How to Buy Perfume the Right Way

Being a perfume fanatic, many a time, my friends ask me, How to buy perfume? Should I buy online or physically from a shop? How to know if perfume is real? Which perfume would be good for me? Or that perfume smelled so good on that person but not on me. I do not smell my own perfume after some time. And the questions are endless.

And I have been through these steps myself. I have done my mistakes. I got some very good deals online and later found out that these were cheap refills. Often time perfume-buying habits can become exhaustively expensive. And you do not want to do expensive mistakes.

I will try to share my experiences, suggestions, and mistakes that I did and, and hopefully, I will be able to advise you on how you should buy perfume and not repeat the mistakes that I did.

Before we talk about how to buy perfume online and physically from a shop? One must have an idea of notes of perfumes and how these would affect our buying decision.

Feature image shows as to how to buy perfume

How to buy Perfume – What are the Notes of a Perfume

Perfumes are made up of three layers/ notes of scents. These are called top notes, heart notes, and base notes.

The three layers are oil concentrations of various individual scents having different accords and viscosity levels. These notes are released as per their viscosity levels and concentration levels used as time passes. This is how the characteristics of perfume change during its life on your skin/clothes.

Oil concentrations in perfumes are used in different levels in EDT, EDP, and Parfum variants. To know more, read my article on Bleu De Chanel EDP vs EDT vs Parfum. You will have a fair idea of the topic.

So let us now discuss a little about the notes layer of perfume. How they affect our buying decision and how to differentiate between different notes.

Top Notes of Perfume

This is the first thing that you notice once you smell perfume. As discussed earlier, perfume is made up of three layers of scents. The top notes stay for the first 15-30 minutes. The top notes are very appealing, and addictive. They make the first impression and often time people wrongly buy the perfume based on the smell of top notes only.

The scent accords used in top notes are less viscous and they evaporate very quickly alongside alcohol and aqua water. These are always very appealing with loud projection and sillage. Top notes accord are always addressing larger audience likeability factor to generate more sales.

My suggestion here is that do not buy perfume based on smelling top notes only. Always smell perfume in its entirety.

Major top notes used are citruses, florals, oceanic, spicy, and musk notes. These are appealing, light, and intense and project much more due to being less viscous.

Heart Notes-The real thing to know in how to buy perfume

The heart notes come into play after 30-40 minutes and last anytime between 2-4 hours or more depending upon the amount used. This is the real deal and heart notes actually define the depth a perfume has to offer. It might or might not project depending upon the blend/ DNA and theme of the perfume.

For the projection of the notes the blending, toning, and artistry of the perfumer and ingredients matter. Also, how good are the notes themselves? Are they synthetic, molecular, or original? The original concentration oils would definitely cost more and add to the overall price of the perfumes.

A normal synthetic oud fragrance might be very cheap and the one in which the original oud accord is used might be very expensive. An example can be Ethic Oud by Paris corner which is cheap and Oud Ispahan by Dior which is an expensive oud and rose combo.

The main accords for heart notes are woody, florals, oud, patchouli, and certain spice notes.

Base Tones – Do they matter

Base tones are the last to be noticed. They do not project and are there to round off the heart notes toward the end. Normally they are woody and extracts of root accords. They give depth to the heart notes and add to the overall layering of the perfume. Being very highly concentrated and viscous, they always settle close to the skin, do not project much, and are difficult to identify in isolation.

After knowing about the note and accords, it is a good idea to know how to apply perfume the right way. Rubbing after spraying perfume on the skin is a bad idea as it would mess up the blending of notes.

Things to consider in how to buy a perfume

There are certain things that you need to know before you buy perfume.

1. Do you have any known allergies

Often times one can have less tolerance for any particular smell or note of a perfume. The can be replicated by a sore throat or maybe a runny nose.

Some people start sneezing if they are in contact with any particular smell. Also, some people are sensitive and they can not tolerate the synthetic aspect of low-end perfumes.

Skin irritation can also happen if you have dry skin problems and are exposed to low-quality perfumes.

It is always a good idea to have a hang of perfume to know your tolerances for any particular smell if any.

