Having been in the fragrance and beauty industry for over 20 years you’d be forgiven for thinking I have fragrance buying down to a fine art. Faced with the vast sea of fragrances that greet you in every department store and Duty-Free I defy even the most hardened perfumista to not run away and buy something else instead.
Over the last 20 years perfume has changed, not just the fragrances themselves with the ever-increasing regulations and reformulations but the way we buy it. 10 minutes in Duty-Free – a quick spritz and another bottle in the wish I hadn’t pile. Or how about running the gauntlet through a department store where you mentally plan your route before entry so as to avoid getting sprayed with the latest from 1 Direction or The Kardashians.
Because we are faced with a short amount of time to decide on a purchase and an overwhelming choice we often grab the first thing that smells ok – a bit like getting home to find that lip gloss you bought is pretty much the same as the other 5 you have at home.
Here are my 3 tips for buying a perfume you won’t regret:
1. Do your research beforehand. There are lots of great perfume blogs out there which give honest reviews of fragrances. www.fragrantica.com , www.boisdejasmin.com and www.perfumeshrine.com are good starting points. Also, remember that perfume is a hugely personal thing and one person’s 5-star fragrance is another person’s “where’s the nearest bathroom so I can scrub it off”
2. Try fragrances on a blotter first to get a general idea but always try on skin as many fragrances smell quite different on different people. There are some that say this is a myth but I know it to be true for me personally. Don’t buy straight away as the fragrance may change – if possible get a sample to try over several days at home to see if you still love it.
3. If you have a fragrance that you love do a bit of research on it and find out what fragrance family it fits in and look for others that fit in the same category. They may smell quite different from each other but will be based around a similar theme making the choice a bit easier.
If you want a fragrance that is edgy and different go for one of the niche brands available in small independent perfumeries such as Les Senteurs (London) or a department store fragrance hall such as Liberty. Ormonde Jayne has a beautiful collection of very wearable fragrances that are also available as a discovery set – ideal if you are ordering online.
When shopping in a department store for well made classy fragrances you can’t go wrong with Guerlain and if you want something immediate and mainstream don’t be afraid to check out the celebrity brands as if you look beyond the blingy packaging you are bound to find a little gem. A little known industry secret is that many of the fragrances you find in budget lines are created by the same perfumers who create for high end brands so don’t let packaging and price put you off!
Alternatively you could always come to a class and make your own: www.karengilbert.co.uk/courses