The ability of a fabric to take in moisture. Especially important in clothing used for sports. The more absorbency, the more skin comfort.

An ingredient in skin care products for oily skin that helps to remove sebum oil from the skin's surface.
Absolute: Highly concentrated, refined perfume material, usually liquid which has undergone at least two extraction processes.

Accord: The basic character or theme of a fragrance. Perfume accords are a balanced blend of three or four notes which lose their individual identity to create a completely new, unified odor unpression. A marriage of fragrances that yields a new scent.

Alcohol: Denatured ethyl alcohol is added to a fragrance compound to serve as the carrier. It modifies the fragrance intensity, makes application to the skin easier. Extract or perfume - 96 alcohol to a concentration of 15 to 30% perfume oil. Eau de toilette - 80 or 90 alcohol to a concentration of 5 to 15% of perfume oil. Eau de cologne - 50 to 75% alcohol to a concentration of 2 to 7% perfume oil. 
When used on the skin, alcohol can be a cooling and soothing skin treatment that helps to remove dirt and oil.

Aldehydes: Organic chemicals which can be derived from natural material or man made from ethyl alcohol by hydrogen loss. They represent a major series of perfume ingredients and are used in extreme dilution in the preparation of perfumes. Aldehydes are used in the perfume industry for their particularly vivid top notes.
Alcohol-related chemicals that compose a fragrance and strengthen the power of a perfume.

AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid)
AHAs are fruit acids that work as exfoliators. They are commonly found in a new breed of exfoliators that include gels, lotions and even facial masks. Three types include glycolic (sugar cane), citric (fruits) and lactic (milk) acids.

Having a pH higher than 7 on a scale of 1 to 14.

Amber describes two different things: 1) a warm powdery fragrance associated with oriental-style perfumes; 2) the smell of labdanum, a resin acquired from the leaves of the rockrose plant.

A fragrance akin to licorice and fennel derived from the anise herb and used as a top note in perfumes.

The fragrance of apple was often found in early Arabian perfumes, and is concentrated by distilling apple juice or through chemical synthesis.

The attachment of cut-out fabric patterns to the surface of another fabric forming pictures or patterns. Appliqués are often added to sweaters, dresses and other garments.

The smell of apricot cannot be extracted from the fruit itself, instead it is reproduced chemically for fruity notes in modern perfumes.

Aromatherapy (fragrance)
The use of essential oils from plants to enhance certain moods or personal well-being.

Aromatherapy (cosmetics)
Aromatherapy refers to products that contain essential oils or distilled plant and herb essences. The scents are deemed to have therapeutic properties.

In general, an aroma of spicy character, like rosemary or lavender. As an adjective, it means "fragrant."

Astringents & Clarifying Lotions
For normal to oily skin, an astringent helps to deep clean the skin by removing oil, surface skin cells and residue from soap and other products.

A pump that creates a fine spray of perfume.

The clove-like, floral fragrance of azalea flowers is uncommon and cannot be extracted. Their scent is chemically reproduced for use in perfume.

Amber: Obtained from fir trees and when processed gives a heavy, full bodied, powdery, warm fragrance tone.

Animal: Refers to the warm, sensual and heady base notes once associated with the natural odor of musk, ambergris, civet, and castoreum, now produced by some vegetable materials and aroma chemicals.

Anosmia: The medical term describing the loss of the sense of smell. It may be caused by a cold, head-injury, nasal disorders, allergies, a virus or perhaps other maladies. People who have lost their sense of smell also lose the ability to detect many pleasurable aspects of food. Tests reveal that a loss in sexuality may accompany anosmia. If one's sense of smell has always been dormant, it would be impossible to realize how important the sense of smell is to one's enjoyment. But, if anosmia occurs later, the absence of the sense of smell can have a most detrimental effect on how we function in all of life's situations.

Apocrines: A type of sweat gland which contributes to the sexual and body scent in humans and which influences the odor characteristics of one's fragrance.

Aroma: A term used to describe a sensation which is between smell and taste, such as the aroma of coffee.

Aroma Chemicals: Any natural isolates or synthetics which have an aroma. The natural isolates are removed either mechanically (distillation) or chemically (hydrolysis) from a natural essential oil or product and can be further modified to produce other aroma chemicals. Synthetic aroma chemicals duplicate clinical structures found in nature.

Aroma-Chology: A new science, developed by the Olfactory Research Fund, dedicated to the study of the interrelationship between psychology and the latest in fragrance technology to elicit a variety of specific feelings and emotions...relaxation, exhilaration, sensuality, happiness and well-being.

