Overheard at the Perfume Counter

I think it’s a given that perfume addicts visit perfume counters a lot. I used to stop by the perfume counter on a weekly basis, and while I was exploring new scents and scents I hadn’t tried yet, I overhear a few things. These things get filed away in the back of my mind, but end up accumulating when they’re heard often enough. Here’s a few common comments:

“What are the coffee beans for?”
I’m not sure who decided to start leaving coffee beans around for people to smell when they were trying on perfumes to “clear” their noses. It works for some, not for others. I have never partaken in the coffee bean sniffing. I personally prefer removing myself from the smell center and take in a few deep breathes of fresh air. Nothing clears the smells out of my nose better than fresh air.

“You should buy the EDP. It’s a higher concentration of oils so it’ll smell better.”
Many EDT and EDPs of the supposedly same fragrance do not smell the same, and I’m not talking about the “strength” of the fragrance either. The differences can be minor or staggering. Try both and decide which works better for you instead of just assuming the EDP is better.

Coffee Beans on Foil

Coffee Beans on Foil by Dino Quinzani

“Don’t put it on your skin because the smell will change. Use the tester strip so you know what it really smells like.”
Odd how many times I heard this one. If you’re looking to buy a perfume to wear, wouldn’t you want to know how the fragrance does on your skin? Perfume sprayed onto paper strips does not fully reflect how that fragrance will behave on you (another reason why I hate paper samples). So if you really want to know if a fragrance is going to work for you, you should try it on yourself and the use the paper strip only to make sure that the smell isn’t disagreeable before you spray yourself with it.

“Perfume is for girls. Cologne is for boys.”
Fragrances do not have a gender and no one is bound to wear a certain “genre” of fragrances because of their gender, age, personality, appearance, etc.

“This perfume starts out okay, then it gets gross. What’s wrong with me?”
Give the fragrance a while to develop on your skin before you buy a bottle. Fragrances change throughout the day, a perfume you might love on initial application might not be so great a few hours in. It happens all the time. There’s nothing wrong with you.

“If your breath smells, try spraying perfume into your mouth.”
Okay, this one isn’t common. I only heard it once, and I can’t even begin to tell you how bad an idea this is. Don’t spray perfume into your mouth, up your nose, into your eyes–in fact, keep perfume out of all your orifices. Not only are you spraying something that you shouldn’t be consuming into your mouth, it also tastes terrible.

“You should shake the bottle before you spray to mix the oils up.”
Please don’t shake your perfume. And please, don’t shake the bottles at the stores. You are not doing them any good. Perfume does not need you to mix it up before you use it.

What things have you commonly heard at the perfume counter? The stranger, the better!

Photo Credit: Dino Quinzani

6 thoughts on “Overheard at the Perfume Counter

  1. Kay – I love this post. So true indeed. I have never heard of anyone wanting to shake the perfume but it doesn’t surprise me in the least! I do use the coffee. I know that when I was up in NY I was overwhelmed by all the scents and it did help a bit.

    • It really caught my attention when I heard someone suggest shaking the bottle before spraying. Then they actually did it. Hopefully it won’t catch on like that “don’t rub your wrists or you’ll crush the molecules” thing.

  2. I can’t wait until women (and men!) wake up to the fact that all perfumes and colognes are full of toxic chemicals (including formaldehyde!). It may smell “good” to some, but it’s poisoning everyone who breathes it in or puts it on their skin.

    Don’t believe me? Start googling “what’s in perfume?” or “what’s wrong with perfume?” or “what health effects are caused by perfume?”

    You may find that those headaches, sore throat, thyroid condition, or hormone imbalance can be traced directly to the chemicals in that bottle of designer scent.

    • Hi Suzy, I’ve addressed these same issues regarding perfumes and the ingredients used to make them time and time again in this blog. I feel it’s safe to inform any readers of this comment that I am, and have always been very pro-perfume be it all natural or synthetic. So while I do appreciate the need for an unbiased party when it comes to settling this, you’ve come to the wrong place. In response to your post, a few things:

      1) Perfumes are made using a mixture of chemicals, yes. But everything is a chemical. Water is a chemical, air is a chemical, the blood pumping through our bodies is a chemical. Calling something a chemical should not denote it as a “bad” or “good” thing because the basic building blocks of life themselves are chemicals. Everything in nature is a chemical, and some nature made chemicals are very toxic too.

      2) Formaldehyde is in fact present in many, many, many products aside from perfumes and are often present in much larger quantities. Some examples include curtains, insulation, paint, makeup, particleboard, and glue. So no matter how many perfumes you eliminate, if you live or work somewhere that has particleboard furniture, older insulation, and you use makeup at some point in your life, you are being exposed to formaldehyde. In addition to this, formaldehyde in the concentrations used in fragrances and makeup are so low that they pose minimal risk. You are probably better off freaking out about your curtains if formaldehyde is really that big of an issue.

      3) Googling those terms will only lead you to websites that have a specific agenda. And yes, that agenda is to make perfume and fragrances appear as if they are evil, poisonous things that will give everybody cancer, asthma, ADHD, allergies, brain worms, whatever. Unfortunately, most people choose to believe the first one or two sources they read without doing further research to discover that the truth is not always so black and white. Not everything on the internet is accurate or unbiased. Look deeper than the hype, investigate their “studies” and “findings”, compare them to investigations that were done by recent medical journals and government studies and you’ll find that places calling for the banning of fragrances because they’re “harmful” are not telling the full truth. Is there some truth? Sometimes, but not all the time.

      4) I got a few headaches from perfumes but that had more to do with me overwhelming my nose smelling twenty or so fragrances in one day–what can I say? I’m a greedy sniffer. That sore throat I got a couple years ago was the result of a common cold. I’m pretty sure if I did have a thyroid condition, I would know about it by now. And finally, I experienced a hormone imbalance for a few years a while ago–I think they called it puberty.

  3. It’s a very nice post: I really like its flow (though I gagged at the idea of spraying a perfume into my mouth).

    Last year in a post about using coffee for “resetting” ones nose I gave a link to the research that suggested it didn’t work.

    As to the shaking… I saw once or twice perfumes that looked “separated” (those were niche perfumes, I don’t know how they were produced) but I’m not sure if shaking would have fixed whatever was wrong with those bottles – I decided not to try them.

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