Saturday Question: Do You Decant Perfumes for Personal Use?

The week ran away from me, and I didn’t publish the post I planned. More posts are coming soon, both from me and Portia, but meanwhile let’s just talk.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #82:

Do You Decant Perfumes for Personal Use?

We all buy or swap decants, so of course we use those and make them to send to others. But do you make decants from your own bottles to use yourself? If yes, why? For which perfumes? Do you replenish them?

My Answer

Yes. I have decants for almost (if not all) 50 ml and 100 ml bottles in my collection. First, I was making them to take with me on trips. Then, since I had a scent-sensitive co-worker, I would put on just a tiny amount in the morning and then later would apply more once he left or on my way home. And then my collection grew to the size where some of the perfumes had to be stored in the third, forth, etc. row, not too easily accessible – so, instead of playing perfume boxes Tetris in the morning, I’d use a decant.

These days, while working from home and not really traveling, I can use bottles again. But many of them are still in the third, forth, etc. row… And I don’t want my decants to evaporate. So, on many days I still use perfumes from decants.

Decants

Do You Decant Perfumes for Personal Use?

Saturday Question: Do You Buy Used Perfumes?

Don’t think about vintage bottles, those are in a class of their own, and we had a poll about it not that long ago. Let’s talk about perfumes from the last 15 years (give or take a few).

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #81:

Do You Buy Used Perfumes?

If you do, where from? eBay/Mercari/Poshmark/etc.? FB groups? Basenotes or any other forums?

Do you trust those bottles to be in a good shape? Have you ever had a negative experience?

My Answer

Today this question was brought by the Google notification that informed me a couple of days ago that it found mentioning of my blog somewhere. Since it doesn’t happen too often (if ever), I got curious. It happened to be some strange site that sells perfumes… I’m still not sure whether this is a real site: only a completely clueless person would think of ordering anything from them. Nevertheless, it was there that I discovered that for one of their listings they used a picture from my old post. This one:

Victorias Secret Rapture

As I said, most likely it’s a scam: one can’t sell a bottle that they don’t have (and mine isn’t for sale), and it would be strange to show somebody else’s partial bottle if you have one to sell, because, unlike new bottles that all look alike and people might want to save efforts of taking a good picture, it will be hard to produce an identically used bottle if someone were to buy it.

But that reminded me of the thoughts I had about buying used bottles. Some time ago I made a decision that I wouldn’t be buying used bottles – unless it’s from one of a few people I know and trust. After seeing pictures of different perfumistas’ collections on FB, Instagram and YouTube, I know that many of them are stored outside of their boxes. And after reading every summer complaints from NST’s readers about how hot it gets in their places, I can only imagine through what temperature-wise live even those perfumes that aren’t exposed to the light being out of the box.

All that brought me to the realization that I perfumes that I add to my collection should be as fresh as possible (from the time of being launched) or at least from the brands’ sites. I understand that this isn’t a guarantee either. And not everyone puts their bottles on a display or subjects to the elements. But since none of the perfumes I’d buy today will be used up even in the next 5 years, the better the initial conditions of those perfumes are, the better chances I’ll get to enjoy them for at least those 5 next years.

 

Do You Buy Used Perfumes?

Saturday Question: How Many Times Do You Test New Perfumes?

New (at least for me) perfumes have been on my (and my wrists) a lot lately.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #80:

How Many Times Do You Test New Perfumes?

If you get new samples, how many times do you test each perfume? Does it depend on the initial impression? Do you keep testing if you didn’t like it the first time? Do you test the same one several days in a row, or do you pause in between tests? If you do, for how long? How soon do you know whether you like, dislike or love perfumes you test?

My Answer

Hi! My name is Undina and I’m a sample hoarder.

When my hobby just started, I was getting anything I could get worth testing (based on whatever criteria seemed relevant then), tried perfumes I’ve never seen at the stores before (and some even still), compared them, studied them against the list of notes and then kept in the “library” returning to them from time to time – to check my previous impressions, compare to a new sample or sometimes even to wear. But in general, my “sampling” never stopped.

These days, when I get a new sample, I would try it as soon as I can (but since I rarely test more than 2 new scents at a time, if I get several samples together or as a set, it might take me several days to give each one a try). Then if I liked it a lot, I might test it again within the next couple of days – mostly with the goal to see if it would become the next candidate for joining my collection (most don’t pass and are demoted to the “didn’t like” category). Those that I didn’t like would stay somewhere nearby until I either decide to put them into one of the boxes holding other samples that I plan to re-test “one day soon” or try them once again and then put into those boxes.

