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  1. #1

    Default Perfume Etiquette

    Hi all,

    I am hoping you can help me with a small problem. I received a present from my mother, an Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise gift set that includes the fragrance and the body lotion. I accepted it graciously and thanked her, but I didn't tell her that this smells terrible on me. It is just a cloying bouquet of tropical flowers that sits on my skin and never evolves. The set didnt come with a gift receipt, so I probably cannot return it.

    What do you in cases where you've received a perfume you dislike? Do you keep it and hope to fall in love with it? Do you tell the person?

  2. #2

    Shycat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    Sigh. I keep it. I make a point of wearing it around them once or twice. I talk more about other fragrances that I love as well, and suggest they try them.

    I make blind buys myself, so in the long run I don't want to discourage anyone from gifting me with fragrance. If I find someone who likes the present, I offer it to them, saying it was a gift but I can't appreciate it, and it needs a loving home.

    The benefit is that once, I really did fall in love with a sad little fragrance called Paris.

    (Thank you, Robin.)

  3. #3
    Lean in closer, dear
    Quarry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    I'd tell dear Mom that, although you love her recognizing that you're a fragrance fan, this scent simply isn't working for you. If she responds that she still has the receipt, problem solved. If a dark look comes over her face, tell her the good news is that you're in touch with other frag fans who love swapping, so you'll have fun swapping the products for other fragrance(s). Of course you don't want her to feel badly, but if you don't nip this in the bud, she may keep gifting you with unwanted scents. (If you need help using the swap function here on basenotes or the one at makeupalley.com, just ask and many will come to your aid.)

    A caveat: You know your mother better than we do, so you probably already know the best course of action. My mom was a bit of a shopaholic, even though she couldn't afford to be, and loved to give things to me. Over the years I learned to sell her on practical ideas that took the strain off her pocketbook and my conscience.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  4. #4

    Smile Re: Perfume Etiquette

    I agree with Quarry that I'd nip it in the bud, but in the nicest and most grateful way possible. Because if you pretend to like something you don't, then you may get it again and again and again. If a person can be aware of how much you are into your fragrances, how much they mean to you, then perhaps next time she may consider a gift certificate or ask you what you like or something like that. If people knew for instance that someone was into fine wines and they themselves knew nothing about them, they would probably do some research. This is a touchy one.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by TDDanae
    I agree with Quarry that I'd nip it in the bud, but in the nicest and most grateful way possible. Because if you pretend to like something you don't, then you may get it again and again and again.
    I'd have to agree--my entire family kept giving me a particular fragrance for years because my mom was sure it was my favorite, meanwhile I was wearing it constantly in a vain effort to a) express gratitude and b) use it all up and move on.

    If it was me, I would express surprise and disappointment that Beyond Paradise doesn't work with my skin chemistry because perfume expert Luca Turin raved about what a well made fragrance it is, thus explaining the problem while complementing mom's taste and the quality of the gift.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by Quarry
    I'd tell dear Mom that, although you love her recognizing that you're a fragrance fan, this scent simply isn't working for you. ... Of course you don't want her to feel badly, but if you don't nip this in the bud, she may keep gifting you with unwanted scents.
    Quoted for truuuth! coumarin had a fabulous idea of explaining to her that it's a wonderful scent and that you appreciate it, but that it doesn't work with your skin chemistry. I know that if I expressed my gratitude and love for my mom and her gift, and then described Luca Turin to my mom, and explained why I put such stock into his opinions...well, that would really hit the message home that my mom has fabulous taste and that I'm grateful for the gift.

    Plus it might get you the gift receipt and you can get something that you love...and maybe next year your mum might choose a gift certificate to Nordstrom or Aedes instead

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    Since this is your mom who's given you the gift of a scent you are not too fond of, I would suggest being open and honest about it. Just let her know how you feel about this scent, be nice but honest. If it does not work for you and you would not be wearing it there's no point in keeping it.

