Buying perfume can be a bit of a minefield. There is just so much choice out there nowadays, it really can get quite confusing.
We all have our own preferences for the types of scent that appeal to us – some people prefer light, floral perfumes, others go for more spicy, exotic tones, others again are drawn to deep, earthy aromas.
But when you head to the perfume concessions of a department store or the duty free shop at an airport, the choice can be overwhelming. You simply do not have time to sample them all, and once you have sprayed a couple of testers on your wrists, your sensitive nose starts to mix them all up anyway.
Then there are all the different concentrations, the eau de parfums, eau de toilettes and eau de colognes, which indicate how strong an odour is and how long it will last.
No wonder people often find a favourite brand and stick to it. But sometimes we all need a change. So when you crave a little variety in your perfumes, what is the best way to go about choosing the right one for you?
Find your type
There are a lot of complex factors that go into liking or disliking a particular fragrance. For one, everyone’s skin type is unique, and small differences in pH level can cause different reactions with the various ingredients in the perfume, creating different scents. Also, our olfactory sense – or sense of smell – is very closely linked to memory and emotion, so we associate certain smell with happy memories.
If you already have a certain favourite brand, identify the type it is and use that as a guide for choosing similar scents from the same family. The main types are:
- Floral: Highly popular in mainstream perfumes, heavy on the use of flowers like lavender, rose, violet and jasmine, conventionally considered feminine.
- Oriental: Exotic ingredients like cinnamon, vanilla and clove make for spicy, musky scents.
- Chypre / Fougere: Two closely related fragrance families characterised by earthy, woodsy scents, the sort created by sandalwood, pine, oak and moss. These scents often feature heavily in men’s fragrances.
- Citrus: The unmistakable fresh, sharp, zesty scents of orange peel, green apple and lemon.
Ask for advice
If you classify the perfumes you wear most and find they all fit into one of the above categories, then you can be pretty sure that there is something about those particular flavours that triggers good things in your brain. Armed with this information, you can now go to your local perfume retailer and ask for options that fit in with your preferred category.
Remember, however, there is still no substitute for testing. Try to do this on your own skin – as mentioned, subtle reactions will alter the way certain ingredients smell to your nose. Ask details about the ones you like and don’t like – if you know which ingredients seem to push your buttons, you can narrow down your search even further.
Check the intensity
Finally, before you splash out on a bottle, make sure you are clear about the difference between an eau de parfum and an eau de toilette. Although you may love the smell of an eau de parfum, it is a higher concentration fragrance. It is the sort of thing that will get you noticed when you walk in the room at a dinner party or social event, but is probably a bit much for going shopping. For day-to-day use, eau de cologne or eau fraiche are lighter and shorter lasting, while an eau de toilette sits in the middle and is a good all rounder.
Mirage Cosmetics is a quality wholesale cosmetics distributor based in the UK supplying high street brands throughout Europe.