Saturday Question: Perfume Buying Rules?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

At APJ we have a Saturday Question. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it’s a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back regularly and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them. The aim is to generate real conversation and connection even though we are scattered around the globe.


Saturday Question: What Are Your Perfume Buying Rules?

Over 100 responses I will draw a Secret Scent Sample Pack (from my collection)

Last Weeks Winner: Hamamelis

eMail me at (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with your address please

Saturday Question: What Are Your Perfume Buying Rules?

Everyone has a set of rules they think they should abide by. In everything in their life. My head is full of so many rules and regulations that sometimes I think it’s going to explode.

Of course I have a list in my head of rules for perfume, right? It’s part of how I was brought up and part of who I am. Rules. Yes, I’m positively Singaporean, Germanic or Swiss with my need for some sort of order in the chaos we call life. It’s my NEED but not necessarily how life pans out for me, obviously.

My Answer:

Well, I try to adhere to these but you all know how much fragrance is in this house. Ridiculous. So you also know that my Perfume Buying Rules are so often broken that it’s laughable. What my Perfume Buying Rules do do though is make me at least stop and think before I shop. Think of them as Perfume Buying Guidelines.

  1. No Blind Buying (This is a hard one. I really do try, and often succeed in NOT blind buying. My real success rate with the BB is less that one in 10 ever gets work beyond the first week in my home)
  2. Spritz lavishly then walk around the department store, or go have a coffee, for at least 15 minutes before making your purchase. (This is a surprisingly good idea. Most 21st century frags are meant to WOW you at the counter for 10 minutes, after that a lot of the collapse)
  3. Do NOT trawl the fragrant internet sites after midnight or a sugar hit.
  4. If you can’t spritz it in your town buy a sample/split/decant. (So many times buying a 2ml decant has saved me hundreds of dollars on buying DROSS!)
  5. Set dollar limits before you walk into a fragrance store, or start trolling the net.
  6. Smell everything in your sample set before ordering a new one.


My Saturday Question to you is:

What Are Your Perfume Buying Rules?

140 thoughts on “Saturday Question: Perfume Buying Rules?

  1. Only buy perfume if I absolutely love it. Which is seldom. And led to only 3 purchase last year. This year I plan to buy nothing. Although I will get Chanel Venise next week. But Chris is buying it for me, so it does not count. And I LOVE it. Been through three whole samples. ( And got a number of compliments, which is so rare.)

    I did not know you had rules Honey. 💋

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like your Rules Portia and they would work well for me too. I also live by so many self-made rules; I find comfort in structure. I abide by some fragrance rules, but this is where the rules are softer because fragrance is such an indulgence for me I tend to break my rules and splurge from time to time. Also, my fragrance rules have been a long time in the making due to errors, regrets, and wasted money (live and learn, right?).
    1) After trawling the fragrance internet sites, wait until at least if not longer, the next day to decide on a purchase.
    2) Research, research, research! Read reviews and research the best price available, preferably with free shipping and gift/samples with purchase if possible.
    3) Whenever possible, sample first (this is a work in progress).
    I continue to indulge in the occasional blind buy, but I’d like to add no blind buy to my Rules. However, sometimes it is just fun to get a surprise package if the price is very reasonable and it seems worth the risk.


  3. I am still to new to the perfume world, so i mostly try to sample first, but sometimes i just take the plunge. I blindly bought Fils de Dieu, Dzing! L´Air de Rien, Assam of India, a vintage Shalimar EdT and Theo Fennel Scent and am happy with my purchases. The others i bought and am semi-enthusiastic about are AG Encens Flamboyant, Stash, OJ Woman. But mostly i buy decants, if i can get them on the Parfumo forum.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For almost 50 years my perfume rule was simple…no more than 7 bottles. Back in the day there were no such things as decants or places to purchase samples. However, samples were handed out freely and lavishly by SAs so I would always wear a sample or two before making the full bottle purchase.

