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Eau de Confusion: Perfume, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne—What’s the Difference?

In our shop we’ve spoken with many visitors who are confused about fragrance types and frankly who can blame them? Fragrance types are a well-established but ultimately somewhat imprecise set of guidelines, and their use across the industry can be inconsistent.

A simple understanding of what constitutes contemporary fragrances is essential. While the word ‘perfume’ derives from the Latin per fumum, meaning ‘through smoke’, today’s perfumes are blends of natural and/or synthetic oils. To make these oil blends more wearable and less potent, alcohol or neutral smelling oils are commonly added as solvents. The ratio of oil (or other aromatic compound) to alcohol determines the concentration and therefore the type of each fragrance.

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The four main types of fragrance you are likely to come across are:

Parfum (Extrait de Parfum): 15-40% concentration, 20% is typical
Known in English as pure perfume or simply as perfume, this is the purest and therefore the most expensive type of fragrance.

Eau de Parfum (EdP): 10-20% concentration, 15% is typical
Eau de Parfum is what most people today refer to as “perfume”. Eau de Parfum is less concentrated than Parfum, but the scent is typically quite noticeable and long lasting. You’ll sometimes hear Eau de Parfum fragrances referred to as “evening scents” as some may be too heavy for daytime wear or during the summer when warm temperatures amplify the qualities of fragrance.

Eau de Toilette (EdT): 5-15% concentration, 10% is typical
Eau de Toilette is slightly less concentrated than EdP, but may not necessarily have a weaker scent. Some wearers may in fact prefer EdT over the more expensive EdP, depending on the notes present in each fragrance. Even EdT and EdP versions of the same fragrance may not smell the same, so it’s worthwhile to experiment with each to determine your preference.

Eau de Cologne (EdC): 3-8% concentration, 5% is typical
Often simply called “cologne” these are lighter fragrances that are highly appropriate for daytime or summer wear. “Refreshing” is an adjective often used to describe EdC fragrances, due to their common use of citrus notes.

The use of the term “cologne” creates an additional layer of confusion because it has multiple meanings. The first and most classical definition refers to the fresh, citrus based fragrances that were first developed in the early 18th century in Cologne, Germany, hence the name. The most famous of these is Mäurer & Wirtz’s ‘4711’ which was created in 1799 and is still produced today. In the 20th century, fragrance companies began to use the term to describe lighter (and less expensive) versions of their existing fragrances. Cologne today typically remains the lightest version of a scent in any fragrance line. Finally, “cologne” has been established to mean any fragrance worn by a man, as opposed to “perfume” which is worn by a woman. Many modern fragrance houses use the term “fragrance” to avoid these gender specific terms and the current popularity of unisex fragrances is likely to further this usage.

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As mentioned, fragrance types are an imprecise terminology, so perhaps the best course of action is to “follow your nose” when determining what you like. At Spruce Apothecary we have a tightly edited collection of niche brand fragrances for both men and women—we even have fragrances for people who “don’t like fragrance”! We invite you to stop in soon. Remember this holiday season that fragrance always makes for a thoughtful and personal gift.

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Old School beats New School: The Comeback of the Safety Razor

For most of the last century, the double edged safety razor was the standard shaving tool, having been developed in the late 1800s as a safer and lower maintenance alternative to the long handled straight razor. Unlike straight razors, which require a strop to maintain the blade, and occasional honing by a professional, the safety razor offered economical and disposable blades. Safety razors were widely popularized by their inclusion in World War I soldier’s kits, and their use became practically universal for decades.

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Fast forward to 1973, when Bic developed the plastic disposable razor. Now not only the blades but the whole razor was manufactured to be disposable. Competitor Gillette followed soon after with their version. Manufacturers attempted to further distinguish their product in subsequent years with double and triple blades on both plastic disposable razors as well as razor cartridges that were designed to be used by non-disposable handles. Things got a little out of hand by the 2000s, when four, five and six blade cartridges hit the market.

Today the classic safety razor is enjoying a comeback. While it takes a bit of getting used to, most men report that shaving with a safety razor delivers better results with less skin irritation. The safety razor revival is also driven in no small part by the long term cost savings. A five pack of two sided blades is about $3, well below the cost of cartridge style blades.

