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  1. #1

    Wink Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    What is your process for purchasing new perfumes? Are you an impulse shopper? Do you take a few months to ruminate? Are you somewhere in between? And what of sales associates? Do you use them or do your best to avoid them?

    I wrote a hub yesterday that I thought would be helpful to people who are starting out with fragrance, wanting to purchase a signature perfume. Tell me what you think, and how you differ from me!

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Finding-Your-Fragrance
    And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
    Will cave in on him by and by.

    —from "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  2. #2

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Some good advice in that article (especially the part about asking questions and avoiding clueless, spritz-crazy SAs), though there are two things I'm curious about:

    1. Can perfumes really mix in one's bloodstream if you wear more than one at the same time?

    2. Is Bulgari Black really classified as a "woody" fragrance? (Or strictly a men's fragrance, for that matter?)

  3. #3

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Long, deliberate, laborious, torturous. I'm both picky as hell and commitment-phobic regarding perfumes, so I'll sniff and sample, and resniff and resample, umpteen times before I finally decide I love a fragrance enough to buy it. Must be a latent frugal Scottish gene in me. On the plus side, I rarely get buyer's remorse and my collection is small, but meaningful.

    Good article. The car shopping analogy is perfect.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I take my precious time. Impulse buys happen, but they tend to be vintage finds and the odd sale item. I do buy unsniffed, although usually after months, even years of thinking, reading reviews, comparing notes and fantasising.

    I have a favourite SA or two who recognise me and know what kind of fragrance I tend to like, but I like looking around on my own. I should probably make use of them more, though (and buy more bottles from them, to get them provision...).

  5. #5

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Depends on...........some scents I buy after months of seeking - mostly valuable Guerlains et al.
    There are some impulse buys - very good deals, vintage rare scents, special offers.

    Not saying that I really shouldn't buy any more scents because I have already too much. But sometimes I cannot resist.

  6. #6
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Good article, but please could you correct the comment about fragrances "mixing in your bloodstream"? As a qualified nurse practitioner l assure you that fragrance cannot enter your bloodstream (unless you drink it!), only on your skin.
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Actually, any chemicals applied topically do show some, albeit usually minor, absorption into the bloodstream.

    Also, a number of the musks used in perfumes do bio-accumulate (and are not biodegradable! ). They tend to be stored in with our fat, and have been detected in things such as breast milk. Sad, but true.

    While I don't find it as valuable as Basenotes, I do think Fragrantica deserves a mention as a resource. They often have more information for a given scent, and also usually have the original ad copy and pictures of the associated ads and what not. Besides, I think the vibe of Fragrantica and the general slant of the reviews is far more targeted to those interested in mainstream fragrances, and that's the type of audience who would get the most out of your article, hence why I feel the inclusion of Fragrantica to be a good thing.

    Other than that - a great article! Thanks for posting it!
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  8. #8

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I've been an impulsive buyer this past year, but now I'm starting to calm down again. I looked at my collection a few days ago and realised I don't love a lot of the perfumes I own. I don't regret buying any of them because the process helped me to understand what I do love, but I also think about how much money I would have saved if I hadn't indulged. So there'll be a few going up for sale in due time.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Nice article outlining a useful system. It generally follows what I do myself: check Basenotes, get samples, wear samples, purchase. I would have found your article quite helpful a year ago when I first started out, when I was spraying randomly recommended perfumes ad hoc on my skin.

    With a collection that is larger than I ever intended (60+?), I've added an additional criterion: preferably, I must use up the entire sample vial of my own free will. This helps me figure out what I truly love, versus what you might call a "fling". If I can't get a sample, multiple trips to the store to re-try the tester are a sure sign that I'm smitten.

    Ditto on including Fragrantica.
    Anakin: What was that all about?
    Obi-Wan: Well, R2 has been...
    Anakin: No loose wire jokes.
    Obi-Wan: Did I say anything?
    Anakin: He's trying.
    Obi-Wan: I didn't say anything!

    -ROTS


  10. #10

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Bon Vivant, I like that "use the entire vial" touchstone test. Which means I need to buy Dans Tes Bras, Bois de Paradise, Ormonde Woman, Guerlain Parure and Jean Patou Pour Homme Prive......once my ship comes in, lol!
    "Like a lobster with a pearl in its claw, the beet held the jasmine firmly without crushing or obscuring it. Beet lifted jasmine, the way a bullnecked partner lifts a ballerina, and the pair came on stage on citron's fluty cue. As if jasmine were a collection of beautiful paintings, beet hung it in the galleries of the nose, insured it against fire or theft, threw a party to celebrate it. Citron mailed the invitations." Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins p. 189

    What I am loving right now: Shalimar vintage extrait, Chanel Bois des Iles, Chanel no. 22, Le Labo Iris 39, Guerlain Iris Ganache

  11. #11

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Like in #3, deliberation takes months here, all due to a wide-awake frugal German gene in me.

    Trying to avoid SAs as much as I can. Have been treated like trash many times before, thanks.

    Thanks for posting a link to your writeup.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    So much helpful feedback. Thanks for your replies.
    And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
    Will cave in on him by and by.

    —from "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  13. #13

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Quote Originally Posted by teardrop View Post
    Good article, but please could you correct the comment about fragrances "mixing in your bloodstream"? As a qualified nurse practitioner l assure you that fragrance cannot enter your bloodstream (unless you drink it!), only on your skin.
    Thanks; I'll correct that.
    And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
    Will cave in on him by and by.

    —from "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  14. #14

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Just as an FYI, this article I wrote is up for a Hubnugget, which is a newbie award through Hubpages. If you want to vote for it, you can vote today at:

    http://hubpages.com/hub/HubNugget-Nation

    It's the first nominee under Fashion and Beauty.

    You don't have to join Hubpages to vote.

    Thanks in advance if you do.
    And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
    Will cave in on him by and by.

    —from "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  15. #15

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Well some can be mad passionate love on first sniff and a frenzy to buy it ASAP!
    Others I will try the samples and wear on and off for months. Dither about whether I really love it enough.

    Blind buys, well I spot and the call to me like a siren call. I go find reviews think about it and then jump in. Have to say I have been really lucky with Blind Buys.
    DONNA

  16. #16

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I don't have a process. I don't like rules, particularly self inflicted ones, lol! Sometimes I buy on impulse -- if I find a great bargain on something I want, or even something I'm curious about. So I still do occasional blind buys. Sometimes I buy because I've finished a sample and want more, but most of the time I'm happy to move on. Once in a blue moon I'll fall in love with a fragrance and want a full bottle. That happened to me recently with Dolce Vita. I actually owned this back in the 90s, used up the bottle, and moved on. For whatever reason lately, I'm enjoying a decant of it someone sent me - enough to crave a full bottle again. But this is a fragrance I've been wearing several days in a row, and that seldom happens. If I have any rule, it's that I don't want many full bottles. I'm happy with decants 99% of the time. It has taken me a few years to get to this point of relative non-acquisitiveness (and that also extends to other areas in my life). I keep gift bottles from my husband and other sentimental bottles, but these days there are only two reasons I'd want a full bottle: 1) the bottle is wonderful, or appeals to me for some reason, and 2) I like having plenty to share with others.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I'm very deliberate and picky as far as buying new fragrances. Typically I will become curious about a fragrance I read about here or tested somewhere. I test it and think about it, and if I love it enough and it fills a gap in my wardrobe, I buy it.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Whoa, I definitely went through the exact process when I decided to buy my first fragrance. I tend to google and research things I'm going to buy. It takes me a good couple of weeks to look around the internet (Basenotes, mainly), look at the notes, read some reviews and then compare prices. If something sounds particularly good on paper (notes & reviews), I add it to my test list. When I go to any place with a fragrance counter, I make a point to head straight for the ones on my test list. Then, I get a sample or two of the ones I liked and proceed to mull it over at home. For my first purchase, I pretty much spritzed one on each arm and picked on the spot after a week or so of thinking or else I wouldn't have ended up with anything. Being picky: a gift and a burden, truly.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Usually I test, test, test -- get a sample or a mini, and really try to wear it a lot. Probably 80% of the time, my scent of the day is a sample instead of something I own in a full bottle. After the first time I wore my Le Temps d'Une Fete sample, though, I knew I HAD to own that one! And it's still one of my favorites.

    I'm also guilty of seeing something that I've read a lot of good things about at a really good price, and just grabbing it on impulse. This worked great for Christian Dior Dune and Theorema Esprit d'Ete, not so well for J.Lo Still (I'm only out $10 on that one, though). If I ever find the mythical Marshalls stash of Robert Cavalli's Oro, I'm going to buy it sight-unsmelled!
    This scent is great, but ... MORE KITTENS!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Mine are chaotic, impulsive and nonsensical, always.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I go in tangents .I was the kid who would read every variation of a particular fairytale for subtle changes in the story.Or read everything an author wrote that I could/can get my hands on.I'm older now(31)and do the same with perfumes.I track scent types and noses.Admittedly I also will blind buy for 1.a good price,2.was recomended,3.bottle is pretty,4.it's in a group lot 5. I felt like it .