Aromatherapy: The therapeutic use of pure essential oils and herbs in body massage, the result of which is described by proponents as "healing, beautifying and soothing" the body and mind, has its roots in the folk medicine practiced in primitive cultures. The history of aromatherapy stretches as far back as 6,000 years ago in ancient Egypt. It wasn't until the 1920's, however, when the term was actually coined by a French chemist, R.M. Gattefosse.

Attar (Otto): From the ancient Persian word "to smell sweet." Attar or otto refers to essential oil obtained by distillation and, in particular, that of the Bulgarian rose, an extremely precious perfumery material.

Axon: The part of a nerve cell that conducts impulses away from the body of the cell. 

Balsams: Sticky, resinous materials obtained from trees or shrubs which give a combined sweet-woody odor associated with well-seasoned. non-coniferous woods such as maple.

Bitter: Describes a perfume odor which has a metallic green quality, without sweetness.

Blend: Harmonious mixture of perfumery ingredients.

Body: The main fragrance theme -- the middle or "heart" of a perfume. Also used to describe a fragrance that is well-rounded or full.

Bony Turbinates: The thin, scroll-like, bony plates extending from the walls of the nasal chambers.

Chypre: A fragrance family or type -- a complex of moss mixed with woods, flowers or fruit odors.

Cilia: Short, hairlike cytoplasmic processes projecting from the free surface of certain cells. They are constantly in a state of motion.

Citrus: Odors from citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, lime, mandarin and bergamot which give fresh, fruity top notes used especially in eau fraiche, classical and men's colognes.

Classic: A classic fragrance can be considered in the same vein as classic literature or architecture. A fragrance that has been widely accepted by generation after generation and is in use for a minimum of 15 years.

Cloying: An odor that is excessively sticky sweet.

Cologne (Women's): A light form of fragrance with a low concentration of perfume oils mixed with diluted alcohol.

Cologne (Men's): More concentrated than women's colognes, similar to the concentration of toilet ureter and in some instances perfume.

Cologne (Classical): A term reserved for those fragrances which are basically citrus blends and do not have a perfume parent.

Compound: A compound is a completed perfume formulation ready to be used in a product such as perfume, toilet water, etc. The term "composition" and compound are interchangeable.

Concrete: Solid waxy substance representing the closest odor duplication of the flower, bark, leaves, etc., from which it has been extracted. Concretes can be further concentrated to produce absolutes.

Coniferous: Cone-baring trees and shrubs.

Cortex: The outer layer of gray matter of the brain.

Depth: Refers to a fragrance odor of low volatility with a dimension that is rich and full bodied.

Diffusion: The ability of a fragrance to quickly radiate around the wearer and subtly permeate the environment.

Dry: A sensation produced by certain perfume ingredients which give a woody, masculine effect.

Dry Down: The final phase of a fragrance -- the character which appears several hours after application. Perfumers evaluate the base notes and the tenacity of the fragrance during this stage.

Dysosmia: A distortion or perversion of the sense of smell. It may occur with hyposmia (a relative loss of the sense of smell) or it may occur alone.

Earthy: The provocative odor of freshly turned earth, musty and rooty.

Essences: Products which endeavor to capture or emphasize the highly volatile top notes of natural products.

Essential: Volatile oil obtained by various processes from flowers, oil leaves, roots, barks, stems, fruits, seeds and woods.

Essential Oils: The "essence" of plants or the fragrant, volatile extracts obtained from flowers, grass, stems, seeds, leaves, roots, bark, fruits, tree moss and tree secretions. They are obtained by various means including distillation, expression and extraction.

Evanescent: Fleeting or quickly vanishing fragrance.

Evaporation: The process of changing from a liquid to a vapor.

Extracts: Concentrated perfume or flower products obtained through the process of extraction using volatile solvents.

Factice: Regular or oversize perfume or toiletry bottles filled with a tinted liquid for display purposes only.

Fatigue: Odor fatigue results from overlong exposure to an odor. The nose can no longer discern that particular smell.

Fixative: The property of a fragrance which prolongs the continuity and life of the odor.

Flacon: A word to describe beautifully designed perfume bottles sometimes especially designed for portability.

Flat: Lacking in lift, diffusion and distinction.

Floral: Fragrance family or type; either characteristic of a specific flower or a blend of several flower notes.

Flowery: Possessing a fragrance resembling a flower. Term often used to describe certain aromatic chemicals such as heliotropin, hedione, rhodinol and artistic aldehyde.