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Spruce Apothecary offers an edited range of safety razors and all the other elements needed to overhaul your shaving regimen. We are frequently asked by customers about the proper techniques for shaving with a safety razor, and offer up the following tips:

1. Start by inserting the blade in the razor. Drop the blade in between the two pieces of the head and screw it into the base.

2. Inspect the direction of your hair growth and remember where the direction changes. It is best to shave in the direction of hair growth. This goes for any razor style. While it may not provide the closest shave, it will be far more comfortable and irritation-free.

3. Cleanse and exfoliate your face.

4. If time allows, apply a hot towel to the beard for 30 seconds to soften your facial hair.

5. Evenly disperse your shaving cream with the use of a shaving brush or your hands. Allow the cream to sit on your skin for 30 seconds to allow it to soften the hair.

6. Start shaving the sides of your face, going in the direction of hair growth. Hold your safety razor firmly and use short strokes. Don’t add pressure or push the blade into your skin–your safety razor will have enough weight to glide across your face smoothly. For the closest shave, hold the blade to your skin in a 30-degree angle, as the head of the razor does not pivot.

7. Rinse the blade often. The double edged razor allows you to flip the blade over for a second pass before rinsing.

8. Shaving the neck area can be a bit trickier because hair grows in different directions around the Adam’s apple. Inspect and follow the hair growth when shaving this area.

9. Shaving the lip and chin areas last will allow the shave cream to soften the hair longer. You can add water to the shave cream to rehydrate before shaving. Use your free hand to manually stretch your skin, creating a flat area for your blade to shave.

10. Follow your shave with a splash of cold water to tighten the pores. Finish with a light application of aftershave to soothe and moisturize your skin.

If you have any questions about safety razors or other shaving products, please contact us.

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Spa Traveler: Mii Amo Spa & Enchantment Resort

We recently enjoyed a short stay at Sedona’s Enchantment Resort, home of Mii Amo Spa. Tucked deep in Boynton Canyon, away from Sedona’s commercial (some might say commercialized) heart, Enchantment and Mii Amo offer up a double dose of relaxation among the famous red rock formations. Given that winter is Sedona’s low season, guests who stay during these months are practically guaranteed serious peace and quiet, along with significant savings over high season room rates. Days are mild and sunny, but evenings are decidedly chilly in this High Desert setting.

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Mii Amo can be enjoyed two ways: either as a day spa for guests staying at Enchantment or elsewhere in town, or as a full blown destination spa with its own accommodations and extensive lifestyle programs. The spa, like the rest of the resort, very tastefully blends clean-lined modern architecture and interior design within a Southwestern context—think adobe, stone, and wood. Treatment options are extensive and share this approach, with methods and ingredients often employing native and regional elements.

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A great example is the Turquoise Dreaming body treatment, which the spa describes as “a refreshing,
skin-revitalizing Vichy shower treatment that combines a native blue corn, aloe and turquoise body polish with a scintillating lemon scent which is applied to the body. Turquoise, called, ‘sky stone’ by Native Americans, is believed to be a master healer and strong stone for toning and strengthening the entire body and regenerating tissue. This treatment leaves the skin delightfully soft and hydrated.”

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We can certainly vouch for the last part. If this description and Sedona’s rep as an energy vortex zone makes Mii Amo sound a bit too New Age-y for some tastes, we can assure you that in actuality the spa’s approach is pretty low key. Certainly even the most pragmatic and down-to-earth spa goer will appreciate a massage followed by a dip in the outdoor pool which has long views of the canyon walls. Warm up afterwards in front of the spa’s fireplace which burns fragrant pinon pine logs.

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Mii Amo offers a full range of treatments and programs, ranging from classic Swedish massage and reiki, to more esoteric stuff for the true believers (“Past Life Regression” hypnosis by a certified therapist). On a less lofty level, we found the quality, service and food (Mii Amo has its own restaurant, Enchantment has four others) to be top notch, and the setting is unbeatable.

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