Thursday, July 16, 2009
how to purchase perfume oil online
My dear friend charissimo asked how one chooses perfumes online.
After all, if you can't smell it, and the whole point is to smell it, how do you know you even *want* to smell it?
I have been selecting perfume oils online for 6 years now, and I am infinitely more pleased with hand-blended, alcohol-free works of olfactory art than the prepackaged bottles I used to buy at the department store. I like to smell unique, and I like having lots of different choices for different moods, seasons, and events. So I will now share with you my rules for buying perfume online.
1. Quality. Shop only with perfume artisans who know what they're doing and use top-quality oils. Perfumes have top notes, middle notes, and heart notes, and you want to make sure that the artisan knows how to blend scents that are delicious at every stage. You also want a quality base like jojoba or coconut oil. And you want to avoid anyone who offers you a "scent list", because it's probably going to smell like burning plastic ass if you're choosing things like "Drakkar Noir Type" or "green apple".
My four favorites are
2. Start with samples. All three of the links above offer 1-oz. samples for $1 to $3 dollars each. It's best to start with things that sound good, then pay attention to what works on your skin. If you've never purchased this type of perfume before, just enjoy reading and order about 10 things you think might be pleasant. When you get them, give each one a complete day's wearing so that you can see what all the notes are like and how they work with your chemistry.
You'll be tempted to open and smell them all and wash one off and try another that first day, but don't do it. Give each one time. Unless it's an immediate HELL NO, then wash it off and move on.
3. Take notes. You'll start to get confused by all the names of things you do and don't like. Keep a list or a chart, or at the very least, have one stack for GREAT, one for MEH, and one for HELL, NO. Try to look for similarities. For example, I have learned that almost all foody and green smells are nice on me, but woods and musks are horrid. Red fruits like currant and berry and pomegranate are lovely on me, but banana and apricot and melon are nasty. I cannot under any circumstances wear cedar. That sort of thing.
4. Discuss. BPAL and Possets both have forums where you can review and compare different oils. Wiggle has thousands of feedback entries on their different scents. And at www.bpal.org, you can browse through threads that group the oils into categories and see what people think of all the different vanilla fragrances or oriental oils.
You can also use the Search function at www.blackphoenixalchemylab.com to search for different notes. Type in "sage", "grass", "chocolate", or "oakmoss", and every oil in the catalog with that note pops up with its full description. Handy!
4. Once you have several you like, order larger bottles. I like to always have a green scent, a vanilla/almond scent, and something pink-peppery around. I like to wear pumpkin in the fall, mint in the winter, grass in the spring, and fruits in the summer. I like something sexy and spicy for dates. But I only need one of each, really. And if i'm not sure I want to take the leap yet, I just buy another sample.
5. If you have samples or bottles that don't work for you, you can give them away to friends to share the love or sell them. www.bpal.org has a great Swaps thread where you can buy, sell, or swap any of their scents. Since the turn around time for the Alchemy Lab is a couple of weeks, you can get a quick fix by buying on the forum.
6. Mix carefully. Don't forget that the soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, and lotion you use will affect your scent. So if you're crazy for your new vanilla perfume, don't use a pear soap, lavender shampoo, apricot deodorant, and blackberry lotion or you'll smell like trash juice.
If you've got any questions, let me know. It can be a bit of an obsession, really.
But I smell awesome.