How to pick the perfect perfume for you
Your perfume isn’t just a pretty bottle full of smelly stuff. ‘It’s part of us and informs how other people think of us,’ explains natural beauty expert Josephine Fairley, co-author of The Perfume Bible (Kyle Books, £25). And you are the expert in finding The One.
‘Specialist perfumers are great, but the best person to choose your signature scent is you,’ says Fairley. Take your time, and choosing the right one will be one of life’s pleasures. Here’s her guide to getting started.
What do you want?
Super-energised mornings: go for peppermint and grapefruit
‘There are no peer-reviewed studies to prove it, but lots of anecdotal evidence suggests that these scents will wake you up and help you focus.’
To wind down: go for calming lavender and warm vanilla
‘Lavender is a relaxant – and studies back up the claims. It pairs well with vanilla, one of the most comforting scents – a lovely, rich, cocooning note.’
A refresh: go for key notes of jasmine and rose
‘These are the pillars at the heart of perfumery, conjuring up memories of summer evenings.’
Something less girly: go for ‘male’ scents and lose the florals
‘The idea of fragrance for one sex only came about 100 years ago, and the fragrance industry is moving back towards sharable scents. There’s nothing to stop you choosing a ‘male’ cologne. Avoid floral heart notes which give scents their ‘feminine’ quality.’
1. ‘Start early in the day, when your nose is fresher. Never buy a fragrance on first smell. Take scent blotters and write the perfume names on them – you will forget.’
2. ‘Wait 20 minutes for the alcohol to dissipate, and take home the blotters with your three or four top choices. Give it 24 hours, then pick your favourite.’
3. ‘Return to the shop to try it on your skin. Leave it eight hours until the base notes have come through before buying.’
4. ‘Don’t impulse buy in Duty Free. You could be halfway to Bermuda by the time the base notes come through and you realise it doesn’t float your boat!’