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A guide to fragrances for her

Illustration of a perfume bottle
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Fragrance is a fun way to express who you are and enjoy your favourite scents. But with so many to choose from, how do you pick one to suit your individual personality?

From woody to oriental, floral to fruity, there’s many different types of bouquet that each have their own unique aroma. In this guide we share everything you need to know about the various fragrance families, the differences between perfume notes and how to decide on your perfect scent.

Shop our fragrance collection to discover your next perfume.

What types of scents are there?

There are four main fragrance families; floral, oriental, fresh and woody. Each has their own subfamily of scents and distinct notes.

Oriental scents are the most intense, with spiced, aromatic notes that create a warming fragrance. Floral scents on the other hand are much lighter, often worn in spring and summer. Fresh notes are more aquatic, fruity and green whereas woody fragrances are deeper and often create the base for male perfumes.

Take a look at our chart below to discover each type's subfamilies and common scents.

Fragrance wheel infographic

Floral fragrances

Floral scents are the most popular style of feminine fragrance, perfect for wearing in spring and summer as flowers bloom. They are typically sweet and light, however more intense floral fragrances can also be found using richer petals.

  • Floral subfamilies: fruity, floral, floral oriental
  • Common floral family notes: rose, jasmine and orange blossom

Best sellers - Floral fragrances for her

  • Paco Rabanne Olympea Blossom - Cover yourself head to toe in flowers with this heavenly scent, powered by rose petals, sparkling blackcurrant and frosted pear. Olympea Blossom is the epitome of freedom and sensuality.
  • Giorgio Armani My Way Intense - Begin a journey of self-discovery and meaningful experiences with Giorgio Armani’s My Way Intense. Bright notes begin the encounter with Egyptian orange blossom before unveiling layers of tuberose, vanilla and sandalwood.
  • Marc Jacobs Daisy - An irresistible scent that encapsulates what it is to be young and free. Wild berries, velvety jasmine and dreamy sandalwood combine in a whimsical daisy flower bottle that embodies vintage charm.

Oriental fragrances

Oriental fragrances are much warmer, combining comforting notes that are reminiscent of autumn and winter spices. They are a luxurious scent, often combining multiple complex layers for an interesting fragrance.

  • Oriental subfamilies: soft oriental, oriental and woody oriental
  • Common oriental family notes: cinnamon, amber and sandalwood

Best sellers - Oriental fragrances for her

  • Yves St Lauren Opium - This timeless scent evokes spice and sensuality in an iconic, stylish bottle. Warming notes of mandarin, bergamot and aldehyde meet a heart of carnation and patchouli to intoxicate the senses.
  • Jean Paul Gaultier La Belle - Sparkling pear and fresh, fruity bergamot open this oriental fragrance before revealing a layer of creamy, sweet vanilla pod. Bottled in the renowned feminine torso bottle with gold floral decor.
  • Agent Provocateur Signature - Delight and entice with Agent Provocateur's Signature scent, an unforgettable contrast of white flowers and rose with deep amber and musk.

Woody fragrances

Woody fragrances are also warm, combining strong natural notes of the forest to create deep, long-lasting perfumes. They can be smoky or sweet, using wood-based scents that are popular for evenings and the colder seasons.

  • Woody subfamilies: dry woods, mossy woods and woods
  • Common woody family notes: amber, leather and oakmoss

Best sellers - Woody fragrances for her

  • Hugo Boss Deep Red - Revel in the night with Hugo Boss Deep Red, an expressive fragrance that oozes passion and sensuality. Middle notes of ginger flower and freesia blend into a woody finish that lingers all night long.
  • Calvin Klein Escape Woman - Unleash your sense of adventure with the iconic Calvin Klein Escape. Fruity, exotic spices combine in this intriguing scent of jasmine, lily of the valley, musk and rosewood.
  • Ralph Lauren Woman - This long-lasting fragrance is designed for women with confidence. A romantic layer opens with sweet pear and tart rhubarb before transitioning to rich woody notes and aromatic hazelnut.

Fresh fragrances

Fresh notes create the most light and refreshing fragrances, inspired by water, fruits and greenery. They are typically zesty and uplifting, often using herbs, citrus fruits and the sea as a key middle note.

