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The Inspiring Journey of Perfume Throughout History

The Inspiring Journey of Perfume Throughout History

People use perfume every day. Statistics for the perfume industry show that annual global perfume sales revenue reached US$27.5 billion in 2012. In the US alone, the annual industry revenue reached US$5.2 billion. More details about the American perfume industry can be seen in the following table:

Annual global perfume industry sales revenue $27.5 billion
Annual US perfume industry sales revenue $5.2 billion
Percent of American women who don’t use perfume 17 %
Number of perfume brands carried by US department stores in 2002 756
Number of perfume brands carried by US department stores in 2010 1,160
Percent of fragrance market held by Coty Inc 13 %
Percent of designer perfume brands priced at over $75 46 %
Percent of celebrity perfume brands priced at over $75 1 %

 

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source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/perfume-industry-statistics/

So, if only 17% of American women don’t use perfume, then a staggering 83% do. And yet, how many of us know the history of perfume? One thing’s for sure, it’s been used for so long that it’s hard to pinpoint the time when the first perfume was made because fragrances were used long before the beginning of written history.

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The first perfumes

It’s believed that the first perfumes were used in the Bronze Age, or possibly even the Iron Age, somewhere in East Asia. Of course, we shouldn’t start picturing people from that time using perfume before going out hunting. So, what did it actually mean back then? Exactly what it should, considering that the word perfume comes from the Latin per fumus, meaning “through smoke.” People used to burn scented herbs and flowers in order to create an odor that would please the gods during their rituals.

Enfleurage

The capacity of the same herbs and flowers to alter and improve the smell of our skin was later discovered by the Egyptians around 1000 BC, or at least that was when the first bottles of perfume were made. Perfume oils were extracted through enfleurage, a method in which flower petals are placed on glass, over a thin layer of fat. This method is hardly ever used nowadays because of the high cost and duration of the process, but back then it was the only way people could extract aromatic oils from plants. An interesting fact is that glass had only just been discovered in those times, and it was often considered more precious than jewels. Perfumery was one of the few fields it was worth using glass for.

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Distillation

From around 1000 BC, perfumes started being used throughout the world in various religions, and priests from every culture acquired perfumes for their rituals and celebrations. Meanwhile, perfumes became quite a common thing among the richest people in the great empires, such as those of the Romans and the Egyptians. Arabs then advanced the process of making perfumes one step further through distillation, a method that is widely used nowadays.

Obtaining a more delicate scent had a great impact, and people started using perfumes not only on special occasions, but also in their everyday lives. Soon a large variety of perfumes had been developed, catering to different personal tastes. A few rich people even had their own perfumeries, like Catherina de Medici, who linked the laboratory and her home through a secret passage, so that no one could steal the recipes.

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These are only the highlights of the journey from the simple odor of burning herbs to the perfume samples waiting to be tested in stores all over the world, then to be brought home to complete our fragrance collections. To truly appreciate something we can’t imagine living without, we need to know its journey through history. Perfume’s history is far from being over and each and every one of us can help write it bit by bit.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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