ADVICE ABOUT CHOOSING YOUR PERFECT PERFUME
WHAT YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND AS YOU BEGIN BUILDING YOUR FRAGRANCE WARDROBE
Perfume is like champagne and shoes – you can never have too much. That’s the message from The Powder Room director Samantha Taylor, who has worked for Floris & L’Occitane, Estee Lauder, Miller Harris and Penhaligons in Australia and Europe, and is considered one of the country’s foremost fragrance experts.
“I love how perfume makes me feel. I can spray on an oriental fragrance and become a seductress; a chypre perfume will prepare me for a day where I have to be strong and a fresh citrus will be uplifting on a Saturday after a big week,” she says.
“What turned it from a passion into a career for me was learning the history of perfume – it spans more than 4000 years and is fascinating.
“Perfume has played a part in some of the world’s greatest love stories: King Solomon and Queen of Sheba, Cleopatra and Marc Anthony, Napoleon and Josephine.
“Another thing I love is that the art of perfume is a beautiful balance between art and science.”
Rather than just a single signature scent, Samantha suggests building a fragrance wardrobe.
“I always encourage my clients to think of perfume as a final accessory, so you can choose a fragrance based on how you feel, what you are wearing or even the weather,” she says.
“To build your fragrance wardrobe, start with a daytime and an evening fragrance, and gradually add in more fragrances as you discover them.
“When you are ready to be bold, invest in a seduction perfume.”
At the heart of that fragrance wardrobe should be your “little black dress”.
“I think every woman and man should have a fragrance they always return to,” Samantha says.
“Your signature scent should sit perfectly on your skin, last and be one that others always comment on.
“Contrary to popular opinion, the perfect scent is not one you can’t smell on yourself.
“It just means your nose is accustomed to the smell and is treating it like white noise, so it can concentrate on doing its job, smelling for danger.” Take your time to find the right fit. “Customers are encouraged to make their purchase too soon for my liking – spray, smell and buy is not the way to shop for perfume,” Samantha says.
“Fragrance needs to sit on the skin for at least 30 minutes before you decide if you will invest.
“Spray it on to your skin (do not rub or dab) and go for a wander around the store.
“Make sure you keep smelling the perfume every five minutes so you can experience the evolution of the perfume … think of it unfolding on your skin like a flower.
“When you take it home, please, please don’t keep it in the bathroom.
“The enemy of perfume is heat and light, so it needs to be kept out of direct sunlight and away from any heat source.”
Have you ever noticed a scent you love on somebody else smells different when you wear it?
“It’s all about the acid mantle on your skin and how your perfume interacts with that,” Samantha explains.
“Perfume contains natural and synthetic raw materials, sometimes sunscreen along with the alcohol so, when you spray your perfume on to your skin, a little chemical reaction happens.
“Natural raw materials tend to change on the skin more than synthetic ingredients.”
While Samantha shows students how to craft a custom fragrance, it is possible to find your match on a department-store shelf.
“I tend towards artisan perfume brands and I cherrypick from ranges such as Serge Lutens, Profumum Roma and Memo Paris.
“However, Tom Ford fragrances are always a good investment and you can’t go wrong with Hermes or Balenciaga,” she says.
“I have a soft spot for Estee Lauder perfumes, as that is where I started in the beauty industry many years ago.
“I am also loving a new Australian perfume brand called Goldfield and Banks.”