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To think that scent/perfume is for spraying on the skin not clothes?

(34 Posts)
LaRaclette Wed 10-Dec-14 19:17:33

I took my teenage DD to the John Lewis in Oxford Street today, with a view to buying her some perfume as part of her Christmas present. She expressed an interest in Dior perfumes and we asked the assistant for some help in choosing/suggestions etc. My DD, when asked, said she liked 'sweeter' perfumes, so the assistant suggested a floral based one. She sprayed several perfumes onto pieces of card, some of which my DD didn't like, but some she did.

Until then, all was fine. I then suggested that before making a decision, my DD should try a little of the favourite perfume on her skin and wait about half an hour to see how it developed, as perfume develops and smells differently on different people.

The assistant gave me a Paddington 'death stare' and said that whilst a few people might spray themselves with perfume, the majority didn't and just sprayed it on their clothes.

We said that we would come back later, but we didn't, and I felt that the assistant had missed an opportunity for a sale and the possibility of gaining a lifelong customer, if she had been more encouraging towards my DD, who was a bit intimidated by the approach.

I had also expressed an interest in trying one of the more classic fragrances and held out my wrist for a spray which was studiously ignored and another piece of sprayed card was handed to me.

I am wondering whether or not John Lewis have a company policy not to spray perfume direct onto customers' skin, on health and safety grounds, in case of an allergic reaction.

However, surely I am not being unreasonable to think that perfume is primarily for spraying on the body, not the clothes?

NewUserrr Wed 10-Dec-14 19:23:51

YANBU. Perfume is disgusting whatever it's sprayed onto.

Purplepoodle Wed 10-Dec-14 19:27:03

I don't think moat places are allowed to spray into skin due to h&s

ThirdPoliceman Wed 10-Dec-14 19:27:42

Oh I love perfume Newuser.
I think Yanbu because if you ask or offer a wrist for spraying the sales assistant should comply.
You also make a good point regarding the perfume reacting differently on skin.

GilbertBlytheWouldGiftIt Wed 10-Dec-14 19:27:56


A lot of modern perfume is designed to smell good on the cardboard test strip, but doesn't last at all on the skin. If she'd let it develop on her skin, most of it would have evaporated off and she'd not have bought it, hence the Death Stare from sales assistant.

LongDistanceLove Wed 10-Dec-14 19:28:21

Yes it's for the body not clothes. I've always found boots staff to be helpful with perfume.

Sounds like you got a caaaahh for a sales assistant though.

Ilovehamabeads Wed 10-Dec-14 19:28:45

I don't really understand the whole spraying it onto card business because perfumes smell different on different skins. A lot of lovely perfumes smell rank on me, if I were to buy something based in how lovely it smells on a piece of card I would have wasted a fortune. My skin has the ability to turn heaven into hell.

FinallyHere Wed 10-Dec-14 19:31:38

I like the strips of paper, means you can have quite a few different ones to try, without getting them mixed up. Once i had picked out a scent i liked, i would expect to try it on my skin to see how the chemistry worked, before buying a new one.

Never had anyone refuse to let me spray my arm, in these circumstances.

I do notice, though, that it is one circumstance where it is worth dressing up and wearing good handbag and shoes, to indicate that you are worth treating well. I hate this, but get much better experiences when i go along with it. Sigh.

DurhamDurham Wed 10-Dec-14 19:31:53

I've always tried it on my skin when I have been looking for a new fragrance. I can't remember if I've bought any in JlL but I've never been refused a spray on my wrist.

Having said that once I've bought the perfume I think I spray as much on my clothes as do on my body. If I'm going out in the cold and wrapped up warm I always spray my coat lapels and scarf with perfume. I think my mum does the same........I think I'm turning into my mum grin

NewUserrr Wed 10-Dec-14 19:32:54

Reading that back that comment seems really mean..i didn't intend it to be, sorry ;/

itispronouncedpenguin Wed 10-Dec-14 19:33:19

I don't think moat places are allowed to spray into skin due to h&s

What utter nonsense. What page of the Daily Mail did you drag that gem from? hmm

I always spray perfume on skin on clothes, I dont think you can smell it otherwise unless you drown yourself in it

itispronouncedpenguin Wed 10-Dec-14 19:34:22

Skin not clothes I mean.

Hatespiders Wed 10-Dec-14 19:38:24

On skin. It's the only way to tell if it's going to keep true to its smell. Most perfumes smell like Pisse de Chat after about 5 mins on my very acid skin. I can only have 'green' lemony ones.

However I reckon the big stores are worried people may suffer a skin reaction and sue them, so they stick to card or clothes.