Forest Blends: Aromatic, woodsy - mossy notes.

Fougere: The french word for "fern." Fougere fragrances depend on aromatic chemicals to produce the fern-like notes which combine well with lavender, citrus and coumarin in fragrances for men.

Fresh: An invigorating, outdoor or nature- inspired type fragrance with green, citrus notes.

Fruity: The impression of full, ripe, edible fruit odors (excluding citrus) within the fragrance theme.

Full-Bodied: Well-rounded fragrance possessing depth and richness.

Fungal: Odors suggestive of molds, mushrooms and fungi. Important notes in muguet fragrances as well as other florals.

Green: Fragrance family or type whose odor is reminiscent of fresh-cut grass, leaves or a warm, moist forest. Green notes add lift and vigor to a fragrance composition.

Gums. Resins, Balsams: The resinous exudates of the bark, twigs or leaves of trees or shrubs.

Harmonious: Order, accord and unity in fragrance.

Harsh: A crude, unbalanced, rough pungent odor.

Hay: A sweet clover odor.

Heady: Exhilarating, sparkling, stimulating.

Heart: The core of a perfume composition which gives it its character.

Heavy: An odor which can be forceful, intense, often sweet and balsamic.

Herbaceous: A fragrance note that is grassy-green, spicy and somewhat therapeutic, e.g. thyme, hyssop, chamomile.

Honey: A very sweet, heavy, syrupy, fragrance note; is tenacious.

Hyposmia: The most common type of smell loss experienced by humans, it may occur following an influenza-like illness, a blow to the head, nasal allergies or from unknown causes. Hyposmia has been classified into two major types: Type I Hyposmia represents an impairment of smell at the olfactory epithelia area. Vapors cannot be recognized but can still be detected; Type II Hyposmia represents a quantitative impairment of smell. Vapors can be detected and recognized but at higher than normal concentrations.

Hypothalamus: The portion of the brain that coordinates responses of the autonomic nervous system, e.g. body temperature control; food and fluid intake; hormonal shifts at puberty, and during and after pregnancy; sexual behavior.

Incense: The burning of fragrant gums or resins in a solid or powder form. It gives off a lingering, scented smoke and is the original form in which fragrance was used.

Infusion or Tincture: A solution obtained by prolonged contact with alcohol. When hot alcohols are used it is called infusion. When alcohols are at room temperature or warm the method is called a tincture.

Ionones: One of the most valued synthesized products used by the perfumer. Essential to violet perfumes. Used in small amounts in floral, woody and herbaceous perfumes.

Lastingness: The ability of a fragrance to retain its character over a given period of time.

Leafy: One of the many variations of the green note.

Leather: Fragrance type and odor resembling the sweet, pungent smokiness characteristic of the ingredients used in the tanning process of leathers.

Lift: To add life to a fragrance blend is to give it lift and some brilliancy; lift can also refer to diffusiveness of a given blend. A perfume having lift has a brilliant top note with wide diffusiveness.

Light: A generally non-sweet, non-cloying fragrance where the fresh note is predominant. Often formulated as an eau fraiche or a deodorant cologne for all over body wear in warm climates or for sports.

Limbic System: The portion of the brain that controls our moods and emotions and contains the apparatus for the formation, storage and retrieval of memories.

Mellow: A fragrance that gives a balanced, smooth and rich impression.

Micro-Encapsulation: A method of incorporating thin-walled, microscopic capsules containing fragrance oils into a solid substance (fragrance advertising inserts, capsules, blotters, paper, etc).

Middle Notes: The middle or "heart" notes make up a main blend of a fragrance that classifies the fragrance family or accord. It usually takes from ten to twenty minutes for the middle notes to fully develop on the skin.

Modern: In perfumery the modern era began at the beginning of the 20th century when synthetic aroma chemicals such as aldehydes, were first used. A modern fragrance is a harmonious conception of the perfumer based on new notes or harmonies often unknown in nature.

Mossy: The odor suggestive of the aromatic lichens, and mosses, primarily oak moss and tree moss; reminiscent of forest depths.

Note: Borrowed from the language of music to indicate an olfactory impression of a single smell, or to indicate the three parts of a perfume - top note, middle note, base note.

Odor or Odour: Airborne chemicals emanating from water, objects, one's body, flowers or fragrance that stimulate the olfactory system. The characteristic smell of something

Odor Memory: The ability of a perfumer to hold, and bring to recall, hundreds of single perfume odors and odor blends.

Odoriferous: Emitting an odor.

Olfaction: Relating to the sense of smell.

