By Jonna of Jonniker
Choosing a personal fragrance is very … well, personal. No perfume will smell the same on everyone, and one person’s heaven is another’s olfactic nightmare. With that in mind, I’m not going to torture you with varying categories of perfumes (Floral! Woody! Chypre! Oceanic!) because I firmly believe that no one fits into a single class, and who cares what box it fits in if it smells good to you?
Instead, I’m going to tell you how to find your perfect fragrance without searing your nostrils off or breaking the bank. Ready? Let’s go!
Get out of the department store.
I have nothing against many department store fragrances (some of my best friends are department store fragrances!), but unless you love smelling like everyone else, you’re better off elsewhere. Not only is shopping for a fragrance there the shortest path to anosmia (the conflicting scents! the makeup counter ladies doused in Emeraude!), but most department store scents are designed for broad appeal to keep sales high. They aren’t thinking about what you’d like to smell like, they’re thinking about how A MAJORITY would like to smell. And are you like everyone else? I didn’t think so, you unique petite little flower, you.
The Internet has brought about countless e-tailers that specialize in fragrance, and more specifically, they focus on boutique scents made in smaller batches, so not only are you going to smell more unique, but in some cases, you’re supporting the little(r) guy. And with very few exceptions, they all sell samples for you to try at home at incredibly reasonable prices. Some of my favorites include:
Sample on your skin at home.
I do freelance copywriting for the fragrance industry, and as a result, I try a lot of fragrances. What you smell in the bottle or in the store is a far cry from what the scent will be like on your skin.The initial alcohol-laden blast masks what will eventually be the dry-down once it dissipates, plus, oily skins react differently than dry skins, etc.
For best results, apply to a pulse point with a fair amount of body heat — the wrists are good, as is the inside of the elbow — and wait at least an hour to see how it develops. To avoid nose fatigue, try no more than three at a time.
Play with the concentration.
Love a fragrance, but find it just a little too strong? Consider the body lotion, which is often softer and easier to wear, but still long-lasting. Don’t forget, too, that different concentrations and/or formulations can vary widely — an EDP, for example, can be vastly different from an EDT, and parfum is a whole different ballgame altogether.
Get it on the cheap.
You’ve found your perfect scent, but it’s expensive. Don’t panic! First, consider whether you need an entire multiple-ounce bottle, or whether a smaller amount will do. eBay has great inexpensive decants (small amounts from a seller’s personal collection) and partial bottles — do your research and check seller feedback first.
For more well-known scents, discount sites such as Beauty Encounter typically have some great deals, and the stock is usually fresh. Also, don’t ignore your local TJ Maxx or Marshall’s — I’ve scored some amazing finds there, and since the fragrance house wasn’t well known, no one knew what they were missing out on.
So there you have it.
Do you have a signature fragrance? Tell us about it!
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