How To Buy Perfume…Why Do People Buy and Wear Those Things?

Why do you buy perfume? Or do you wait until someone else buys it for you? Do you wait for the holidays or a birthday and just accept what someone else chooses for you? What type of perfume lover are you?

Magazine ads thrown at us will tell you what type of person should be wearing a certain perfume. You should be young, or sexy, or wild, carefree and frivolous, or perhaps sultry and a vixen. The list is endless what they want us to think we should be when we wear their juice.  And sometimes spraying it on does make us feel just that way. But, other times, spritzing the perfume on makes us recoil in disgust. What happened?

To start, there is something called “blind-buying” in perfume purchasing. That’s when you buy a bottle of perfume without testing it on your own skin first. It’s the most dangerous and frivolous way of spending your money. You can research a perfume’s notes, it’s flavors and how it smells, but that’s only how other people sense that perfume.

Every person is different. Your own body reacts differently to every perfume. It’s not necessarily that your skin’s chemistry is different, it’s more that your body’s chemistry is different. What you’ve eaten that day, the medications that you take, what your body ingests, your actual coloring and the natural composition of your skin all add up to how a perfume will react to with you. That’s a basic explanation. Even smokers will find that the perfumes they enjoy seem to be different than non-smokers.  There are many variables involved in why a person enjoys a certain perfume.

Your skin should be well-nourished for a perfume to be well-accepted. It should be hydrated. You can use a moisturizer that complements the perfume, or just a regular moisturizer. Or, you can use an exceedingly thin veil of plain vaseline. A very thin veil of vaseline where you plan on spritzing your perfume. If the perfume won’t absorb, you’ve used too much. Using vaseline is an old trick to getting perfumes to last longer.

So a key to choosing is to try. And how do we try perfumes when there aren’t testers? Or do we only buy perfumes where there are testers available? Here’s where self-education, cross-matching perfumes and some research comes in. And frankly, I’m a firm believer that if a perfume doesn’t suit you, truly doesn’t fit you, then return it. Always ask a store’s policy before you purchase first, of course. And maybe, if they don’t take returns, then they don’t deserve your business. Because why should you be stuck with something you have to take a chance on? Would you buy a piece of clothing that you can’t try on? Then have to try it on at home, find it doesn’t fit, but can’t return it because that’s the store’s policy? No, you wouldn’t. So why are perfumes somehow given this certain standard where consumers feel they cannot return them if they haven’t been allowed to “try them on first”?  Personally, I think manufacturers are making a lot of money and laughing while people continue to purchase while they think they are stuck with bottles of unused perfume.

So how can you test perfumes? Ask for a sample or the tester if they are available from department stores. Many times, they are located behind the counters because of theft problems. Or, buy the smallest amount available online, that way if you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted much money.

There are samples available for purchase online on sites like Ebay for a nominal cost and sometimes, if you can’t find them at your local department stores, then it’s a good way to sample a perfume. Find the best price, look for a reputable seller and order samples if you cannot find them elsewhere. It’s not a way I’d suggest first, but, if you absolutely cannot find a perfume elsewhere, don’t waste your money on a larger bottle if you’re not sure you’re going to love it.

Also, stores like Sephora give you up to three samples to take home with you for the asking when you make a purchase, so it’s another way to sample more perfumes. Try their testers in store, then ask for samples to take home. Ulta, a beauty department store, always has many testers available for sampling use. With a purchase, be sure to ask for fragrance samples to take home.

Bath & Body Works usually has testers available, but not always their Eau de Toilettes or Eau de Parfums, sometimes they only have their fragrance body mists, which are lesser in concentrations, so bear that in mind when testing out their products. They also want you to only test in-store, and at times, testers can go bad under the lights, so the fragrance may be off. Lately, many drugstores also are keeping a small stock of testers available of perfumes handy for their customers. Keep an eye out when you visit the beauty department of stores to see what’s out to test, and spritz away.

When you sample a perfume, remember not to spritz too many on, or by the time you get home, you’ll be confused at which one smells like what on which arm. They’ll start smelling familiar and mix together. If you spray on the underside of your wrist, also, remember that this part of your body also has picked up other scents and is not the best place to sample perfumes. It actually has a lot of dirt from resting on different areas and places.  Sample on the top of your hand and wrist area instead where it’s cleaner.

Just remember to have fun when buying perfumes. Searching out a new perfume shouldn’t be difficult. It doesn’t have to be costly. It doesn’t have to be an ordeal. If you smell a scent on another person that you like, ask them what it is. When you find a perfume that you like, google it to find its reviews and see its “notes”. You’ll find comparisons of other perfumes similar to it and then you can start searching for them to see if you like them.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you like Forbidden Euphoria by Calvin Klein. The notes in Forbidden Euphoria are Orange, Raspberry, Peach Blossom, Jasmine, Orchid, Peony, Cashmere Wood, Patchouli and Musk. In Parfums de  Coeur/Fragrance Rebel’s Body Fantasies Romance & Dreams you’ll find these notes: Bergamot, Passion fruit, Peach, Pink peony, Rose Blossom, Freesia, Magnolia, Cedarwood, Oakmoss, Amber, Musk, and Vanilla Orchid. Similar notes, yes.  I’ve owned Forbidden Euphoria for about six months and very much enjoyed wearing it. I recently picked up Romance & Dreams but had store-sampled it first. While sniffing my wrist, I knew I recognized the scent immediately. When I arrived home, it hit me. Forbidden Euphoria! I immediately put Forbidden Euphoria on one arm, and Romance & Dreams on the other to test and compare them. I could not tell the difference between the two after three hours of wear. I re-tested the next day to be sure, and I was so delighted I went back to the store to purchase the remaining sets. It cost $49.00 for Forbidden Euphoria. To be honest, Romance & Dreams actually lasts longer and I was able to buy a set with a lotion, a shower gel, a fragrance mist and a rollerball of the Eau de Toilette for under $10. I was delighted to find a similar fragrance for such a wonderful price. They’re out there, you just have to find them.

When you search perfume sites, you’ll find other reviews that steer you to similar perfumes. Some are cheaper, some are not. It’s what you decide your price point is. The point is to always have fun. Look for quality ingredients and reputable companies that stand behind their products.

You can find more information about Romance & Dreams here: It can be purchased at drugstores, in discount retailers and online.

Perfumery is a Journey of the Soul. Finding your signature perfume is an ultimate moment. You’ll know when you’ve found it. Others will compliment you, yes. But it is in the way they compliment you. They inhale your scent secretly. You see it in their eyes. There is a longing. A look. Your perfume has become desirable in a way they could only wish for. You’ve succeeded in anointing yourself as only the legendary women of yesteryear could.

Marilyn Monroe and Chanel No. 5.



All works past, present and future are protected under a CCC. Creative Common License, Kaarie Blake Musings by Kaarie Blake is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivs-3.0-Unported License.


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