How to give the perfect fragrance

A fragrance is truly the gift that keeps on giving – if you choose the right one.

04 November 2014
by Julia Hunter

While you may think gifting perfume is a minefield considering that fragrances are generally a very personal choice, this much-loved Christmas treat is easier than you may think to “get right” – and it sends a personal message to your nearest and dearest.

Fragrance is an experiential gift and it says as much about the giver as it does about the receiver, says Karen Simpson from Aromalogo, an aroma sensory branding and design agency.

Here's our handy perfume-picking guide to make the experience that much more pleasant.

Have a chat

An instant soother for any stressed shopper is simply to ask an expert, advises Simpson. “Salespeople are well versed in their brands and the notes used in the perfumes, so ask for advice,” she says. Before shopping, check which fragrance the receiver wears and then see if variations on their staple have been launched. “The newest expression of their favourite perfume is an easy upgrade,” says Simpson. So consider light Eau de Toilettes (EDT) for summer, or deeper, intense Eau de Parfums (EDP) for nighttime.

Find go-to ingredients

There are some fragrance notes that are safe bets. “Citrus blends are happy fragrances,” says Simpson. “Citrus notes are uplifting and easy because they’re familiar.”
Another winner is jasmine, says Tammy Frazer, founder of Frazer Parfum. “People love this floral with an amber base, and a citrusy top,” she enthuses.

Buy for hair colour and skin tone

What the receiver looks like may be the answer you need, because it can shape how the fragrance will smell. “Blondes are ‘acidic’ so fragrances can turn easily on them, so it’s best to select a citrus-based fragrance,” says Frazer. Unfortunately with acidic skin, stronger notes (like florals) tend to get increasingly stronger on the skin, separating from the rest of the fragrance. So, a light citrus perfume is your best bet, because the lighter, more volatile notes don't tend to turn, she explains.

Frazer recommends a heavier scent for redheads because their skin type is rich in pungent oils. For brunettes, things get a bit easier. “Brunettes are more able to wear almost everything, so concentrate on their preferences.” For those with black skin, especially if you’re struggling with dryness, consider an oil-based fragrance.