Signature Perfume 3
Flasks and perfumed cards; Fragonard perfume factory, Èze, Alpes-Maritimes, France
by Georges Jansoone (JoJan) (Own work (Own photo)) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Now that you know what perfume is, and have an idea of which one fits your lifestyle, it’s time to start trying them on to see if you can find a signature perfume.

Trying Perfume Out

Assuming that you have removed all other sources of fragrance contamination, here is how to try perfumes on.

When to Try

The best time to try perfumes is when you are happy. For some reason, happy brain chemicals make everything smell better. However, try to also shop in the morning when your brain, sense of smell, and decision-making capabilities are fresh.

And depending on how determined you are, it might be best to separate your research into separate trips; general scent strip spraying trips to narrow your options followed by skin spraying trips for the ones that pass muster.

Where to Try

The best place is a dedicated parfumerie. In particular, one that stocks a large range of uncommon perfumes. And where the staff are very knowledgeable about perfumes, so that if you ask them what they have in a Fougère, they know what you are talking about.

Second best is a department store.

How to Try

I mentioned in the perfume post, that you can’t adequately distinguish between more than three perfumes at a time. And if you are trying perfumes from the same scent family it’s going to be much more difficult. Some sales assistants will offer you ground coffee as a sort of palate cleanser between scents, but it’s still best to limit the number of perfumes from the point of view of remembering which was which. And some perfumes include coffee in the blend…

You can start by sniffing the bottles, but you will smell more of the solvent than the perfume blend. Perhaps a hint of the head notes. Taking it in on a blotting paper scent strip gives you a better idea of the perfume. Spray it a couple of times, move the card through it to pick up the scent, then wave it under your nose.

The only way to know what a perfume will smell like on you is to apply it to your skin. Your wrist or the back of your hand are the easiest to apply and to sniff. Leave it for about half a minute to dry before you sniff.

Some fragrances may disappear without a trace almost instantly and others will smell appalling until the head notes dissipate. Wait for at least 15 – 30 minutes for the head notes to fade before you make your buying decision. You will get a better idea of the perfume’s lifespan the longer you wait (a whole day is good). Try to spend time out in the open air well as inside so that you can get a more accurate idea of the perfume’s strength.

Remember that whatever you smell when you are trying a perfume, is what you will smell  every time you apply it. So if you love the long-term soul notes, you have to decide whether they are worth the first 15 minutes you have to spend outside waiting for the head notes you loathe to dissipate.

And while we’re on that subject, scents can act as powerful aids for memory, so be prepared for some emotional reactions to the fragrances. In some cases, you may also experience physical symptoms like headaches or nausea.

What Volume Do You Need?

When we talked about perfume planning, we talked about how some are more appropriate at some times and in some places than others. And that you might want one signature perfume you wear for everything, or that you might have different perfumes for different outfits or occasions.

This information, along with your budget and needs indicates how much you need. If you know it, love it, and wear it all the time, then the largest size at 3.4 oz (100 ml). Or maybe if you’re trying out a new signature perfume you might prefer the 1.7 oz (50 ml) until you are sure. If it’s going to be your weekly date night signature, then something, like 1 oz (30 ml). Of if you’re a re-sprayer, then get a 0.5 oz (15 ml) “purse pack” as well.

Storing Your Perfume

Be aware that perfumes don’t last forever. Your fresh EdT from the last post might only last six months once opened, but your Oriental EdP could last 18.

Once you have opened the bottle, the contents will start to deteriorate, so store them somewhere cool, dry and dark. Like a drawer or your closet to preserve them for as long as possible. Some people also store the bottles upside down in their original boxes, and if they aren’t for frequent wear you might like to try this. Just make sure you secure the lid properly.

Wearing Your Perfume

I can’t really end a series of perfumes without telling you how to wear it. Well, I could, but that doesn’t seem very fair.

You will get the best results from clean, dry skin. Not clothes.

According to Coco Chanel, you should apply perfume wherever you want to be kissed (still not clothes). Generally, that’s your pulse points. Technically, pulse points are the places where your arteries are compressed against a bone to take your pulse. You’ll know about the wrist and neck, but also the inner elbow, backs of knees and behind your ears. Good blood circulation warms the skin and helps diffuse the fragrance (like an oil burner). And as you know, hot air rises, so other good places to apply perfume are also lower down the body, like your navel and the small of your back (also good for kissing).

Or spray it in the air and walk through it. Depending on your hair’s condition, you might like to give it a spray, or perhaps your brush. But not your clothes.

You can respray at any time during the day, but here’s something the people you work with want you to know. Over time, if it suits you well, you will become so accustomed to your signature perfume that you won’t notice it after the initial application. You may not need to respray at all. You might also find that if you go for a brisk walk, your skin will heat up a little and release a new wave of perfume.

Last Step

That is more or less the end of the story. Laid out in steps like this, it sounds like a very simple process, but it isn’t. As you can’t try many, you may find yourself visiting the parfumerie frequently. Hopefully, your dedication will win you brownie points with the sales assistants. Maybe they will keep you up to date with new developments and enrol you in their Christmas discount promotions.

If you want to recap, here’s the full Choosing a Signature Perfume Suite

1: What is Perfume?

2: Planning a Perfume that Fits

3: Trying Perfume Out

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