You have to be careful when buying perfume, because there are just so many factors involved. Obsession might smell phenomenal on your best friend, but your body chemistry might turn it into eau de Waste of Time. The last thing you want to do is spend money on a fragrance you don't like, that gives you a headache, or that fades away seconds after it touches your skin. If you're looking for a new signature scent or simply want to add a fresh fragrance to your current arsenal, never fear. Picking out a new one might require some care, but if you follow these tips when buying perfume, everyone will soon be sniffing you!
1. Spritz It
Unless you know you love a particular scent, don't buy it online. I can't stress this enough. When buying perfume for the first time, you can't rely on simply knowing the notes, nor should you buy something based on how it smelled on someone else. By all means, order it online if you've found something you love that smells divine on you, but don't buy it without knowing how it works with your body chemistry. That's just asking for trouble, and you'll wind up with so many unused bottles in your medicine cabinet.
2. Take Your Time
You can't rush through choosing a new perfume. Do that, and you'll end up with the wrong fragrance. If you're going perfume shopping, give yourself some time to browse. This is important because you also need to give yourself time to smell. If you smell one perfume, you can't immediately try another one, because then you're just asking for a big, headache-inducing olfactory crash.
3. One Fragrance at a Time
Similarly, you should only try one perfume at a time, and never layer them. You might get to a point where you layer different fragrances to create your own signature, but don't try that when you're picking a new fragrance. Spritz something on your wrist, walk away, browse the jewelry section or the scarves, and then come back to the perfume counter. When you spritz on another scent, however, do it on your opposite wrist, your forearm, or the crook of your elbow – any clean span of skin.
4. Let It Unfold
Walking away is important for another reason as well, which goes back to taking your time. You have to give a perfume time to settle and unfold on your skin. Let the alcohol in it evaporate before you start sniffing your wrist as well. This is the only way you can really tell how a particular fragrance will work with your natural body chemistry. Some perfumes smell too strong when they first go on, which can make you think you hate it. Give it time to settle, however, and you may fall in love.
5. Know the Concentrations
Speaking of strength, you need to know the different types of perfume and their concentrations. That's essential for knowing how much to spray and how long to let it settle. So, let's start with eau de cologne, or eau de toilette. These have the weakest concentrations, usually 3-8 percent. These perfumes cost less, but you may need to use more. Mid-range, you have eau de parfum, which has oil levels of 8-13 percent. This is a great choice all around, in terms of price and concentration. Parfum, however, has the highest concentration – 15-22 percent – and the highest price tag. It's strong, expensive, but long lasting. Designer perfumes usually fall in this category.
6. Start Small
Not sure you really like something? Give it a test run. You can do this several ways. If you can, spray a cotton ball or a cardboard stick with your perfume of choice, place it in an airtight container – a Ziploc, a small Tupperware, even an old film canister – and take it home with you. You can ask for samples, as well, or go up a level and get a very small bottle. This way, even if you choose a parfum, you aren't wasting a lot of money but you can still try the fragrance to see how it unfolds in your day-to-day doings.
7. Don't Stick to What You Know
You know what you like, that's true – and that's fine. You just shouldn't limit yourself when you're trying a new perfume. If you know that certain notes smell terrible on you or give you a headache, that's one thing – I'm not telling you to try something you absolutely hate. However, if you've never tried a citrus or floral perfume, why not experiment a little?
Perfume is such a personal thing. Just because you love the way something smells doesn't mean it's going to smell wonderful on you. Then again, you may not like the way something smells in the bottle, or it might have notes you think you hate, but one spritz can convince you it's the fragrance for you. How do you pick out new perfumes? Do you follow any personal perfume protocol?