by Jenna Rosenstein
CN Digital Studio It seems to be my lot in life to fall in love with products that face imminent discontinuation (TaB Energy, anyone?). In 2007, I was introduced to my signature scent: Diesel Fuel for Life. I spritzed it recklessly until the day in 2010 when I was told that it, too, was facing extinction.
Since then, I have never gone more than a month or two without somehow acquiring a new bottle (warning: A trip overseas may be in order!). Here are my tips for pushing the inevitable day when you need to find a new signature scent as far down the road as possible:
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Act fast. The moment you learn that your perfume is exiting brick-and-mortar retailers, hop online to build yourself a back stock. Amazon and other online retailers may still carry the scent for months, even years after it disappears from stores. Cosmetic chemist Jim Hammer suggests storing your stockpile in the refrigerator or another cold, dark place to protect the integrity of the formula. (Fragrances that have been stored improperly or are aged more than two years can have an altered color and smell, so keep that in mind when stocking up.) Calling the company may even give you a lead: For this post, Diesel's perfumer, L'Oréal, told me that the only retailer that still carries Fuel for Life is Sephora, but only in limited locations (and unfortunately not online). Drat! L'Oréal suggests contacting customer service if you want information on an extinct fragrance; they can then redirect your question to the appropriate marketing, sales, or public-relations team.
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Don't discount Duty Free. My Floridian parents go on a lot of cruises, and each time they stop on a Caribbean island, they pop into a duty-free shop to pick up a bottle of Fuel for Life. Many fragrances may still be sold overseas, even if they are hard to find in the States. You may notice a slight variation in the smell, however, because "formulas can be different from country to country," says Hammer. "Other countries may have different VOC [volatile organic compounds, for those of us dreaming of lipstick in chem class] restrictions or may not allow the use of certain fragrance chemicals." Ask the retailer how old the fragrances are, how they have been stored, and if you can, test the scent before you bring it all the way home.
Use your nose. Hammer suggests opting for a similar scent if you can no longer find your discontinued favorite. It's hard to match notes exactly, especially when, according to Hammer, there could be anywhere from six to more than 50 fragrance components in one perfume. A quick Google search can turn up the notes in almost any fragrance. For me, the matching mandarin note in both Fuel for Life and Stella by Stella McCartney was enough to consider the latter a great substitute fragrance to use between bottles of Diesel.
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by Jenna Rosenstein