Olfactory: Relating to, or concerned with, the sense of smell.

Olfactory Bulb: The first region of the brain to receive sensory inputs from the olfactory epithelium. The olfactory bulb presents the initial input and communicates via multiple pathways with numerous other regions of the brain, e.g. limbic system, hypothalamus and cortex.

Olfactory Epithelium: Layer of sensory cells in the upper-rear portion of the nose. Each side of the nose contains roughly 15 million sensory cells in the epithelium.

Organ (Perfume): Refers to a unit of semi-circular stepped shelving containing hundreds of bottles of raw materials. Arrangement is in a way to assist the perfumer in the creation of perfume compositions.

Oriental: Fragrance family or type devoting heavy, full bodied and tenacious perfumes.

Palette: The range of perfume ingredients from which a perfumer selects to use in the formulation of a perfume.

Perfume: Most highly concentrated form of fragrance, the strongest and the most lasting. Perfume may contain hundreds of ingredients within a single formulation.

Perfume Dip Sticks: Strips of odorless white blotting paper which the perfumer uses to evaluate a scent as it develops.

Pheromone: Chemical substance secreted by an animals (including perhaps humans) to produce a response by other members of the same species. Sexual attractants are the most widely studied and described.

Pomades: Combination of purified fats and flower oils produced by the enfleurage process.

Powdery: Sweet, dry, somewhat musky odor.

Profile: A perfume or perfumed product profile is a description of the fragrance prepared by a marketer which is given to a perfumer for inspiration and formulation. The profile should contain all pertinent details in relation to marketing the new fragrance plan, type, name, package, color/theme, mood, impression, cost parameters, etc.

Receptor Cell: Located in the olfactory epithelium, each cell has microscopic hairs (cilia) extending into the mucus. Odoriferous substances are thought to bind chemically to specific sites on these cilia. This chemical event is translated into an electrical message that is transmitted along the olfactory nerves to the olfactory bulb.

Resinoids: Are extracts of gums, balsams, resins or roots (orris) which consist in whole or in part of resinous materials. They are generally used as fixatives in perfume compositions.

Retronasal Olfaction: Stimulation of the olfactory receptor cells by chemicals that originate in our mouth (most often during eating) and travel to the olfactory epithelium via the nasopharynx during exhalation.

Rhizomes: Root-like stems with nodes which grow under or along the ground. Certain perfume raw materials come from rhizome, e.g., Orris absolute and ginger oil.

Rounding Out: Perfume ingredients, often from natural origin, added to fragrance compositions to enrich, modify or soften any harsh qualities.

Solvents: Volatile fluids used to extract essential oils from flowers and other natural perfume materials.

Specialties: Natural oils, natural isolates or synthetics, either alone or in combination, which are used as building blocks for fragrance compounds. They are less complex than a finished fragrance compound. They may be an end-product of special processing treatments or unique raw materials. They are usually supplied by a single company under a trade name.

Spicy: Piquant or pungent notes such as clove oil, cinnamon; characteristic of notes of carnation, ginger, lavender or the chemical spicy notes of eugenol or isoeugenol.

Stability: A reasonable length of time for a fragrance to remain stable before the product is affected by certain raw materials, heat, light and air.

Strength: The relative intensity of a fragrance impression.

Sweet: Can be used to describe a fragrance that has richness and ambrosial characteristics associated with sweet taste.

Synergism: The ability of certain perfumery ingredients to work together to produce an effect greater than the ingredients could achieve independently.

Synthetics: May be derived or isolated from natural products or manufactured in the laboratory. Some synthetics are superior to the natural in uniformity, stability and availability. Synthetics may be as costly as naturals.

Temporal Lobe: Lateral portions of the brain containing, among other regions, olfactory cortex and portions of the limbic system.

Tenacity: The ability of a perfume to last, or a fragrance note to retain its characteristic odor.

Thin: When a fragrance complex has not been given enough "floralcy" or warmth to soften the impact of the more aggressive and volatile components; lacking in body and depth.

Tonality: Dominant note or theme of a fragrance.

Top Note: The first impression of a fragrance when sniffed or applied to the skin; usually the most volatile ingredients in a perfume.

Undertones: The subtle characteristics of the fragrance background.

Velvety: A soft, smooth, mellow fragrance without harsh chemical notes.

Volatile: The property of being freely diffused in the atmosphere; easily vaporized at a low temperature.

Woody: An odor which is linked to the aroma of freshly cut, dry wood or fibrous root such as sandalwood or vetiver.