Wednesday, 8 August 2012

The most fun way to shop for perfume

I find it very hard to buy perfume.  It is such an emotional, personal and expensive purchase, with almost endless possibilities.  I tend to walk into a perfume store, smell about four perfumes, get completely overwhelmed, leave and by the evening when I have decided whether or not I like the four smells on my wrists and arms I have forgotten which is which and I basically start all over.  It just does not work for me.  For years and years my favourite perfume was something my sister gave me, since I could smell it in my own home and decide over a week or two that I actually like it.  I tended to only change my perfume when the brand was discontinued.  (Which happened.)
I think a big part of my enjoyment of rubybox lies in the fact that they normally include a perfume sample, therefore removing the need for me to choose a perfume while still having perfume to wear.  I love it when someone else narrows the choice down for me.
Which brings me to the best thing in perfume shopping:  perfume sample boxes.  I first discovered this in Sephora in the United States.  The concept is fairly innovative and brilliant.  Sephora sells a pretty box containing 10 (I think, it was long ago) perfume samples.  The samples were fairly small (1-2 ml each).  In addition to the 10 samples the box contained a voucher for a full size bottle of one of the perfumes.  Once you have used the samples and decided which one you liked most you could exchange the voucher for a full sized bottle.  The box cost approximately what the full sized bottle would cost, so in essence you received the samples for free. 

This is a marvellous gift, since I think, with 10 fragrances to choose from most people would enjoy one of the fragrances enough to want to have the full sized bottle.  The box I had contained fairly unknown (and maybe cheaper) perfumes.  I loved it.  I loved being able to choose which one to wear, I liked evaluating a perfume every day until I decided whether I liked it enough to get the full sized bottle.  I also think it was good value for money, because the samples added up to at least a ¾ bottle of perfume you essentially received for free. 

This link will take you to Sephora's description of these boxes. 
And this is their description:

This set of 10 fragrance samples includes a voucher for a full-size bottle, making it a perfect present when you're not sure what to choose. Its keepsake box opens to reveal a range of Sephora's bestselling women's fragrances that can be sampled right away. From the vivacious Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy to the sexy sophistication of Dior Addict to Life, she can try them all, chose a favourite, and then take the included voucher to a Sephora store to receive a full-size version.

Sadly, I do not live close to a Sephora any more.  Imagine my utter delight when I found exactly the same idea in Foschini.  For R355 or R595 you got around 12 samples of perfume.  The cheaper box had celebrity fragrances and was meant for a teenage market and the more expensive one had international favourites such as CK, Estee Lauder and Kenzo. 

This description comes straight from the Foschini website:
From top:
Celebrity fragrance box for her: R355
Designer fragrance box for him: R500
Designer fragrance box for her: R595

Step 1: Purchase the fragrance gift box. Step 2: Sample the fragrances and choose your favourite. Step 3: Bring the voucher into Foschini and redeem it for your full-sized fragrance, specified on the voucher. Receive a FREE bonus voucher inside - save up to R100 off your next purchase.

I got the Celebrity box.  It contained:
Christina Aquilera, Royal Desire
Britney Spears, Radiance
Paris Hilton
Paris Hilton, Tease
Katy Perry, Purrs
Rihanna, Reb'l Fleur
Jennifer Lopez, Love and Glamour
Paris Hilton, Heiress
JLO, Glow
Avrin Lavigne, Forbidden Rose
Queen Latifah, Queen

I liked quite a few of these:  JLO Glow was fresh and grassy, Heiress was light and fresh and quite complex.  I got the Queen in the full size.  It is a heavy, sweet oriental smell.  I like it for winter and evening and when you want to feel sultry.

What do you think of these boxes?  Would you buy one?  Have you seen them anywhere else in South Africa?  Please leave a comment and let me know.

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