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shadling21's avatar

Can you offer advice to someone who's never shopped for perfume?

Asked by shadling21 (6496points) November 3rd, 2008

Since childhood, I’ve accepted whatever perfumes and body sprays that I received as birthday or Christmas presents and used them. I no longer receive these gifts.

I’m ready to go out and buy some (preferably inexpensive) perfume. I’d like one for daily use (a “body mist”?). I’d also like to start thinking about what I may choose for special occasions (something pricier).

I have no clue what I like.

Any advice?

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22 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Shad; You said, “I have no clue what I like.” Take a friend and try a few samples. Scent smells different on everyone. I used to like the lighter forms of musk, or a citrusy spray.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

Get some advice from someone who has.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Find a good perfume maker near you. They should be able to help you find something you really like. It might be expensive, but a little goes a long way. And once you know what to look for in a perfume you like, you can go and find cheaper versions.

(Also, a good perfume maker doesn’t have to be expensive at all. Many local essential oil shops also make personal mixes for customers. As long as you find someone knowledgeable you are good to go. I just don’t like to assume everyone has access to something like my shop—it’s not local, but the woman there is AMAZING and cheap.)

Likeradar's avatar

Sample, sample, sample. Most department stores will even give you little sizes to take home. Try one on at a time- don’t make a decision based on first sniff. Perfumes have lots of layers and the first thing you smell may not be much like what it smells like the rest of the day.
Like gail said, scents smell different on everyone- I had a friend who wore Chanel no. 5 and it smelled amazing. It smells like ass on me.
Once you find something you like, try to identify why- does it smell like oranges? Musk? Roses? Talk to a person behind the counter about what you like and don’t. They’re usually very helpful about finding similar scents. Just don’t buy anything right away- wear it around to make sure you like it.

If you’re just looking for a basic, every-day non-perfumey scent I’d suggest Bath and Body Works.

gailcalled's avatar

If a woman passes you and smells good, ask her what’s she’s wearing. Most women would be flattered. I have done that several times and received nothing but smiles and names of products.

joeysefika's avatar

I recently bought my sister Flower Bomb for her 18th it was 150AUD but was worth it. Don’t just go to a mall that has perfume go to a proper boutique because they’ll know there stuff and be able to recommend you one.

melly6708's avatar

well for body mist you can get something fruity.. i have a victoria secret grape body mist and i love it.. it smells good.. but doesnt really stay for a long time.. it usually fades in an hr or so.. you could probably get something that lasts longer.. and for going out you can get something fancy. so to the sears.. macy.. etc and go crazy with all the smells.. and also victoria secret has some nice smells

breedmitch's avatar

I hate to say it, but expensive is better. From many years of working in the service industry where my customers arrived “dressed up for a night out” I’ve smelled my fair share of scents. The absolute best are when it’s prominent, but not anoying. A really good perfume kinda smacks you about the ears a bit, making you a little punch-drunk. It should stir up the male in you (well not you) but confuse you at the same time. Channel #5 does this to me; So does Oscar de la Renta.

shadling21's avatar

Thanks, all! I find perfume shopping utterly daunting. The department store clerk seemed as befuddled as me when I told her I was a complete newbie.

@Gail – Great idea. Both of them. I’ve been too shy to comment on someone’s scent, but I’ll have to try it.

@pork – Isn’t that what I’m doing? I’m confused.

@Empress – Interesting idea… Thus far, I’ve only been hitting up department stores. I’ll check out some indy stores when I’m in the shopping district tomorrow.

@Likeradar – I wish my city had a Bath and Body Works location! I stopped at one in the States, and it was awesome.

@Brian – I’ll have to really think about what I want to spend money on, then. Should I look at the most expensive ones I see? Is there a minimum amount I should be spending?

breedmitch's avatar

I think you want avoid anthing that’s a mass-market, mass produced, department store type fragrance. While some of these can be expensive, they spend too much on marketing and bottle design and skimp on actual fragrance quality. Go with something unique, pricey, and boutique. It will become a signature more easily (since it isn’t on everyone else). I’m currently wearing Keihl’s Musk. It’s intoxicating. I’m loving EmpressPixie’s suggestion of a personally blended scent.

