Unless you have the nose of a bloodhound (or a master perfumer), shopping for perfume can be a daunting task. After all, the sheer number of bottles on the shelves is dizzying, and that’s before you’ve even started smelling anything! To save you time and help you find a fragrance you love, we called in Alberto Morillas, the master perfumer behind Ralph Lauren’s latest fragrance, Midnight Romance.
Keep reading for his expert tricks, and never go home with buyer’s remorse again!
Time It Right
The time of day can impact your scent-smelling experience. “Go shopping for fragrance in the early afternoon when your olfactory senses are at their peak,” Morillas says. And when you do go, skip wearing any fragrance, which can interfere with your testing and confuse your nose.
Narrow Your Search
Do your research beforehand, so you have an idea of what you like. To avoid getting overwhelmed by the hundreds of options, Morillas suggests looking into what type of fragrance wearer you are. “Do you prefer fresh, spicy, floral, or warm? Choosing one of these categories will help edit your search.”
Yes, those coffee beans actually serve a purpose. “When smelling many scents, you can experience nasal fatigue,” Morillas says. “This means that it becomes increasingly harder for you to smell the differences between fragrances.” Sniffing those beans in between perfume samples helps cleanse your nasal palette.
Test On Your Skin, Not Paper Swatches
It’s okay to smell several fragrances on the blotters. “But if you love a fragrance, try it on your skin before purchasing,” Morillas says. Limit the number of perfumes you spritz on your body to two or three. Otherwise you’ll run out of fresh areas to spray, and wind up overlapping scents.
“Apply the fragrance to your wrist, which is one of your pulse points,” Morillas says. “The heat from this point of your body helps to develop the fragrance.” But don’t just apply and decide—take a spin around the store first. “You should let fragrances develop for 30 minutes on your skin, so you can smell all levels of the fragrance—top note, heart of the fragrance, and dry-down.”
Sample, Sample, Sample
Still can’t decide? Take home samples of your top two choices (any more than that will only cause confusion). Wear each one on alternating days until there’s a clear favorite.