  22. #22
    BN better than ever
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I've been meaning to get back to this thread and read your article for days. It's a thoughtful and useful piece and unlike most fragrance guides found online. Additionally, your punctuation was like manna from heaven.

    Most importantly, that photo of you and the little one is crazy adorable!

    P.S.
    I've bought a total of five bottles of Guerlain With Love at this point. If you're wishing you had more of your wedding scent, I'd say you can still buy off ebay with confidence. The top notes may have dissipated, but the rest is still just grand.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I am trying to not buy any frags at all. I only buy what I think I can´t live without. (I have about 30 bottles, so, please, don´t laugh!) This is a good start, at least if one only is a perfume-user, like me.

    If I find a perfume who is hard for me to find, I can buy it right away, but if it is easier to find, I try it several times, and I also check up that I don´t already have something similar. - Some years ago, I could come home with a new bottle, just to find out that I already had something similar and better...

    Of course I both sniff around all the time, and also read a lot about perfumes, so I know a little about what there is available.

    And when it is a SALE of perfumes, who happends very selldom, I can buy quite many perfumes at one time. Then I know what I want, because of my sniffing and reading, so this is a golden opportunity to refresh the perfume-wardrobe.

    I don´t mind letting the process of getting new bottles take a long time!
    Last edited by Margareta; 13th November 2010 at 03:36 PM.
    Faves right now: Chanel No 19, Stella Rose Absolute, L´Heure Bleu, Elixir de Merveilles, Samsara.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Quote Originally Posted by Thalia View Post
    Usually I test, test, test -- get a sample or a mini, and really try to wear it a lot. Probably 80% of the time, my scent of the day is a sample instead of something I own in a full bottle. After the first time I wore my Le Temps d'Une Fete sample, though, I knew I HAD to own that one! And it's still one of my favorites.

    I'm also guilty of seeing something that I've read a lot of good things about at a really good price, and just grabbing it on impulse. This worked great for Christian Dior Dune and Theorema Esprit d'Ete, not so well for J.Lo Still (I'm only out $10 on that one, though). If I ever find the mythical Marshalls stash of Robert Cavalli's Oro, I'm going to buy it sight-unsmelled!
    I saw that Cavalli at marshall's in manhattan this week, in a tall, unwieldy 75ml bottle for $30. The bottle is just too tall for most shelves -- and ugly, too.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Quote Originally Posted by Zibeline View Post
    Mine are chaotic, impulsive and nonsensical, always.
    Zibeline you must be my perfume purchasing role model. That's my story and I'm stickin to it!
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

  26. #26

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Quote Originally Posted by knit_at_nite View Post
    Zibeline you must be my perfume purchasing role model. That's my story and I'm stickin to it!
    Very good! You tell people I'm your role model and I'll tell people I'm only keeping up with you....this way we'll have "cover" and a fabulous collection.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Quote Originally Posted by Zibeline View Post
    Very good! You tell people I'm your role model and I'll tell people I'm only keeping up with you....this way we'll have "cover" and a fabulous collection.
    DEAL! lol
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    This is an awesome thread.

    I'm a mixed bag for me.

    I have bought impulsively and blind and both have payed off in most circumstances but I have enough 'fails' and enough bottles to make me more cautious these days. Of course, what is impulsive to me may not be impulsive to you! I will also still buy good deals on eBay but am generally searching for something in particular there. When I do search it's usually for used bottles which is kinder to the wallet but also much more tempting because of the low prices!

    I have never bought too impulsively, always researching first or testing in-store. My current rule of thumb is to test with a full wearing at least three times. For example; I wasn't sure about L'Instant de Guerlain but by the third full wearing I decided I would not be able to completely fall for it so walked away from the bottle. Or is that "backed" away?

    I also tend to do as Mr. Bon Vivant does and see how I go with samples (or instore testing) although I'm picky about samples now too.

    Unfortunately, I have to go mainstream for the most part due to one or two expensive sample packs that went in the poo-poo box almost immediately. In Australia we dont have much niche close at hand (not in Adelaide anyway - Bond No. 9, Annick Goutal and Tom Ford are about it) and I like to be able to test to see if I even want to order samples!