2. Test a perfume before buying

It is always a good idea to live with perfume before buying it. As already said, get the decanted sample, known as a vile. Companies also give a complimentary sample of their perfumes as a promotion. So you can test a sample first and if you do not like it then you can return the perfume.

Dior offers this service by the name of “try it first” with their La Collection Privée line of perfumes.

You can also buy perfume samples from Amazon at a cheap rate.

3. Read Reviews and do Online Research

It is always a good idea to test it. If not, then read some honest reviews that are authentic and written by the people you trust. My go-to website for deep research on perfume by a reviewer is ScentGrail.

Nowadays we are all into watching perfume review videos and my go-to Chanel is School of Scents. I like the simplicity and authenticity that this perfume review channel provides.

And lastly, if want to know the user experiences and reviews then I look no beyond Fragrantica. It is a great place where user reviews are available.

As a thumb of rule always do your research. If you are not sure about any perfume and still want to go for it, then buy a sample. Read your favorite reviewers’ take on that perfume.

4. Know About the Seasonal Perfumes

Always buy and wear perfume as per season and time of year

Every perfume is not for every season. Citruses are for summer. Flowery tones work best in Spring. Oceanic smells are for summer and Spring. Oriental and deep rooty tones are for winters.

And so on. What the perfume industry does is that it mixes up different notes/ accords for their acceptability for more seasons. But that is not the case. Every perfume has some dominant tones. So do your research to know which perfumes are good for which season.

For example, Dior Sauvage EDP is mostly suited for summer, but it is presented as an all-year-round perfume. The same is the case with Bleu De Chanel EDP. And people do use it all year round. But if you want my opinion then these are more summer perfumes, than winter. Due to their citrusy and spicy dominant tones.

5. Know which perfume is good for what Occasion

This is one area that I am asked lots of questions of. Does one perfume cover all occasions? And the answer is “No”. It is that simple.

If you need perfume for your college. It is different. College or university-going people always want a very loud perfume. Which projects much and is fun and also has light characteristics. It should have widely acceptable notes, like citruses, florals, fruity, and musk. A great example can be Dior Sauvage or Bleu De Chanel. Or maybe Oh Boy by Paris Corner Perfumes.

If you need an office perfume then go with perfumes that do not project much and create a short bubble. My go-to perfume for office and winter evenings is Dior Homme Intense. A great choice for a serious and mature man.

Likewise, for socializing and clubbing, go with the flirt-tone perfume. Boozy accords work very well in casual clubbing, dates, and dinners. For boozy notes, my preference would be Bvlgari Man in Black and for overall best clubbing/ date fragrance for men, I would suggest Ultra Male by Jean Paul Gaultier.

The bottom line here is to do your research and buy perfumes according to occasion and season while keeping your preferred perfume accords in mind.

These tips would also help you to buy perfume as a gift for others.

6. I do not smell my perfume – Nose Blindness

Most of us do not smell our perfumes after some time as our nose gets used to scents very rapidly. Since we are sniffing it with each inhale. And we get depressed that my perfume is not projecting. It is a very normal query that new users raise.

I have been complimented for a specific perfume even after 8 hours of application. And I could not smell myself but people who come to me asked what perfume I am wearing.

I always tell people that some perfumes remain in the clothes even after the next day. And you could smell these the next day you open your closet and take out the same clothes.

Some perfume DNAs have a very strong characteristic of “Nose Blindness“. You would not smell it, no matter how hard you try. But people would compliment you a lot. The most famous and one of the most expensive examples is Creed Aventus for Men.

Nose Blindness in simple terms is being unable to smell a particular odor or smell due to exposure or familiarity of the nose to a particular scent for a long duration.

6. What is perfume Concentration? How it affects Longevity and Projection

Once you are new to perfumes then oftentimes without doing the right research you will not be knowing about EDT, EDP, Parfum, and cologne versions. There can also be a situation where an aftershave would be launched by the same perfume line.

The prices would vary as per the oil concentration used. In general, the more the oil concentration the more the longevity.

And at times the projection might not be more. The projection of perfume is always a subjective thing. When you are new and do not know how to buy perfume, you are tricked into picking the lowest-priced perfume from a famous line-up. And it does not last more. And you are depressed.

