How to Shop Perfume Online (without smelling it)

Some products are easy to buy online - perfume isn’t traditionally one of them. Here’s how to discover your next signature scent, without smelling it first.

REFERENCE YOUR EXISTING PERFUME
Look to the perfume you’re already wearing for inspiration. What notes feature or what fragrance group is it from? You may discover that you have a penchant for floral fragrances, in which case you should probably stick to that group. If you’re not sure what notes your existing fragrance portfolio includes, sites like Fragrantica.com can help.

READ REVIEWS
OK, so you won’t always have the same opinion as the rest of the online community, but reading reviews can help you get a feeling for a fragrance. If a lot of people say a perfume is “too strong” and you like lighter aromas, then it’s probably not the perfume for you. Blogs can be a good source for impartial reviews too.

KNOW WHAT YOU LIKE  
Understand what you prefer: eau de cologne, eau de toilette or eau de parfum. An eau de cologne doesn’t last for long but is great for a refreshing pick-me-up, whereas an eau de toilette is the most common type of fragrance, normally lasting for several hours. If you like stronger, longer lasting scents you should opt for an eau de parfum or parfum. Know which you prefer before clicking: “Buy”.

PERFECT YOUR PERFUME VOCABULARY
Get to know the descriptive words that are commonly used in relation to scent. If a smell is depicted as “intense”, “seductive” and “enveloping,” then it’s likely to be a woody or Oriental fragrance, suited for the evenings or making an impact. But, if it “bursts” or “sparkles” then it’s probably a feminine, floral or fruit-based scent. 

CONSIDER THE PACKAGING
A fragrance’s packaging channels the theme and smell of the scent within it. A gold box and bottle suggests eveningwear and an opulent smell. Pale blue and green packages imply nature and freshness (think summer and daywear), whilst pink bottles are likely to be feminine and made up of floral notes.

LEARN YOUR NOSES
Perfumers (or Noses) tend to have their own signature style, so have a look at their portfolio of fragrances – let’s call it their CV – and see if you’re familiar with any of their other creations. If you enjoyed one, you’re likely to enjoy another.

DON’T GET HUNG UP ON PRICING
Just because a fragrance is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Look for other quality signals, instead of price tag alone.


Words by: Photographs by: Fotolia, Shutterstock