    Right now my rule is NO BUY. Between my kids, my parents and a select few perfume buddies I have enough of a variety to share and get decants of that I really don’t “need” to make any more purchases. However, with that being said I might just break my rule at the end of April and get a bottle of Reglisse Noire for my birthday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My rules are similar to yours – with the addition that I am a fountain pen fancier as well as a bit of a perfume fanatic. If I’ve been buying pen stuff, no perfume, and vice versa. One vice at a time, as it were. My buying stalled a bit with a recent temporary (two year) move of 5000 kilometers and then back – I knew I didn’t want to ship my perfumes, so I strictly limited FBs.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This year I’m on a no buy, but in general my rules are no blind buys, and it has to be something I love so much I will be excited to reach for it over all the other stuff already in my collection. If I don’t get a clear picture in my mind of what it smells like and how it makes me feel when I wear it, then the answer is it doesn’t need to be part of my collection.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I blind buy all the time and have about 3,000 bottles plus all of the minis, samples and decants. My rule? Yes, I have them. I am a cheap ass. I never ever ever pay retail. Ever. And, I think paying $100 or more is insane. Most of my bottles have been gained for under $20 and most less than $10. I hunt. I buy used. I buy testers. If I hate it, I resell it.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I break all of these rules, and sometimes it pays off while sometimes I end up with regrets. I need to be more rational and responsible and adopt some of these rules, because I am a sucker with blind buy limited editions and late-night impulse purchases! Love this discussion ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’m trying to keep to a no buy policy. Don’t know how long it will last.
    I usually try to samplw a perfume before I make the decision to buy


      • No I haven’t bought anything, but if you remember I said on another post that I had perfume for Christmas and it was my birthday 2 weeks ago…,,more perfume gifts.. Good job really because I’m a bit short of dosh !!!! XX


    • My job was eliminated Dec. 10. I didn’t buy at all. I got a new offer on Jan. 17 and start next week. As a gift to me, I bought four bottles! LOL It was a nice month. I had time to revisit old frags I hadn’t worn in a while and try on some of the samples sitting in the pile.


  10. 1 buy secondhand and cheap
    2 buy those that have interesting reviews on Fragrantica and Basenotes
    3 live dangerously, buy blind. There is not much risk if rule 1 is apllied correctly. You can always sell.
    4 focus a bit on vintages and avoid middle of the road scents.
    5 be flexible in the application of rules 😉
    6 share and swap with friends, spread the love

    Liked by 4 people

  11. After buying OJ Tiare and a backup bottle of Douceur de Siam at the end of last year, both being on the pricier side, I am seeing how long I can hold off this year. Within the last year I did break my no-buy rule with Lancome Oud Bouquet and it didn’t go badly, although I wasn’t expecting a fancy version of Prada Candy. Having local perfume pals makes me feel very fortunate, both for the company and the chance to sniff the acquisitions of others, lessening the need to buy samples.


  12. It is extremely rare for me to buy something I haven’t tried, preferably at home from a sample. Occasionally I’ll buy something after trying in a store, wearing and walking around for a while as you describe, but it’s hard for me to get a sense of something that way and so I rarely actually purchase on those terms these days. I have some old mistakes to offload at some point. This means I spend money on samples and decants, but I think it’s worth it in the long run. I’ve got a budget that varies depending on what’s going on in my life. I have to really love it and am trying now not to unnecessarily duplicate things that are really similar. That’s about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Lessons learned that have become operating guidelines, rather than rules…

