Our 3 top tips to choosing a fragrance take all the worry and confusing out of selecting a scent – be that a gift for someone else or as a treat for yourself.
With Father’s Day around the corner, fragrant gifts are much on our minds, but we wanted to create a guide that gets your started on your journey and, even better, can be used for any time you find yourself confused while pondering perfumes…
1: If you already know a fragrance they like
Have a look at matching products available, such as a gorgeously decadent grooming products like body/beard oils and shower gels or body lotions. It’s often possible to find travel-size versions of fragrances (which are always useful and well-recieved).
If you don’t want to get them the same old thing, then take a look at our genius Fragrance Finder – simply input the name of a scent they already wear, and it’ll give you SIX suggestions of new fragrances to try with similar notes, themes or ‘feel’ about them, all in differing price ranges. It REALLY works – just try it for yourself to see!
2: If you’ve no idea what they like (or want to get them something new)
Think about how they dress, or the way they decorate their home – this is an excellent indication as to their character, and therefore the style of scent they probably prefer. Are there particular materials they’re drawn towards, or colours they normally go for? Fragrance, texture and colour and have many qualities in common.
Look for scents packaged in those colours – huge amounts of time and money are spent ‘matching’ the juice to the mood evoked by those hues – or described with those words, such as ‘velvety’, ‘suede’ or ‘crisp cotton’ in the notes. Or consider their interests: sporty gym types might prefer fresher scents, artistic types might prefer a more opulent aesthetic.
But scent selection isn’t always a matter of joining the dots – some people like fragrances you’d never guess at! So the absolute best solution is to buy them a Discovery Box so they can try all manner of differing fragrances in their own time. They may even surprise themselves with their favourite.
3: How do I know if a fragrance suits me?
Give it TIME on your skin. So many of us spray, sniff immediately (that’s just the alcohol you’re smelling, with perhaps a mere whiff of top notes) and either make a snap purchase or walk away. Those opening notes can disappear in mere minutes, you really need to let it settle for twenty minutes or more to smell the middle or ‘heart’ notes. The ‘base’ notes are made from ingredients with the heaviest molecules, so these can take several hours to warm and then evaporate on the skin.
If possible, try the fragrance on a blotter first (also known as a perfume ‘spill’); these used to be available with testers on perfume counters, but because of new Covid-19 safety measures, many stores don’t allow these now. (We always tend to take our own – and include a handy pack in each of our Discovery Boxes).
Allow a few minutes for the alcohol and the top notes to subside, and then smell the blotters. At this stage you may be able to eliminate one or more, if they don’t appeal – but it is really the heart notes and the lingering base notes which you will live with, and which are crucial. Remember: blotters are a useful way of eliminating no-hopers and lining up possibilities, but they’re not really enough to base a perfume purchase on. You really need to smell a scent on your skin.
Don’t try more than about four or five at a time. Your nose will become overwhelmed. Just sniff a sweater or a patch of your own bare skin to ‘re-set’, or go outside and get some fresh air – smelling coffee beans is a fallacy, it’s just filling your nose with another smell!
Jot down a few words to describe how you feel about each fragrance. These should be emotional words or things it reminds you of (a fabric / musical instrument / colour / place / time of day). They might sound abstract, but are a true reflection of how a fragrance is melding to your personality (or otherwise). Come back to the blotters several hours later and smell again – see if those words have changed.
The best way to find a new fragrance – as a gift or for yourself – is to try several samples at home in a Discovery Box, a curated selection of scents from a large number of houses; or a Brand Discovery Set, showcasing the entire range of fragrances from a single house. With time to let them develop, zero pressure and scents you may have overlooked in-store (or never even heard of before), it’s the perfect way to find that new perfume love…
By Suzy Nightingale