Beauty

4 rules for buying perfume for someone else

In partnership with
Jimmy Choo

Save yourself the stress of finding a perfume your loved one will actually wear with these insider tips…

If you’ve ever had the displeasure of being trapped on a train with someone cloaked in an overwhelming fragrance, you’ll know that our scent preferences are incredibly personal.

It’s something that makes buying a fragrance for somebody else a tricky task. But get it right and perfume is one of the most memorable presents you can give. 

As scent expert Karen Gilbert says: “Forget grabbing a last-minute voucher – a fragrance shows you’ve really put the thought in.” 

So, how do you find the right scent for your nearest and dearest? We asked Gilbert for her insider advice…

  • 1. Do your homework

    Before hitting the shops, make a note of your recipient’s likes and dislikes. Do they fill their home with lavender incense? Do they prefer spicy foods to sweet treats? 

    “Look into the smells they love and the scents they regularly wear, then explore this fragrance family,” says Gilbert.

    A person’s daily routine can also influence your decision, too. If they work in an office, choose a fragrance that isn’t too overpowering. Or if they’re into sports, an invigorating citrus smell will hit the spot. 

    “If you’re really stuck, go detective and discreetly ask others, like their partner or sister,” Gilbert suggests. “Whatever you do, never shop blind as this can lead to disaster.” 

  • 2. Get blotting

    Ever noticed a perfume that works wonderfully for a friend, but smells awful on you? That’s because fragrances suit certain skin types.

    “Scents smell differently on everyone, so the best way to evaluate a perfume is to use blotting cards instead of spritzing it on your own wrist,” says Gilbert. 

    “My top tip is to write the perfume name onto each blotting card before you spray it – otherwise, you’ll forget which is which.”

    If you’re in a department store full of scents spritzed every which way, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. 

    Instead, Gilbert recommends testing a maximum of three perfumes at a time to avoid overloading your nose. 

    Take a break for 30 minutes (just enough time to gander through the sales), wait for the blotting cards to dry, allow your nose to reset, then choose your favourite. You can always go back to try more once you’ve had a breather.

  • 3. Seek out the classics

    So, you’ve tried a range of scents, but you’re still struggling to decide on the perfect match. Enter the failsafe classics. 

    “When in doubt, there are some safe bets that are easy to wear and the majority of people will like,” reveals Gilbert. 

    In fact, the most appealing fragrance family tends to be florals, such as Jimmy Choo Floral.

    With a dreamy concoction of fruity, musky and floral notes, it’s the next best thing to bottling summer.

  • 4. Think of the whole package

    We shouldn’t judge a scent by its bottle, but let’s be honest – design can be a major deciding factor. “The perfume may be sitting front and centre on your recipient’s dressing table, so it’s vital to think about their style,” says Gilbert. 

    “Are they minimalist, edgy or classic? The bottle should always be in keeping with their personal aesthetic.”

    Last but not least, remember that gifting is about the other person, not your own taste. “We tend to choose presents that we’d like ourselves, but it may not be what your significant other wants,” says Gilbert. 

    “So, take your preferences out of it, smell with an open mind, and always consider the other person.”

    As you sniff, ask yourself: is this really them? Can you imagine them wearing it? If the answer is yes, you’re onto a winner.

Show off your new gifting skills and choose Jimmy Choo Floral

Illustrations by Louisa Cannell