    1. No blind buying, unless it seems like a really good idea at the time AND I’ve done my research (I’ve been lucky: it’s worked out for me each time so far.)
    2. Buy way, way less this year. Last year was a profligate year, but that’s OK. It wasn’t the rent money, and it was still less than my old cigarette habit. But a full no buy is asking for trouble/rebellion.
    3. If you’re buying on eBay, trust your instincts. If it seems iffy, leave it be. But if it feels right, then blimey, there are some good bargains that result from other people’s buyers’ remorse!
    4. Respect your own taste. It doesn’t matter if eleventy-seven people are raving about it.
    5. No duplicates unless I am down to under 5ml. (You’ve got enough Miss Dior to last you, crikey!)
    6. No “oooh, look, a bargain!” buys for the sake of a bargain, even if you can rehome them where they will be loved. It’s not a bargain if you don’t wear it.
    7. No stress buying perfume. If you must stress buy something: a 30ml bottle of a new colour of Diamine ink is *much* cheaper than perfume. And put the seventeenth red lipstick *down* already.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. 1. Blind buy $40 limit, and that’s only if I have read reviews that lead me to believe it will be a success. $20 otherwise (for the odd TJ Maxx super find – but I still always look it up on Fragrantica first. )
    2. Sample first, and only buy samples of perfumes that I can actually afford. (Don’t fall in love with something out of reach).
    3. Have a budget for any perfume shopping. I violated this in Paris and while I love my purchases, I am still wishing I had spent less.

    I’m currently on a very-low-buy. (I failed at no-buy!!). I have purchased a couple of samples (Casablanca, anyone??) and found a steal at TJ Maxx but no plans to buy any bottles.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. First of, congratulations to Hamamelis!

    My rules are:
    1. Never pay retail unless it comes with a huge discount. If I need a new bottle, I can get it off of an American discount site. However, the dollar and the euro have been so high against the ruble these last few years that I’ve almost stopped buying perfumes from abroad.
    2. No buying decants or overpriced samples. Yes, they could save a lot of money but what happens most of the time is that I get stuck with a bunch of stuff I give away to fellow perfumistas.
    3. Buy secondhand, testers, half-used bottles if they come cheap.
    4. Resell those I don’t fancy wearing anymore.
    5. Soir de Lune and Dior Homme Intense have taught me not to buy anything in the department store (unless it’s dirt cheap which doesn’t happen often enough).
    6. I do a lot of blind buys, though but same as crikey, I do my research before I pull the trigger.
    7. The most important rule: if I find something I REALLY want to have, I buy it (if I can afford it, of course). I can’t get so many other things but a damn bottle of perfume that might cheer me up on a bad day must be mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Seems the journey of discovery is partly how to set, and respect, our own boundaries. The linger we have been on the journey, the more rules we tend to set, or at least, are based on greater moderation.

    All these ‘guidelines’ are well considered and achievable. They also allow leeway for expanding our horizons.

    Oh, we are a caring, sensible bunch! Bless our cotton socks. Xx

    Liked by 4 people

  17. First and foremost I don’t have perfume RULES. I hate that word to be applied to something that is my primary hobby/obsession. I feel that it would take some of the joy out of it as we have enough actual rules to live by every day. So instead I have some notional guidelines for myself.
    1. No blind buys.
    2. Ignore no.1 if something presents itself that’s selling for a really good price, and I’ve done my homework on it already. I have had about 95% success rate. I’m not bothered if something is pre-owned, a lot of my better buys have been pre-unloved 😉
    3. Largely ignore reviews of perfume lines that are prohibitively expensive and under no circumstances seek out samples from them. High prices don’t always equal high quality. But of course, sometimes it does. Oh hey ho.
    4. Don’t store and keep for a rainy day. Use it and enjoy it.
    5. Share the love. Make decants for family, friends, colleagues, or anyone who may enjoy a little fragrant surprise. I have more than I will ever be able to use up.
    6. Don’t bankrupt myself.
    7. If money is tight, another red lipstick might suffice💋💄

    Liked by 5 people

  18. First, I do lot of research because most of my perfumes are blind buy. Second, it has to be a good price so that I can recover the purchase price in case I don’t like it. My latest perfume rule is to start focusing on those I have experienced already and love since I am starting downsizing this year. That is not to say I won’t explore new from time to time but there has to be lot of buzz to convince me it is worth trying and most of the buzz is not noise or crazy hype.

