Buying perfume can be a quite complicated affair even when it is for one’s own use. But choosing the right perfume for a lover or partner can baffle the most assured of buyers. There is not only different categories of scents to choose from but also decide what will go best with your partner’s personality and preferences. So here is a brief guide on what factors to consider when buying a perfume for the special person in your life.
Pay attention to the fragrances your partner likes
The first step in buying a perfume for your partner obviously lies with finding out what he or she likes to wear. Women especially are quite happy talking about their likes and dislikes and so if you pay attention, you will surely be able to pick up valuable clues. Even if your boyfriend may never have revealed his choices in grooming products, choose a playful moment to ask him about the heavenly cologne he is wearing and then get him talking about his favorite fragrances. As you go about exploring your partner’s preferences in perfumes, you may actually discover that he/she has been looking for a special brand for some time or needs something for evening/day/casual wear. So if you make the effort, you are sure to pick up useful clues on what fragrances your partner likes or may be particularly looking for. And once you already know a preferred brand that your partner uses, you could buy one from the same family or one from a complimentary family. For instance if you have found out that your girlfriend has been wearing White Diamonds from Elizabeth Taylor for quite some time, go for Paco Rabanne Pour Elle Perfume, which has the same delicate and floral aura but a deeper romantic effect due to the base notes of sandalwood and vanilla.
Consider your partner’s personality
A perfume is composed of essential oils which give it a signature fragrance. According to perfumers, certain fragrances are more suited to certain personalities. For instance some perfumes may be gregarious and go with an outgoing, extrovert nature while another may be quieter and more suited to reflective, sensitive natures. So when you choose a perfume make sure that it expresses the wearer’s attitude as well as demeanor. Perfumes are generally classified according to six major categories which reflect different moods and hence go with different personality types.
This is largest and most popular category of scent and generally goes with almost any personality type among women. Floral fragrances are composed of essential oils extracted from flowers, the most common of which are rose, jasmine, orange blossom, carnation, gardenia, tuberose and lavender. Essences from these flowers are blended in various proportions to come up with different kinds of floral scents which may be light, sweet, papery or heavy. While floral perfumes are worn well by almost all women, they are better able to express graceful, feminine and easy-going personalities. In combination with other scents, florals also make great daywear perfumes for men. Among the best-know floral fragrances are Clinique Aromatic Elixir, Ralph Lauren Romance and Yves Saint Laurent Paris.
Fruity or Citrusy fragrances
Fragrances in this group are generally composed of essences from citrus fruits like lime, lemon, mandarin and tangerine. Such fragrances give out a sharp, tangy aura which is refreshing and invigorating. Such fragrances therefore are suited to personalities that are outgoing, buoyant and full of the zest for living. Fruity fragrances were initially predominantly worn by men but in recent times they have become a favorite of women who wish to feel fresh and energetic the whole day. Citrusy fragrances may be blended with essences of other fruits like peach, plum and green apple to come up with other luscious blends of perfumes. Some of the most popular perfumes in this category are Jessica McClintock Jess, Gucci Gucci for women as well as Clean Men and Unforgivable from Sean John for men.
Created by French perfumer Francois Coty, this is basically a woodsy fragrance. It was inspired by Coty’s visit to Cyprus and the rich, fragrant forests of the island. The major component in this fragrance is pine with bergamot, oak moss, citrus, patchouli and oak moss creating an earthy suite of aromas. Perfumes based on this family of scents are ideal for men who are distinguished, restrained and fond of the outdoors. While this fragrance is a huge favorite among men as evident from the popularity of perfumes like L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme from Issey Miyake and Hugo from Hugo Boss, they are increasingly catching the fancy of women who are adventurous, unpredictable and make their own way in life. Dior Miss Dior and Cindy Adams Gossip are some popular women’s perfumes having a woodsy fragrance.
