This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with L’Occitane.
Some of my earliest memories include sitting with my gran as she did her make up, asking lots of questions. When she was going out for dinner she’d always finish with a couple of dabs of Chanel No. 5. We’re all familiar with this strong fragrance, which made me scoff as a kid and declare that I’d never wear anything ‘so old’.
Through my teens I was obsessed with scents that made me smell like I’d bathed in Sunny D. Anything over the top citrus was my bag. DKNY Delicious – both colours mixed together – were my go to. Since then my taste in fragrances has (thankfully) improved and I’ve narrowed down to just a couple. Whilst it’s no longer what I’d call my ‘signature’ scent, my collection even includes a Chanel offering. What would 5-year-old Katie say??
My first real job was working on the fragrance counter in a department store in my hometown. I absolutely loved that job. To be fair, what 15-year-old girl wouldn’t? I could wear whatever perfume I chose, no matter how expensive it was. In that job, and my years of fragrance buying since I learned a lot about choosing a new scent. It’s a process, not a quick job.
DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET
This may sound incredibly obvious, but even as a young 15-year-old working on that fragrance counter it would baffle me why people thought they could buy Chanel with just £20. Budget is a big indicator of what you’ll be looking at label-wise, as well as whether you’ll be looking at eau de toilette or eau de parfum.
Now, like with anything you don’t have to spend all your dollars to get something good – there are good things throughout the entire price range on the shelves. My mum has worn a particular scent for as long as I can remember, and that’s a £20 bottle. You don’t have to break the bank at all!
TAKE YOUR TIME
The best advice I can give it to really consider choosing a scent a process and should take several trips to the shops before you hand over any money.
When trying scents, apply your pulse points and give it 30 minutes to settle. This will allow you to know how the scent settles with your natural body chemistry, rather than how it smells straight out of the bottle.
Allowing the scent time to settle means you’ll be able to smell all the different notes of the perfume. Think of notes as layers that evaporate at different rates. When you smell a composed fragrance you smell all the notes combined together. When you smell a scent on yourself, or someone else, that scent is constantly changing as different notes become accentuated by the evaporation of others.
Another reason for several trips is that you shouldn’t try to smell too many scents at once as it will overload your senses and you won’t get the full idea of what a fragrance smells like. As a general rule of thumb, I tend to try no more than three on each trip.
IGNORE GENDERED MARKETING
Have you ever thought about what makes a fragrance ‘pour femme’ or ‘pour homme’? Scent doesn’t really have a sex other than what we’re used to having marketed at us. One of my all-time favourite fragrances is a cologne ‘for men’. I wish I had the chance to read this article about a French perfumer’s view on women wearing men’s fragrances before that scent was discontinued. I would have bought a fair few bottles if I’d realised it was okay to wear whatever I liked!
It really doesn’t matter whether a fragrance is ‘unisex’ or ‘pour homme’ if it’s what you like and what suits you. If you prefer the scents that a traditionally marketed as more masculine, so what? You do you.