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Looking to buy a perfume to wear to work? Experts like Delhi-based Rohit Kumar Agrawal and Mumbai-based Manan Gandhi have a few rules to set the ball rolling. Agrawal is the co-founder of Perfume Booth, a brand that retails seven miniature versions of international perfumes in a single pack, while Gandhi is the founder of Bombay Perfumery, a  fragrance house in Mumbai that bottles scents inspired by India. 

Understand a fragrance trend first 

Gandhi believes your perfume should not be polarizing to your personality, place or occasion. And its choice should not be driven by today’s current trends alone. “For instance, something like Oud (a perfume derived from the resin-embedded heartwood of the Agar tree, described as ‘liquid gold’ and one of today’s ‘it’ fragrances) is very Oriental and too heavy to wear to work," he says. Such perfumes, Gandhi believes, are for people who have a deep understanding of scents and have experimented with them. For work, wear a light perfume, like something citrusy or floral, which is subtle and not overwhelming for others around you. 

Buy a new perfume a day after you test it

Most people walk into a store, try a few perfumes and make a purchase. “You stay at work for over 8 hours, so your perfume should have good retention power. So, walk into a store, spray on a new perfume you like, and let it stay on for 4-5 hours. If it works, go back and buy it the next day," says Gandhi. According to Gandhi, every person wears a perfume differently based on their skin chemistry. A fragrance acts and reacts to a skin type depending on the person’s diet, fat deposit, environment, genetic coding, even emotions. While buying a new perfume “one should wait for it (the perfume) to suit your skin chemistry, mature and open up its different facets", says Gandhi. If you wear it long enough, you will know if it suits the skin.

Buy miniature versions and experiment

That old dictum of buying “one good perfume" is passé, say perfumers: Invest in two-three, or more, perfumes and experiment with them. You could buy a larger bottle (80ml or 100ml) of your favourite fragrance later, says Agrawal.

Learn to choose and apply your perfume correctly 

Gandhi says you should pick perfumes according to the weather. “Have at least one fresh, citrus, cologne or mint aromatic for summer and one wood, musk, Oriental or amber for winter." Agrawal insists the time of day is important while deciding which perfume to wear. “Day perfume could be more citrusy or aquatic and it fades faster, whereas a night scent could be musky or spicy, and this stays longer," he says.

If you want to make a perfume last, applying it generously is not the answer. “Applying a few sprays on your pulse points—the wrists, behind your ears and the base of the throat—and not on your clothes, works," Agrawal says. These are places where the blood vessels are close to the skin’s surface. Agrawal suggests applying six-eight sprays in total. 

Know your skin type

Both Agrawal and Gandhi say you should know your skin type before you buy a perfume. Gandhi says an oily skin retains scent longer and may not need reapplication, while a dry skin sponges the fragrance, and would require re-spraying. This holds good for both men and women. They also insist on reapplication during the day, as no good perfume lasts more than 3-4 hours. Gandhi says you should carry a tester (or a perfume spritzer) for re-spraying. Agrawal recommends a miniature version for reapplication. 

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