Why we need perfume bloggers: “Your Perfect Scent”

The article “Your Perfect Scent, now… and forever” is featured in the April issue of Women’s Health magazine (I was in line at the grocery store for a long time!). I’m always thrilled to find perfume coverage (gimme something!), but this article annoyed the hell out of me. Recommended scents for me (a woman in my thirties) are Gucci Guilty and Daisy Eau So Fresh*. For my thirties? Has the author lost her mind? Or is she a twenty-something fresh out of J-school that does not like or care about fragrance?

For all the back-and-forth in the blogging community about how many perfume blogs are too many, any time I see something like this, my thought is Not Enough. Woman’s Health magazine still isn’t getting it, and their writers have an entire universe of perfumistas right under their fingertips, so to speak, via the world wide web. Yet this is what they come up with.

Apparently, our voices are not being heard. So come on bloggers, join the party and get the word out. We don’t need another fruity floral. We don’t lose our sense of smell at 40 (WTF?). And the only reason we wear dreck is because we don’t realize that there is better stuff out there—where are you, beauty editors???? With your salaries, you should be leading the masses down the rabbit holes of good taste in fragrance, not pushing Gucci Guilty down our throats.

Click the article twice to view a readable size.

* I recently tried Daisy Eau So Fresh, and it was fine. Yep, fine. Not horrible, but I deserve better than fine.

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46 thoughts on “Why we need perfume bloggers: “Your Perfect Scent”

  1. Thank you for pointing that out! I wonder, is it like that with economic or political coverage as well? Why is it okay to know nothing about the topic at hand in the beauty section?
    To put it crassly: SA’s know nothing, Journalists know nothing and some bloggers want to stay the only ones handing out wisdom.
    Sigh, I’ll repeat for emphasis: sigh.

    1. It’s kind of scary, isn’t it? I mean, if this is the amount of effort they’re putting into what took up two FULL pages within their magazine… gods. It makes me wonder about all the rest of the information contained. Did they go to Wikipedia, or their nearest Macy’s SA for their info???

      I’ve always felt that anyone who wants to has the right to add their voice to the discussion, whether it’s within their own blog, or as a commenter on another’s—what is a community without the voices of the people who make it up?

      This article only solidifies my standpoint.

  2. Of all the !”ยง!”#โ‚ฌ%&/%โ‚ฌ#”!!ยงยง!ยง!….dreck and utter, total, drivel… :-Z

    So then, we go from sugar cupcake to brown sugar to Daisy Eau So Fresh to wimpy, wussy Infusion de Rose on our perfumed journey through life, eh??? And this from a woman’s magazine, that really should know better.

    What makes me saddest of all is that so many women will never, ever know any different – never know the opulent textures of an Amouage, never know the magic carpet rides of Serge Lutens, never know about the teeming talent in natural perfumery.

    I could say that this makes me feel snide and superior and elitist to, say, the hapless thirty-somethings who think Daisy anything is the stuff…but actually, that makes me infinitely sad.

    I became a perfume blogger for two reasons, really. One – the most important reason – was to become a better writer, and by golly, it worked. Second – and almost as important – to educate myself, more than anything, and if I expanded someone else’s olfactory multiverse, then so much the better.

    Butr this sort of pseudo-chummy journalese (Women in their forties needing skank because they lose their sense of smell – WTF???And note the condescending ..’.40+’ As if past that ‘+’ you don’t even exist!!!)

    When the first bottle I bought at cupcake ‘fume age (14) was …Jicky????

    I have half a mind to do something. Like say, gang up with all my favorite people in the perfumosphere and write the editor of Women’s Health – if nothing else, than to point out there’s a whole world out there to discover, and we don’t need no Marc Jacobs to tell us what to bang!

    What say you? Shouldn’t we do something? Or is it just me flying off on my broom handle? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. T., I’m with you—this article is a crime against perfumanity, and against people who love perfume (specifically woman, in this article).

