Here’s a great piece from our regular contributor TriedTestedLoved with her tips on the best way to shop for a new fragrance.
Buying perfume is great fun but can be stressful when it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about finding a scent you love and one that loves you. When the fragrance is for someone else, the experience can be fraught with complications. What do they like? What don’t they like? Do they even wear perfume?
Here are some tried and tested (!) tips to make perfume shopping smooth and enjoyable, no matter whom it’s for.
Firstly, do give yourself a little time. It’s easy to get caught out by a clever salesperson when you’re in a rush. And believe me, some of these fragrance consultants are very, very convincing. Caveat emptor and all that…
It may seem obvious, but I recommend sniffing a perfume on a smelling strip AND on your skin as well. Fragrances can smell completely different on paper and are designed for the skin anyway. Discovering how a scent evolves is helpful – what is gorgeous at first may be awful later. Also, some do grow on you. If you don’t like it on the strip, you might not want to spray it on your skin. Rule it out, head for the next choice. In a large store, try and get away from the perfume section and find some fresh air, all those other smells may overwhelm you. Also, try not to inhale too many different perfumes in one go. After about four you will be confused. Take a break.
Please spray the one you like on your wrist, arm or hand; somewhere easy to access. If you spray it on your neck, you will struggle to smell it by yourself later on, unless you are double jointed! You’d be amazed how the same perfume can emanate differently on another person’s skin, so if the fragrance consultant suggests to spray it on them, that’s fine, but use yourself where possible. Also because you can’t take them with you to see how it develops. Normally anyway…
If you can, wait for an hour and then smell your wrist/arm/hand again to see if the fragrance has changed. Ideally, wait four hours or more. You then really sniff out a perfume’s character once the top notes have evaporated. It may have disappeared in that time, good to know before you spend a small fortune.
Getting a sample is a winning option. You can then try the perfume a few times and really live with it. Even if you are buying as a gift, nothing beats smelling the real thing. Fewer perfume companies give samples these days, but those who do really understand fragrance. If you buy perfume online, you may have to pay for a sample, but it’s worth it to try before you buy. Those beautiful, eloquent fragrance descriptions can get you expecting something that is miles away from the actual scent. If you have the luxury of time, why not try the sample over a few days to really be sure it’s the one?
Top tip: try to buy fragrances that you love for other people. Then, if they don’t like it, they can give it back to you! Of course, if you know their taste is totally opposite to yours then go with what you know.
In summary, if you like it on your skin and you’re happy with the look of it, (and the price) just go for it.
For perfume lovers, this whole rigmarole is a thing of joy. But, if this all seems way too tedious, just ask for help.
Describe what you’re looking for and a professional fragrance consultant will be able to sort you out, don’t worry.
You might even find something you weren’t expecting.