Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On Perfume

 We've taken quite a break, this is true, but exciting things have happened in the meantime. Em launched her new webcomic, Living History, and Anne managed to survive a rough transition at work. We're back now for the new year with a joint post!

Are you the type of person who uses one perfume, or do your scents change with your mood?

E: I use one type of perfume. My scents change, but I unfortunately use esoteric perfumes that occasionally stops being made, which means I have to change periodically which is super-frustrating. But I always wear the same type of scent.

A: I'm a one perfume kind of girl. But since scent is associated to clearly with my memories and experiences, I can definitely see myself changing perfumes when I change my life, like if I move or get married or something. That way, when I sniff my past perfumes, I will remember details of my life then.

What is your current perfume?

E: Yemanja by Lily Lambert, from her Goddess collection.

A: Lola Marc Jacobs.

Describe your journey to finding that perfume, including missteps.

E: I really can't wear a lot of commercial perfumes because artificial scents smell really soapy on me, especially florals. Which is frustrating because a lot of perfumes out there are citrusy or floral, or kind of old lady musky with lots of gardenia. I'm also allergic to most of the artificial scents. I had one body splash growing up that smelled good, but when I put it on it made me smell like play doh, which is not an attractive scent. I wore for a long time a perfume--I think it was called Arabian Nights--and that smelled really spicy and attractive. Now I mostly wear scents with vanilla and spices and other natural scents. I loved that perfume, and it was a sort of organic market perfume by one of those companies that specializes in patchouli, and it was really nice, really warm, which is what I have to have in a perfume. And then in Portland, we went to that place that has those samples [Blush Beauty Bar]. I tried a bunch and really liked the Yemanja. I asked for it for my birthday, and got it.

A: I'm not sure what sparked this, probably just a passing fancy, but I started a recurring feature on one of my other blogs called "In Pursuit of Perfume," which gave me a platform to try different perfumes and write about how they worked or didn't work. I wanted to see more about which perfumes I liked, and how they worked with me, and how people reacted to them. So I just started trying a bunch of different perfumes every time I was near a perfume counter. Eventually I discovered Lola Marc Jacobs, and surprised myself but correctly identifying the pear note in it. It's the only floral-heavy perfume I've encountered that doesn't smell terrible on me, especially since it doesn't have a musky or spicy base note. Then I asked for it and got it as a Christmas present a couple years ago. I just got a second bottle now too, so I'm pretty happy I won't run out.

How have you found that scent interacts with your natural musk, as it were?

E: I think I sort of have a sweet/spicy natural scent, or this is what I've been told by people who have been smelling me, and so I think wearing sweet/spicy scents really compliments what I smell like already without getting the antiseptic scent I get. Also, it's really important that I only have natural ingredients in my perfumes or it won't smell good on me, or it will make me sneeze.

A: A long time ago, and old roommate of mine brought home some pheromone perfume that was supposed to interact with your natural pheromones and produce some incredibly intoxicating and seductive scent, or whatever. We each tried it, and everybody came out a little different--mine smelled like citrus, my super-girly roommate like flowers, and then other roomies sugar cookies and dirt, that nice earthy smell of newly tilled soil in the sunshine. So I guess I think I should smell best with extra citrus, but I never really looked that hard. Florals are everywhere, and tend to smell really cloying and sour on me, so to work they need something deeper, like patchouli or musk or apparently pear.

What parts of your personality do you think your signature scent represents?

E: I don't know. Now that I asked that question, I think "hnng." I think I'm a warm, sweet person. And I think spicy earthy scents work well with my personality. I think it would be a little strange if I were wearing really floral perfumes. Just between the way I look and the way I smell naturally, I don't think floral is really--I need something smokier, almost.

A: To me, Lola smells like sunshine and honey, which is part of what really drew me to it. I smelled and started wearing it when I moved away from home, and was in grad school, and got really lonely and kind of depressed. Something happy and warm was really what I craved and what I needed, and I think it helped keep me in a better frame of mind. I'm normally a pretty optimistic person--I like to see the potential for good in everything--but I can forget that sometimes. I guess it's kind of a reminder to myself to not forget who I really am.

How do you apply your perfume? Do you feel that your application method makes a difference?

E: It depends on what I'm doing that day. Usually I just put it on my wrists and my neck. But if it's a special occasion and my hair is down I will spray it on my hair, too.

A: I usually just spray it on my wrists, but if any dribbles onto my fingers I'll smudge it behind my ears. I got the accompanying lotion too, but it's super sweet and kind of overwhelming, so I don't use it much.

What perfume do you wish you could wear but can't?

E: I wish I could wear some of those really classic, sexy scents, but they just smell dusty on me. I don't smell sophisticated, I just smell like an old woman. I also wish I could wear those fun, playful perfumes, but most of those have artificial ingredients.

A: I wish I could get away with wearing those really ostentatious, ridiculous perfumes like Poison or Opium, that are all in-your-face and aggressive. I don't think I have an extroverted enough personality for that. And I'd really like to be able to afford all those layering fragrances, that smell like grass, or books, or violets, that you can just spritz as you please.

How do you respond to perfume on other people, both men and women?

E: I tend to like perfume on women more. I tend to notice it a lot when it's overpowering or one that everyone is wearing. A lot of the Chanel scents are so overpowering and worn by so many people that they've lost their power for me. Overexposure to Chanel No. 5, when people bathe in it, is enough to make me have unpleasant associations with it. I think it smells really good, it's such a classic scent, but I get these visions of a well-dressed, older, Southern woman who's bathed in it, which has been most of my exposure to it. And that's gross.

I have really good associations, actually, with L'Aire du Temps, because that's what my mother wears. It smells super-good on her, but smells like dust on me.

A: I love a good cologne on a man, especially when you can't smell it until you get really close. That makes me sound like I make a habit of it, though. Hah. On women, I'm not fond at all of those women who bathe in it. After a while I can't even tell which fragrance is which, and it all just smells like perfume and is completely obnoxious. I love the idea of perfume though, it's so romantic and elegant.

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