You love it so they must love it right? No wrong and worst off they may absolutely detest it, so that afternoon spent accumulating a headache from sniffing various scents has been a waste of time. Well it needn't be and not if you spend just a few moments to analyse the kind of person you're buying for.
Fragrance be it eau de parfum or an after-shave is an incredibly personal choice and a very difficult one with so many on the market. You need to decipher whether that person is romantic, sporty, masculine, edgy etc and the only way you're going to do that is by dropping personal hints, and so buying fragrance is best left for someone you know relatively well!
Here's some tips on deciding the type of fragrance for someone else. Firstly though remember to only test around 3 a day - anymore and you'll have that dreadful headache and a very confused nose!
- Sporty - choose citrus and acqua fragrances that have crisp, clear top notes.
- Dependable and masculine - choose a fragrance that has woody base notes such as Sandalwood and Vanilla.
- Outdoorsy - choose notes that mimic the earth such as Oakmoss and Tonka Bean.
- Romantic - choose floral notes such as Tuberose and Lily of the Valley.
- Sensual - choose oriental notes such as Ylang Ylang and Jasmine.
- Sporty - again choose citrus and green notes.
- Homely - choose a musk with accents of Vanilla.
The Perfume Studio (see below) have this handy reference if you need further guidance!
If you're choosing perfume for yourself it is of course much easier and here are some quick tips to remember:-
- Test on your wrists and not on the paper testers (although they make for a great scented underwear drawer).
- Always wear the fragrance on the warmest parts of your body, such as your wrists and inner elbow.
- Do not rub in the fragrance as this 'breaks' the bonds down. Simply spray and leave or just dab into your skin.
- Remember the oils on your skin and how much you sweat will affect the overall smell, meaning what smells great on your friend will be entirely different on yourself!
- Alcohol and even what you've eaten can alter how a fragrance sits on you. However, rather than shop in the morning you should shop after your body has warmed up, so that you can get an idea of how that fragrance sits on you.
- Once chosen always ask if they have an mini samples to keep in your gym bag or day bag.
- Keep your perfume in a cool dark cupboard as they 'go off' quicker if exposed to sunlight.
- Make the most of the Christmas gift sets as most include freebies such as shower-gel and body lotions.
Still in need of some ideas? Here are some of my favourites:-
The Perfume Studio London Design Your Own Fragrance £40 www.theperfumestudio.com
Even the hardest person to buy for man or woman would love to receive this gift. Beautifully encased is a selection of 6 perfume blends Citrus, Green, Fruity, Ozonic, Musky and Gentle Floral, alongside 6 pipettes, 6 scent strips and a 30ml bottle atomiser. The uniquely chosen blends have been selected by Master Perfumer Francois Robert, to give you the opportunity to create your own signature scent. With step-by-step instructions you're guided into making a scent that is simply your own.
It's a fantastic idea and there are 4 types of gift boxes to choose from with the most lavish being the 18 Ultimate blend at £95. There are also 'day experiences' that you can attend in London - click on their website above for more information.
4711 Original Eau de Cologne Refreshing Tissues £3 and Eau de Cologne £16.95 www.boots.com
When a perfume is still going strong after 200 years, then you know the formula is a cult classic. Whilst many have tried and failed to imitate this 'Wonder Water' as it's known, the fact is no-one can as the ingredients have remained a secret to this day. What we do know is that it's citrus notes are based around lemon, orange, bergamot and lavender. This unisex fragrance is ideal to splash on for a quick pick-me-up after the gym or travelling.
Estee Lauder Pleasures £50 www.esteelauder.co.uk
Many moons ago my boss bought me this perfume as 'I was a pleasure to work with', and it has remained one of my favourites to date. I think with all the new perfumes on the market it's often we forget the iconic ones and it's a shame as they bring back so many memories. Pleasures was launched in 1995 and has top notes of lily, violet leaf and middle notes of jasmine, peony, lilac then leaving a woody base note of sandalwood and patchouli. It's suited to a woman who is feminine but confident and is designed to evoke the fragrance flowers give after a moment of rain.
Clinique Happy Couple Gift Set £25 www.debenhams.com
This gift set includes a Happy Perfume Spray 30ml and a 75ml Body Lotion so an ideal companion for you handbag. The gift is all wrapped up in a bright 'Liquorice Allsort' box guaranteed to bring a huge smile to the recipients face. Happy is a perfume that is lively, full of playfulness and full of fruit! With notes such as apple, bergamot, orange, rose, lily, freesia and a base of musk it's definitely for a girl who has that sunny disposition!
Joan Collins I Am Woman Gift Set £50 www.marksandspencers.com
This gift set incorporates I Am Woman Eau de Parfum, Fragrance Essence and an SPF15 Luxury Body Lotion. The reason why I wanted to feature this was I put it in the paper around a year ago and had readers thanking me for recommending it. When I took it on air the producer fell in love with it as did my mother. The top and middle notes dance with citrus blends of lemon, peach nectar, rose, jasmine and rose. However, its the base notes that make this iconic to the Dame we know. A sultry mix of musk, vanilla and woody notes of sandalwood and cedar make this perfume ideal for those of us who like to tease with eroticism and seductiveness.
Estee Lauder Wood Mystique £115 www.esteelauder.co.uk
Faced with a challenge to provide the consumers of the Middle East with a unisex fragrance was going to be a tough one, but Estee Lauder not only produced a luxury scent but did so incorporating the traditions and heritage of the people. The result was a mix of sparkling, spicy top notes such Pink Pepper, Precious Rose de Mai Absolute with underlying sensuality from Egyptian Jasmine Absolute and Mimosa Provence Absolute. The base notes envelop into a creamy, rich smooth blend of leather, patchouli and the unique Agar Wood to leave an enticing, woody, earthy scent that is simply captivating. All of this is cloaked in an opulent and decadent golden bottle. Only the highest quality of essences have been used ensuring this fragrance is in a class of it's own.