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The world of perfumery is one rich in a myriad of scents and aromas, each one crafted to tease the senses and evoke different emotions. With a multitude of fragrances to choose from, how do you find the perfect scent for you? Here, we will walk you through some steps in testing a perfume that a number of perfume connoisseurs swear by.

  • Wear it on your skin

“Perfume comes to life only on your skin,” says Michael Edwards, a British fragrance expert and the pioneer editor of the largest guide to perfume classification, Fragrance of the World. Like most fragrance experts, Edwards recommends testing a perfume by lightly spraying it on your wrist or at the back of your hand. But try not to sniff away immediately. Most perfumes contain alcohol, which can easily overwhelm your sense of smell. Try to let the alcohol evaporate first, before you smell the perfume. Even if it is not alcohol-based, wait for around 20 seconds before you take a sniff. This gives the fragrance enough time to flourish on your skin and give you a realistic idea of how it actually smells.

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  • Use a scent blotter

Spritzing perfume or dabbing a sample on the skin may not always work for everybody. Some individuals have oily skin, which emits its own unique odour that can mix with the scent of a perfume sample. Meanwhile, other people have a habit of applying scented lotion on their body, which may compromise the authentic scent of a perfume. In cases like these, the best way to test a perfume is to use a fragrance blotter or a scent strip.

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Scent strips are porous materials that can soak up perfume and give you a good idea of how the perfume smells. You can spray the perfume directly on a scent blotter, or you can try how the pros do it: Spray the perfume in the air for two to three times, in a downward motion. Hold the scent strip and wave it through the veil of perfume. Afterwards, fan it in front of your nose and inhale the scent. Using fragrance blotters or scent strips is ideal for people who do not want to try a variety of fragrances and smell like a hodgepodge of varied perfumes at the end of the day.

  • Avoid overworking your sense of smell

Experts say you should not go over three to four scents at a time, as the brain will have difficulty identifying the scents. It is also best to test a perfume in the morning, when the olfactory system is in its best condition. Give yourself a break in between testing perfumes. You may also try asking the sales personnel if they have coffee beans which you can smell to refresh your senses.

  • Decide on what you want

Before you enter a world filled with scents and bombard your sense of smell with a variety of fragrances, you should have a clear idea of what kind of perfume you are looking for. Do you want to wear a fresh and floral fragrance? A spicy or fruity scent? Or something rich and musky? Knowing the type of fragrance you want can save you time and effort later on. For example, you can immediately ask the sales personnel to present you with their best selection of floral fragrances, and you can start trying them on.

TIP: Most perfume connoisseurs say fruity and floral scents are best to use in the summer, while rich and spicy fragrances are most suitable during the colder season. Wear a subtle scent during the day, and use a more potent fragrance in the evening.