I do not trick myself: I know with close to a 100% certainty not only that those samples will never become full bottle purchases, but that I don’t want even to spend any of my “wearing occasions” on those perfumes. Most of them are not of Chanel No 5 or Shalimar stature where I just want to have them “for reference” and revisit once in a while to see if they still don’t work for me. But since I usually tried those perfumes that I didn’t like just once or twice, on one hand, it’s extremely hard for me to part with them “without proper testing” (especially if I bought them, or if one of the perfumista friends made me a sample of perfume they loved), and on the other hand, I know that I don’t really want to test them any more because I didn’t like them that much on the previous attempt. Thus, they stay in limbo of that “one day soon” box – because I have to test them properly before dismissing. Right?..

I’m trying to fight with this mental loophole I created to justify my hoarding tendencies by getting the smallest samples possible and forcing myself to make a final decision in a more focused manner. Ideally, trying any perfume 2 or maximum 3 times should be more than enough. Ideally.

 

How Many Times Do You Test New Perfumes?

Saturday Question: What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?

Several years ago, when NST had a community project for the “back to school”perfume associations, I did a post about it. And those of you who were reading my blog then commented about perfumes they wore to school and other school-related topics. But today I suggest a slightly different twist: not a trip down memory lane but rather a fantasy.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #79:

What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?

Think of yourself from the time of your last year at school. Imagine that you could send yourself to the past a magical gift – a bottle of any perfume that you have in your collection today or can buy now – to wear on your first day back to school. What would you choose and why?

My Answer

Have you ever thought of a great question to ask someone… and then figured out that you would have hard time coming up with the answer? This is what happened to me. As usually it happens at that time of the year, the “back to school” notion was on my mind, and I thought it would be great to do this question. But what would I want to wear on that day? That is the question.

As I mentioned more than once before, since they weren’t that affordable or easily available, perfumes weren’t widely used in the daily life when I was growing up even by adults, let alone teenagers. I’m not sure if there even were any official rules as to wearing scented products to school. The rules were strict about makeup: colorless chopstick-like balms were the closest one could get to wearing makeup to school. But I would think that any perfume one would be able to get and wear to school would be a vast improvement over odors that were “naturally” present in the day-to-day life. So, maybe it wouldn’t have been frowned upon? I don’t know.

But as rebellious as I was back then, I still wouldn’t want to be completely out of order, so probably I shouldn’t send myself to the past any sillage bombs.

Also, back then I was still mostly a signature scent person (on those rare special occasions when I wore perfume, it was my beloved Climat by Lancome – surprise!), so I wouldn’t want to send myself something I think I wouldn’t have liked at 17.

And of course I’d want to wear something that my friends would think smells great, especially that particular boy… (though, if I remember it correctly, there wasn’t a one when I was returning to school for my last year, but you got the idea).

Having taken all that into consideration, I chose Iris Poudre from Frederic Malle. My reasoning is: I like it and consider pretty any easy going. Besides, even though I tried and liked it when I was much older, since I think that Iris Poudre smells a lot like another perfume that became my favorite in just about 10 years after school, it’s very likely that I would have liked any/both of them a decade earlier as well.

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

What Perfume Would You Wear Back to School Today?

Saturday Question: What Is Your Favorite Puredistance Perfume?

With the news of the upcoming new release, Puredistance has been on my mind recently.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #78:

What Is Your Favorite Puredistance Perfume?

Do you own any? Do you like any of those that you tried but don’t currently own? Are there any that you’d like to try?

My Answer

Puredistance is “my brand.” I do not love all of their perfumes, and ironically their main perfume – Puredistnce I – has never found its way into my heart, but among the rest of their creations I have several perfume loves and strong likes.

Antonia is probably still my most favorite perfume from the line, one of those that made it to the “love and don’t ever want to be without” category in My Perfume Portrait. And that light green bottle!

Puredistance White, Puredistance Gold and Rubikona are all strong rivals for the second place spot in my heart. I don’t think I could choose just one of them: they fit into different moods and seasons, and I think that all three are beautiful.

I find Opardu, Warszawa and Sheiduna very pleasant and wear these from time to time, but admittedly they are just in the “like and wear” category: unlike the previous four, I wouldn’t be chasing these but I’ll enjoy them as long as I have them.

Finally, I like Puredistance Black on my vSO (he seems to like it as well). Not surprisingly, two the most masculine perfumes in the line – Aenotus and Puredistance M – do not work for me at all.

What I also like about this brand is that because I’ve done many posts about their perfumes over years, I have a wide choice of previously published pictures of Rusty that I can use again for this Saturday Question post.

 

 

What Is Your Favorite Puredistance Perfume?

Saturday Question: Skincare – Scented, Fragrance-free or Unscented?