Likeradar's avatar

@shadling21— do you have a Victoria’s Secret? I was going to edit my answer to mention that too but it was too late. They have good body mists too. melly is right though- body mists fade really quickly.

The dpt store clerk who seemed befuddled isn’t very good at her job. Keep trying. Sephora is a good option, if you’re around one. Those people know their stuff and give out free samples.

My personal favorites, not that anyone asked, are- Michael Koors by Michael Koors (mass marketed but lovely and floral and sophisticated), Rosewood by Banana Republic (fairly inexpensive, musky but not overpoweringly, makes me feel like an adult- which I am :) ), Chanel Chance (expensive and also makes me feel like a grown up) and Miso Pretty by… I have no idea. It’s cheap and fades pretty quickly but it’s distinctive and smells like cut grass and tuberose according to the bottle.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I wear Hollywood and have for years. I too, find shopping for perfume daunting. I have to concur; the body mists fade quickly. Most perfume counters have little pieces of paper to test sniff scents on before you actually put some on yourself to test. It may take a few trips before you find something you like. Put perfume on your pulse points, like wrists, and then wait a few minutes, so the scent has a chance to mix with your body chemistry.

I prefer to purchase eau de parfum, which is lighter smelling and less expensive than parfum. But a bottle lasts a long time. I put on perfume every day, and a 3.4 oz. bottle lasts about 9 months. I would expect to spend $35 – $40 for a bottle of perfume that I wear every day.

If you like something light, you might want to check out Zen

meemorize's avatar

I can very much recommend Hugo Boss’s Pure for daily use. It smells nice and has a very subtle, light fragrance.
For special occasions or just for a bit of difference use Estée Lauder’s Pleasure For Men. One of my personal favourites by far. Just go to your local shop and get some free testers or something./

La_chica_gomela's avatar

My advice is to try not to sniff too many perfumes in in one trip. Your nose can get confused. I don’t know, it’s just like, after about 5 scents, they kind of all smell the same to me, and I think a lot of people are like that.

Also don’t forget that a perfume will smell very different on you than it does on a strip of paper, so I never buy something unless I’ve smelled it on my very own arm (which must be free of other perfumes) and made sure.

Good luck! Let us know what you pick out!

augustlan's avatar

When your nose gets overwhelmed by all the smells, take a step back and smell the inside of your elbow area (which you’ve sensibly kept scent-free). After a few seconds of “smelling yourself”, your nose will be ready to go again. I use this method for scented candles, too.

Likeradar's avatar

Coffee beans help with nose-over stimulation too. A lot of perfume counters have them.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Likeradar, I’ve seen them (and smelled them) at perfume counters, and sometimes it does seem to help, but for me, mostly the coffee beans are just another scent. For me personally, no new smells can un-confuse my nose. Once I’ve smelled a certain number of scents in a short period of time, it’s hard for me to tell what’s good and what’s bad…they’re all just different…

shadling21's avatar

I still haven’t had a chance to go shopping, guys. I will tell you about it when that happens.

I’ll also try the coffee bean thing, but I love the smell of coffee so much that I think I’d get very distracted and have to leave to buy a coffee.

The elbow thing makes sense to me.

gailcalled's avatar

@Shadling; Skip the middleman and simply dab high-quality espresso on wrists, behind ears and knees and other points with a pulse.

TheFonz_is's avatar

ok coming from a guy…

buy ralph lauren ralph.. smells great on any female..

and my wife says the body mist from Angel (Thierry Muggler) is better than the edt because its cheaper and lasts longer!

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

It all depends on your body chemistry and how your body mixes with the smell, try looking online for samples, sometimes perfume companies give a way free samples off the net. Or try out your friends perfume and see how your body mixes with it. Sometimes around the holidays perfume stores or even the mall (if you live near one) give away free samples you can take home…Just go around and ask for free samples, or test them out…not all at once tho…eventually you’ll find one, or a few, that you’ll like…its all about trial and error…but dont give up!

Pachy's avatar

I’ve learned it’s best to ask what she likes!

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