More perfume stuff: Roja Dove talks to TWR


SO, back to perfume. Roja Dove (this is actually pronounced Roger….since this is what MAD is called he’s thinking of changing his spelling) is an encyclopedia of information on perfume, there’s not much he doesn’t know about smell. he took time to chat with TWR at the Perfume Diaries exhibition at Harrods and answered a couple of questions on what happens to perfume on older skin.

TWR does age (ours, not the perfume’s) effect the way scent performs?

RD Absolutely. After the menopause, women’s skin tends to produce less natural oil, so the skin is drier. Perfume oils need natural skin oils to stick to it (he describes it as being a bit like velcro, one bit needs the other bit to perform properly) in order for the perfume to stay around, if there is less oil, it can’t grip as well to the skin and the perfume evolves differently. It moves through its phases of top notes, middle and then base notes much faster, which is why older women often notice their usual perfume now smells a bit different on them. Instead of taking maybe 10 hours to get to the base notes, now it might only take two, the scent’s life has speed-ed up.

TWR Oh no! Can we do anything to improve this?

RD It’s essential that you use an acid balanced PH shower/bath gel, which wont strip the skin of those oils (RD says many do), one close to 5.5 is fine. And then you need to change the way in which to apply moisturiser to your skin…..

TWR We do?

RD Remember perfume is alcoholic in its base, you wouldn’t put your facial moisturiser on before your skin toner (also alcohol) because the toner would strip it off, well the same goes for perfume, apply it to clean skin and then put your body lotion on top. That way your natural skin oil blends with the perfume oil, allowing the moisturiser to carry on the good work.

So now you know….

Roja also recommended buying a bland natural moisturiser base and adding a few drops of your own perfume to create a body lotion that adds another layer of your perfume to the skin. TWR commented that she used a body lotion with another smell, “That way you’ll probably create something HIDEOUS!” he exclaimed, with a dismissive flick of the hand.

The brand Roja recommends is Neals Yard, which does a good range of Baseline products, mild natural basis which you can add scent and other stuff to, they also do a good PH balanced shower gel too. TWR has ordered hers and will report back on the bathroom alchemy as it happens.

Roja Dove groupies (me) or anyone just wanting to find out more about perfume should read his book, The Essence of Perfume, that formed the skeleton of the Harrods Perfume Diaries exhibition.


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