An Applied "Philosophy" for Fragrance, including tips and lessons I've learnt along the way. Part 2.

Advice, Lessons, Tips, Tricks, and Insights

This list is continued from Part 1 HERE.

- Try to avoid hedonism but embrace the aesthetic nature of perfumery. Whether that's with samples or, if you have the money, full bottles, it's ok to try lots of fragrances until you find something you enoy. If you do buy full bottles, just make sure to keep selling what you know won't make the grade: don't hold on to something just because you invested in it. The used market is there for a reason.

- It's good to explore the 'world' of perfumery, even if you resort to temporary hedonism, in order to gain an insight in to the broad array of scents in the past and the present. But you don't need to own everything you try. Getting a good 'education', so to speak, is fine; just know you don't have to buy a library in order to do so. Borrowing or downloading a book is basically the same and samples should be seen in a similar light.

- Chances are buying full bottles will be a terrible way to spend your money. Do not see samples as a waste of money if you can afford to buy them. You get far more benefit out of 100 different 2ml-5ml samples than you do from five 100ml bottles; at the same time, sampling in a store has limited value in comparison to sampling at your own leisure, at home, with multiple wears given to each scent.

- Don't seek out or believe in perfume 'ideas'. Don't judge a fragrance based on the marketing or the bottle or the brand or anything like that: don't 'smell with your eyes', so to speak. The ONLY thing that matters is the perfume as it is, on your skin, as you wear it - not as an idea.

- As such, fragrances should be judged over a fairly long period of time (at least 6 weeks, but more often around 6 months) and over many wearings. Once you have tried a fragrance a few times by sniffing it up close, on paper on on skin, simply wear it and go about a normal day. You will develop a different appreciation for it than you did when sniffing it and dissecting it on your hand. Don't wear a new scent consistently, mix it up between other scents. Allow the novelty of a new bottle or sample to wear off so you can be clear headed to really judge the scent. You will cut through all the romance and see/smell the scent as it truly is, and also discover any problems or benefits you wouldn't otherwise get by just testing it, by doing this.

- Fragrance can make you sexier. Particularly as a man. People who deny this either don't know it or don't like the fact that they know it. Fragrance won't turn a 4 in to an 8 but they'll give a good looking man an extra sensory arrow to the bow when it comes to appealing to women (or men). Use this knowledge appropriately: don't wear a sexy fragrance to work because you want to sleep with a colleague. Understand what a sexy fragrance is and then wear it in a scenario where women are evidently open to seduction: bars, clubs, evenings, parties etc.

- Don't use 'the sexiest fragrance', as agreed upon by Youtubers, as a means to boost sexual appeal if you are unattractive or unappealing. Don't listen to the youtubers who peddle fragrance as a sexy-booster for attention and money. There are far, far more important things in life than being 'sexy' and good relationships are built on sterner stuff. Don't worry about something you don't have, if you truly don't have it. If you're over the age of 25 then being 'sexy' shouldn't even be a consideration anymore if you haven't managed to achieve it yet. If you haven't learnt this lesson it can seem totally counterproductive but the best thing to do is to stop focusing on sex and sex appeal if you are struggling romantically. Your fragrances should reflect this as well. Youtubers and perfume brands make money by lying to unattractive men who believe in this lie; on the flipside, some unattractive men who haven't experienced how fragrance can make you 'sexier' sneer at the notion that fragrances can be alluring because they have not personally experienced it. Understand that fragrances can be sexy but they cannot fix what is broken, only improve what is already well honed.

- The social aspect of the internet, and 'herd mentality', is what sways your mind in to believing the consensus or commonly expressed opinions of other people: how many of you would think it acceptable to own more than 10 fragrances without the internet? That influence can impact how you view an individual fragrance as well as how you think you should behave, how much you should own etc.

- Trust your own mind. Know thyself.. Have courage to realise that the internet and social media produces extremes almost by its very nature. Stopping use of social media, forums, youtube, and wherever else you may be inclined to consume fragrance 'content' is a fast track to avoiding slipping in to the trap of hoarding/addictve spending, as well as giving you the confidence to just trust your own opinion and conviction when it comes to judging a fragrance. Minority opinions are acceptable even if/when they are demonised through conformity. It's much easier, and less confrontational, to simply ignore all social media once you discover this.

- There is no fragrance hierarchy. The 'fragcomm' has no small amount of snobbery but this comes from people who rely on that snobbery being validated to bolster their sense of self righteous superiority. Don't let these people get to you or allow them to talk down to you if you are a beginner. These people are weak and should be ignored, but also know that there is no hierarchy in general - niche, artistic, and creative or challenging scents are truly no 'better' than clean, simple, fresh fragrances. Or vice versa. You like what you like and if you judge scents by the scent and not the idea you'll see this clearly.

- Fragrance appreciation and enjoyment goes in a cycle. You will likely go through cycles of wanting fresh and clean, to something darker and sexier, to something challenging and weird, and then back to fresh and clean. That cycle also applies to an individual scent: you will be amazed by it, then underwhelemed, then come to enjoy it again, then bored by it, and eventually find something amazing about it again. Accept that this will happen regularly and there is never a fixed place where you will 'stop'. As such, try to find a wardrobe that reflects as many facets of perfume as possible so that you will be able to scratch the itch depending on where you are on the cycle of enjoyment, as well as finding a happy middle ground between reliability and amazement. Also know that the cycle also relates to buying and collecting, so if you don't control it you will inevitably desire more when boredom kicks in.

- There will always be 'more' and there will always be 'new'. Don't worry too much about that, fragrances will come and go, you don't need to try them all. Dip your toe in to new releases that take your eye if you really, truly feel the need to; however, once you have 'your' fragrances, stick to them. There is no significant gain to be made from a 'new' fragrance unless what you are really seeking is novelty, a dopamine kick, and all that jazz. Seek out and enjoy the slow burn of reliability instead.

- Don't believe the hype about discontinuations, batch variations etc. By and large many fragrances are available on ebay for years and even decades after discontinuation. This is not a good reason to 'stay in the game' even when you have decided upon and acquired your favourite fragrances. For all the people who claim they MUST buy a just-discontinued or just-reformulated fragrance, very few of them have under 10 fragrances: such acquisition is non-essential, it is more psychological than practical, a 'fear of missing out' (or FOMO) that can never be satiated if you allow it to dictate your spending. In the rare instance where discontinuation or a truly significant reformulation applies to one of the select fragrances you have chosen, act accordingly i.e. buy plenty of back up bottles as and when you can, or choose something else.

- Buying back up bottles of favourite fragrances is a very good idea. Once you have settled on a small wardrobe, money permitting you should be buying several of each scent depending on performance, how frequently you use it etc.

- Be honest. Be very honest. That comes to how much money you should be spending, to how much you actually enjoy a fragrance. Listen to the nagging voice in your head that tells you the truth and act accordingly.

- Enjoying fragrances long term should mean fragrance truly feels part of you but only so far as an old pair of shoes or a jumper does - it's not like a pet or a loved one or even a hobby, it's just a beauty product. Seeing fragrances in these terms might feel underwhelming compared to buying/trying a new fragrance (and all the mental romance that goes with the marketing etc) so accept that the end goal will be less 'fun' and less neurochemically invigorating than the starting point. This is why it is important to have a goal and to stop when you reach it.

- Almost all of these lessons will come through experience. You will likely slip in to some of the pitfalls before coming out the other side and seeing things as they really are. If you want to avoid this then be rigid with your focus and learn to compromise: there are many, many fragrances that are 'good enough' and will get the job done.
 

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