When deciding to buy a new cosmetic product never tried before, most consumers go for the ones that look and smell the best first and only a small percentage go for the ingredients they contain. But when it comes to making the last decision, almost all of them go for the olfactory experience — meaning sniffing the product first — even if that means opening a perfectly sealed bottle at the store just to put it back on the shelf like nothing happened while grabbing a new sealed one and head to the register.
Although many might say “no big deal, it was just a second to smell it to see if I like the fragrance” or like I have experienced myself during our shows “if I don’t like the smell I don’t buy it” the fact is, it is a big deal not mentioning very rude to the next client who happens to buy that jar or bottle where someone had already put their bacteria filled nose in or to the representative at a trade show, especially when a perfectly marked tester is sitting on the shelf.
Manufacturers of cosmetic products, take very seriously their responsibility, or most of us do at least, in ensuring everything from the ingredients all the way down to the bottles, jars, the tools used to manufacture the products and even the labs, are properly sterilized to avoid bacterial and mold contamination.
Every time a bottle is opened to sniff the content, especially facial lotions or creams which are the most delicate cosmetic products of all, a rush of airborne bacteria, germs from your nose and contaminants from the store, get in quite possibly spoiling the product much faster or affect the skin in a negative way.
To avoid the embarrassment of being looked at in a funny way while at the store (not all of us are extreme sniffers!) or just out of respect and consideration for others, there are a few tips you can follow if you need to smell before buying:
- Check to make sure there is a tester or sampler on the shelf. A reputable store or vendor will have a tester bottle right next to the products on the shelves for customers to try before buying. These bottles are usually properly identified with a large tag or sticker.
- If there is no tester or they ran out of it, ask the clerk or store manager if they can get another one on the floor. Chances are they will replace it immediately.
- If it happens the store doesn’t have a tester available at all, ask if they can provide you with a trial or sample size of the product for you to try. These samples are very small, and sometimes don’t cost anything at all.
- If all the above have failed you can always contact the manufacturer of the product to see if they can provide you with a trial size. Some large companies might ship the samples for free, others might offer samples only after certain amount is ordered, but is always worth the try.
- If the manufacturer doesn’t offer samples, check if they sell travel sizes on their websites. These travel sizes cost a lot less than a full size and the quantity of product sometimes is more than enough for a full week of testing.
Whatever you must do to get the olfactory experience before buying, avoid at all costs opening a perfectly sealed bottle or jar, out of respect for others and to avoid spreading diseases.