We all have our preferences in terms of fragrance profiles or specific ingredients when it comes to perfumes, but browsing through a department store in search for a new signature scent can be a tedious and daunting task. More often than not, over-zealous sales associates tend to bombard you with tester strips and scented ribbons that overwhelm you (and your nose). So how should you actually shop for perfumes to ensure you’re making the right choice?
Read on for five easy tips, and scroll above for the latest fragrances to buy this season.
#1: Take Your Time
Perfumes are complex and made of multiple ingredients (or notes) that take time to surface during the course of a day. At first whiff, what you can detect are the top notes, which are usually citrus or light floral ones. Top notes are the most volatile and evaporate the fastest to gradually reveal the heart notes. After about half an hour, you’ll be able to fully smell the heart notes, which are usually well-rounded floral notes like rose and jasmine, or soft spices like cardamom and nutmeg. Finally, as the scent settles on your skin, the base notes start to emerge and are usually dry woods like sandalwood and cedarwood, or notes like vanilla, patchouli, amber and oakmoss which help other ingredients last longer. As the notes that make up each fragrance take time to develop, you should always make sure you experience all facets of it before making a decision to purchase.
#2: Test On Your Skin
After sampling a few scents, be sure to test them out on your skin to get an accurate idea of how it will smell like on you. And since the composition of oils on each individual’s skin is different, each fragrance settles and reacts differently, depending on your skin’s natural oils. This explains why the same fragrance can smell totally different on two people.
As previously mentioned, it takes time for the different layers of ingredients to reveal themselves so be sure to check how a scent smells like on your skin over time before making a decision.
#3: Don’t Overwhelm Yourself
Unless you’re an expert perfumer, most of us can only accurately process olfactory information for up to six fragrances. After that point, our brain becomes overwhelmed and will no longer be able to accurately and efficiently store information of perfumes you test.
#4: Cleanse Your Olfactory Palette
While many fragrance counters offer little canisters of coffee beans for customers to “reset” their nose when sampling a number of fragrances, you don’t necessarily have to use them. The purpose of providing coffee beans is simply to shock your brain with a scent that is drastically different from the olfactory profile of perfumes you’ve been testing. An alternative to coffee beans could simply be clean, unscented tissues as some people might prefer smelling “nothing” instead.
Now that you’re well-equipped on how you should shop for fragrances, above, the latest scents to check out.