      I fell down the rabbit-hole quite by accident, after spending a lifetime loving smells, and wearing basically dreck perfume—because, honestly, I didn’t know what a perfume could be.
      Beauty editors owe it to their readers to introduce their readers to the good stuff. That’s why women read the magazines in the first place! I don’t care who is paying for your advertising—if you are a journalist who is going to write about perfume for a major woman’s magazine, you need to do a better job than this. I am prepared to follow you into battle—I had better warm up my broom handle! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. I’ll join you. At 43, I’m losing my sense of smell?? NOT. (And for the record, I loved tuberose from the tender age of twelve, the headier the better.)

  3. Well said! I learned a while ago now that magazine beauty editors are bound by the brands that advertise in the magazine. This is why impartial blogs are SO important. You will never read an unfavourable (or rather honest) review of any perfume in a magazine. Perhaps even worse, they push bland perfumes from a limited number of big brands and sell women short. The more blogs the better!

    1. Tara, you are, unfortunately, correct. The print media world, especially in a time when everyone is wondering about its future relevance, should be taking a lesson from the blogging world. Readers want what is real.

      They want real reviews, honest content, and a connection with the person who is writing the article. I think that this can be done in glossy format, and I don’t think that it would be difficult to do. For goodness sake, they have STAFF WRITERS. And there are enough professional writers who love perfume (Denise Hamilton, Angela from NST, Tarleisio, and many others) that they could easily provide quality content.

      Ugh. Rant over, for now! ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. That’s exactly what I was thinking – the beauty mags are going to highlight (okay, push) fragrances from companies that advertise with them. It’s in their financial interest to do so.

      1. Furthermore, it isn’t just beauty mags – I used to subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens until I realized that the magazine was a thinly disguised ploy to get me to spend money… with its advertisers. No more. In fact, I don’t subscribe to any magazines at all anymore.

  4. And women should stop buying those magazines and stop supporting such nonsense. The contents of the magazines are condescending (and I can’t spell that word) and if we keep buying them, we silently agree to being treated that way.

    20 years ago I wrote a letter to the editor of a Danish women’s magazine. In the same issue they 1) spent 3-4 pages on a demented diet where they featured only women who “needed” to lose appr. 5 pounds (yes) and by “feature” I mean fictional characters who “spoke” abotu their weight loss strategies in demented cliches reminding me of Orwell’s new speak in 1984 and 2) a one page article on Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth writing about the damage done to hundreds of thousands of young women by harmful and unrealistic beauty ideals. The idiocy of the whole thing infuriated me and I wrote a 3 page letter to the editor. She never answered. In a later issue she wrote two lines about a disgruntled customer and about having the freedom to choose blah blah blah. OK, I thought, I choose not to buy your magasine.

    The article above demonstrates that not much has happened in 20 years. Women who are 40 and older are not really considered women anymore. We are genderless creatures in need of skank to make us remember when we were still “attractive”. Don’t buy the magazines, I say! And write the editor.

    As for the quality of the perfumes suggested in magazines I can only agree, although I’m a lover of mainstream perfumes myself. The magazines only present whatever is new here and now. There are many gems that are forgotten, new and old. Niche and mainstream. And there should also be good advice to be had for the (many) women who will never be able to afford Amouage etc., who don’t have the energy to become perfumistas, but just want to smell good every once in a while. At least search the mainstream market for the good ones, if nothing else.

    But at the end of the day the magazines only do what they do because they are succesful doing it. Women buy the magazines.

    Don’t buy the magazines. Dont’s support stupidity. Don’t support stereotypical images of women.

    1. Marie – as a fellow woman, a fellow ‘forty-something’ (actually a forty-and-a-helluva-lot-besides!), and a fellow Dane, I say . and so say all of us. I haven’t bought women’s magazines in years, apart from Bitch magazine, but this is why.

      So – my fellow friends and bloggers – should we get a letter together and slam that editor a new one? Are you up for that? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Me, I’m Doรฑa Quixote…have windmill (or soapbox), will tilt…;)

      1. I’m certainly up for it! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d be happy to sign my name on a letter setting a few things straight for that editor.

        And I’m with you on the being a helluva’ lot more than 40 something. And I will say that there are certain advantages that come with the infamous 40+ – one being that I will not let myself be defined by nonsensical conceptions of what women should be like at any age. I’ll be the judge of that in my own life.

