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David Jones

The Right Way to Shop for Perfume

Image source: Tetra Images/Getty Images

When it comes to shopping for a fragrance, it's more often than not that we really experience the tyranny of choice. We have all walked up to a fragrance counter, fresh of mind and open to options, eager to pick a new scent or a special gift for a loved one; but when faced with so many choices, we can't make up our minds about which one to buy (throws hands up in the air and/or look beseechingly at the sales assistant). It doesn't help that fragrance is such a personal thing that it's a reflection of you, or even worse, how well you really know the giftee.

But buying a perfume should be a joyful experience — a luxurious and indulgent treat to the senses. After all, a simple spritz of perfume can transform your mood or transport you to a wonderful memory. Here are a few shopping tips to help guide you when buying a new fragrance.

Time it when you shop

Don't go perfume-shopping during your lunchtime break. Experts say the best time to shop for perfume is in the early afternoon as this is when your olfactory system (read: your sense of smell) is at its best.

Judge a perfume by its package

When faced with a fragrance counter lined with bottle after bottle, trust your instinct and pick one that catches your eye. There's a lot of thought behind the design of perfume bottles so that they embody the scent in a visually appealing package. You're also more likely to enjoy using it if you like the way it looks.

Don't overwhelm your nose

Avoid olfactory fatigue, or your ability to differentiate between scents, and limit yourself to trying only 2 fragrances at one time. Make use of the blotters (the small strips of paper found in perfume counters) and spritz a tiny amount on each one, instead of on your skin.

Apply on pulse points

The old practice of applying perfume on your wrist or below the earlobes is not just due to habit; it's also because these are some of the pulse points in your body where the skin is warm and sensuous, conditions which help enhance the aroma of fragrance. It also helps to think of Coco Chanel's brilliant quip that one should apply perfume where one wants to be kissed.

Give it time

Like all good things, perfume take time to really develop. Once you have found one you like, wear it for a couple of hours until it settles into your skin. When you first spray perfume, it's only the top notes you're smelling but once it develops and adjusts to your skin, you'll be able to appreciate all levels of the fragrance and experience its true scent.

Shop women's fragrance.