We’re so happy to have Uncle James (a.k.a professional fragrance consultant and expert, James Craven) on board with The Perfume Society. He’s the ‘agony uncle’ here to answer all your perfume problems and solve your scent woes…
In the first part of his answers to your queries, James explained where to spray fragrance to make it last longer and radiate on your skin, and how to go about choosing a ‘seasonal scent’. This time he’s been tapping away at his typewriter to help with questions about allergies and what fragrances might be best to start a budding 15 year old perfumista with.
Don’t forget you can ask your questions using the form below (scroll down) and they might get featured in the next edition of The Scented Letter Magazine. But for now, Uncle James, it’s over to you!
I think I’m allergic to some fragrances as I get a rash on my skin and some make me sneeze. How do I find out what’s causing this, and any suggestions for how I can still enjoy fragrance?
James says: Keep calm. Make a list of all the perfumes that you think have caused adverse reactions. Establish what notes they have in common by reading up on them online (I would of course point you in the direction of The Perfume Society), then by process of trial and error try to discover the ‘joker’ in the pack. The help of an experienced sales assistant in a sympathetic perfumery can be very useful here – and hopefully before very long at all, we will once again be able to venture into stores. Talking it over often clarifies matters no end and sudden enlightenment dawns.
Allergies come and go, often abruptly. Don’t automatically blame chemicals and synthetics: natural organic oils are now recognised as equally liable to be allergenic. Meanwhile you might still enjoy perfume as our ancestors did – anywhere but on the skin, so instead on scarves, the linings of coats, soft furnishings… And remember, sublime fragrances are all around us, not just confined to bottles.
What styles of fragrance might be suitable for a 15-year-old who’s just starting to get into perfume? And how can I tell her to wear it so that it doesn’t overwhelm those around her?
James says: Your young friend is lucky to have you. Most 15-year-olds love analysing themselves so encourage this young woman to do just that. Ask her to define her personality in her own mind, and then introduce her to the most empathetic sales consultant at your favourite perfumery. This maven – if worth her salt – will assist the young person in interpreting and expressing herself via a fragrance that fits like a handmade glove.
Youth is best showcased by light, subtle – but not necessarily naive –scents. We are all allowed a few garish fragrance mistakes as we develop our tastes, and perfume picking should always be fun. But I have found that most teenagers naturally actually tend to shyness and restraint when it comes to choosing and spraying fragrance.
I hope I have not grown cynical with the years – but the surest way to ensure an ingenue will NOT do something is to beg her to do that very thing. So maybe pass her the Giorgio and the Poison!
What questions have you always wanted to ask an expert? Put your perfume problems to Uncle James and he’ll get thinking…
Ask James Craven (The 'Perfume Agony Uncle')
Your questions for James Craven, The Perfume Society's 'Perfume Agony Uncle'