How to Choose Your Perfume
It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it – that seems to be the message when it comes to fragrance this season. And while it would take a seismic shift for the days of spritzing on your favourite scent to be truly numbered, perfumers are getting playful – gels, powders and solid scents appear to be the delivery methods of the moment. Doyenne of the perfume world Jo Malone has declared that “painting yourself with fragrance” is the new way to wear a scent.
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Her Jo Loves A Fragrance Paintbrush (£40; 020 7730 6091, joloves.com) was three years in the making and invites you to sweep a cooling gel cologne across your whole body, from top to toe, zig-zagging between pulse points. There are four different fragrances to choose from but, for me, Pomelo is the frontrunner. Vibrant, warm and citrussy, it’s the most sophisticated snail trail you’ll ever encounter… Elsewhere, Swedish perfumier Byredo has also decided brushon scent is the way forward, albeit with a slightly different approach. Its Kabuki Perfume in Gypsy Water (£42; 020 7734 1234, liberty.co.uk) is a pungent powder.
Savoury and peppery, it combines pine needles, bergamot and sandalwood – if the hygge concept had an aroma, this would be it. Simply dust yourself down and get on with your day. While solid perfumes are by no means a new idea, they are having a resurgence – and with good reason. Practical and portable, the tiny compacts are extremely covetable, won’t leak in your bag and a lack of alcohol means that rather than evaporating away, the notes awaken as they warm on your skin. When done well, they also linger longer. So which should you be trying this season? Osmanthus is one of eight Ormonde Jayne Solid Perfume Balms (£120; 0800 123400, selfridges.com). It feels velvety on the skin and manages to be intense and fresh at the same time thanks to the combination of Egyptian sweet herbs, sunny citrus and, of course, apricottinged Japanese osmanthus.
Capturing the aroma of Diptyque’s first boutique, 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Solid Perfume (£36; 0800 840 0010, diptyqueparis. co.uk) contains dozens of notes that all manage to sing without fighting for the spotlight. It’s pleasingly gender neutral, with damp mosses, plump blackcurrant, warm woods and ripe fig making it one anyone would want to wear. Elizabeth and James Nirvana White Solid Perfume (£38; 020 7730 1234, harrods.com) is the newest kid on the block and is a musky floral that brings together muguet (lily of the valley to you and me), a blush of peony and a touch of comforting vanilla in a glamorous gold and white case. Over the years I have discovered that even the most pungent perfumes don’t linger on me in the way they do when others wear them. A fragrance aficionado once broke the news that this is because I am a redhead – apparently our says our expert… to spritz skin doesn’t contain as much oil as most, so won’t hold on to traditional scents well.
Hair, on the other hand, allows every aroma it comes across to hitch a lift, as any non-smoker who has woken after a night out to the fug of stale cigarettes can attest. Anointing hair dates back to the dawn of time, so it’s no wonder the fragrance houses are also turning their talents to our locks. Fabulously flirty and floral, with notes of jasmine, rose and patchouli, Miss Dior Hair Mist (£34; nationwide) brings everything you loved about the original eau de toilette to a light, hair-friendly formula that also protects against damage from pollution. Equally pleasing is Sachajuan Protective Hair Perfume (£40; 0800 044 5700, netaporter. com). Refreshing thanks to notes of green apple, cedar wood and white musk, it uses an extract found in natural citrus oils to encapsulate odour molecules, breaking them down to remove nasty niffs as well as add fragrance. It’s a very clever thing. Finally, while we’re talking about alternative ways to scent, I can’t miss the opportunity to give an honourable mention to Maison Francis Kurkdjian Les Bulles D’Agathe (£15.50 each; maisonfranciskurkdjian.com). These resemble the sort of blowing bubbles you would associate with entertaining rug rats. It’s something of a tangent here, but so much fun. They were developed when Kurkdjian – who created Le Male for Jean Paul Gaultier – decided to introduce his niece Agathe to aroma. Simply blow your bubbles and as they pop, they release one of four aromas: pear, cold mint, cut herbs and Parma Violet. They’re everything that fragrance should be – joyous, nostalgic and delightful.