Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Bizarre Habits Of Perfume Bloggers And Lovers- An Open Thread

I get many questions about my perfume testing process, about my perfume wearing habits, about storage, sampling and reviewing. As I tried to answer a couple of emails lately it occurred to me that no matter how much I pretend to be a normal person with just a little perfume habit, I do things most people don't. Here are just some examples:

I deny myself the pleasure of wearing some of my favorite perfumes way too often. Sometimes I wake up and really really want to reach for my MKK bell jar, Onda or vintage Mitsouko. But I have to remind myself that I'm on a schedule and need to finish my impression of something for my next Dreck Wednesday, that there are a bunch of samples sent by perfumers that I have yet to test and that tonight's review of the latest and greatest is still unfinished and that I need to give the new perfume another wearing and get on with it.

Which leads us to the fact that by noon I have my entire left arm covered from shoulder to wrist in some dreck du jour- I started with my wrist and inner elbow, but discovered that not only is it crap, said crap doesn't last long enough and I need to smell it more closely as I'm writing, hence the shoulder spraying.

There's also a drop of something or other on the inside of my right elbow and a third perfume applied to my right wrist, both inside and out for reference. Then I kiss the sweet forehead of one or two cats, realizing they smell of Shalimar and envy them dearly.

It's your turn: make me feel saner and tell me that perhaps I'm not so alone. Do you have any weird perfume habits?

Photo of actress Ann Sothern from an old online auction.


  1. LOL..Since I am not as prolific a perfume blogger as you are, I feel less compelled to wear stuff to review, but follow my mood- but I know exactly what you mean!!

    Actually, I almost ALWAYS wear more than one perfume (not layered;) because I'm often not sure what kind of mood I will be by the middle of my work-day and I want my bases covered..also I like variety..

    SO right now, I am wearing Prada Cuir d' Ambre on my left wrist, FM POAL on my right, vintage chanel no. 5 on my left arm, Aftelier Shiso mini on my left arm and my Aftelier Shiso sample on the crook of my right arm (I wanted to compare the too)..And I am happily enjoying sniffing each part of my arm in turn..and sighing..

    Now, does that make you feel saner? ;-)

  2. Similar to you I find myself constantly abstaining from wearing whatever I want. In fact (prior to this past summer; when I wore hardly anything due to the humid weather and reviewed even less) I would generally go for days before wearing what I'd truly like to smell. Most of the time, I end up sampling 2-3 scents during the day, then by dinner I'll wash everything off and give myself the option of wearing whatever I feel like, which ends up being another 2-3 things that I really DO want to smell, but can't decide on one so these 2-3 end up being muddled and strange.

    I find myself yearning for the days when I had a signature scent or at least one signature scent per season which would be a no-brainer each morning and would be happily familiar. It's been 6 years since those good ole days.

    Lately I've challenged myself to this 'project' over which 25 perfumes I could not live without. Which 25 would truly be my complete collection? I obsess about this and change the list DAILY. But I think 25 is a reasonable number. It just doesn't leave many 'reference' scents...which is the whole pare my collection down to the 25 favorites which I would actually wear throughout the year.

    If only I had a mere 25 lipsticks...that's another issue..

  3. Oh, you made me laugh.

    I do not blog, but love perfume. My mother does as well. One of my silliest memories was after a sniffing session with her when I was a teen. We were sitting in the car, getting ready to leave, discussing our findings. We were also holding up wrists, elbows, shoulders to the other to sniff.

    A man had stopped his car, and stared at us in openmouthed shock at our behavior. When I realized what he'd seen, Mom and I laughed so hard. We must have appeared very bizarre to him.

    As to odd habits. . .just wearing a different scent every day is certainly outside social norms. My wearing several per day (SOTD, SOTE at a minimum) is likely really odd.

    Fortunately it is not unususal here in perfumista world. It is one of my daily joys to read your ideas (and other bloggers') about fragrance, and explore perfume in a passionate way. May you make time for the perfumes you love. Be well.