        Can’t stop laughing at the statement that we 40 somethings’ main goal is to be “elegant”. What is this – an Agatha Christie mystery novel?! I get the feeling that mature women’s more… well, mature sexuality scares the living daylights out the creator of that theory, so let’s turn these women into post Victorian ladies instead – ASAP! ๐Ÿ˜‰ We (to whom this applies) want skank, not because it’s the only thing we can smell, but because we feel quite comfortable smelling that way. The same way that we occassionally wear red lipstick, not because it’s the only color we can see these days, but because we like it ๐Ÿ˜‰ And by the same type of analoy are all 40+ women fans of really loud death metal?!

    2. Marie, you are passionate about this topic, and for good reason! As you say, the language is condescending—among other things, and for a magazine called “Women’s Health,” which is targeted to a more mature audience (30+, rather than the 18-29 range), I would expect… more.

      But the fact remains, I like to read magazines! And until there is a magazine (other than the trade journals that currently exist) devoted to perfume, I will continue to buy magazines with perfume coverage. What the editor of this magazine needs is honest feedback from myself, who is genuinely disappointed, and others who know what they want and are willing to say something about it.

      I think it sucks that the editor you wrote to dismissed your heartfelt and passionate reaction, and she deservedly lost a customer for life because of it.

      I’m with Tarleisio on this. Based on the “letter from the editor” section of the magazine, I genuinely believe that this editor (Michele Promaulayko) is an intelligent woman, and weather she does anything with our feedback or not, I know it will make me feel better having spoken!

      ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. It’s always better to address the feedback in the right place and a magazine with a serious letter from the editor section is probably geared towards receiving critical feedback from their readers. The magazine I referrred to wasn’t. And isn’t. It was actually my late father who encouraged me to write the editor after listening to my frustrations on the phone – “so something!”, he said.

        I am quite passionate on the subject – it shows, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I can’t stand it when women are met with primitive stereotypes. But that doesn’t mean that I never buy a magazine. I do once in a while, but I’m way more picky than I used to be in my choice of magazines. And I will only read what I bought the magazine for – makeup trends, for instance – and then pass it on or throw it out. But these days makeup trends are often better covered by on-line bloggers so I see myself buying them at even longer intervals in the future.

        1. I love your passion! I can’t tell you how much this discussion has energized me personally—and I was wondering, before I hit the “publish” button, if I was maybe wasting internet-space ๐Ÿ˜‰

          This is what it’s all about, and THIS is why I love blogging, and the community of bloggers. Because it’s an honest dialogue between thinking people… I am honored that you are willing to raise your voice here, and hope that you will continue to do so!!!!

          ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’ve seen countless articles like this, but what’s even worse are beauty editors that DO know who to keep their eye on for useful information about fragrance, and then plagiarize them. Twitter has made this very easy (and so far, not illegal) to do. So, all of you wonderful bloggers with passion and knowledge, do your thing, but don’t give away all your cookies. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Carrie, you are totally right! I remember when Suzanne (from Eiderdown Press) was plagiarized (I can’t for the life of me remember who/what, I just remember it!), and I was astonished at the boldness—did they think no one would notice??? We ‘fumies are a close community!

      ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I can’t believe it! My comment disappeared. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
    And now I lost my momentum .

    BUt I agree with everything that’s been said, plus, it seems I’m older than I thought. They’ve put all the notes I love into 40+ category. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Maybe you’re like me – you’ll catch up with yourself when you reach 40 – in many ways 40 + suits me much better than any age before that – perfume included ๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Ines, I’m so sorry that your comment got lost!! ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      There is a 40-year-old woman living inside me, too, and I love getting to know her (she has really good taste!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’m glad you added your voice, even after a loss of momentum!

  7. I think there are two problems:

    a) fashion and beauty editors are not aware that there is a considerable body of quality criticism of perfume, or that it is a subject to be taken seriously, and is taken seriously by many people. Most people think there is nothing to know or say about perfume. You either like it or you don’t. End of story.

    b) Worse, that even when editors do know this, they ignore it because the number of people who take perfume seriously carries less weight than the advertising dollar that keeps the mags afloat. I think that even if you pin down the average beauty editor and force her to read a few days’ posts on, say, NST or Perfume Shrine, she would shrug and say that her regularly placed ad from the agency that represents Givenchy, advertising Very Irresistible, matters more to her than a handful of perfume nerds arguing the finer points of oakmoss.