    I'm sure in the future I'll blind-buy some stuff again but as it stands, I have enough bottles, mini's and samples to keep me happy for quite a while. Though, I kinda wish I had a few thousand to spend on perfume. I could probably spend that within a day! D:
    I'm sure most of us could!

    Edit: Sorry sorry, I meant to mention that while I enjoy the article and it is good advice for newbies who drown themselves with everything they walk past, I would also mention that just because you like (or don't like) something on card, it might not be the same on skin. If I relied on cards I would have Knowing and Dior Addict in my wardrobe and I absolutely cannot wear either! Y smells terrible on card yet it is one of my all-time favorites Of course you say to test on skin as well but though I'd mention it!

    Oh and SA's? Thursday just gone I was talking to an older SA about some fragrance or another and she mentioned that "Yes! It' has that lovely DEEP SPICY BERGAMOT note" and it was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud! I know my eyebrows raise so high I'm sure they disappeared into my hairline but I just nodded and grinned! xD

    TWolf, I have found most SA's to be incredibly snooty but as soon as you start talking about the actual fragrances they kinda go all mushy on you - only at specific house counters like Lancome, Chanel or Dior though.
    The counters that 15 SA's share with 359 different houses really just have no clue - though I think they might be trained on how to look snooty and cluless. How else could they pull that off so well?
    Last edited by Kal; 15th November 2010 at 09:16 AM. Reason: oops - forgot something! + Sorry for the waffling ...
    He isn't poor because he lacks money but because everything he wants is unobtainable ...

    My name is KaL - EL - EL - L - L - L ! D:

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    You posted a lot of good thoughts, Kal, and explained them just beautifully. Now I have a new name for the rejects box [snickers].
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Lol Quarry! I couldn't think of the right word - rejects! That's it! *slaps forehead*

    I must say, my 'poo-poo box' doesn't get opened much due to that waft of ... umm ... pew-pew. *holds nose*

    I let visitors open it though! *evil grin*
    Last edited by Kal; 15th November 2010 at 11:34 PM. Reason: emoticon mucking things up ...
    He isn't poor because he lacks money but because everything he wants is unobtainable ...

    My name is KaL - EL - EL - L - L - L ! D:

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Great thread !
    I am slow and laborious most of the time when choosing a new perfume. I think I enjoy the process of elimination and the process of investigating every aspect of a 'fume I would like to get ,before taking the plunge. ( Saying that, I have been known to blind buy - my excuse is female hormones ! *LOL* )
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    In the past, I would sample, and then if I loved it, I'd buy a full bottle. Simple and straightforward, right?

    No, there is a problem.

    It seems strange that I've only realized this recently: there are many perfumes I love -- really love-- but still only want to wear occasionally, or even rarely. I can't explain why. Some of these are the heavy hitters, the one-spray perfumes, but there are also lighter ones that seem to sit there unused, for months even, before I'm in the mood for them again.

    So I think I'm going to have change my method, and start buying decants --and then only buying full bottles of those that I find myself wearing relatively often. I'm still pondering this, because I don't really like getting decants. But it doesn't make sense to spend so much on bottles that just sit there.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    Mixture. Some are carefully planned, read up on, samples sought and then carefully considered. Other times I have bought on impulse. For example, recently I went from total ignorance of Back to Black by Kilian to forking over for the full bottle after one small sniff of the stuff at the counter. That was insane and even though I do in fact adore it, I was cross with myself afterwards for buying something which could have turned out to be a total lemon, and a very expensive one at that. It doesn't last as long on the skin as i'd hope for something so pricey, though.

    Also, if I see a good deal (£20 or so) on somewhere like cheapsmells.co.uk, I'm sometimes tempted to buy blind rather than go through the faff of finding a sample. I've found some gems like this but also (for me) some real duds. Like Tocade by Rochas. To this day I wonder if I got a bad bottle as it smells so horrible compared to the rhapsodic praise people bestow on it, and the lovely descriptions of the rose/vanilla plus me generally loving Maurice Roucel scents. Alas, I never see it in the shops and I'm not about to risk buying another bottle to be sure.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Your Process for Purchasing New Perfume

    I think my process for purchasing new perfume can be careful but at other times chaotic. I know the 'sensible' route as outlined in the article...read reviews, obtain samples, wear the sample over a period of time.... This is really the best way to build up a personal collection and what feels like the best approach. However at other times I will splurge if I see a great deal, or sample once and buy immediately like a non thinking crazy person. This year though, I'm more about getting into decants...I'm beginning to think that if I use the entire decant and miss the fragrance, then maybe it's time to buy the bottle.

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