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Not a perfume connoisseur, but If I may..

Realising a bottle of perfume that I was gifted for a birthday, Christmas or through press is always a dilemma, when the end might be nigh. I start to wonder if I should buy another bottle of the same, go through a few of my mini samples for a while, or embark on the relentless journey to find a new replacement.

Perfumes are quite personal, and in instances where the giver hits the right notes, I find myself using it on a daily basis, including the school run! MY intimate perfume journey, starts off with a full bottle copiously sprayed at arm’s length, and the occasion top up, (should I be in the position to come home, before I head out for an evening). – Then comes the half empty bottle, to which I say to myself, ‘oh, you still have a lot left, enjoy!’- I then get down to a third of the bottle, at which point I change my technique to short sharp pumps from the nozzle, at elbows length, with seldom top ups; this then spirals down to the nearly empty bottle, with me angling the bottle in different directions in order to get the last of the perfume up the spine and through the nozzle, and finally, the desperate scraping of the barrel, by removing the nozzle and shaking out the last drops through the spine!

Whilst I haven’t given much thought as to how to be more frugal with my perfumes, wearing one is almost in my DNA, and I can’t really imagine going out without it. Not only does it make me feel good and happy, (apparently aromatherapy), it also doubles up as my nasal shield against the interesting pongs that my sensitive nose has to fend off, on my daily commute around London (when I can no longer hold my breath).Thus, and as you might imagine, I am very particular about the perfumes I choose to wear, and do not particularly enjoy smelling them on others either.

When asked, which perfume I am wearing; I tend to say, ‘Oh just a sample, or hmmm…, not sure which one I have on today”, and 99% of the time, this is the truth, especially as I sometimes pop into Liberty, during my rounds in town for top ups here and there on scents, especially if I had opted for an Eau de toilette, before heading out in the morning.

Over time, however, I have become a bit cagey about divulging information on which perfumes I wear, this idiosyncrasy has been exacerbated by a few past experiences, – when perfume names have been revealed, and my horror at the incidents that ensued. It is of course, not the end of the world, but still…..

Now, whilst I am no perfume connoisseur, I have learnt a thing or two about perfumes, and thought I’d share my perfume etiquette and tips that make my perfume last longer.

Let’s start with etiquette, shall we…

Scenario 1

Whilst working at an architectural practice, one of the junior architects commented on my perfume, and asked what it was, now, even though I was her manager, we got on well, and thought nothing of naming the perfume I was wearing. However, two days later, and to my horror, she came in, wearing the exact same perfume! By the end of the second week, I had to stop wearing mine, even though I really liked the perfume. Now, this to my mind is bad form, and one should never do this.

Scenario 2

I was on holiday, with a bunch of friends, and was asked by one by of the friends’ which perfume I had on, I hesitated, off the back of my office experience, but by the end of the week, I was worn down, and caved in, with the name of my perfume. I know this sounds selfish, but I did ask, if the friend could please not buy the perfume, as I see them quite frequently in London, to which my friend responded, ‘it was a free world’, and she could wear it if she liked. Needless to say, she did, and in the end and again, I had to give up on that perfume.

Scenario number 3

I am an identical twin, and like many parents of twins, including our mum, they think it is cute to dress twins in the same outfits, and parade them around. Horror!  This pattern, of course sometimes follows through into adulthood, with many twins quite happy to deck themselves out in the same outfits.  (Don’t worry, I am going somewhere with this…)

On the contrary, my sister and I could not wait to be free from this ritual, and as soon as we could afford to buy our own clothes, we quickly carved out our own individuality, at least with clothes. Granted, there are still occasions, when we haven’t conferred and end up buying similar beauty products or an accessory without realising, but generally, we like different things.

So, when my sister wanted to know which perfume I was wearing, I thought hmmmm, I already look like my sister, I don’t really want to wear the same perfume… again, she badgered me for a few days, and in the end, I did tell, and yes, you can guess what happened. The only saving grace is my sister lives abroad, and after a few days of smelling like each other, I could enjoy my perfume, knowing that, it was one less twin conversation to be drawn into by friends and observers, whilst we were out together.

Now let me turn your attention to my tips on prolonging the life of my perfumes.

Tip 1

During the summer months, I tend to favour an Eau de toilette, but if I am spending more than a £100 on a bottle, I revert to an  Eau de parfum, as they have less or no alcohol, and are not prone to evaporating  as quickly as Eau de toilette’s , hence they linger  all day and beyond.

Of course, wearing the same perfume all the time, inevitably means I tend not to smell it anymore and hence I am tempted to top up more often, nevertheless, I say to myself ‘STOP! ‘It is still lingering, you just can’t smell it’, a top-up sometimes makes for a very over powering effect, especially, when I was wearing a perfume like eccentric molecules. – PS, this is what I was wearing all those years ago when the Architect asked.

Tip 2

I discovered my perfume last longer, when I started investing in a shower gel, and body lotion from the same perfume. (This is always an expensive indulgence, but if I really like the perfume, then yep). 

The act of layering, – showering with it, moisturising in the same fragrance, means I already have 2 layers on, and adding just a little bit of perfume goes a very long way, but gives the effect of having on the perfume in a bigger dose. Sometimes, with my 2 layers on, I actually refrain from using the perfume, at all; this helps me save on usage for the day.

Tip 3

I was told and over time discovered from experience, to leave my perfume in their boxes, or in a dark place, to prevent direct light sapping the scents, but as it happens, I’ve always had too many items on top of my drawers and so just dump my perfumes without the boxes, into my underwear drawers. What I accidentally discovered however is that the perfumes fragrance my underwear, adding an extra layer to my perfume, when I spray them on my clothes, allowing me to use less.

Tip 4

My latest discovery and I am sure a lot of people might already know this, is the use of oil, to extend the mileage of my perfume.

Sometime last year, I was gifted a small bottle of Vilhelm Parfumerie, which I became hooked on. It’s always a pleasant surprise, when I come across a perfume I like, albeit not going in search of it. I was Delighted with my lazy discovery, and even though it was a strong Eau de parfum, it was warm, didn’t seem to arrive before my presence, and I only needed to spray on a little for maximum impact.

However, being only a humble15 ml bottle, meant two months later and to my dismay, I was starring yet again at literally the last drops in the bottle – and back at that stage of my perfume, where I would experiment with different angles on the bottle, to see if I could get the last drops of perfume up the spine, and through the nozzle.

Fortunately, on this occasion, the perfume had one of those nozzles that I could unscrew. I weighed up how to be more economical with the last few drops – I considered water, but knew that would weaken the scent, I then considered mixing it with another perfume, but acknowledged this will be counterproductive. In the end I settled for my good old fashioned almond oil, (the same base oil that I mix in with my body moisturisers, when they are not stepping up to the mark), atlas, I discovered that the scent was still quite potent and I could get away with putting a 5 pence size of my new alchemy in my palm, rub into my neck and wrists and get the same effect!

This has now become the default approach to all my perfumes that are nearing their end of life. Normally I wear all my perfumes on my clothes, but my new concoctions have allowed for a new intimacy against my skin, in the same way I would a solid perfume, or a roll on. In retrospect, most Eau de Parfum are oil based anyway, so adding a bit more oil, really can do no harm and it is such a cheap way to prolong, until another favourite bottle comes my way, AND, I can discretely rub them on the end of my nose, when other smells proof challenging.

PS: A bottle of almond oil from boots cost just £1.50.


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