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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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Roxana Nasoi

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Last Updated on July 5, 2019

5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Yourself

5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Yourself

When it comes to being yourself, there can be a lot of pressure from the outside world as it tries to influence who you are. Living in a society that is constantly developing, it’s important for you to always be yourself from the inside out. When you deeply know yourself and the boundaries that you have set, you are more likely to experience a fulfilling and rewarding life. Without knowing yourself and establishing those boundaries, you can easily be pushed around and end up on a dirt path.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” – Matthew 7:13-14

You have the option of taking the path that is broad or taking the path that is narrow. You can either conform to what life wants you to be, or have the courage to remain true to yourself throughout the years. It’s definitely a challenge to have a strong sense of self when we are constantly getting distracted and being influenced by the media and society’s way of life. But if you want to reach your fullest potential in life, it all starts with being yourself.

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Why should you always be yourself?

Because you will:

  1. Live in alignment with your values and beliefs. Being yourself is all about knowing what you believe in and the values that you live by. When you are not yourself, you will take on the values and beliefs of others. This is when you start conforming to other people’s expectations and way of thinking. When you know your values and why you do what you do, you will live according to your own values and beliefs.
  2. Establish your own identity. When you are able to have a solid foundation of being you, you are establishing your own sense of identity. No matter what happens in your life, you will always know who you are. There will be times where you may feel lost or distracted, but if you have your own identity you’ll be able to get back on the right path. Without establishing your own identity, you may easily conform and lose yourself.
  3. Build courage. It takes a great amount of courage when you decide to take the path that goes against the crowd. The reason why the majority of people take the broad path is because it’s easy. It’s easy to just follow the crowd. It’s more of a challenge when you stay true to yourself and establish your own identity. This challenge of always being yourself takes courage and inner strength. No matter what comes your way, you’ll know how to handle it.
  4. Establish boundaries. When you are always yourself, you know what your limits are and the boundaries that you have set for yourself. When people cross your boundaries, you will know. But if you don’t establish boundaries, people may very well walk all over you and take advantage of you. If you are always yourself and you establish boundaries, you are more likely to be aware when people start taking advantage of you. Create and establish your boundaries.
  5. Find focus and direction. When you are always yourself, you are more likely to have focus and direction in your life. Imagine someone who is constantly conforming to other people’s expectations. Do you think this person has focus and direction? I don’t think so. When you stay true to who you are, you are more likely to know the goals you want to accomplish and how to go about accomplishing them. You are able to stay focused and know which direction to take in order for you to accomplish your goals.

No matter what you experience in life, the only person that will always remain constant is you.

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Featured photo credit: María Victoria Heredia Reyes via unsplash.com

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