  4. A while ago when I realized I was wearing something I didn't know and, highly probable, wouldn't love after I'd test it, more often than I spent time with perfumes I loved, I made a New Year Resolution to wear one of my favorites at least twice a week. Eight months later I'm still following that resolution (I report on it monthly in my blog).
    Other than that, I try not to test more than two scents at a time. But if the tenacity isn't too good I might switch to the next pair in several hours.

  5. I wish someone could tell me why most days I don't wear any perfume at all. It's so weird, as I am a complete obsessive, own hundreds of bottles and love so many, and yet some mornings I can't make up my mind what to put on and just go naked. I yearn for certain smells and could easily have a spritz but don't. So odd.

  6. I'm not sure I'd call any of my perfume habits bizarre because they feel so normal to me. :) And I've never asked what other people think.
    Now that you mentioned it, almost every day I go for some of my more mainstream bottles, saving the things I'd prefer to wear (as they aren't readily available) so they would last longer.

    And speaking of bizarre habits, I think the fact that I am always surrounded by samples and they appear on my desk at work, on shelves, tables at home, drawers, cupboards, bathroom, is evidende enough. :)

  7. You are right about the wrist and elbow. I prefer spraying on my shoulders, too, without spraying my neck. If I spray my neck, I get accustomed to the scent and cannot smell.

    Me too, even if I have favourite perfumes, I feel challenged to try 1-2 different perfumes each day. Not always new fragrances, but revisiting the ones I own under various circumstances.

  8. I have an odd question...

    How do you *really* know if a perfume smells good on you? I ask because I wore 2-3 perfumes for years, and always got compliments on them. Then I switched to something else (SJP's Lovely, if you must know) and not a word.

    So, even though I liked how it smelled, I have to conclude that it didn't work on me because I never got one compliment on it.

    I guess I'm not sure that I trust that what my own nose is smelling on my own skin is what actually is being smelled by others.

    Does that make sense?

  9. Actually, I find that only one perfume a day works. To test something I use paper or fabric but don't resort to skin unless its really really fabulous and what are the odds of that? If two then a progression:Caline first then Sous Le Vent. Don't your cats have fabulous taste. Ours only likes roses.

  10. This is an empowering post, Gaia & a thrilling thread! I shall now divulge what I'd Never have told anyone ~ my nightly can't-get-to-sleep-without-it perfume ritual:

    1. Dab Onda onto top of left hand, S.L. Rose de Nuit inside left elbow, Lonestar Memories on top of right hand, and the chosen 'guest-of-the night' on the inside right elbow (sometimes, Bandit, sometimes Cabochard, whoever I want to take with me..)

    2. Wave both arms madly about to mix 'n mingle the air

    3. Glue nose to left hand and enter the dark forest - the secret path knows me well - it is mine alone

    4. Move nose up arm and bury face in a faithful near-rotting rose that only grows here and has never seen the light of day

    5. Nose right and take hands with my aready-arrived leather-clad friend Bandit - we both need a drink

    6. Ascend that favorite moonlit boulder deep in the woods, open the thermos, inhale right hand with abandon, and get lost in the hot 'n spicy elixer. This is the highly anticipated Lonestar moment!

    7. Repeat as necessary.

    Thanks, comrades! I feel so free!

    Z :)

  11. Anon #2, I'm with you. I love to read about perfume and yet I rarely wear it. I have 47 real and GWP mini bottles and probably more little sample vials than that. I have one supreme favorite I could wear everyday. And yet, I probably wear perfume once or twice a week.

    It's always something...afraid to make a headache worse, or I'm just going to the gym, etc. Always some reason to not spray instead of spray.

    I consider this way weirder than anything you lovely ladies who joyfully live your pefumed life could ever come up with!

  12. Mine doesn't have to do with perfume testing but perfume wearing. I sometimes make myself late because I can't decide which fragrance to wear or I will lie in bed at night trying to chose what to wear the next day.

  13. I carry around a notebook and pen. I wear 2-3 fragrances a day and as my day progresses I take notes on the wear and feelings of each one.

    Does that qualify as weird?

  14. Um...yeah....

    One perfume a day?? Ha!

    Today was a usual day. Best intentions. I sprayed on some JPGualtier Fragile (EDT). But then I got another package of samples...

