The CLEAN Perfume Glossary

From accords to top notes and everything in between, consider this your comprehensive fragrance vocabulary lesson! Don’t forget to bookmark this page for a helping hand next time you’re shopping for a new signature scent. 

Accord

The building blocks for a fragrance. Accords are a composite of two, three, and sometimes even more notes that are joined together so completely they become one unique scent. 

Aldehydes

Aromatic chemicals that give perfumes an effervescent boost. You’ll find them in scents like CLEAN CLASSIC Pure Soap.

Anosmia

The inability to smell scents or notes. Often called nose blindness. This is usually a temporary state caused by becoming acclimated to a certain scent. This can be the reason you sometimes can’t smell your own perfume after wearing it for a while but others still can. 

Base Notes

The grounding notes of a fragrance. We typically don’t recognize base notes until a few minutes to a few hours after spraying, when the top and middle notes have slightly evaporated. Once base notes do come through, they leave a lasting impression.

Clean 

We define clean perfumes as those that contain only essential, good-for-you ingredients and are made with the safety of both people and the planet in mind. 

Cruelty-Free

Perfumes that haven’t been tested on animals. Our products bear the Leaping Bunny logo, the most trusted certification for cruelty-free products and a guarantee that neither it nor any of its ingredients have been tested on animals. 

Dry-Down 

The final stage in the evolution of a fragrance when the top and middle notes have evaporated and the base notes remain.

Fragrance Family

A group of perfumes where each member shares common notes or evokes a similar tone or feeling.

Layering 

The art of creating your own personalized scent by combining two or more fragrances.

Linear

Consistent fragrances that don’t change throughout the day. These are especially good for layering.

Middle Notes

Notes that give fragrances body and depth, often with floral ingredients. Also called heart notes.

Musk 

A heavy base note often added to perfumes to give them a woodsy, earthy element. While traditional musk is harvested from the glands of the male musk deer and so cannot be considered vegan, we use cruelty-free, synthetic musks in fragrances like CLEAN RESERVE Skin.

Synthetic

The shorthand for a man-made ingredient rather than one extracted from a natural material. While you may think natural ingredients are always best, synthetics are often a better choice as they can be less irritating to skin and more sustainable for the environment. 

Top Note

Notes that give the first impression of a perfume, often with fresh and light ingredients like Bergamot, Marine, and Pear in CLEAN CLASSIC Soft Laundry.

Unisex

Scents designed to be worn by everyone and usually marketed this way too. They’re often a middle-ground between floral and fruit-forward perfumes, and those infused with deeper notes like wood and leather.