  • Fresh subfamilies: aromatic, citrus, water and green
  • Common fresh family notes: lemon, grapefruit and lavender

Best sellers - Fresh fragrances for her

  • Davidoff Cool Water Woman - Cool in the exhilarating scent of Davidoff Cool Water for women. This ultimate fresh fragrance is a splash of melon, water lily and sandalwood.
  • Calvin Klein CK One Summer - Invite the warmth of the summer sun with CK One Summer. Fruity, fresh ingredients infuse to create a juicy fragrance of watermelon, rhubarb and grapefruit.
  • Jasper Conran Aegean Woman - Inspired by the sensation of the Aegean Sea, this intoxicating scent is a cocktail of fresh ingredients. Salty lemon and joyful orange enrich a deep lasting layer of tonka bean and amber.

What are perfume notes?

A fragrance is made up of many different scents, each of which are categorised into top, heart and base notes. These layers appear and disappear at different points whilst the perfume is worn.

Fragrance pyramid infographic

Top notes

Also known as the opening notes, these scents are the ones you immediately identify after spraying a fragrance, creating the first impression. They are often lighter scents such as lemon and rose, and only last for approximately 15 minutes before smoothly transitioning into the heart of the fragrance.

Heart notes

The heart, or middle, notes are often similar to the fragrance’s top layer but combine to create a deeper bouquet. They create the majority of the fragrance’s profile and include scents such as jasmine, cardamon and ylang-ylang.

Base notes

Once the heart notes have begun to fade, the base notes form the fragrance’s more permanent scent. These are the most full-bodied and long-lasting notes that sink into your skin to last for at least six hours. Popular base notes include amber, sandalwood and vanilla.

What is the difference between eau de toilette and eau de perfume?

Fragrance type About Concentration of perfume oils Lasting time
Eau de parfum The strongest type of perfume available, often created by premium fragrance brands. 10-20% Up to 8 hours
Eau de toilette A slightly strong scent that is often cheaper than Eau De Parfum but requires topping up over time. 5-15% 4-7 hours
Eau de cologne A lighter choice that is often refreshing. 2-4% 2-3 hours
Eau fraiche The lightest concentration of fragrance that best suits those looking for a subtle scent. 1-2% 1-2 hours


Fragrance concentration infographic

How can I make perfume last longer?

Follow our tips below to make your fragrance last longer throughout the day and evening.

  1. Choose an eau de parfum - An eau de parfum is the longest-lasting scent as it contains a higher concentration of oils, making it stronger and more likely to last all day.
  2. Choose a deep scent - Perfumes with a heavier base layer will often last longer as these notes sink deeper into the skin.
  3. Keep your perfume away from direct sunlight - Perfumes live longer when kept in cool, dark and dry places. So avoid storing them in the bathroom or a sunny spot.
  4. Apply to your pulse points - Spraying your fragrance to the warmest points on your body will keep it lasting longer. These include the wrists, behind the ears, behind the knees and inner elbows where your arteries are closest to the skin’s surface.
  5. Moisturise your skin before applying perfume - Use an unscented moisturiser before you spray your fragrance to lock in the scent.
  6. Apply perfume after you shower - Spraying perfume onto clean skin will make it last longer, particularly after a hot shower or bath when your pores will be open.
  7. Don’t rub your wrists - Let your fragrance dry after applying it to your wrists rather than rubbing it in which can cause it to fade quicker.

How to wear fragrances if you have sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin or have a condition such as eczema or rosacea, you should look to use specific types of fragrances that won’t cause irritation.

Non-alcoholic perfumes, wax perfumes or oil-based fragrances can help to reduce the risk of irritation as they contain gentler ingredients. Remember to always try a patch test before applying elsewhere.

You can also try applying perfume to your clothes rather than directly onto your skin. Create a fine mist by spraying your fragrance arms length away from you - the tiny droplets will settle onto your clothes in a less concentrated area.

Can you spray perfume in your hair?

You shouldn’t spray perfume directly onto your scalp as the alcohol within the fragrance can cause irritation such as itchiness and dandruff, dryness or split ends and frizziness. Instead, try using scented hair mists, dry shampoo or hairspray that are safe to use and won’t damage your hair.

“We are always working to bring the best fragrance collection to our customers, including Lloyd’s exclusives and products that are specially crafted with our customers in mind. The fragrance offer is being elevated with the introduction of more premium products to allow our customers to purchase from a wider portfolio of brands. Finally, with the introduction of all year-round gifting, there is always the opportunity to find the perfect present for someone special”.
LloydsPharmacy Fragrance Team

Shop women's fragrances

Choosing a fragrance is a fun experience, especially when you have an understanding of the different scent families and notes that make up each perfume. Woody, oriental, floral and fresh are the most popular groups, each with distinctive top, middle and base notes that combine to create a unique aroma.

Now you know the difference between each scent, you can enjoy shopping for a new fragrance.