    I have been ordering about 4-10 samples a week from various sites, as well as minis. I love trying a perfume as a mini - you get the perfume and the experience of the bottle without too much commitment! This is on top of the other 30 or so full bottles of perfume I already own.

    So today I have on:
    Left wrist: L'Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse
    Left elbow pit: Kilian Beyond Love
    Right wrist: PdNicolai Odalisque
    Right elbow pit: Divine EDP

    At night, I need something warm and soft - other than the hubby. I usually wear Chanel No 5 (parfum) to bed, but sometimes I wear Herve Leger or Florascent Ylang.

    Indeed I have been known to turn the car around if I have forgotten to spritz before leaving the house.... God bless my patient family. And if I go to a friend's house and she/he has something I haven't tried, I will spritz there too. Then if I go shopping, I may happen across some lovely smells. Well, I spritz and/or dab those too. I'm an equal opportunity spritzer and dabber - cheap and readily available smells to expensive and obscure. I'll take my fix in any form!

  15. When I worked in an office, I would always choose and apply a different perfume every morning as part of getting dressed. Now I work from home, and I realize that means I can wear whatever I want and as much as I want of it. But most days, I forget to put something on until late morning, and then I think "Well I don't want to waste perfume -- I'll wait to apply something until I get back from the gym." But that is so silly -- I have more than enough perfume to "waste" for the rest of my life.

  16. I wear what I'm testing on my wrists... but I wear what I know and CRAVE on my knees. Yes, my knees. I figure those two zones are far enough apart that if I tire of the new, I can curl up and be reassured by the old & true.

  17. My bus route has changed, so I find myself rushing out of the house at least once a week without perfume. I solve this by having a couple of small bottles at work, but boy, does that narrow things down. Also, my mini of Bulgari Black is almost empty...annieA

  18. I don't think your perfume habits are strange at all, Gaia. Dig this:

    For me, perfume sampling is a religious experience! I observe the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, so I use that time to sample, day and night. Because I'm not at work, i don't have to worry about any scent being inappropriate (not that I do much anyway...).

    I usually start at candlelighting, wearing a hand-decanted sample of an appropriately rich and golden fragrance -- an amber, leather, chypre or oriental.

    I send a silent blessing to my perfume-swapping friend who's made the sample, wishing her health and peace and thanking her for giving me the opportunity for this moment of enjoyment. I repeat this ritual many times during the day -- as soon as any scent wears off, I'm on to another.

    Some holidays lend themselves to different scents -- almonds, honey, figs, pomegranate, greens, etc.

    Anyway, you could think of this practice as an extension of hallowed Jewish ritual. From time immemorial Jews have ended each Sabbath by lighting a candle and smelling a box of sweet spices, after all.

  19. Haha, don't know if this counts but I'm a perfume lover as well and my poor cats have suffered for it. I once followed the advice on some blog - I'm pretty sure it was not yours - and used to spray my lesser used fragrances (like Keiko Mecheri Jasmine, I remember) on their various kitty resting spots in order to scent their fur. Then, before I knew it, the two of them had clawed up all the rugs, blankets and comfy cardboard boxes I'd sprayed. They really, really did not like Keiko Mecheri Jasmine!

  20. My bizarre behavior applies to my shopping habits. When I go shopping, I always have a piece of paper with two arms traced on the paper. Once I spritz, I find the corresponding place on the paper and then write down the name of the fragrance. When I return home, I have a roadmap.

  21. Something tells me that "civilians" don't have a choosing the perfume at bedtime ritual. Or an cosmetics bag filled with samples and decants, in the unlikely event that I might walk out of the house unscented. Or a section of citrusy colognes in a corner of the cabinet specifically for the gym.

  22. "Civilians" don't have a third or more of their refrigerators given over to perfume do they? Yes to all of the multiple perfume wearing indulgences, one at a time when actually writing about it, but otherwise my skin just eats the stuff and I can do 3 or 4 a day easily. I am sometimes horrified at how strong it is if I put it on before going to work and feel it emanating around me on a crowded early morning train, different environments make these things more noticeable or not.
    I have found some perfumes have gone "off" especially small samples so my new policy is to wear it more, not less.


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