Monday, December 17th, 2012

Temptalia Asks You


Can you purchase perfume sight unseen (or scent un-sniffed)? Is perfume something you have to smell at least once in person?

Temptalia's AnswerI’m willing to take a chance on it, but like anything, I still have to read a few reviews! I tend to purchase decants/samples of scents I’m interested in, so then I don’t have to commit or worry about returning a bottle.

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51 thoughts on “Can you purchase perfume sight unseen (or scent un-sniffed)?

  1. Miss J

    I don’t think I have ever bought a fragrance without smelling it at least once in person. Ideally, I like to get a sample/tester bottle to not only smell the perfume, but to be able to wear it a couple times to see how I feel about the fragrance once it’s actually on me. I like to test strength, lasting power, and to see how the scent changes on me as I wear it. I’d probably only buy a scent unsniffed if it was the only way to get my hands on it, and if there was a good chance I would be satisfied with it.

  2. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Abigail abigailOD

    Sure, specially when it’s locally unavailable! My biggest requirement though is at least, knowing the notes. From experience I’ve known what I do and don’t like and what works for me. Makes it soooo much easier now! basenotes.com is a good resource for me.

  3. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Abigail abigailOD

    Christine, love your lip color in your new avatar above! Can you share what it is. :D

  4. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Resa Theresa

    I think it’s tricky to purchase a fragrance without having smelled/wore it first, even with reading reviews, because everyone’s body chemistry is different. Although reading reviews that list the notes and general smell help me to decide which perfumes to sample.

  5. I absolutely prefer not to, but for things unavailable, I’ll risk it if the description seems nice. Prime example: Pacifica perfumes. Can’t buy them anywhere in Australia, but I’ dying to get my hands on Tibetan Mountain Temple and another that I’ve forgotten the name of.

  6. Jennifer Lee

    I have, and I have been disappointed. I’ll vowed to never waste my money that way again!

  7. Yin

    Never! I’m so picky about perfume that there’s only 3 that I have ever liked to wear. I’m always so disappointed by perfume samples that I get that I would never buy something without smelling and wearing it.

  8. I am constantly buying BBW products this way. Reading a lot of reviews online and then asking a friend to get some stuff for me, since we only have two BBW stores both in the capitol city…

  9. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Quinctia Quinctia

    I have a rather complicated answer for this. Most conventional perfumes tend to trigger my scent sensitivity and make me sick. So, anything along that vein, I’d absolutely have to smell before I’d purchase it. There’s actually only one brand of traditional perfume I currently own, and that’s Demeter.

    On the other hand, I have quite an extensive collection of perfume oils. They’re nearly all from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab (BPAL). I initially purchased decants, but now I know which particular notes work poorly on me, or I dislike, or even make me ill in oil form… So I’ve purchased quite a bit of full-size product never sniffed from them and I’ve got, like, a 90-95% success rate in terms of scents that I found wearable and enjoyable. Usually my failure rate is me taking a chance outside my comfort zone and occasionally mispicking.

  10. Dawn

    I have to try it on, not just sniff it on the little strips of card they like to put it on in the shops. I have found that some things smell totally different on my skin, due to body chemistry. Some sound perfect when you read what’s in them, but disappoint on. I’m so glad I was able to try the DKNY Pink Macaroon, Key Lime and Creamy Meringue ones – they sounded so good, but I was thoroughly disappointed when I tried them.

    I did, however, buy Katy Perry Purr for the cute purple cat-shaped bottle, and it turns out to be a favourite perfume. The Dita Von Teese perfume was also bought untested, since nowhere near us sold it and I had to buy online. I love Dita, I love the classy bottle (and I have a thing for those little retro squeezy bulbs lol) so I just had to have it. The fact I like it is a bonus.

  11. I can, although I do need to improve on my note-reading skills! I do prefer if I can get samples or decants first, though. Reviews doesn’t do that much to me when it comes to perfume, because it’s just too personal. Many reviewers hate smelling like cake while I prefer that than smelling like smoke and dirt, for example.

  12. Mietta

    Nooooooooo!! Last week I was at Chanel talking about their No. 5 perfume and I said how sometimes I feel like some perfumes go straight up my sinuses and feel like they give me an instant headache. I don’t know if this is true but apparently those ones are the ones with mostly synthetic fragrance in them. She said that being around the Chanel perfumes all day is fine. So, nope. But if I like the scent and haven’t seen the bottle I would!

  13. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Sydney Sydney

    No way. I am sensitive to strong perfumes and in the past I have purchased perfumes that I just don’t ever wear because I don’t like the way the smell on me. I prefer a perfume to have a light soft hint of a scent, instead of being a strong presents on my body. So, in recent years I always smell, sample and wear a fragrance before purchasing a big bottle…. It’s the only way to know if I will truly be happy with it.

  14. Nope, it’s way too risky! Even a perfume that smells good on paper could turn positively weird when it comes in contact with individual skin. I have to spray a perfume on several times before I make up my mind.