My dh crazes me, as he douses himself in perfumes (which he simply adores) on his head, clothes, skin, down his trousers, anywhere and everywhere. He goes through bottles of the stuff and smells like a tart's parlour, bless him!

happystory Wed 10-Dec-14 19:40:55

Are they worried that people just come in for a quick spritz of perfume with no intention of buying? Considering the cost of of perfume i am sure they can afford to lose a spritz or two, given, as you say, some of them may ultimately lead to a sale or several or a lifetime of loyalty (loving my Chanel 19 since I could afford to buy it aged about 25)

FaciallyChallenged Wed 10-Dec-14 19:42:10

Surely the whole point is that you spray it on skin, as the heat from your skin causes it to evaporate (slowly if it's any good, within 10 mins if not hmm ) and then people smell it wafting off you? Plus if you sprayed it on clothes every day wouldn't it just stay there and eventually start mingling with all the other clothes when you washed them and jarring with the washing powder/liquid making everything smell a bit rank (whereas when you washed your skin you'd usually wash virtually 100% off and leave next to no residue on clothes)?

zippyandbungle Wed 10-Dec-14 19:46:03

I was thinking of starting a perfume swap thread just yesterday. I have perfumes bought for me that I loved the smell in the store or on other people but are just awful on me. Didn't there used to be tester tubes back in the day so you could properly try it out?

Jessbun16 Wed 10-Dec-14 19:53:53

Yes to perfume swap. I have a whole bottle of Burberry Brit I blind bought after reading rave reviews on fragantica but it makes me smell like a giant vanilla candle hmm

ifgrandmahadawilly Wed 10-Dec-14 19:57:16

I read somewhere that perfume was originally developed to be worn on a handkerchief and only prostitutes wore it on their skin.

No offense.

These days though, I would expect perfumes to be meant to be worn on the skin and would never buy one without trying one on my wrist first. How bizare.

Have you contacted John Lewis's to enquire about this, I'm curious now!

misskangaandroo2014 Wed 10-Dec-14 20:09:38

Ancient Egyptians wore it on their hair and skin. How far back are you talking ifgrandmahad ?

QuinnTwinny Wed 10-Dec-14 20:18:07

There is nothing worse than people spraying perfume on clothes. Ends up smelling stale and just wrong.

Me624 Wed 10-Dec-14 20:35:23

I must be the exception ... I never spray it onto my skin, I don't know if my favourite perfumes are very strong or if it's something to do with my skin but I find it overwhelming if I do. I spritz it into the air and walk into it, which is enough for it to last more or less all day on me, whether that's my clothes or my skin.

I would never ask for it on my skin in a shop because then you can't try more than one, they'd all mingle together and smell bleugh.

Deemail Wed 10-Dec-14 21:10:58

The sales assistant should have let you decide where you would like a spray. Some people like it on their skin, others on there clothes and others on both.
There's a fragrance I love which on my skin doesn't smell nice at all so I only spray that on my clothes.

The reason for the cards is so you don't end up with a confusing scent on your skin, then when you find a scent you like you spray it on skin/clothes and see how it develops.

LaRaclette Wed 10-Dec-14 21:55:44

I agree that you wouldn't want to try all of the scents on your skin or they would clash and you wouldn't be able to tell one from another, but I was a bit surprised that we weren't apparently allowed to try any. I know from experience that something which is sprayed onto the skin will smell completely different half an hour later - maybe better, maybe worse, but certainly different.

And, by the way, we were both perfectly respectably dressed (Max Mara coat, Jimmy Choo bag, and DD in smart skirt and good leather jacket - but so what, we were customers, whatever we were wearing) - definitely not out for a free spray with no intention of buying - quite the contrary, I really wanted to find my DD a perfume she liked, as part of her Christmas present.

It left a slightly sour taste TBH, although the JL Christmas displays with the penguins etc were lovely.

Hatespiders Wed 10-Dec-14 22:11:31

My dh and I went down to London this summer on the bus and went to Harrod's, among other places. My dh was in utter heaven and would have spent the entire day in there, drooling. The perfume department had testers of every scent and you just helped yourself. We were dressed like a couple of refugeees tbh, but the assistants were v polite and helpful. It paid off for them as I hammered my credit card and we got a bottle of stuff each. I chose Alliage and he got Lauder for Men. We felt very posh.

ifgrandmahadawilly Sat 13-Dec-14 15:45:06

Missdangaandroo, I think the article I was reading was talking about the 19th Century, but I read it such a long time ago, I don't really remember! It was about modern, commercially available perfumes though, I think.

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