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Buying Perfume

I love perfume! Who doesn’t, really? With so many brands available, there’s a scent to cater to everyone’s nose. Spritzing yourself with a gorgeous eau de parfum makes you feel glamorous, and what’s really lovely is that the sense of smell connects to yours, and others, emotions. My ex-housemate used to say how lovely it was when she went into my room and even though I wasn’t there, it smelt like me! (I assume she was referring to my slightly excessive perfume usage, and not body odour!) So, how about kicking off the year with a new signature scent? Here’s my easy guide to choosing, buying and applying your ideal perfume.

Are you a dark, modern goth, desiring to smell of red berries and musk? Or do you want a fragrance to match your bubbly, sunny, tree-hugging personality? Perhaps a men’s fragrance could be the one for you? Try and come up with a few words that might sum up the kind of scent you’re looking for. Will it be: young, fresh, vibrant, dark, heavy, fruity, light, classic, iconic, seductive, sweet? What kind of smells do you already have a preference for when buying other cosmetic products? (I’m thinking of MAC’s vanilla-scented lipsticks!) What are you attracted to? Thinking about this beforehand will give you a clear idea of what you want to buy before you head out.

Set aside a few hours and go to a specialist perfume shop, or a large department store with a thriving beauty section. Pick up anything that grabs your eye, whether it be because of the name, design, or price, and spritz each one onto a testing strip, or the skin of your arm. Read the packaging and see how the scent is described – are any of your words from the first step listed? Is it for night, or day? Take your time and don’t go overboard – the more scents you smell, the less your nose will be able to differentiate between them. Your skin also takes about 10 minutes or so to react to the fragrance, so taking a casual stroll around a few other shops while you contemplate your purchase is a good idea!

Now that you know which perfume you want, I’d advise you to buy it online – it’s so much cheaper! Cheap Smells (great name) is always my first stop for fragrance, and I’ve heard good things about Strawberry Net, but have a good look around the web – including eBay. I bought two rollerball testers of Chanel Chance on the popular auction site; they’re absolutely adorable (only about an inch in size, so cute), and I can easily carry them in my make up bag during the day, reapplying as and when needed. Testers are great for this use, and also if you’re not 100 percent sure on which perfume to buy – you can take it out on a test run before you splurge on the full-sized bottle!

After your morning shower or bath, apply your new scent to the pulse points of your body – the inside of your wrists, the fold of your arm (where it bends!), behind the knee, and just below the jawline. Always make sure you spritz your parfum before you put on any jewellery. Keep the bottle in a cool place, out of sunlight – displaying it on your dressing table or in your bathroom cabinet is fine. “Layering” is when you use perfume and body lotion from the same brand, often bought together in a gift set, and it’s a great way to double up your scent.

At the moment, I alternate between SJP NYC and Chanel No 5. I adore the Agent Provocateur fragrance, which comes in a really cute bottle, as does Nanette Lepore. Those two look very elegant on any dressing table! I also like Dior Pure Poison, which was probably my first “grown up” perfume, and Lush Vanillary. In fact, all of the Lush perfumes are pretty wonderful!

Remember, when you wear the same perfume everyday for months, you will get used to it and no longer notice the scent. This might lead to you putting on more and more, suffocating your unfortunate friends and work colleagues! If your budget can allow it, alternate often between different brands and scents. If not, just keep to perfume on special occasions, or 2-3 times a week. Enjoy your new purchase!

What do you look for in a perfume?


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