Clash of the fragrances: a problem?
March 31, 2012 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Perfume-filter: Do you find that the fragrances of different personal and beauty products clash when you use them?

I've suffered from severe sensitivities to perfume for most of my life, so I avoid anything containing it, and have done so for years. There's something I've always wondered about. Since most versions of everything contain some kind of scent, do the various scents people attach to themselves and their clothes over the course of a day tend to conflict? Do you coordinate the fragrances of your deodorant, shampoo, lotion, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, soap, cosmetics, sunscreen, hairspray, and/or perfume or cologne? Do you find that the latter is strong enough to overwhelm the fragrances of the preceding things? Is this just not something you think about?

This might be a bizarre question; thanks for indulging my curiosity!
posted by Bufo_periglenes to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't really use a lot of scents either, but I've definitely known people who bought shampoos that coordinated with their perfume. I use unscented deodorant and shampoo and detergent, so on the rare occasions when I wear perfume, I don't have to worry since there isn't anything to clash with. In general I think perfume smells tend to dominate other scents; I used to use scented detergent but once my clothes were a few days out from a wash the smell was so faint you couldn't really detect it. The same goes for most soaps. Ultimately the point of scented soap is not typically to leave you reeking for hours. It's just to mask your natural body smells for a few minutes so you feel like washing has accomplished something.

I will say that I've discontinued using scented shampoos because it turned out they didn't blend well with my own body chemistry. I used a popular fruity-scented shampoo for a couple of weeks when I was in college but it got a little warm one day and I realized my delicious-smelling hair had begun to smell like puke. Something about my hair oil and sweat just reacted poorly with the perfume. It was pretty impressive. I had to toss the rest of the bottle.
posted by troublesome at 12:24 AM on March 31, 2012

In my experience perfume is a more stable, "bossy" scent than what you get with scented oils (like BPAL) which mingle with whatever else you've got going on.

Also, ime, my "base" smell is really the combination of what my standard soap, shampoo, hair products, etc., combine to be. I don't actually notice when scented oils clash with those things specifically because I think of that clashing happening with the overall SCENT OF SPUNWEB, versus the SCENT OF SHAMPOO or whatever.

I'm pretty brand loyal, tho.
posted by spunweb at 12:34 AM on March 31, 2012

The only thing I do purposely is buy unscented deodorant. I notice the smell of a scented deodorant on myself whether I'm wearing perfume or not, and I don't like it. Otherwise, I just notice that my hair smells like my hair, or my perfume smells like my perfume. Oh! And there are lip products I've tossed because the scent/taste was bad.
posted by ersatzkat at 4:48 AM on March 31, 2012

I buy the unscented version of everything, because as an allergy sufferer I never know what will set me off sneezing and when. And I don't know how most women manage to avoid smelling like a total fruit-and-flower salad because of the heavily fragranced shampoo/conditioner, hair products, lotions, and misc. other products that saturate the market.
posted by hermitosis at 7:52 AM on March 31, 2012

I've wondered this myself, and as a result, I buy mostly tropical-scented products. Mango bodywash, plumeria lotion, coconut shampoo, etc. They all smell good together.
posted by ThisKindNepenthe at 8:15 AM on March 31, 2012

I've wondered this too, though never actually discussed it with anybody! I like ThisKindNepenthe's idea about using tropical scents.

I have settled on Dove's "go fresh Burst" for a scent: deodorant, body mist, and bar soap. I find it to be pleasant but unobtrusive.

Also, I use unscented shampoo and conditioner from John Frieda's "Sheer Blonde" line, I don't use hairspray, and I don't use lotion or moisturizer (though I probably should).
posted by hypotheticole at 10:01 AM on March 31, 2012

I always imagine that they could clash, and I do consider that when choosing scented products for myself. There are a few products that I have to use because they're the only ones that work for my sensitive skin; luckily they compliment each other smell-wise, and I do take care that anything I wear beyond that goes with them. But thinking about it, I can't say I've ever encountered anyone else with a noticeably clashing scent problem going on. Too much scent, or too strong, or something I just dislike, yes. But I've never stood next to someone and thought "whoa, mango body lotion + peppermint shampoo + rose perfume = eeew!"
posted by DestinationUnknown at 10:28 AM on March 31, 2012

I love perfume, and thus, I buy everything else unscented, so that nothing can clash and so that I don't have a jumble of cheap scents around me. No dryer sheets, unscented detergent, bodywash in the same scent as my perfume and unscented deodorants, and so on.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:03 PM on March 31, 2012

Yes, it makes me crazy when I can't buy unscented things because I want to smell like something I choose, not the default scent of the anti-frizz spray or shine mist (hair products are the worst for overwhelming scents, and the hardest to find unscented). But yeah, I don't recall smelling someone else and being aware that their dry shampoo was not playing nice with their Burberry Brit, or whatever, so maybe it's really only a problem for me.
posted by oneirodynia at 11:35 PM on March 31, 2012

Response by poster: A bit belatedly, thank you to everyone who responded here! Your answers were all informative.
posted by Bufo_periglenes at 1:22 AM on May 19, 2012

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