In the United States, tomorrow is tax day. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the pinch in my wallet. Making things worse, fragrance prices seem to be skyrocketing. Yet, I love perfume. How can we enjoy perfume and still pay the bills?
You already know the basic tips about buying decants, not buying unsniffed, and checking the discount sites. Now I offer you another tip: Don’t buy perfume. At all.
Crazy, isn’t it? And almost insultingly obvious. But I’m serious. Until your financial coffers are replenished, don’t buy any more perfume. Instead, make the most of the perfume you already have. Here are some ideas:
Shake it up. I’m guilty of slotting perfume into certain categories. For instance, I think of Guerlain Shalimar as a perfume for night and cold weather. I save Cartier Baiser Volé Eau de Toilette for summer mornings. I hoard my vintage Christian Dior Diorling and rarely wear it at all.
What if I shook things up and put on Shalimar first thing on a spring morning, and saved the Baiser Volé for night? I definitely need to dig into the Diorling. If it goes bad, that’s more of a burn to my budget than enjoying it until the bottle is empty.
Blend. For me, this is dangerous territory. In my mind, a perfumer created a fragrance and doesn’t expect someone will monkey around with spraying another scent on top. I’ve heard some people have success with it, though, and if you’re looking to make more of your current perfume collection, it may be worth a try.
I am willing to put different fragrances on each arm and enjoy the alchemy when they mingle in the air. Not long ago, by accident I had L’Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu on one arm and L’Artisan Parfumeur Ananas Fizz on the other, and, surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. I learned more about each fragrance that way and enjoyed their common bond of vetiver.
Swap. You may have participated on swaps here or in the old days on Makeup Alley, and they’re a lot of fun. For the cost of postage, you can make someone else happy, plus get a scent you’ve wanted. Nine out of ten times I’ve swapped, I’ve been really pleased.
More and more in-person swaps are happening, too. Fumerie, a perfume boutique a short bike ride from my house, hosts occasional swaps. Plus, the internet has made it easier for perfume enthusiasts to find each other and swap everything from samples to bottles as they chat in a cafe.
Sort through your perfume collection and set aside everything that rates less than an "eight" on your personal one-to-ten scale of perfume love. Vow to swap them to someone for whom these fragrances are solid "ten"s.
Wear it a new way. When a bottle has an atomizer, I generally spray my forearms and maybe behind my knees, since I always wear skirts and dresses. (It depends on whether or not I’m wearing leggings under the dress.) If the perfume’s a dabber, I dab my wrists and behind my ears, and sometimes down my cleavage.
It might wake up my appreciation for a perfume to mix it up and smell the scent wafting from my hairline or from a scarf or cardigan. I might dab a lightbulb or tuck a scented handkerchief in my purse. Has anyone tried a spritz of, say, Hermès Eau de Gentiane Blanche in their car's air return?
Use up those samples. Do you have a stockpile of samples “for research”? Maybe it’s time to drain them. Go wild and dump or spray the whole vial on your skin. Really appreciate the fragrance’s full scope. You might find a scent you love enough to save up for.
Do you have any tips for making the most of perfume when you’re on a budget? I'm listening.