What to consider when choosing a new perfume

Buying a new perfume is a bigger deal than your average beauty purchase. It tends to be more of an investment, and you have to think carefully about the scent you’re buying.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge with a new fragrance, there are a few things you might want to consider.

Think about your fragrance family

Andrew Kyriakou, fragrance concierge at Parfum Muse, says the first port of call is considering your fragrance family. While there are “so many ways to do it”, he says, for the average consumer Mr Kyriakou sticks to four key categories.

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He says: “I keep it to a chypre category, which is very woodsy and outdoorsy, then I would say a freshness category, which is all about bright things and citrus and very exciting ingredients. Then we would move onto something quite floral, which can be a little bit sweet, but then you’ve also got the rose aspect, and then the final one would be something oriental – which is quite dark and quite smooth, and can also have touches of vanilla in there too.”

Mr Kyriakou recommends having a fragrance consultation to educate yourself about perfumes, and really understand what scent is right for you.

Consider when and where you’ll be wearing it
The way we wear fragrances has changed. Nowadays, Mr Kyriakou suggests people are more likely to have “a fragrance wardrobe” – different perfumes tailored to the occasion and mood. “It depends on the person, what they’re looking for and when they will be wearing it,” he says.

Mr Kyriakou adds: “Somebody’s job can be really handy to know [when doing a consultation]. If you’re picking a fragrance for everyday but you work in an office environment, the last thing you want to do is offend somebody around you, because it’s not going to make you want to wear the perfume. However, if you’ve got something clean and fresh and quite polite as a fragrance, everyone around you is going to love it, so you’re going to want to wear it a lot more.”

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Analyse your lifestyle
If you have a perfume consultation, you might be asked about your diet. What you eat “changes the oils in people’s skin”, explains Mr Kyriakou. “For example, if for some reason you’ve got a lack of iron in your diet, that can change your body chemistry – when you spray a fragrance on yourself that would be a totally different smell than it would be on myself.”

If you have the kind of skin which changes fragrances a lot – something Mr Kyriakou says happens a lot – choose certain notes. He says: “I like to focus on ingredients that are larger molecules – so something heavy such as vanilla, because vanilla doesn’t really move. I wouldn’t focus on something such as bergamot, because that’s a fizzy molecule and that will just change very quickly – it’s not stubborn enough to stick.”

Don’t choose a perfume because it smells great on someone else
Scents tend to smell different on different people. “I would always recommend trying it on the skin, just because even longevity differs between people’s skin types as well,” explains Mr Kyriakou. “If you’ve got a dryer skin type, the fragrance tends to not last as long because your skin kind of eats it. If someone has a dry skin type, I always recommend to use a scented moisturiser beforehand.”

If you’re testing a new perfume, Mr Kyriakou advises spraying it on the back of your hand. “If you think about it, we don’t realise how much we put our hands by our face, so you’re constantly getting waves of this fragrance,” he explains. “If you were to put it on your neck, what happens is your brain gets used to the scent and it starts to ignore it, because if our brains took everything constantly that was around us, we’d have a headache.”

Read: Fragrances in cleaning products and air fresheners making us sick

Price isn’t everything
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a good perfume, suggests Mr Kyriakou. “As a professional I can smell the difference in the quality, but your average consumer – probably not so much.”

Mr Kyriakou favours the premium market that “sits in the middle”, he says, “because I like something unique that’s not overly expensive”.

Do you stick with the same perfume or try out new ones? Which perfume are you wearing at the moment? Let us know in the comments section below.

– With PA

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Written by Prudence Wade

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