Fragrance is always a popular choice at Christmastime – but how to choose the right one? Skincare pro Holly Bartter shares five scentsational strategies
Fragrances can be highly personal, and highly polarising – for some of us, finding the perfect fragrance means a lifelong love affair. Considering all of this, choosing a fragrance to gift is taking on a challenge.
By arming yourself with the know-how to select the right scent every time, you’ll soon find options for anyone and everyone on your gift-list this festive season.
Testers at the ready, it’s time to spritz!
All scents are made of a top, middle and base note. Top notes will be the first blast that hits your senses when you smell and will often evaporate quickly. Middle notes form the main part of the perfume, evolving on the skin and becoming noticeable perhaps a few minutes into the scent after spraying, and base notes may not be evident until 30 minutes or so into your day if you spritz in the morning.
Two wonderful resources are fragrantica.com or basenotes.net – here, you can explore different and unusual notes, and find fragrances that include these or showcase particular scents, like peony or leather.
Don’t be fooled by the initial spray (which often has a heavy hit of alcohol) and give yourself time to test the fragrance on your skin, where your chemistry will mingle with the scent. It won’t be an exact match for your giftee but try at least 30 minutes wear of a test spray (remember, don’t rub the scent into your skin as it changes the way it develops), and see if you still like it.
Does it fade away after a few minutes? Is it far too strong in a lift or office? Consider these points before you purchase.
Do your due diligence
For the person you’re gifting – subtly investigate their fragrance style.
Do they often smell shower-fresh (look for notes of lemon, white florals or musk)? Do they only wear fragrances on evenings out (try patchouli, vanilla or smokier options)? Do they reapply during the day? Perhaps an eau de toilette (a lighter, softer version of the fragrance).
Great gifts come in small packages
Remember, when making your final purchase, go for a small 30ml or 50ml. It’s unlikely for someone to move through fragrances quickly, and if they love it and seek out another bottle, an even better compliment to your selection.
You might like to include a personal note as to why you chose the scent. For example say, it reminded you of their current style but with a twist.
Fragrances for him and her
Where at one point there were very clear distinctions between what constitutes a men’s fragrance vs a women’s fragrance, these days the lines are blurred.
Many women are enjoying exploring muskier, smokier or woodier scents (like oud or cedar) that used to be more exclusively included in men’s fragrance; and brands are recognising that we more concerned with something that works with our skin chemistry.
If all else fails, ask the sales team at your favourite fragrance-selling store about the popular scents of the moment – they’re trendy for good reason. And if you’re struggling with too many options, go for something classic and crowd-pleasing, even if it’s not a ground-breaking new scent, they will always find a place and time to enjoy it.
About the author
Holly Bartter is a lifestyle and beauty writer, and founder of veganskincare.com.