This fragrance is a seductive blend of incense, amber, spices, balsam and resins. It is warm, rich and sensual. Perfumes with Oriental scents are perfect for exotic and attractive personalities who are confident of their sexual magnetism. Opium from Yves Saint Laurent and Obsession from Calvin Klein are examples of women’s perfumes with Oriental fragrances. Among men’s perfumes, popular choices are Armani Code and Five Star Royal Secret.
Green fragrances create an aura of freshness and liveliness. They are composed of grassy scents to give a hint of sharpness and blended with pine, juniper, herbs and aromatic leaves to create fresh, invigorating perfumes. Such fragrances go best with sporty personalities and those who love challenges. Some popular perfumes in this category are Ralph Lauren Safari, Cartier So Pretty and Hanau Mori Haute Couture.
This category of scent is a blend of aromatic herbs and mossy ferns. The result is a fragrance that is fresh, green but with an earthy overture. Such scents are suited to contemporary users who are urbane, sophisticated and disdainful of following the beaten track. Such users would find fougere the perfect accessory to their innovative lifestyle. Among the most popular perfumes in this category are Reserve from Perry Ellis, Blue Grass from Elizabeth Arden and Davidoff Cool Water.
What is the season?
When you are choosing a perfume as a gift for your partner, it would be a good idea to keep the season in mind. Summer fragrances like Yve Saint Laurent Eve are generally light and floral while winter is the ideal time to don warm, musky scents like Valentine V Absolu. Again spring marks the onset of a fresh, budding season and hence is perfect for fruity scents like Calvin Klein CK One while restrained, subtle fragrances like the best selling L’Heure Blue go best in autumn.
Consider the occasion
Airy, floral or fruity perfumes are best for daywear, at work or when you are out on a casual event. Some perfumes excellent for daywear are Tendre Poison from Christian Dior for women and Touch for Men from Burberry. However if your partner wishes to have something for evening wear or if you want your gift to express your love on Valentine’s Day, consider choices like the ever popular Chanel No. 5 for ladies or the very distinguished John Varvatos for your man. So keep in mind when and where your partner might wear the perfume you wish to give him/her.
The Strength of the perfume is another factor you might consider while buying a perfume for your partner. The strength of a perfume varies according to the concentration of essential oils in the perfume. The more concentrated the essences, the stronger the perfume and the longer it will last. Likewise, a lighter perfume will have greater dilution of essential oils and will fade away faster. Depending upon the relative strength, fragrances are of four types:
Eau de parfum
This is strongest type of fragrance and has a concentration of over 15 percent of essential oils.
Eau de toilette
This has a concentration of 8 to 15 percent essential oils in the fragrance.
Eau de cologne
This type of fragrance has a lower concentration of essential oils from 4 to 8 percent.
This is the lightest variety since the concentration of essential oils is just 1 to 3 percent.
Depending on the percentage of essential oils in a fragrance, a perfume will cost more or less. The higher the concentration, the more expensive it will be. This is why eau de parfums cost the most while eau de colognes and eau fraiche are relatively cheaper.
Where to shop for perfumes
After you have decided the kind of perfume you wish to buy for your partner, it is time to ponder on where to shop for it. Online stores have great bargains and offer you price comparisons from the convenience of home. The obvious disadvantage in this case is that you cannot test the perfume for yourself. While you can try out various perfumes at actual stores, the ritual of browsing from one store to another can be quite time-consuming not to say, exhausting. A better way to go about it would be to narrow down your searches to two or three perfumes and then try them out at stores if convenient.
How to test a perfume
You might want to test the perfume you are buying for your partner, but remember the compounds in a perfume react differently to different people. When you do test, make sure that you spray a little amount on fragrance blotters, keep them aside and the remove yourself from the perfume section of the store. After around ten minutes, smell the blotters and you will get a more accurate idea of the fragrances that you would if you tested them on various parts of the body all at once.
Buying the right perfume for your partner can seem a complex task. But if gone about it with a little bit of homework and planning, you may just chance upon that perfect bottle which is guaranteed to send your partner – and you! – to heights of ecstasy.