In theory, wearing perfume is easy: you find something you like, you spray it on your body, and you go about your day. In practice, it’s much more complicated than that, and unfortunately, we all have to make a ton of mistakes before we figure it out.
The following are 9 fragrance lessons we all have to learn the hard way.
1. Perfume smells a little differently on everyone. A fragrance that smells wonderful on your BFF might smell rancid on you.
OK, so “rancid” might be a slight exaggeration, but perfumes do smell differently from person to person. When it comes to fragrances, you should always try them before you buy.
2. Inexpensive perfumes aren’t always crap. Expensive perfumes aren’t always great.
How many times have you passed over an inexpensive scent that you really loved, simply because you thought it was too cheap to be any good? I still regret not buying Kim Kardashian’s Pure Honey fragrance. That stuff costs, like the same as a couple of Big Macs, but it is so good. Seriously! And as for expensive perfumes, well, I’ve smelled dozens that I wouldn’t dream of wearing (I’m looking at you, Flowerbomb. I’m looking at you.)
3. You know how women in movies always rub their wrists together after applying perfume? Yeah, don’t do that.
Spray it on and let it be, lest you “bruise” the fragrance, which perfume experts generally seem to agree will alter its smell and longevity.
4. When it comes to perfume, less is more.
Everyone goes overboard when they first start wearing perfume. If not for that one brutally honest friend or family member, we’d probably still be wearing way too much.
5. Storing your perfume in direct sunlight will ruin it.
I made this mistake in the ninth grade, and damn, did it suck. I kept my beloved bottle of Britney Spears Curious perfume on my desk, which was right beneath my bedroom window, and bathed in sunlight for nearly 8 hours a day. Slowly but surely, the perfume turned green and smelled very, well curious (but in a bad, bad way). This may sound a little weird, but the best place to keep your perfume is in the fridge. If you’re not into the idea of pushing past your Chanel No. 5 to reach your salad dressing, then consider storing your fragrance in a cupboard or a drawer instead.
6. Buying overly popular perfume is usually a mistake.
Since we’re on the topic of my old bottle of Curious, I should probably mention now that buying perfume simply because it’s popular is a terrible idea. Your perfume is your calling card—it should reflect your individual taste and style (and not the taste and style of every other girl in your high school).
7. Using a super fragrant body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and perfume is probably not a great idea.
Olfactory overkill is real.
8. Buying perfume for someone else is a very risky move.
Perfume is an incredibly personal purchase, so you really should avoid buying it for other people. The exception to this rule, of course, is buying someone a bottle of something you already know they love—that would be a great gift.
9. There’s a difference between having a signature scent and being in a perfume rut.
Having a signature scent is a great thing—if you find something that really speaks to you, why not wear it all of the time? With that being said, don’t limit yourself to one particular perfume style simply because it’s worked in the past. For example, I never thought in a million years that I’d be interested in wearing smoky, lavender-tinged colognes, but then I happened upon Serge Lutens’ Gris Clair and I fell head over heels in love. It’s good to know what you like, but try your best to have an open-minded approach to fragrance.