beauty

The 7 fragrance hacks I learned as a professional fragrance spritzer.

When I was a little girl, I had a locked drawer in my bedroom which contained my most prized possessions: around 15 tiny bottles of fragrance samples which my dad had given me from his work as a salesman in the beauty industry. Uh, yeah, so the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, right?

Every so often, I’d unlock the drawer, sit on the floor amongst my precious bottles, and then smell each one.  I must have been the only kid who knew the olfactory differences between Chloe’s eponymous scent and Cacharel’s iconic Anais Anais.

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Flash forward two decades or so, and I was using my childhood knowledge in my newest job as a fragrance spritzer. Yeah, I was one of those girls who harassed people in department stores, wielding an expensive glass bottle and offering to spray them with scent. I relished the training I received for this job. Here’s what I learnt.

Rule 1. Spray it in a “slashing” motion.

Imagine this: you find a fragrance you love, and then you hold the spray nozzle right up to your arm and then squirt! You’ve sprayed a circle of wet fragrance on your skin, and it’s now dripping everywhere. This is how not to do it. This botched application is especially irritating if a fragrance consultant has done it to you. It’s just messy and unprofessional.

This is how a professional fragrance flogger sprays a fragrance – it’s an art, and admittedly, quite theatrical. We use a “slashing” motion. Think of it as a dance move! Okay, follow along with me.

Carla GS demonstrates how to correctly spritz a fragrance, using Marc Jacobs' Mod Noir. Source: Supplied.
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  1. Stick your non-dominant arm out, straight in front of you, as though you are pointing at your own face in the mirror to say, “Who is that awesome person?” because it’s just true. But don’t actually point, because you don’t want to be rude to yourself, do you? I use my left arm for this.
  2. Grab your fragrance in your dominant hand (my right hand), and clutch the bottle in such a way that the label is facing out, so that the customer can see it and therefore become enraptured and buy it, thus ensuring you remain employed. Please!
  3. Hold the fragrance so that it is about an iPhone’s distance from your arm, preferably pointing towards the inner elbow.
  4. Maintaining this distance, lift the bottle upwards towards your nose.
  5. Spritz the fragrance while moving the bottle in a straight line, down from your nose towards your bellybutton. It’s a slashing motion. Ta-da! The fragrance is spritzed in a lovely cloud, and not a wet blob.

Who needs yoga when you can just spray yourself with fragrance all day? Check out the latest makeup trend: strobing. (Post continues after gallery.)

Rule 2. Never rub your wrists or arms together, after sampling a fragrance.

Also, don't spray it in someone's face.

You may have seen your mum do this: spray a fragrance onto her wrist, and then rub it vigorously with the opposite wrist. Sorry to be a nerd, but this is not the correct way to sample a fragrance.

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The scent becomes “bruised” if you rub it. This means that all of the different notes in the scent become muddled up, and don’t smell as fresh or good any more. If you want the fragrance on both of your arms, just spray it on both of them. Don’t rub it! Just say no.

Rule 3. Aim higher than your wrist.

No, Nicki Minaj! That's not where to spray it!

Speaking of spraying fragrance on your wrists, why not try aiming a little higher on your arm instead? Yes, wrists are sexy (don’t ask me why, but they just are), but the problem with spritzing fragrance on your wrists is that it can interact with your accessories and disrupt the true nature of the scent.

For example, the fragrance will rub against your watch and bangles, which will then alter the scent. This is why I always spray fragrance in the hollows of my elbows instead.

Rule 4. It’s called a fragrance, not a perfume.

A fragrance flogger will never, ever utter the word “perfume”. We only say fragrance, which is a more elegant and descriptive word. Honestly, though, I personally don’t care what you call it, as long as you love it. Call it a Backstreet Boys philosophy, if you will: your fragrance bottle should sing, “as long as you love me”.

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Rule 5. Before splurging on a fragrance, wear it for one day.

You wouldn't want to smell like Sex Panther from "Anchorman", would you?

Fragrances change as you wear them, as the different scents mingle with your body heat and natural oils. Also, fragrances tend to “mellow” or wear down as the day goes on, often leaving behind a “base note” – that is, one strong scent that the fragrance may be based around.

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Vanilla is an example of a base note. Before buying a fragrance, I always wear it for a day first, because I like to experience the full range of smells. You may find that the fragrance you almost impulse-bought actually gives you a headache. In this instance, it pays to be cautious.

Rule 6. Live for the moment and spray your fragrance now, because it can go “off”.

This is something that Baby Carla really needed to know. Baby Carla kept those tiny fragrance samples in her drawer for years and didn’t wear them. Even though she took them out to smell them, and pretended to enjoy it, deep down she knew that the fragrances were beginning to stink.

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This is because fragrances go “off”. They may not have an official expiry date, but the scent can become bad after a period of time – I’ll say after a few years. (Post continues after gallery.)

Many people purchase luxury fragrances and keep them on their shelves for years on end, rationing out the fragrance for special occasions only. You know what? Life’s too short, and when it comes to fragrances, the life of the fragrance is actually short.

So, spray yourself silly and use up that whole bottle of fragrance. The special occasion is your life, and you are special, and you are worth it. You deserve to smell incredible every damn day!

Rule 7. Everyone just wants to smell like Britney Spears.

Look, I’m usually all about a high-low mix when it comes to beauty – I love Rimmel and Estee Lauder equally – but for fragrances, I tend to stroll on the more luxurious side of the street. Although designer fragrances are expensive, a bottle will last you a long time, and the scents tend to be more sophisticated and complex.

My current favourite is See by Chloe, in the limited edition Si Belle. However, I found that my tastes were in the minority.

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As much as I tried to convert customers to my favourite, more indulgent scents, they all just wanted to buy Britney Spears fragrances. And I’m not using Britney’s name in vain here, as a metaphor for celebrity fragrances.

Customers would spritz her fragrances and fall in love with the bright, candy scents. This frustrated me, because the Britney fragrances were a cheaper buy, and I needed my customers to spend more money so that I could keep make my sales target and therefore, keep my job.

And also, I was a huge snob. But you know what? I think that you just like what you like, and that’s cool. And, if I’m being honest, I really like the smell of Britney Spears’ Curious. There, I said it.

What is your favourite fragrance? Tell us in the comments!

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