Perfume 101

Hate it or love it, there’s always something to be said about perfume. While some people have their signature scent, others use perfumes as an emotional extension, relating feelings to certain smells and memories, and using each to set the tone for the day. So the question remains: how much is too much? And can you ever overdo it? Perhaps most importantly: how can you go about finding the perfect perfume that you feel represents you the most?

Finding your scent
Like fashion, makeup or even hair, perfumes go in and out of style just as much as it-bags and statement shoes. However, unlike jackets, blouses or pleated pants, perfumes can withstand the test of time thanks to the way they chemically react to your natural scent, smelling one way on somebody else and completely different on you. Thus, it’s important to test out a perfume before you commit to investing on a full bottle, so make sure you ask a cosmetologist for a sample to see how it reacts with you over the next couple of days.

If you find that you don’t collaborate well with what you hoped to consider your dream scent, ask a professional’s opinion “ not only will they steer you in the right direction, they might introduce you to a brand or a line outside of the mainstream spectrum. Also, if you find you have an adverse reaction, ask for a list of ingredients to determine what aspect of the perfume you’re allergic to. That way, instead of assuming you can’t wear any perfume at all, you can stay away from certain products containing certain allergens.

Believe it or not, applying perfume requires a little more than an all-over spritz before heading out the door, so unless you want to soak yourself in what promises to be a scent your neighbours will resent, abide by the rule of less is more. The likes of Mariah Carey (sanity questionable, but a perfume guru nonetheless) claims that walking through an air-spritz prevents scent overkill, while connoisseurs of scented oil and perfume roll-ons suggest applying perfume to your pulse points (wrists and neck). Crazy at it may seem, the scent will come off stronger as your heart beats, but remain subtle since it hasn’t embedded itself in your clothes.

While application may seem to cover the perfume etiquette bases, to wear your scent non-offensively consists of a little more than not drenching yourself on the way to the office. Tempting as it may be, avoid applying any scents at work “ especially if you work in close quarters with cubicle counterparts “ and don’t spritz perfume directly to their pulse points. (If it’s noticeable with a subtle roll-on, imagine what effect it will have with a concentrate.) And of course, don’t overkill upon morning application: while you may build up a tolerance to your favourite scent, those around you are not as likely “ especially since they’re not the ones wearing it in the first place.

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Tags: allergens, cosmetologists, perfume, perfume etiquette, scents, smells, wearing perfume

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