  15. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Mirian Vermeulen mirian

    I do the same thing. I purchase decants or samples and try a scent out for a week or more. I also read Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This Perfume. Even if you’re not interested in a particular scent, it’s nice to read about someone else’s experience with it. It’s tough buying a scent without smelling it because the notes may sound alluring, but the chemistry won’t always work.

  16. Yellowlantern

    No. It really doesn’t matter how many reviews I read, in the end I still have to smell it first before committing to a purchase (of anything bigger than a 1ml sample).

    Even when given a review by a reviewer with similar taste to me I still want to smell the scent since sometimes a scent they like but don’t love ends up being a love for me and a scent they love ends up being only a like for me.

    I own too many full bottles and decants to just buy scents that I merely like (because if I did then I would have a collection of over 100 bottles TBH). Now that I own more than 40 bottles and decants it needs to be enduring love for me to purchase anything more than a sample. Plus almost everything I like or love is more than $100 for the smallest size (and more like $200+ for some of them) a bottle so financially I can’t even begin to justify a purchase without trying and loving it first.

    Though, if I was the type to just wear one or two scents exclusively and not buy another one until I used up my bottles I might be more willing to buy without trying. But I love scent and variety too much to even consider that. :P

  17. Natalia

    I have and I’ll probably be doing it again. I read reviews and notes breakdowns on websites like Fragrantica. Plus there’s a really great German online store Aus Liebe zum Duft which also lists notes and names of perfumers who created the scent, so I can get a fairly good idea whether I’ll like the scent or not (most of the brands they carry I anyway cannot sample before buying since they’re mostly niche brands not available at my local beauty stores).

  18. Jane

    Only if it’s fragrance-free

  19. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Karine FiaSpice

    I would only pruchase something I smelled. I almost bough D&G Light blue without testing because so many said it smelled like Anna Sui Secret Wish, I’m glad I didn’t cause it wasn’t close enough for me.

  20. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Veronica Veronica

    No, not possible, unfortunately. I’m mildly allergic to many types of fragrances (florals are the biggie), to the point where even entering a heavily perfumed area for a few minutes can leave me congested and watery eyed. I’ll get sample sizes, but that’s about it. I won’t risk spending extensive amounts of money on something I may not be able to wear.

  21. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of chris chris

    I am very specific about my notes, so if a fragrance has my favorite notes, I will buy scent un-sniffed. I have been duped one time and return the fragrance.

  22. freshpinklips

    When I got Bvlgari Omnia Amethyste I loved it so much, I purchased Bvlgari Omnia Jade and Omnia Coral without sampling it. I was not disappointed. They have been my favorite scents for the past few years.

  23. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of holly Holly

    Christine, can I ask where you buy your decants?

  24. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Jill AnGeLwInGz

    I try not to. I once made the mistake of purchasing a full size bottle of Tom Ford White Patchouli (not cheap!) without testing first and it just did not meet my expectations of what the fragrance would be like based on the description. It was months before I finally made it back to Sephora to return it. Thank goodness they have a generous return policy! Now I make an adventure out of testing less mainstream perfumes. Mapquest has become a dear friend.

  25. I have done it, but apparently should not. I bought the Sephora Cinderella perfume online during their pre-release and I really don’t like it at all. I have issues returning things, though, so it’s ending up as a decoration on my dresser.

  26. kastehelmi

    I am more of a serious perfumista than a makeup lover. I have blind bought on a few occasions but mostly regretted it. I sample frequently, own even more samples and decants than my large bottle collection, and have expensive, picky tastes. While a blind buy may have been exciting in the past, blind-buying anything larger than a mini (which I would only buy if it’s a better deal than a decant/sample) is no longer even an exciting idea. I can return a lipstick you don’t like, and can find swatches, and know what colors flatter me, but perfume is a whole different story!

  27. TrippyPixie

    Never. I am extremely picky when it comes to perfumes, so being able to smell it in person is a must for me.

  28. Perfume is the one thing I can’t buy “scent un-sniffed” (LOL) because I’m super sensitive to certain notes, like the give me a headache pretty much instantly. Usually softer sweeter scents are safer, but then you run the risk of them being too sweet and “food-ish”

    Not only do I like to smell them in person, but I actually like to wear it for a few hours before I even decide!

  29. Susan

    No definitely not! Even though I’m somewhat of a fragrance hoarder. I absolutely love perfume, what can I say…. I still need to try out the scent before committing to a purchase. The only time I tried a scent without smelling first, big mistake. I bought the original “Tova” scent from QVC. Suckered into the idea from listening to all the testimonials from people and one celebrity while watching a presentation for Tova cosmetics. This stuff is rank. Smells like a chemically cleaning product. EEewwwww! I couldn’t give this stuff away, I finally just tossed it into the trash. And I only buy “good” quality stuff preferabally eau de parfum. Gucci Guilty is one that I love but cannot find anything but eau de toilette. Not spending the big bucks for something that will not last on the skin.

