Ask Ari: I Hate My BFF’s Perfume

It’s hard out here for a perfumista! Perfume etiquette issues abound, from workplace perfume bans to the complexities of perfume swapping. That’s why I’ve started Ask Ari, the first perfume advice column! (As far as we know!)

Dear Ask Ari,

I hate my best friend’s perfume. I can’t stand being in the same room as her when she wears it- and she always wears it! How can I make her give it up?


I feel your pain, my dear Anonymous. My own little brother wears literally four layers of Axe (body wash, body lotion, deodorant, hair gel). I handle it by hiding his Axe bottles and loudly wailing that he has brought shame upon this perfume blog. Ask Ari does not recommend this terribly mature approach.

I also do not recommend telling your friend about your issues with her perfume. Because perfume is so personal, she may interpret your complaints about her perfume as a snide comment on her personal tastes. There’s a kinder, gentler way to separate your friend from her hateful perfume! The next time you’re hanging out, bring at least five samples of perfumes that you enjoy (or at least tolerate). Plunk them down in front of your friend and declare, “I just got all of these great samples! Will you help me try them?” Take note of which of the samples she likes best, and promptly buy her a bottle/rollerball. To really hammer it home, tell her: “This perfume is so amazing on you! I better smell it every time I see you!”

Now you look like the world’s most thoughtful friend, and you never have to smell the perfume in question again! That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

How would you handle the situation? Do you have any perfume etiquette questions that you’d like to see Ask Ari address? Please share in the comments!

9 thoughts on “Ask Ari: I Hate My BFF’s Perfume

  1. How do you stay so nice Arielle? Personally I’d tell her she stinks, “POOOOOOO! Where did you buy that perfume? CostCo sale?” “OMG! Let’s complain! They are supposed to finish with the dry cleaning fluid before they give it back to you. Oh, Perfume?” “The 80’s called, they want their perfume back…… just saying….. kisses”
    Portia xx

    1. I reckon it’s my Southern manners, Portia! 😉 I just know that I get irrationally sad when someone complains about my perfume (I sold my bottle of Tobacco Vanille shortly after a friend innocently asked, “What smells like a Yankee Candles store?”), so I try to avoid those conversations with others if I can!

      1. Noooo, say it isn’t so. Tobacco Vanille is so yummy and beautiful! You could have saved it for when you hung around with other more enlightened friends.

      2. I must admit, I threw my much loved bottle of Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers after a similarly nasty speech and one of my besties had worn Cool Water since it came out till a friend made innocent fun of the people who wear it, without knowing he was one of them, poor thing.
        Having said that, you do want them to ease up on it, don’t you? And if that was your ONLY EVER feedback from a $400 bottle of Tom Ford, then they may have been doing you a favour. He He
        Portia xx

  2. I’d never give up my perfumes for a friend. It’s so personal, and it’s a part of me. No one but my mom has ever commented that she hates one, but she hates anything coconut scented. I asked her how that’s possible when she eats it, and she replied that she doesn’t like “food” perfumes. I tolerate her Youth Dew, and she does the same with my coconut perfumes. 🙂 I just say, real friends accept all of you.

  3. If it was my BFF I would have known if she really loves the perfume in question or just likes/wears “just because”.

    For the perfume that she loves I’d make all efforts to tolerate it – there are so many unpleasant smells around us, how bad can my BFF’s perfume be on a grand scale? Where possible, I’d wear my own perfume to smell it instead of her. For sleep-overs I’d just suggested we both not wear anything claiming I cannot sleep with a strong perfume smell in the room.

    With a perfume that she just happens to wear I’d be direct and told her I do not like the scent, asked, when possible, not to wear it and offered her a “voucher” to ban me from wearing in her presence any of my perfumes if she doesn’t like it – now on in future.

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