Sunday, April 25, 2010
(Gingerbee, this is for you!)
Starting out with fragrances.
[OH MY GOD, why am I trying to write a guide on this?! I'm not qualified to do this!]
No, not the kind that’ll adopt you and fund your perfume-habit-to-be. Rather, you need to figure out what kind of fragrance family you like! Most people break woman’s fragrances into four categories; floral, fresh,
oriental, and woody. (But, of course, there are confusing subcategories as well.) To some degree, this “guide” will awkwardly attempt to help clarify just how you’re supposed to go about finding your favourite family.
The easiest way to go about doing this is to get thee into a fragrance shop and start smelling! However, there are a few “tools” that you might have access to that I’d definitely recommend using to your advantage. Which takes us to our next category…
Using what (or who) you can
The first “tool” I’d “use” is the sales associate. About half of them
have no idea what they’re doing or continually push the same fragrance the whole day to make a larger profit are sub-par, but the half that do know their way around their counter? Gold. Try to go when the shop isn’t too busy, but not too close to closing time — I find bright in the morning, dinner hour, or during the workday are the best times, if it’s possible for you to go then! That way, you’ll be able to explain that you’re new to fragrances and would like a hand getting started, and there won’t be (as much of) a rush.
If you do find a great sales associate, make sure to bring your buisness back to them! Most of them are on commission, and even if they’re not, it’s still only polite. There are huge advantages to finding a great sales associate and forming a relationship with them: it can make fragrance shopping more fun, they’ll be able to recommend scents just for you, they’ll be more likely to spend time helping you, you’ll always get the heads-up when a new launch or deal might interest you… the list goes on!
The second tool to utilize is the sampler set. Larger stores, like Sephora or Shopper’s Drug Mart, put them out around Christmas, and they’re a wonderful way to try out new fragrances. They come with a gift certificate for a full-sized bottle of one of the fragrances in the sampler set, so as long as you find something to love in the set, they’re a pretty good deal! (And if you don’t? Well, you can always use it to buy a full-size for gifting.) Coffret-esque sets are wonderful, too; the difference is that they’re larger sizes in adorable mini bottles, and don’t come with the gift certificate.
(On a side note, I’m looking at the set through the link… and it actually looks perfect for a beginner! Heck, now I’m tempted O.o)
The one thing I cannot push enough is the importance of skin. A fragrance can smell entirely different on a blotter (or a “touche;” they’re the little paper slips scents are sprayed on) vs. on your skin. A good fragrance takes time to develop, and you won’t know how it’ll smell after a few hours unless you try it on!
beg ask for samples, when possible, and turn up to the fragrance counter without perfume, so you can try perfumes on your skin. But when you do sample them… one perfume per arm, please! (I know people who do more; I personally find it too overwhelming and confusing.) If you have access to a store like Sephora or Nordstrom, you can also ask if they can decant a small sample for you if they don’t have carded (from the manufacturer) samples around.
Wear your newfound fragrance for a couple of days, and see how it makes you feel! If by the end of your sample vial you’re bored half to death, it’s clearly not for you. But if it leaves you craving more? The answer is obvious!