I found that there are five basic steps you need to consider when perfume shopping, so here they are for your perfume delight and delectation…
1) “This is going to take some time… “
Yes, perfume shopping is something that needs to be savoured, enjoyed and definitely not rushed. Set aside a good portion of time in the day for you to check out your local perfume department stores and smaller fragrance stores. Try to keep an open mind when you see a perfume that perhaps your friend has dismissed and don’t judge a perfume by its packaging. You’re going to have to rely on your nose for this shopping expedition, not your eyes.
2) Before you start perfume shopping, decide on your budget
Shopping for a fragrance can cost you as little as $50 or as much as $5000 (yes, there are perfumes with those kind of price tags!), so it is important to decide your budget before you even step foot in a perfume shop. Firstly, decide if your fragrance is going to be for everyday use, or just for special occasions? Are you looking for a celebrity name perfume, or simply a well-known brand? Which season is your perfume for? Sometimes it is nice to have a fresher and lighter perfume for the hotter summer months and perhaps a more subtle fragrance for autumn and winter.
3. Understand the different concentrations of perfume available
Perfumes come in three distinct categories which tell you about the concentration of the perfume oils in the bottle. The most concentrated, and therefore most expensive, perfume is known as ‘Parfum’ and you won’t need to use a lot of it, so it should last longer. Parfum has a concentration of between 15% and 22% of the fragrance oils. Next is ‘Eau de Parfum’ with a concentration of between 8% and 15% – quite a popular choice for many women. Lastly, and least expensive of the three concentrations, we have ‘Eau de Toilette’ or ‘Eau de Cologne’. With a concentration of between 3% and 8%, a spray of this perfume will give you and people around you just a hint of the scent to tantalize the nasal senses. Eau de Toilette is of course the least expensive option, but you many need to use more of it than the other more concentrated preparations.
4. Time to get your nose working
So you’re in the perfume store. It’s time to start smelling some fragrances by spraying some sampler bottles of each perfume onto those funny bits of white cardboard. They’re called ‘swatches’ – rather like colour swatches, but for smelling. Try to dry the perfume on the swatch before smelling (don’t touch), as the fragrance will change subtly as the minutes go by. After several minutes you will smell the ‘base notes’ rather than the initial ‘top notes’. Ah, now we’re getting technical. The fragrance’s base notes are the scents that will become more apparent as you wear perfume through the day. If you’re really up for being prepared, take a small container of coffee beans with you. Take a whiff of the beans to ‘reset’ your nose before smelling the next perfume – it’s a trick that works. Keep going and you should be able to narrow down your search to perhaps just three or four fragrances.
5. Time for some real skin
Hopefully you have now managed to select a handful of perfume candidates? Now is the time to spray a little on your wrist. Let it dry naturally without rubbing and have a whiff. Oh, by the way, top tip: Don’t wear any fragrance when you go perfume shopping for obvious reasons. It’s also wise to avoid eating spicy or hot food beforehand as your nose won’t be as sensitive as it usually is.
Hope you found some or all of these ‘perfume pointers’ enlightening. The best perfume for you is out there, and it will just take a little preparation and patience to find it! Happy perfume shopping!