Purpose of Perfume

by ShawnTe Pierce ; Updated September 28, 2017

In ancient civilizations perfume was an integral part of bathing.

Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Megan O'Connor

Perfume has been used for millennia. According to Shannon Karppinen from the University of South Carolina, ancient civilizations like the Egyptians used perfume for various purposes, including preparing the dead for burial. Perfume has evolved since then and is now a multibillion-dollar industry.


Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines perfume as a substance that emits a pleasant odor.


The purpose of perfume is to add scent to something--human, animal, object or air.


Perfume use in the form of scented oils, powders and incense dates back to ancient Egypt. Perfume as we know it today came into existence around the 19th century, according to Fashion Era.com, when chemically synthesized scents were substituted for hard-to-find organic scents.


According to Fashion Era.com, perfume is generally composed of 78 to 95 percent specially denatured ethyl alcohol, with the remainder made up of essential oils. Six scent categories are used to create modern-day perfumes: floral, oriental, floriental, chypre, green marine and fruit.


Perfume types are based upon the concentration of essential oils found in the product. The types, in order from highest essential oil concentration to lowest, are perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilet, eau de cologne and eau fraiche.

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Photo Credits

  • Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Megan O'Connor

About the Author

ShawnTe Pierce is a fashion designer and writer with more than 10 years of experience. Her work has appeared on Woman's Day and The Frisky, among other online publications. Pierce has a Bachelor of Science in apparel design from the University of Delaware.