is nice for me and what I’m comfortable with and be able to stand in the midst of people,” she added.
“I wear perfume because I want to smell nice and clean,” said Mrs Bisi Akinyemi, a cosmetologist.
She said “name and packaging” are not a major factor in choosing fragrance, but wear perfume that lasts on the body all day.
“I could go for any other designer brand as long as it has a good bouquet and can last all day; not the one that begins to wear off when you sweat,” she added.
Without perfume, Mrs Akinyemi said she feels so plain and incomplete. “Perfume is part of me. I wear it the same way I must wear my cloth before stepping out.”
“It is not about the price; it should just smell good. Some people are rich but choose to look simple and without perfume. It depends on your individuality. For me, without perfume, I’m incomplete,” she said.
Comments of admiration from friends and loved ones, she said, also encourage her to adorn herself with fragrance. “No one has ever complained about the perfume I wear. I always get good compliments from people. That also encourages me to wear my perfume,” Akinyemi added.
Cynthia Okeke, a hairdresser, said “In some cases, the biggest reason we wear fragrances is to mask body odour. For me, I wear perfume because I sweat a lot and when that happens, and if you find yourself in an uncomfortable place, the sweat starts giving you the odour which you may not like. Perfumes help to cover that kind of smell. That’s the main reason I wear perfume.
“However, I have hatred for fragrance that is too strong. Some scents can be too strong and you feel it’s choking you. If people are uncomfortable with the fragrance, I will be forced to change the perfume.
“It is better you get compliment from people when you wear a perfume. For me, I will excuse someone who wears a fragrance that I’m not comfortable with.”
She added that perfume price didn’t influence her buying impulse. “It is not about the price but the smell. I don’t care about the price, I just go for what I like either expensive or not.”