Meet fragrance guru, Katie Puckrik

Meet this month’s At the Counter featured expert, Katie Puckrik! Check out her responses to our customer’s most burning fragrance questions in the Q&A section, and don’t miss her list of the top 20 springtime scents priced at $30 or less.


Read on for a Behind the Counter exclusive…

We saved a few of Katie’s answers to be featured here, Behind the Counter! Learn more about this humorous, fun perfumista and the scents she adores…

BE: How should one go about finding their “signature scent”?

KP: People have a “holy grail” idea about only having one, perfect scent that sums them up in a sniff. Personally, I don’t subscribe to that, because for me it would be like wearing the same outfit every day, or listening to the same CD over and over again.

However, there is something compelling about the notion of perfume as a calling card, or of your fragrance lingering on a beloved’s fingertips to remind them of you.

To find a new favorite, I suggest two approaches. The first would be to give yourself an hour at a well-stocked fragrance counter. Narrow down the selection by trying things on blotter strips. Pay attention to which aspects you’re drawn to: fresh and crisp? Deep and dramatic? Soft and subtle? Fruity? Floral? Musky? Enlist the help of a sales assistant to recommend more scents in the same vein.

Once you have your short list, try on four of your favorites: a light spritz on either wrist and inside both elbows. Live with them for a day, and you’ll experience that perfume voodoo of being emotionally drawn to one over all the others. And if none of them tickle your pickle – lather, rinse and repeat the process with more fragrances.

My second method kicks off with letting your fingers do the sniffing: go online and check out sites like MakeUpAlley, Basenotes, NowSmellThis and PerfumeSmellinThings. Read people’s comments on the fragrances you already know and love, and you are guaranteed to stumble across their recommendations for others with a similar personality. From there, either order samples online, or pay a call on your future signature scent at the perfume counter! Always try before you buy.

BE: Where do you recommend applying a fragrance?
KP: You always hear, “fragrance goes on pulse points: wrists, elbows, behind ears.” The “science” behind the pulse point method is that that blood vessels close to the surface heat the scent and lift it off the skin. Sounds like it makes sense, but what are we, cadavers? I don’t know about you, but my whole body is warm! I spray fragrance wherever I darn well please.

Where you apply fragrance depends on how much or little you want to smell it. If it’s a private scent treat, then apply inside the arms, and around the ankles and backs of knees so effect is subtle by the time it reaches nose level. If you’re in the mood to broadcast your perfume, also spritz the outside of your hands and forearms, and around your neck and chest.

But there really are no “rules”. Some people have allergic skin reactions to fragrance, and have good results spraying it on their hair. And some fragrances smell just as good sprayed on fabric – and in cases of lighter, softer scents, last a lot longer that way.

I do find that humidity makes a huge difference in how much fragrance you need to wear, so apply cautiously in muggy climates. I live in a desert climate, and I’ve gassed myself out when I’ve spritzed my usual amount in humid places like London or Washington DC!

BE: What’s one of your most-asked questions?
KP: One of my most-asked questions is, “What happened to your eyebrow?” I have a scar on my right eyebrow from running into a rosebush when I was three.

BE: What was your inspiration behind “Katie Puckrik Smells”?
KP: I’ve always been fascinated by perfume: the alchemy of it on the skin, the emotional affect on yourself and others, the fact that it’s a portable work of art. I enjoyed seeking out off-the-beaten-track scents, and to learn more about my discoveries, I began reading all the great fragrance blogs that have cropped up on the web.

My husband J was actually the impetus behind the creation of my YouTube channel, Katie Puckrik Smells. He’d done all the polite nodding and “yes, dear-ing” he could humanly muster at my unceasing fragrance babbling.

J did a little YouTube search and found that no one was doing concise, produced video perfume reviews at the quality level of the blogs. He pointed me in that direction, and whoosh! I was off like a greyhound after a metal rabbit. Katie Puckrik Smells launched at the end of October 2008. Now I have an outlet for my passion, and J gets a break from being my only audience.

For more fragrance chat, check out Katie’s YouTube channel.

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