    On the other hand, a friend gave me not one but two bottles of perfume that I was not too fond of and I ended up not saying anything. One of them was a gift-set of Fendi which I ended up selling on eBay, only to replace it with a bottle... I ended up giving it another shot and grew to appreciate it, (no, it's not love for me). The other bottle she gave me was a small bottle of Cool Water which I gave to my sister - she loves Cool Water so I figured why not.

    I guess if you feel comfortable about saying something most certainly do, but if you're not then pass it on in some way...

    What I'm trying to say is that, if I really don't like it I'm not wearing it! (But you don't have to be mean about it).
    Last edited by Goddess_Dreams; 11th December 2006 at 03:43 PM.
    "Of the five senses, the sense of smell is incontestably the one that best conveys a sense of immortality."

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  8. #8

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by Shycat
    Sigh. I keep it. I make a point of wearing it around them once or twice. I talk more about other fragrances that I love as well, and suggest they try them.

    I make blind buys myself, so in the long run I don't want to discourage anyone from gifting me with fragrance. If I find someone who likes the present, I offer it to them, saying it was a gift but I can't appreciate it, and it needs a loving home.

    The benefit is that once, I really did fall in love with a sad little fragrance called Paris.
    I'm with the Pusser on this one. (Besides, I adore Paris But we may be of the old school, etiquette-wise - and also risk-takers.

    Whatever you do will be the right thing! :bounce:
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  9. #9

    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    My mother gave me Gucci Rush for my birthday and I gave it to someone else, she was with me when I sprayed it on and I think she judged from my sneezing (not even faked) that maybe she should leave perfume buying up to me.

  10. #10

    Default A little dab will do ya

    A lot of my friends know that buying fragrance is a shot in the dark, and Danes especially seem accustomed to their gifts being returned or exchanged. These cases are a cinch (they make notes for next time!).

    For the rest... well, I'm not terribly keen on confrontations, but also hate having things for which I have no use; I also have a strategy.

    As a child I somehow acquired a bottle of amber/patchouli/GODonlyknowsWHAT scent. I assumed that since I didn't like it, I simply lacked the adult sophistication it required.

    So, I held onto it for over two dozen years, during which period I discovered that it was simply indescribably and unrelievedly nasty on me, with a tenacity guaranteed to ruin anything else I applied to those areas to which I had previously applied what was now a mystery fluid... for DAYS.

    When someone gives me a a fragrance that just does not work for me, I layer it with a dab from the bottle from hell, then meet up with the giver. I smilingly thrust my wrist enthusiastically under her/his nose of the giver and ask them what they think. This has never failed to elicit a reaction ranging from the appalled/nauseated to simply distressed. I often hear "It smelled SO nice on the little strip/me/my friend" or "The salesperson RECOMMENDED it!!!".

    I say something like "I thought it smelled a little strong... but fragrance is so tricky [cue brief casual explantion of need to try on wearer to ensure satisfaction]".

    This has never failed me: no hurt feelings and no undesired bottle clutter

    All you need to do is find something that smells horrid--it needn't be perfume (ever tried asafoetida? You can get it at shops that sell Indian goods, and uncooked it is quite unpleasant)--and proceed as above.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by bren
    I accepted it graciously and thanked her, but I didn't tell her that this smells terrible on me. It is just a cloying bouquet of tropical flowers that sits on my skin and never evolves. The set didnt come with a gift receipt, so I probably cannot return it.
    Bren,
    Cloying bouquet of flowers that sits and never evolves? What's not to like?

    I have 2 words: Re-gift and BN trade! Well, maybe 3 or so.

    Seriously, as the folks have said, you can tell someone that it's rank if you have some real interpersonal skills, and they're not overly neurotic. Those are big IF's, I suppose!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Perfume Etiquette

    i say pretend to like it. the giver may have put a lot of thought into the gift. even if you don't like it, appreciate the thought and leave it at that.

    in your specific case, as shycat said, you can mention in conversation other perfumes you like and want to try, and your general interest in a variety of frags. that way next time they will be less likely to give you the same one again.

    just my 2c.
    Last edited by liquid; 13th December 2006 at 05:36 PM.

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