(Photo: iStock)Shopping for perfume can be sensory overload. How do you find affordable fragrances for less? With over a thousand brands sold in U.S. department stores alone, fragrance expert Sue Phillips shares her tips on how to shop for affordable scents that are right for you.
“One of the places to try these days is Sephora,” says Phillips. “They have a wonderful range of gift sets, the Sephora favorites, that actually [cost] from 24 dollars up to 80 dollars. And the scent certificate that they offer is a wonderful way to redeem it for a full sized bottle of your favorite, featured fragrance.”
Phillips also recommends neighborhood retailers Duane Reade and Walgreen’s for their new boutique fragrances from Demeter - offbeat fragrances like Special Dark Hershey and Dirt, as well as traditional scents like vanilla.
Now when you’re in the store how do you test a fragrance to make sure this is the right one? Coco Chanel once said that wherever you want to be kissed is where you should apply your fragrance,” Phillips says. She advises spraying it on your wrists, at your pulse points, and also in your elbow. Then take a quick walk around the store. After, evaluate it to see how the fragrance mixes with your body chemistry.
Cleanse Your Palette
Now, when trying on a number of scents, there’s a tendency for them to start blending with in one another and it can be hard to differentiate. This is what’s called “olfactory fatigue,” says Phillips. To cleanse your nose palette, take the sleeve of your jacket and give it a whiff. If you don’t happen to have a sleeve, maybe use a tissue or handkerchief and smell that.
Stretch Your Scent
Since perfume can be expensive Phillips has just the trick to stretch your dollar. “Apply some unscented almond oil or even petroleum jelly on your skin,” she advises. “The fragrance won’t be absorbed through the skin so you can actually stretch your dollar that way and enjoy the high concentration.”
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She also points out that perfumes that will last you the longest are those with the strongest concentration of pure ingredients, anywhere from 20 - 40%. Eau de Parfum is next at about 15-18%, then Eau de Toilette with 10-15% and, finally, Eau de Cologne is the lightest form with only about 7%.
Bank on Gift Sets
Unfortunately, the newest and best fragrances don’t often go on sale. That doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on them, however. During the holidays, many are offered in gift sets so you can get real value at an affordable price. Also try discount stores like Perfumania if you’re looking for a deal, although they don’t offer some of the newer fragrances available at department stores.
When to Toss?
Finally, Phillips says the key to maintaining your fragrance’s shelf life is good storage.
“Fragrances are really like fine wine,” she says. “They should be kept in a cool dark place. Do not expose them to direct sunlight or direct heat, or very cold temperatures. Treasure it, wear it well and enjoy it.”
A special thanks to Symrise for making this video possible and, as always, we want to hear from you. What’s your favorite fragrance and why? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit.