Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Painting Your Perfume On: New Fragrance Application Techniques

A fine brush for calligraphy. The deep, saturated hue of India ink. Nasta'liq and Aśoka, cursive and littera antiqua. And the brushstroke of the painter, both figurative and abstract. Perhaps all these are too good a reference or a visual association not to bring them together with that most elusive of transient sensual stimuli: fragrance.

In a move that is not exactly novel* (but which is revisited anew and looks like it will be catching on), perfume application tips will from hereon include painting on the fragrance juice on your skin. Yes, you read that right. See by Chloé is introducing a new parfum flacon, perfectly mimicking the one containing their latest clean musky & woody See by Chloé fragrance, in a limited edition of 15ml called "Paint a Scent" (it launched two days ago, retailing for 35 euros). The sensual gesture to apply with its delicate small brush, on to the neck, the decolletage and the inside of wrists or back of knees is something that can only induce even more pleasure in the heart of the perfume lover. Perhaps not as refreshing as spritzing your fragrance in the air (and getting a maximum burst of the effervescent top notes in the process) or as traditionally honed as dabbing from a vial, this technique nevertheless presents its own merits.

For one, applying with a brush looks more poetic, recalling calligraphy and intimate games between lovers (to witness both in action, go read or watch The Pillow Book). Secondly, the brush application allows for less accidents than dabbing, offering a measured application. Of course, just like with dabbing from a vial, you're transferring a bit of natural skin oil and dead cell debris back into the bottle with each application, but careful use would minimize this problem.

Swedish brand Oriflame, who orders perfumes to the well-known big manufacturing companies, has already devoted a small collection of mini-vial-for-the-purse in their more youthful "Very Me" fragrance range. They look friendly like nail varnish and come in an assortment of "styles".

My prediction is we will be seeing many many more fragrance brands with a tiny paint brush inside...

*Historically, for those with a sharp eye and a long memory, the paint on option ingrained in the actual bottle of perfume was introduced with Desnuda by Emanuel Ungaro in 2001(presented with a very sensualist campaign -seen on top of post- and a bottle that worked both ways: paint on AND spray). However the perfume flopped. In the meantime, consumers became very much acclimatized to the paint brush application thanks to the ubiquity of the built-in pen-paint illuminators & concealers (pioneered by Yves Saint Laurent and the iconic Touche Eclat), the subsequent rise of the Youtube-trained amateur makeup artist and the market craze for nail polish. Now the consumer looks like she's ready to apply her fragrance the same way.


  1. I think it's a great idea, but what do i know. I believe it would be more precise than a giant spray on the chest area. I always end up eating some in the process.Also better than dabbing from your finger as then you have to go wash your hands or else end up eating some later after you forgot.Perfume doesn't taste good to me.

  2. P,

    excellent points both of them!

    You know, I hadn't thought about this in a long time, but that advice "put perfume where you want to get kissed" (Chanel quote) is asking for trouble: what if there is a tasteful remaining on the skin? Blech, not a pretty thing.

  3. Oh yes Blech is right hadn't thought of that. The bad taste of perfume is the only thing that stops me from drinking it sometimes.That and the fact i could die if i did. :)

  4. Sounds kind of gimmicky but also rather nice. The whole experience of perfume is based on heightened sensuality, after all, but it still sounds like a pain when you are in a hurry.

  5. I have a few indie perfume oils with a brush applicator. I really like it as an alternative to dabbing and roll-ons, but I prefer a dropper or a reducer cap for the hygenic reasons you mention... But there is a rather sensual feel to painting on perfume, that I have to admit! But then again, I find that to be true for dropper applicators too, and they are more hygenic...

  6. Anonymous08:41

    Now I know how why I kept my empty nail polish containers:))


  7. Anonymous12:59

    I was going to mention Desnuda as soon as you mentioned painting it on. Desnuda was a nice fragrance too. Karin (savvythinker)

  8. P,

    a dedicated perfume lover if you're willing to drink! :-D

  9. Rosa,

    exactly as you say! :-)

  10. Nadja,

    excellent points and thanks for commenting bringing them here.
    I suppose the dropper has a more "aromatherapeutic" image/association to it (a hint of medicine, a hint of holistic, a hint of beauty=purity=nature) while the paint brush is more...artistic. Who knows? I think it's open to interpretation by the consumer. :-)

  11. Gina,

    if you keep the empty nail polishes you have lots of space!! :-D
    (Good idea though, hadn't crossed my mind!)
    Thanks for commenting. :-)

  12. Karin,

    hi honey! How are things? So nice to see you here. :-)

    Desnuda is one of those all around pleasing skin scents that theoretically should be quite popular hits and mysteriously no one remembers of (well, there's at least two of us). I wonder why!

  13. A good thing that might come out of this - a smaller sized bottles. I doubt anybody would want risking dabbing a brush into a 100 ml bottle.

  14. Love this brush idea! I hope you're right, I'd love to see more bottles like this.

  15. Miss Heliotrope03:23

    It could be nice & sensual - or tickly, depending.

    But the last time I tried painting, me, the room, the house, and so on were covered in paint when it wasnt intended. Could be problematic...

  16. Undina,

    hi honey!

    Yes, that's an excellent point!! I do wish more smaller bottles become available. 30ml is ideal. :-)

  17. Unseen censer,

    we will surely see more, as bottle designers and manufacturing companies work en masse for the scent producing companies. ;-)

    Thanks as always for commenting here.

  18. MH,

    haha, yes, that could also play a significant role.
    Only since perfume is invisible (well, most of the time, I'm looking at you Sarrasins) it's less noticeable.
    It could be tickly, LOL, hadn't thought of that!

    Hope you're well.


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