So, you want a new perfume. First of all, you should get a new perfume. Wearing the same perfume every day can lead to “olfactory exhaustion”, meaning your nose starts to get accustomed to smelling the same thing every day, meaning you have to wear more and more in order to smell it. I used to have customers actually bring their perfume back to the counter, saying it had lost it’s smell. This happened more than anyone would believe. And trust me, it is not the case. You just can’t smell it anymore, but everyone else still can. This is a bad thing for everyone around you, so for their sake, it’s time to go shopping.
First thing to do is figure out your favourite scent family. Michael Edwards has very kindly put our perfumes into categories and also some handy PDFs you can download to read more. But basically it says this- Floral (the perfume is dominated by notes of flowers), Fresh ( tends to have fruity, citrus and/or green stemmy notes vs flowers), Oriental (notes of spice, resins and vanillas) and Woods (just as they sound with notes of sandalwood, cedar, and even burnt woods). Many perfumes fall in between, and are Floral Fresh, or Fresh Woods, etc etc. You can find out what category your perfume(s) is on Fragrantica by quickly searching the name.
Now that you know the family you enjoy, you can head off to the perfume counter armed with some helpful knowledge, and check out perfumes in the same family that you may never have even tried before. Also, a terrific sales associate can be a great help and direct you to certain scents based on knowing some that you have loved and worn in the past. When I sold perfume, this was one of my favourite things to do, either with shoppers looking for a new scent for themselves, or someone looking to buy a gift. And I always had happy customers!
I always suggest a maximum of six perfumes to sniff at any time when shopping. It is easy to overload our nose and either not be able to smell anything anymore, or worse, feel queasy. You may have noticed some perfume counters have little dishes of coffee beans to sniff when shopping. Do this – it really helps “cleanse the scent palate”, so to speak. It’s like eating sorbet between course. I actually like to bring a coffee with me while shopping, as just taking a sip between sniffs helps me. If you don’t like the smell of coffee, try sniffing a bit of unscented skin or fabric, or the best thing – step outside and take some deep cleansing breaths of fresh hair
If you are getting serious about exploring perfumes, the fragrance boards, forums and reviews on Fragrantica, Make Up Alley and Basenotes are amazing places to search and look for guidance. And, if you need a jumping off point, tell me in the comments some of your favourite perfumes that you’ve worn and loved in the past, and I can recommend something new for you!