You may have been told, and rightfully so, that buying fragrance for someone else is risky unless you're just topping off their stash of something that they already wear. Olfactory preferences are pretty personal, after all, and they can be difficult to articulate, much less guess. But dear readers, when it comes to the lavish offerings at the fragrance counters and in-store holiday displays, it turns out that there are far, far worse things you could pick out than just a bottle of oh-I-never-told-you-I-don't-like-gardenia.
First, if you're a fragrance company, you exist to make things that give other things a nicer smell. Period. Doubtblush credit, then, to CLEAN, for their 1) unscented Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Cream ($10). Though it isn't nearly so expensive as a 2) Jo Malone Luxury Candle ($345, available in Pomegranate Noir and Amber & Sweet Orange). We just can't successfully imagine what a $345 candle experience would be like, if the only thing that money paid for was in fact the candle. But at least candles, as fragrance-associated items, make sense. The crayon-shiny headband that accompanies this 3) Marc Jacobs Lola Gift Set ($70) seems to be aimed at an age range entirely separate from that for the perfume. Yes, yes, we know that some ladies delight in buying real fragrance (not Disney Princess bubble bath) for their under-ten daughters, nieces, and granddaughters, but that practice is insane. (Would you want them wearing lipstick?) And the headband looks like something that was made in an idle twenty minutes by someone with an empty bottle of Lola and an etsy account.
For sheer greed, you can't top this 4) special holder for Thierry Mugler Angel bottles ($25). Or is leaving your star-shaped bottle kinda tilted over not okay anymore?
The last two options are great if you're the sort of person who likes uncomfortable Christmas moments. While, with the notable notable NOTABLE exception of Sécrétions Magnifiques, the fragrances from French line Etat Libre d'Orange are wearable and non-threatening, their names and matching logos just aren't. Don't give your brother's awkward-but-sweet girlfriend this 5) Prestige Deluxe Coffret ($150) unless you want to see her squirm as she looks through tiny bottles labelled Putain des Palaces (Hotel Hooker), Charogne (Carrion), Vraie Blonde (Real Blonde, with carpet and drapes, as it were, on the label), and Don't Get Me Wrong Baby I Don't Swallow. And then there's this 6) Estée Lauder Pleasures solid perfume spider compact ($250) which scares even those of us who aren't afraid of real spiders. For one thing, this one has WAY too many expensive nasty little eyes.
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