Scent Gourmand

sinless pleasure for the perfume glutton

Tag: bottling

20 uses for old or unwanted perfume

Do you have perfume bottles that serve no other purpose than collecting dust or taking up space? Did you fall out of love with a fragrance mid-way through the bottle and now have the remains to deal with? Too many perfumes, too little time? Fragrance that has gone off?

You could simply toss your juice, but there are better options. Indeed, many ideas on the list below do not have to be reserved just to fragrance that you are keen to use up. Perfume is not ideally applied only to skin, after all.

1) Give it away.

This is the obvious thing to do. Donate or re-gift in any way possible – friends, family, women’s shelters, Good Will, nursing homes, students… There will be someone out there who will appreciate your no-longer-desired perfume more than you do.

2) Spritz on stationary.

Letters, of the romantic variety or not, are all the lovelier when scented. This is another obvious use, yet we sadly do not write like we used to. However, we still use memos, notes, agendas, note paper…

3) Use it when carpet cleaning.

Douse a small cotton ball/pad on the carpet when you want to vacuum. When you suck it up, it will give a faint smell of perfume. You can also douse some baking soda, sprinkle it all over your carpet, and vacuum that up the next day. (the soda will suck up the exchange the bad smells on your carpet in exchange for your perfume. You could also spray clean carpets or rugs directly. And do try it on your bathmat.

4) Spray the bases of clothing drawers.

OR recycle any kind of porous bag by filling it with perfume-doused cotton balls and chucking them in your drawers, and also linen closets, on clothes hangers, etc.

5) Spray curtains.

This is my favourite method. In fact, I do so with perfume I still apply to my person!

6) Spray bedding.

Pillows, sheets, covers – yes. Try the actual mattress when changing the bedding!

7) Spritz toilet paper rolls.

Every trip to the lou will be a pleasant one when the paper rolls off. Appropriate for the bathroom (double doo-ty).

8) Use as an air freshener.

Baking soda or powder is the ultimate deodorizer. People typically up the ante by putting aroma or essential oils into jars of baking power and leave them around the home, but why not use perfume instead?

9) Create a personalize “Poopourri”.

Poopourri is a product that is sprayed into the bowl before one lets loose a chocolate caboose. It creates a film on the water’s surface and when you unload an A-bomb, it is encased with this film, and the odours that typically accompany one’s royal rump roast are trapped away from the world above by the Poopourri coating. Well, no need to purchase this uni-tasker. Make your own!

10) Use it as room spray.

A more direct approach to freshening up the air. Particularly useful in the bathroom.

11) Steam the air with scent.

Putting perfume into boiling water with infuse the air with fragrance when the steam comes off. The smell will infiltrate far and wide in your home. Just know that you probably won’t be able to use the same pot for cooking… Perhaps scenting a humidifier could work for better.

12) Spray lamp shades

The warmth from the heat of the light will help disperse it. However, be careful not to stain the fabric! Use fragrances that are transparent in colour. You can also dab/spray a few drops on the light bulb itself (but not when hot!). The heat will diffuse it. Don’t use an oil based scent for this.

13) Put a scented handkie in the wash.

If you spritz (5+ sprays) a handkerchief with fragrance and then chuck it in half way through the dryer cycle with your clothes, the laundry will be lightly scented as a result. You can also spray the fabric softener sheet. Use that handkerchief afterwards to fulfill other purposes: stick it in a purse, storage containers, drawers, etc.

14) Perfume tissue paper for storage and travel.

Spritz perfume on tissue paper and keep stored clothes and other items smelling nice by putting the perfumed tissues in sleeves, handbags, pant legs, etc. This is great for suitcases, too.

15) Scent up the car.

Yes, you can spray the fabric of car seats and car flooring. How about spraying some old cardboard, business cards, maps, documents, etc. with scent and keeping them in the car’s side pockets? You can awaken old hanging cardboard car fragrance decorations (like the infamous pine tree) by spraying on your perfume (or just make your own from scratch). You can also make use of your car’s ventilation system. There are plenty of gadgets made for this purpose, and you can replenish them with your perfume once depleted. There are many options for coming up with your own, too. If you have a lot of perfume samples you’d like to properly suss out, you can open them slightly and stick them in the car’s aircon fan. This will allow you more time to get to know the perfume without have to spray it on yourself.

16) Spray in bath steam.

When preparing a bath, spritz perfume into the steam coming off at the tap. Spray into the air right before a hot shower, too. You would essentially be creating an aromatherapy chamber.  Light florals,  citrus, and fresh, crisp scents are recommended rather than overbearing scents here.

