Buying fragrance online may seem like an oxymoron, but in these days of lockdowns and COVID, scent enthusiasts are turning to e-commerce to discover and purchase new perfumes and fragrances. Online sales of niche and designer fragrances are growing at a massive rate as women and men search for new signature scents from the safety and comfort of their homes and apartments. This can be a fun and rewarding experience if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Here are some pro-tips on how to buy fragrances online:
Quick fragrance audit
Just as you’d take a quick scan through your closet before shopping for new clothes, it is a great idea to do the same with your fragrances. Begin by looking at the scents you truly love wearing. What ones make you feel confident? Which ones do people compliment you on? What fragrances bring you joy and happiness. These are the core signature fragrances in your collection and a great place to start. Make a list of these favourite scents.
Favourite scent classification
Another way to focus your fragrance search is to consider scent classifications. Perfumers use a universal method of categorizing the scents they create called “olfactory families”. This helps keep the dozens and dozens of compositions they create organized and easy to find. There are seven main categories and there is likely one or two that will appeal to you:
The citrus fragrances, also called ‘hesperidia’, are characterized by their freshness and lightness. They are mainly composed of citrus fruit essences which include: bergamot, lemon, orange, mandarin, grapefruit and yuzu citrus. Citrus scents are invigorating, refreshing and are said to help improve your mood.
The floral family gathers all the fragrances which main theme is a flower or a floral bouquet. It is the most international family of scents thanks to its wide range of categories includes sheer transparent florals, woody-florals, rich and even spicy florals. Key ingredients include: rose, jasmin, ylang ylang, orange flower, iris, peony and lily of the valley.
This masculine category of fragrance that became famous thanks to Houbigant’s Fougere Royale in 1882. Fougere scents contain several specific ingredients: lavender, geranium, oak moss and coumarin. There is almost a dry, grassy character. This unique combination has a virile and masculine character that remains popular to this day.
If you like rich, deep and strong fragrances, then chypres are for you. The name came from Coty’s Chypre, created in 1917, that became an overnight sensation thanks to its sexy, full-bodied character. A chypre scent contains notes of bergamot, rose, oak moss and patchouli, creating a layered and faceted fragrance with personality. It can have a dry, woody & earthy scent.
This feminine category of fragrances gathers all the spicy oriental fragrances that contain a dominant floral note. The floral note can be exotic, spicy or powdery. Florientals tend to be sensual and sexy, combining the allure of orange blossom with seductive sandalwood and patchouli. Key ingredients include: ylang ylang, orange blossom, patchouli, tonka bean and sandalwood.
This category of fragrances for him and her has enjoyed a renaissance of late with new interpretations of classic wood-themed scents. Woods are chameleons and can be hot, comforting, opulent, dry and elegant. Key raw materials include: cedar, sandalwood, patchouli and vetiver.
When you see the name ‘oriental’ in the world of perfumery, it doesn’t reference Asia. Oriental is the term for any spicy fragrance. Perfumers describe oriental scents as warm and sensual often with amber notes. This scent envelopes you in a comforting cocoon. Key ingredients include: vanilla, incense, patchouli, benzoin and bergamot.
Reading the above descriptions, you will likely find one or two that really speaks to you. This will help when you are searching online for new fragrances when you search via “scent classification or family”. This single step can help narrow your choice.
Where do you want your fragrance to take you?
Canadian perfume expert Melanie Caplan says to ask yourself where do you want your fragrance to transport you to? “Think about what place and time you want your fragrance to take you,” she says. “Citrus scents are lively and bright and remind me of summer. Florals take me to summer gardens with their romantic and feminine scents. Gourmands, sweet scents, bring up memories with family and friends sharing food.” She says woods and ambers remind her of autumn vacations curled up by a fire reading a good book. And mineral/ozone-themed scents remind her of brisk walks along the ocean. Many of her clients choose fragrances to remind them of their favourite vacation spots.
“Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone,” she adds. “Start with the notes that you love but try them blended with something new and appealing.”
What are your three favourite notes and aromas?
Once you have narrowed down your favourite fragrance category and the places you want to be transported to, identify your three favourite notes and aromas? These are your “core” notes and ones that really make you feel good. Look up the notes in your favourite fragrances and see if there are any commonalities? Do you love the scent of fresh lemon? Does rose make you happy? Do you love the kick of coffee bean? Write down your three favourite notes and have them handy when you start shopping online.
Look online for descriptions and reviews
There is a wealth of online resources these days for perfume fans. One of the easiest ways is to Google the name of the fragrance and type in ‘notes” to get a detailed description of ingredients and scent style. Scroll down and you will often find reviews; there are literally dozens of YouTube fragrance experts. Just be discerning when watching them and consider the following: Has the individual researched the scent and given a fair and balanced review – rather than a quick sniff and instant opinion? You want good quality reviews before you buy.
Buy from a trusted online retailer – authentic product
This is a crucial tip to follow and will save you money and grief. When you go to purchase a fragrance online, make sure that it is an authorized retailer or distributor of the fragrance. This will ensure you are getting an authentic fragrance from the brand and not a fake knock-off with poor quality ingredients. You can find this information in the FAQ section of the website. It will clearly state it is an authorized retailer. Remember, if a price online looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The 20-minute rule
When your fragrance package arrives in the mail or via courier, it is truly an exciting moment. You get to experience your special new scent. Now, before you make any decisions, you have to follow the 20-minute rule. Spritz it on your wrist, allow it to air dry and then wait 20 minutes for the fragrance to interact with your unique skin chemistry. A fragrance can evolve and unveil its character on your skin significantly over 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, close your eyes and inhale. If it smells amazing on your skin, then this is a signature scent for you. It will give you joy and pleasure for months to come!!
With these simple tips, shopping online for fragrances can be a joy. And you can be assured you are going to receive scents that will appeal to you. Happy shopping!