    Liked by 4 people

  19. Before reading Portia’s (and everyone else’s) responses, I thought that I didn’t have any real rules. But since I don’t do blind buys (I did it 2 times in my life, both successfully but even then I didn’t think it was a good idea), you can say that this is a rule. But other than that…

    Currently I’m at the stage in my perfume hobby where I have more perfumes that I love or at least like very much than I can wear in a year even if I would do a new scent every day (not all of them are FBs but most of these are bottles or decants that I actually bought because I wanted to wear them, after some testing). So it doesn’t make much sense for me to keep buying bottles just to buy. I will still be adding perfumes to my collection but I plan to do it only if I really want something, not because it’s a bargain.

    And now I feel an urge to go and find something I’d want to buy 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Undina, The downsizing process is proving much harder than I thought. One of the ways I am motivating myself is by reminding myself there are enough perfumes I truly love. Once I get rid of those I just ‘like’ or ‘like very much’ but not ‘love’, I can wear what I ‘love’ without any worries in the world because I have plenty of backups for many of those I love.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Oh, er, this could be embarrassing. I’m such a massive impulse buyer that it could be said that I am totally laissez-faire when it comes to buying perfume, or almost anything really. Still, if I think about it, even I have a few rules.

    1. Never pay full price, ever.
    2. Blind buying is OK but, in the words of Reagan, “Trust, but verify”. I read up on the fragrance on Fragrantica, look at whether there are any notes on there that I like/hate, skim the reviews to get the overall tenor and always click the “Male 25+ button” to see how it goes down with people similar to me. IT’s often quite different to the overall consensus.
    3. Ask why am I buying this? To collect or for my own use? The rules diverge from here on.

    For myself:
    1. Small amounts are better, 30 ml is better than 100 ml, both for price and for the space if takes up in the collection.
    2. Do I really need this or is it a niche already covered by something I already have. TBH, this rule is broken more than it is observed.
    3. Is this a raging bargain that I might not see again? This can often lead to #2 getting over-ruled.
    4. Bottles > decants or samples. I like the packaging and design, they protect the juice better and the decants and samples tend to get ignored in favour of the bottles.

    To collect:
    1. Strong interest in old, rare, discontinued, or very highly rated fragrances of any sort. Historical significance is a huge plus. Unopened is a huge plus. The more juice the better.
    2. Research the fragrance online. How collectible is it really?
    3. Level and look of the juice, how does it smell now?
    4. Condition of the box and bottle. Collectors want packaging in good condition.
    5. Can I get the stopper out? Not a deal-breaker, but a big plus if I can.
    6. How expensive is this? I can go high, but only for something really special. The real thrill is in finding a special bottle for a fraction of what you’d pay in a pharmacy for something dead ordinary.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. My rules are pretty much like yours, Portia. Definitely no more blind buys. If I’m really curious because of good reviews I get samples and wear those several times before I decide what to buy. Alas, today I broke that rule, walked into Sephora with no intention to buy perfume. Then I saw Atelier Cologne at half price and walked out with 2 new additions.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Pingback: My Perfume Wardrobe. Core Collection. | Australian Perfume Junkies

  23. I have no problem blind buying if it’s $30 or less, it’s a fun gamble to see if my guess will win. If I don’t like it, I may keep it if it’s an interesting oddity, such as the latest Cacharel, Yes I Am. It smells pretty horrible in a banal way, but the bottle is funny and doesn’t take up that much space. Other things I don’t like, I sell.
    That’s my one hard and fast rule: to sell all bottles, samples, and decants that I don’t love. I don’t have room for them and I don’t want to keep around things I don’t like.

    This year is a slow buy. I’m not fool enough to try to fool myself that I won’t buy anything. That worked for only 24 days last year, ha. But I do need to cut down.

    My other rule is to buy only things that I LOVE or that are so easy to wear and enjoyable, it’s a different kind of love. A no-brainer is always useful.

    It’s not a rule, but I’m a bargain hunter, so I do a lot of that. I pay retail on things I don’t want to be scammed on: if it looks to good to be true (ie: a “tester” from Russia) then it is. I’d rather pay the top dollar for something than be scammed out of $70 or $100 – looking at YOU, Memo!

    And always check feedback on eBay, and never purchase things from people who do their listings in all capital letters. They’re nuts.

    Liked by 1 person

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