Saturday, February 9, 2008

Let's Talk Perfume

I recieved an excerpt from a certain book about perfume in my Victorya Hong goody bag. I'm not allowed to quote from it or anything, because this isn't the final published copy, but I will let you know that the book was called Perfumes: The Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. It was extremely informative and fun. Here's a post on things about perfume you've always wanted to know, which I've been able to put together because of the book. A bit of my personal opinions are, of course, included.

First of all, why buy perfume?

Well, because you enjoy it. Buying for the sole purpose of attracting the opposite sex is not such a good idea. Firstly, you're going to be the one smelling the scent all day, so you sure as hell better like it more than your boyfriend does. Secondly, the smell that drives men wild happens to be bacon. Studies have proven it.

What is the best way to shop for perfume?

Know that sales assistants are given to promoting the most recent fragrances, which are not necessarilly the best. If you want to sample something older, ask for the best in the line, or a perfume that is like nothing else. Then you've got a conversation that can prove very helpful.

Most people don't have the stamina to smell more than 5-10 fragrances in a go. Make sure to spray them on little cards to smell, not on your skin. When you find something on a card that you'd like to get to know better, spray it on yourself. Then leave the fragrance part of the store. Go out for lunch, go shopping, do whatever. Pay attention to what the perfume does on your skin. Does it vanish quickly? Does it bore or annoy you? Or does the scent remain wonderful? If you still love it after a few hours, buy it. Fragrances are constantly discontinued and reformulated, so snatch it up while you can.

What should you know about wearing perfume?

There seems to be a common misconception that rubbing a perfume into your skin can "bruise" it. Nope, not the case. It's perfectly okay to spread it gently onto your skin. What you don't want to do is rub the perfume so vigurously that the scent evaporates before its time.

Another thing that I hear mentioned a lot is that perfume smells differently on different people. This isn't hugely noticeable, but there is some truth to the matter. Individual skins mainly seem to affect the top notes, so by the time it's reached the middle notes, the perfume will smell the same on everyone. Of course, the oiliness and temperature of a person's skin will vary from person to person, so the rate at which the scent evaporates will also vary.

I've always wondered if perfume goes bad. It turns out that it depends on the perfume. A small number seem to take a turn for the worst after a few years, but most seem to have no expiration date. However, if you want your perfumes to last for a long time, keep them away from sunlight, which will cause the scent to evaporate.

I hope you learned a lot. I know I did! I also learned about some perfumes I absolutely have to try, like:

♥ Rue Cambon by Chanel: Apparently floral, amber-y, and wonderful enough to be given 4.5 stars.

♥ Bagdley Mischka: Delicious and very fruity.

♥ Black by Bulgari: An interesting blend of amber, 50's florals, and rubber? Sounds strange, but its supposedly magnificent. I want to try it.

♥ Chinatown by Bond No. 9: To Luca Turin, it smells like the corner of a French grocery at summertime, where the scent of floor wax meets the scent of ripe peaches.

♥ Jicky by Guerlain: The basic idea is lavender and a smoky, creamy vanilla, but it contains a lemon cheescake-y note and french herbs.

♥ Osmanthe Yunnan by Hermes: A mixture of osmanthus flower, which smells like suede and apricots, and and tea, which lends a milky sweetness to the skin.

♥ Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger: It's underated because of its cheap price, but Tommy Girl has a tea base with fresh florals. I love my Tommy Girl 10, so I imagine Tommy Girl smells great.

Is there anything else I should know about perfume? Have you tried any of the perfumes on my "must try" list? What's your favorite perfume? Do you have a signature scent, or do you like to mix it up? Spill!

For more of my thoughts on perfume, check out the rules for wearing perfume that I wrote about here. I was very proud of that post, at the time.

29 comments:

Ashe Mischief said...

One of my favorite, now-discontinued, scents was Betsey Johnson, in the little square bottle. It had a slighty tangy scent, like a bit of green olive, that made it very unusual, but very sumptuous. Oddly, men seemed to love it.

Nowadays I mostly wear Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab blends. There are three or four scents I really love: Samhain, The Peacock Queen, Severin, Roadhouse, etc. What's nice about these is you can order "imps" (trial sizes) for very cheap. The community is very active and engaged with one another, so swapping scents you do not like for new ones to try is very easy.

The Clothes Horse said...

I always forget to wear perfume!

tonks07 said...

Seconding the mention of Black Pheonix Alchamy Lab perfumes. I am just starting to experiment with them,but I'm in love. My recent favs are The Mouse's Long and Sad Tale, Mad Hatter, Black Pearl, and Antique Lace.
and as a relative newbie to perfumes I can say the bpal groups I've found are very helpful and willing to help new people sample scents.

I also have a weakness for Japanese Cherry Bloosm from BAth & Body Works and the yellow colored perfume from Victoria Secret.

Marie-Kristine said...

my signature scent is coco madamoiselle by chanel, but i often wish i had chosen something less popular. however, i never run into anyone else wearing it at my suburban massachusetts high school so that's not really a problem right now. i really love it though, and i am much to lazy to go out and try to find another one.

Applesaucery said...

I'm always looking for a nice perfume. So far I really like Crabtree & Evelyn's body mist in Summer Hill. I'm also a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, but they are a little expensive for me, since I'm on a college budget. I recently smelled Philosophy's Amazing Grace (I think it was that one) at a store, and it was lovely, but I've never tried it on.

Applesaucery said...

I'm always looking for a nice perfume. So far I really like Crabtree & Evelyn's body mist in Summer Hill. I'm also a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, but they are a little expensive for me, since I'm on a college budget. I recently smelled Philosophy's Amazing Grace (I think it was that one) at a store, and it was lovely, but I've never tried it on.

Applesaucery said...

I'm always looking for a nice perfume. So far I really like Crabtree & Evelyn's body mist in Summer Hill. I'm also a fan of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, but they are a little expensive for me, since I'm on a college budget. I recently smelled Philosophy's Amazing Grace (I think it was that one) at a store, and it was lovely, but I've never tried it on.

K.Line said...

Haven't tried any of your suggestions but I really love Penhaligon's Bluebell (which you can't get in Canada any longer, so I have to import it), Chanel 19 - my "signature" scent which I've been wearing since I was 15 and (cheapy cult fave) Body Shop Musk. K

Mox said...

I love Kenzo Flower for winter time, with it's bourbob vanilla warmth, and SJP's Covet for summer, which has both a crisp green and a musky element and makes me think of kissing in the grass. Lancome Hypnose is lovely, too. I'm always on the lookout for new perfumes but I'm incredibly picky and tend to hate anything sweet or fruity.

ambika said...

I fell in love with Prada, then later found out it had the same jasmine base as my other favorite, Blush by Marc Jacobs. The latter is a little muskier but I love them equally.

I've also worn Gucci Rush and Coco by Chanel in the past. I tend to go for uber-feminine scents, which always seems to surprise people.

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