    • Jennifer Foster

      Look into “Gucci Guilty Intense”. I also prefer EDP over EDT and the “intense” version is the EDP version of GG EDT. :)

  30. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Lauren Lauren

    I have taken a chance before and it turned out ok, but I generally prefer to get a sample. That’s why I like those Sephora samplers where you get samples of a bunch of perfumes and then redeem the certificate for the one you like the best. I need to try them on my skin chemistry. Some perfumes can surprise me, even based on a sniff. I hated the way Viva La Juicy smelled in the bottle, but on me, I really like it.

  31. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Brenda Brenda

    Definitely not. I only like certain scents and certain scents don’t like me! A lot of perfume smells rancid or acid-y on me so I absolutely have to test first. Also because of my pickiness I find that one’s description is usually not what I had in mind.

    I very much dislike scents like a lot of the celebrities make. Way to candy, cake, sickly sweet smelling. Also scents like L’eau D’Issey, very bright and citrusy scents – I CANNOT wear. My favourites are Burberry Classic, Leslie Blodgett Bare Skin (disc.), Eau de Shalimar and Dior Midnight Poison and Hypnotic Poison. AND I loathe that The Body Shop discontinued their single scent oils! (I wear Patchouli or Sandalwood)

  32. Not if it’s too expensive, but I’ll chance a rollerball or purse spray based on the description. My favorite perfume ever (the now discontinued MAC MV2) was purchased online based solely on the description, so I guess I know what I like well enough, lol.

  33. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Liz Liz

    I like to get samples of some scents but I’ve purchased quite a few mini sized bottles without testing them first. Understanding notes and finding good reviews is always helpful!

  34. Courtney

    I have done this plenty. I also buy a lot from indie buyers, so I don’t always have the chance to sniff. It’s a risk.

  35. jessica

    I can, but only if the notes are very accurately described on the website, and then I still look up reviews. I’ve gotten some great perfumes by doing this. I know what notes normally go well with my chemistry and what ones turn sour on my skin so I don’t venture out of my comfort zones when ordering online. (musk no! orange no! rose no! yes to spicey and yes to vanilla and yes to exotic fruity florals) :)

  36. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Esther Esther

    I have to get samples or at least take a sniff of it first. My sense of smell is weird, and commonly, what someone else might find strong, I won’t be able to smell at all. I’ve gotta make sure that I can actually smell the perfume otherwise it’s pointless to me lol

  37. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Leticia Leticia

    No…..I definitely have to smell perfume at least once. I’m not good at understanding descriptions of perfume notes because I’m not that much into scents, but I guess that even if I were, I would still need to smell the perfume on my skin.

  38. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Ammi Ammi

    No. I have to get sample or take a sniff first.
    Even the review result is good, but it not always good with everyone.
    Maybe it’s good on others but not work on me.

  39. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Susan Susan Nevling

    Perfume changes so much on me that I can’t buy perfume unless I’ve worn it for several hours. So many smell like a cigar on me and I don’t smoke!

  40. No, I would get free samples and buy only at reputable online perfume stores.

  41. VickyM

    My opinion would be no. I would have to smell it to be sure I like it, and I would like to test it on my own skin to see how it translates and how long the scent lasts on me. Even if I had heard possitive reviews we all have different taste and considering the fact perfume is one of the most expensive beauty products I wouldn´t take a chance. Also I have to take into consideration that in my country we have no return policy, once bought no turn back. I love this question :D ! it also reminded me my latest love for a certain perfume, I have to save up to buy it :P .

  42. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Michelle Michelle

    I absolutely have to smell before buying perfume!

  43. No way! I so rarely even LIKE perfume. I have one perfume, and I often want to branch out and buy a few more from different scent family’s, but I just can’t find anything I love enough to buy. Perfumes often smell too strong or change on me too.

  44. Nikki

    Absolutely not! I’m extremely picky when it comes to scented products, so I must be able to smell the product for myself before investing my hard earned money!

  45. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Ana Ana

    No but good packaging/advertisement attracts me to a perfume, lately I’m very picky about them, I had like easily 20 perfumes I like and didn’t buy because I sniffed them and the smell was too sweet or way too mature for me. My biggest addiction now es Fame by Lady Gaga.

  46. Ash

    No! Smell can easily irritate me or give me a headache, so I need to sniff & try to know if it suits my taste! I rarely find a perfume that I truly love, which is why I only have one right now.

  47. Jessica

    I prefer not to, but if I like the noted notes, the bottle is nice, or I read a good review on it, I do purchase scent un-sniffed. So far, I haven’t been disappointed.

  48. Honestly, I would never purchase perfume without smelling it first. Other people’s opinions can be wildly different from my own about scents. It would be an excellent idea, as she says to try samples first before committing to a more expensive bottle.