With the current trends for “clean,” “organic,” “vegan,” “eco-friendly,” “cruelty-free,” etc. beauty products, the question of scent in skincare products is constantly being mentioned. With it comes some confusion: people associate scents with being harmful, while the absence of scents seems like a safer choice. In reality, it is not necessarily true. “Unscented” products might contain ingredients that neutralize or mask scents but are themselves irritants, while naturally occurring pleasant aromas might be completely harmless. Of course, having a fragrance added to the product (either to make it smell better or not to smell at all) will not necessarily irritate your skin, same as all-natural ingredients are not guaranteed to be safe, as we know from IFRA’s regulations for even those minuscule amounts that get onto your skin as perfume application. So, the safest combination for sensitive skin would be products that contain only safe ingredients (with or without their natural scent) and no added fragrance to either enhance or hinder our scent perception of the product. This is theoretically. But what in reality? Do you care for the scent in your skincare products?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #77:

Skincare – Scented, Fragrance-free or Unscented?

Do you care whether your skincare products have a scent (natural occurring or added)? Do you prefer it one way or the other? Do you make an extra effort to ensure that the product you’re getting smells the way you like (or doesn’t smell at all, if this is your preference)?

What are your favorite products smell-wise?

My Answer

I can’t say with certainty whether my skin is sensitive. I do have some skin allergies, but those seem to be triggered mostly by environmental factors: I started having any issues (other than mild acne, from which I suffered my whole life) only 3 or 4 years ago when we had the first huge fire in our area with air quality being classified as “dangerous” for a couple of weeks. At that point, my skin started reacting to everything, and that was when I switched to the simplest routine with a couple of products that I tolerated well. Back then the question of ascent or fragrance in products didn’t even occur to me.

A year of working from home miraculously healed my skin super-sensitivity, and I started dabbling in an enhanced skincare routine, as I described in one of my Sunday Self-care Series post. And that was when I realized that I do not enjoy skincare products that do not have any smell. The scentless Ilia Lip Wrap Treatment Mask was one of my least favorite lip products. I tolerate The Ordinary products, but mostly because those are super-simple “one-track” remedies. With everything else… I want a pleasant scent. My skincare doesn’t feel luxurious enough if I cannot smell anything at all. Among products that I enjoy, I’d name Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Gel, Guerlein Youth Watery Oil and Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in Berry.

Lip Masks

So, if I absolutely have to (if my skin starts “misbehaving” again), of course, I will pay even more attention to what I react to, and I might decide to eliminate some of the products that do not swear not to make the situation worse (being “free-everything”). But until then I try to stick to products that provide enjoyment to all of my senses.

Speaking about satisfying all the senses… Check out this post (and a giveaway) on Jessica’s blog (Perfume Professor) for the review of the latest products from Boxwalla’s subscription.

 

How about you?

Skincare – Scented, Fragrance-free or Unscented?

Saturday Question: Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

It is not a confirmed information, but it looks like if not a straightforward discontinuation some changes are about to happen to this Guerlain‘s line. After the last week’s perfume bottles swaps discussion where hajusuuri mentioned that Guerlain was changing bottles for this line, I saw ThePerfumeGuy’s YouTube video, in which he shared tidbits he got from several brand’s SAs, all of which boiled down to these perfumes being re-released in new, larger and more expensive bottles. And it is not clear, which of the perfumes are coming back.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #76:

Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

Do you have any that you planned to buy eventually but haven’t yet? Or are there any bottles that you planned to re-purchase once you finish the current one? Do you hope for any of the previously discontinued perfumes from this line to come back?

My Answer

For the longest time, I planned to buy Angelique Noire once I finish the decant I have. I always liked this perfume, but with how seldom I wear each of the perfumes in my collection, I easily had another year before facing the decision whether to buy a bottle or try to get another decant.

When I learned about the upcoming changes, I searched for a bottle and found it available on one of the large department store’s websites. I could have bought it then and there, but of course being me I wanted to wear Angelique Noire once again… Do I have to tell that the next time I looked it was gone?

In a futile attempt to find it, among other places I visited the brand’s site. Of course, it’s not available there as well, but at least Angelique Noire is listed there with a somewhat pacifying “Email when in stock” action offered. I do realize that it might come back reformulated again and in a 100 ml (or larger?) bottle. But there is at least some hope. And that’s when I realized that I didn’t see there the first perfume from Guerlain that I bought – Cruel Gardenia.

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

I still have probably about 20 ml left in my bottle (the photo above was taken about 5 years ago). But the thought that it might be gone completely upset me so much that I ran back to the same sites looking now for a backup bottle of my beloved Cruel Gardenia. Luckily for me, it has always been an odd one in the line, so it is the last one left from the older creations (another one still available in the US stores is Iris Torréfié, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it). Since I want it for myself and do not plan to sell for profit or split, it doesn’t matter to me that others do not like it as much as I do. So, now maybe one of the last few Cruel Gardenia bottles left in the US is on its way to me.

