‘Perfume counters’ are stocked with a wide selection of perfumes intended to accentuate the human scent. Many of these counters are found in pharmacies, fine department stores or online outlets. The expression ‘perfume counter’ is a loose term to define these products since many of these so-called perfumes are really just cheap imitations of the true perfume. Many of these variations are not nearly as pure as the look-alike discount brand version of the designer scent, with a label that resembles the true name brand.What, after all, is a perfume? Essential oils that are extracted from various plants form the base for a perfume. Remember the famous gold, frankincense and myrrh that the Three Wise Men carried to the baby Jesus? Frankincense was a fragrant resin of a tree that grew in East Africa that ancient people would burn for its scent like we burn candles for aromatherapy. Myrrh was also a gum resin that was obtained from the bark of a different tree from East Africa. One of the uses of myrrh in ancient days was to make perfume and an early form of toothpaste. Since a true perfume consists of a secret recipe of essential oils and various ingredients that permit the liquid to be poured into an atomizer or other types of containers, a parfum or pure perfume will have the highest concentration of oils. Due to this greater amount of scented essential oils, the perfume’s scent will be longer lasting and stronger. A little bit of parfum is all it takes to maintain its alluring aroma for hours. The high price of true perfume is the result of the high concentration of oils.To make up for the high cost, many perfume makers water down their signature parfum versions and sell at a much lower price to a broader market of customers. However, the watered-down cheaper brands aren’t nearly as long lasting as the true version.There are several standard categories of perfume derivatives that are generally sold. The product closest to a perfume is called Eau de Parfum. ‘Eau’ is the French word for water so this product is simply a true perfume mixed with extra water. Now a perfume company executive would cringe at this crude explanation but basically this is the translation of the name from the French. The next product down the list is an Eau de Toilette followed by an Eau de Cologne, known simply as ‘cologne’. If the brand name of perfume is sold in all these categories, the perfume is the most expensive and the cologne should be the least expensive. Since everyone’s body chemistry is different, fragrances smell differently on different people. Scents don’t have the same aroma since people’s skin types are different. For example, dry skin doesn’t hold scents as long. However, natural body oil will hold a fragrance longer since the perfume can blend with it easier. Before purchasing a perfume, it is always best to test it to determine how it blends with your body chemistry for a desired fragrance.