17) Go DYI.

Fragrance sets including creams, shower gels, or creams in addition to a bottle of scent are very popular. If you like these companion products, you probably find that the perfume outlasts the scented creams. Save money and layer your scent the DYI way by adding perfume to scent free creams and gels. You can also re-purpose fragrance to make powder or solid perfume to use as gifts.

18) Scent your fans.

If you live in Asia you may use handheld fans in the summer (uchiwa or sensu here in Japan). Try spraying these with your perfume. When wiping dust off ceiling or standing electric fans, spritz perfume onto the tissue or cloth you are using when cleaning the blades. It will gently fragrance the air when in use. Speaking of blades, try this as well if you have plastic or wooden blinds instead of curtains.

19) Scent the garbage.

There are probably more effective things to use to deodorize, but I admit I’ve sprayed perfume on top of my garbage before closing the lid. I have yet to use it in my shoes, but it might prove a good option for some cheesy feet owners.

20) Reduce purchasing.

No, this is not directly a way to deal with unwanted perfume, but it is a way to dictate your future fragrance situation. If you have find yourself with old or unwanted perfume before, perhaps it’s time to become a more selective consumer. This can be hard for scent hoarders, particularly those with loose budgets… But life is actually a whole lot easier when it is simple and there are fewer choices.  At the very least, buy smaller bottles. You may not get that dresser bottle look you are after, and per volume it is usually more expensive, but you can collect more actual perfume variety that you will actually be able to use. This means less waste and reduced chances of finding yourself with a half-full bottle of juice you no longer like. If having beautiful bottles is your thing, then limit the quantity to only those you absolutely adour. Check out my perfume de-clutter post for more information.

And that’s it! Have you thought of any other ways to use old/unwanted perfume? Share in a comment.

Why perfume packaging is important

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Packaging is important in today’s perfume market because it is an industry that has thousands of new launches a year. How can a fragrance stand out among all that insanity, especially if competing with brands that have huge budgets and insane campaigns? Although I like to rant about how much it’s all about the juice and not the bottle that houses it, it would be arrogant to claim one were not swayed by appearances. First impressions of products and brands are very powerful.

People differ in their susceptibility to impulsive buying. The appeal of product packaging has the potential to trigger impulsive buying even for consumers with no intention to make a purchase. 

– Hubert et al.

When it comes to fragrance and beauty products, those first impressions are visual, and so it can indeed be all about the packaging. It could work the other way, too: Say you are at the perfume counter and the sales person sprays a smelling strip (out of your view) and gives it to you to take a sniff. You smell a fragrance and fall in love with it, knowing nothing about the brand or bottle it comes in. The sales assistant says it’s $200 and pulls out the full bottle which looks cheap with a seemingly hastily applied label. The appearance doesn’t appear to match the price. I think it’d be odd if you didn’t feel at least some degree of disappointment. Or how about if another scent is presented to you in the same manner, you again fall in love with it, and then the sales assistant says it’s $20 and pulls out a really tacky bottle that you’d be embarrassed to have on your dresser?

Well, in my case I have no dresser and I am likely to decant scent from both exquisite-looking bottles as well as shoddy-looking ones (to save on space and weight and to make my collection more portable), but I am not most people. But the fact is that if I were that person at the imagined beauty counter scenario above, I’d likely feel let down in both cases.

Especially when it comes to buying luxury products, consumers have come to expect certain criteria. With perfume, the weight of the bottle and the quality of the box are important in making customers feel that they have gotten value from their purchase. In truth, for the mass market of fragrance consumers (not scent connoisseurs), knowing whether the quality of a scent is good or not or if they even like it is not easily determined. They rely on their impressions of packaging and branding to feel confident in their purchase decisions.

Of course this has been used to great effect by many brands to sell products that are more style over substance, so savvy consumers try to train themselves to look past showy packaging, especially when it comes to niche fragrances. But even with plain packaging, bottles still need to have weight and communicate quality if the price is to be justified.

If niche lines are forgoing flash packaging, does that mean the cost is instead going into the quality of the fragrance?

Unfortunately, not necessarily. Packaging is expensive for smaller brands – even if it doesn’t look it. A small perfume producer typically has limited choice in what is actually available in a small quantity. If a company wants something custom-made then there’s also so-called tooling costs and warehousing of the pallets of bottles needed to produce a minimum run. There are a few companies that sell bottles and screen prints in small runs, but ultimately cost really depends on how many are being produced.

Once again, the perfumers with the best access to a fat wallet would seem to have upper hand. Not surprising. Do you think you swayed by packaging?

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