    Sad but true. It’s all about magazine sales, and advertising dollars.

    1. Sorry, I expressed myself very poorly, and sourly, didn’t I? I just mean that I think that magazine publishing is a numbers game, and most editors are yet to be convinced that there are sufficient perfume appreciators out there for them to bother commissioning high quality journalism on the subject of perfume. I wish it were otherwise.

      On a related note, I often wonder whether fragrance houses are influenced by the blogs. I mean, I’m sure the niche houses are, but the big companies like Dior and Chanel? I dunno …

      1. Nothing wrong with a sour comment especially when well put like yours ๐Ÿ™‚

        The beauty editors should spend a little time on you tube and see how many perfume reviews there are, not to mention blogs.

      2. AM, I didn’t find that put poorly or sourly; like you, I think that there are probably many beauty editors that aren’t aware of the perfumista community… but they’re full-time, PAID beauty editors! And if they’re smart, and want to stay in business, they’ll do well to take lessons from the people that more and more of us are turning to for beauty (and perfume) advice.

        Case in point: I bought a cleanser recommended in Marie Claire. Total waste of money; it would have been better spent on ANYTHING. But Gaia, The Non-Blonde, has never lead me wrong. I’ve bought several beauty items based on her recommendations, and I’ve been very happy with each.

        Who will I go to for future buying-decision research? NOT Marie Claire. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I do agree that advertisers seem to play a serious role in editorial coverage, and that’s just a crime. Isn’t Payola illegal?

  8. Ladies – It just so happens I’m in the perfect mood to break out the (verbal) battle axe/claideb mhรณr/spatha. I believe the Brits call this ‘an Exocet mood..’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I have a plan. This being the wide open blogosphere, may I suggest you check your email later on today! XOXO

    – T, on a rampage…

  9. These articles divided by decades advising as to fashion or scent or anything else are so often painful to read when they’re not actually howling-ly funny. I have been around more than a few decades and grown used that style, very light, very up, very shallow, all over the place, lots of product pix, trying to look casual, it’s obviously PR placement all the way.

    All the bloggers are expressing passion and that’s when you really find out things that will most likely move you too. I am glad of all the new writers coming into perfume, considering the explosion of creativity in perfume lately. You need us all to write about it all and do it all justice. I think ten years from now we will look back on this as the beginning of the revival of the sense of smell as a very important part of life and its pleasures. It’s been left to commercial/advertising copywriters for long enough.

    1. Well said Lucy.

      The sense of smell is not something that’s fostered the way our other senses are. Very few have developed the vocabulary to describe the aromas present in daily life (let alone perfume), and many people are limited to Bad, Good, Like, and Dislike, lacking the tools to communicate any further.

      I hope it’s true that we’ll look back ten years from now on this sensory revival! I like your spirit Lucy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I can’t read this even enlarged but I think I get it . I gave up blogging because it was like talking to myself , I’ll let the more knowledgeable do it .I think some idiot is suggesting that women like fragrances at various ages ? I was wearing Jicky and Quadrille at 17 and at 55 I wear an enormous variety of fragrances .

    1. Angie, basically they’re recommending dreck—which is insulting in itself, and they’re condescending, and, and…

      I just love it when I google a perfume name, and I get more than the top few blogs (I love those too, don’t get me wrong). There are some wonderfully original voices out there, and I love to read those original voices.

      Even if you have given up blogging, I am so glad that you are still adding your voice here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Just found your blog! Love it! and I TOTALLY agree that mainstream perfume marketing and promotion totally misses the boat with most of the people willing to spend every spare dime on perfume. Which makes them not only criminally stupid, but also terrible at their jobs.

    1. Diana, I’m so glad you found us here!

      I completely agree with your assessment—the thing that really gets my goat is that these people are professional journalists working in the beauty industry. If those of us who have full-time jobs can still manage to do a little research before we write a blog post, certainly someone who’s job it is to write about this stuff can do the same?

      Welcome, I hope to “see” more of you around ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. A lot of what I would say has been said by the commenters above … but did anyone catch the line “florals such as tuberose and vetiver”? Since when is vetiver a flower?

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