How about you?

 

Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

Saturday Question: Do You Swap Perfume Bottles?

As many of my questions, this one was brought by something that I came across elsewhere: in the recent 356 perfumes in 365 days series’ post mmkinpa showed a bottle of Annick Goutal Musc Nomade that she got in a swap. That sent me thinking about swaps.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #75:

Do You Swap Perfume Bottles?

The question isn’t about exchanging decants or samples. But do you swap actual perfume bottles? If yes, what do you swap away? Have you ever got anything great in a swap?

My Answer

I rarely buy something impulsively. So, by the time I decide to get anything into my collection, I’ve spent some time thinking about that perfume, imagining having it, coming up with all the justifications of why I need it… And once I get that perfume, it is here to stay. I might share samples and decants from the bottle I got, but it is almost impossible for me to part with a bottle once I got it.

Not related to this, most of the swaps offered in places where I see them (NST swap meets and FB groups) would not interest me even if those perfumes were offered “for grabs” for free, so it’s completely out of question exchanging them for anything from my collection.

I need to work on letting go of perfumes that I know I won’t wear: it makes total sense to pass them onto someone who would enjoy wearing them instead of me waiting for those unloved ones to go off. But even if I manage to persuade myself to part with some of them, I think it would be easier for me psychologically to give them away than to exchange them for something else: I usually love my unloved ones still more than most of perfumes offered for swapping.

 

Do You Swap Perfume Bottles?

Saturday Question: Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released?

This question is inspired by my story about the recent Diptyque‘s limited edition perfume Ilio that got sold out seemingly within weeks after its release.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #74:

Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released?

We are talking not about discontinued perfumes that we loved or former beauties reformulated beyond recognition. The question is about the true Limited Editions that companies released at some point, sold out and never brought back.

If you could tell to one brand which one of their LE perfumes you wish they would bring back for this year’s holiday season, what would it be? Just one! (As a suggestion: if someone has already named one of your “candidates,” respond to their comment in support. That would allow you to name your own choice in your comment – and see if others would support it).

My Answer

When I came up with this question, the answer immediately popped up in my mind. But since I have a luxury of a home-grown database of all perfumes I own or had a sample of at some point, I decided to be thorough. As I looked through all the LEs (I have them marked), I realized that in the last 15 years I didn’t come by too many limited edition perfumes, and out of those several that I tried, liked and bought, my initial idea was still the best choice for me. And I couldn’t think of any such perfume that I liked but missed before it was gone.

So, even though I still have some of this perfume left, I would like Jo Malone to bring back Sweet Milk from their their 2001 LE Tea Collection.

Sweet Milk by Jo Malone

Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released?

Saturday Question: What Perfume Brands Are Popular Now?

If you’ve been in this game for at least 7-8 years, you probably still remember times when everyone was talking about a new release from L’Artisan Parfumeur, Serge Lutens‘ releases were expected with growing anxiety, and the next Le Labo‘s City Exclusives would cause growling amongst anxious perfumistas who couldn’t figure out how to get a hold of it. Several more names were in the same camp back then: Frederic Malle, Amouage, Parfum d’Empire and Parfums De Nicolai. But what about now?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #73:

What Perfume Brands Are Popular Now?

It’s not a question of which perfume brands you like and still follow, but rather which brands you think are still more popular than the rest among people who consider themselves perfumistas? What names do you hear more often than others? What do you attribute it to?

My Answer

With the avalanche of new brands and releases from both new and established brands, as well as the decline of the popularity of the written word in the last years, it seems like perfumistas’ interests are scattered all over. As I watch NST’s split meets, I see that people are mostly splitting old favorites – Chanel, Guerlain, Hermes and, yes, Serge Lutens. But I see much less newer brands. And in the daily SOTD threads whenever anybody mentions new perfumes or lines, those comments don’t collect too many reactions.

I tried to think on the answer to my question. If not to count big names that are talked about more not in the last place because of their accessibility: it is much easier to get to try new perfumes by Chanel, Tom Ford, Diptyque, Jo Malone or even By Kilian than by any of the smaller niche brands.

But if I had to name at least one smaller niche brand that still gathers a lot of interest, I’d say that it is Zoologist Perfumes. Personally, I do not like this brand: I don’t like the name of the brand and perfumes; I don’t like the packaging; I hated one perfume from it that I tried on skin, and I was indifferent to several more that I sniffed at a store. But whenever a new one is released, I see others discussing it and getting samples to try. I think that, in addition to making perfumes that people like, this brand doesn’t charge the super-luxury level prices, and they have samples and travel sprays.

I can think of a couple more brands, but I’ll leave them to you to name.

 

What Perfume Brands Are Popular Now?