The more the oil concentration used in a perfume, the more pricey it would be.

So here is a general rule for knowing the oil concentrations and their listings.

NameOil ConcentrationLasting Time
Eau Fraiche1-3%1-2 hrs
After Shave/Mist/Splash1-3%1-2 hrs
Eau de Cologne 2-4%2-4 hrs
Eau de Toilette5-15%4-6 hrs
Eau de Parfum 15-20%6-8 hrs
Parfum/Extrait de Parfum20-35%7-10 hrs
Perfume Concentration Types and Lasting

Online vs the Physical Buying of Perfume

If you want to know about me, then I always go for testing perfume samples first these days. I get a decanted perfume of 5ml or I test an official vial/ miniature perfume. I try it for few times before investing my money in the purchase.

If you are into niche perfumes and high-end designer perfumes then they are not cheap. A high price tag demands a calculated and wise decision. And also, since I have to review the perfumes as well, so I can not invest my money into buying 100 ml or 50 ml of each perfume.

But it was not always like that. I have had scams from physical shops and from various online sellers. So here is my take on the subject.

How to Buy perfume from a shop

The picture shows testing a perfume on a paper strip vs testing on skin. In how to buy perfume, it is always a better idea to test the perfume on your skin

If you plan to go shopping for physical buying. Then must keep in mind all the points that have been highlighted above. Must test the perfumes in the shop and do not be in a rush to buy.

You should know that while testing a perfume you would only be smelling the top notes. So a better way is to test a perfume on your skin. I always shortlist four perfumes that I am interested in buying after reading the reviews. Then I go to a shop and spray one each on the wrists and inside of elbows.

I come back and observe the perfume characteristics and notes for 4-5 hours. Its performance, longevity, and dry down phase and characteristics.

I do not prefer smelling perfume on the paper strip as oftentimes the performance of perfume is different on my skin and paper strip.

Also inside the perfume shop if you smell too many perfumes then your nose would stop differentiating between many perfumes. Shops normally keep coffee beans handy for the purpose, but it does not work very well for me.

Normally in a perfume shop, you would find coffee beans and in between testing fragrances, it is presumed that if you smell coffee beans then your nose would be able to smell different perfume notes.

But if I am confused then I take a break. Go out from a shop and come back after a good 30 minutes or so.

Tips and Tricks for perfume shopping inside the shop

  • Do not buy any bottle that does not have a sealed box.
  • Must authenticate the year of manufacturing from CheckFresh website
  • Take a break in between trying different perfumes
  • Do not test more then 4 perfumes at a time
  • Must see the shop reviews on google before going to a shop
  • Do not always trust the shop guy’s recommendations
  • Must read reviews of perfume before buying
  • Know the price of perfume before going in the shop
  • It is always a good idea to hunt the perfumes during the holiday and festival deals season

How to buy perfume online

This is my favorite mode of buying perfume. Because you can get great deals. It saves me time. But, often times there are chances of scams if you are buying from community social networks.

My preferred way of online shopping is FragranceNet. It is trusty, offers a shipping back facility if you are not satisfied and speedy delivery. Moreover, there are always some promotions going alongside the huge inventory that they maintain. Moreover, if you join their coupon list, you get 25% discount sitewide.

For my reader in the UK, look no beyond Fragrance Shop. Always some sort of deal is going on and you will get the best deal for your money with speedy delivery. Moreover, the products are authentic beyond doubt.

And for the best deals, I go to the FrangranceX website as there is always some discount going on.

I stay away from various Facebook groups where members are selling as I have been scammed in the past.

Read the reviews/ differences between original and fake perfume before buying online from various social media groups.

I wrote many articles on spotting fake perfumes and what are the differences. So if you intend to buy these then I am sure that the articles would help you.

Parting Thoughts on How to Buy a Perfume

Perfume buying is a tricky thing, once you are new. With experience, you come to know about tricks and tips for buying. It is always good to do your research. Know your taste for different notes. And to appreciate the fact that for every season and occasion, you would be needing a different perfume. There is almost no one perfume good for all occasions and seasons.

I wish you all good luck in buying perfumes and boosting your personality and confidence.

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