Justine Leconte : Perfume is a weapon and French women know that very well.

How is that for a statement!

So who is Justine Leconte?  She is a former model who is, today, a fashion designer based in Berlin. She has a YouTube channel and she shares her opinions on French women and fashion, cosmetics, hairstyles, etc.  And while I don’t agree with everything she says about perfume, I agree with most of it and I think there are a few very important lessons here for everyone, including myself.  Ms. Leconte comes at perfume from the point of view of a French woman and, having worked with many in my life, I would say that what Ms. Leconte says very much coincides with what I’ve heard.

I particularly like this video because during my perfume conferences, I am often asked about applying perfume and choosing the best perfume… and I avoid that question because it is not my area of expertise. Now, I can send my participants to a short video that should help them out. I’m more knowledgeable about perfume history and classification than, say, matching your perfume to your personal style or even how to choose your signature scent.  So, I’ve linked to the video down below so you can hear what Ms. Leconte has to say.

Here are 5 lessons that I gleaned from her video… the last lesson, I believe, being the most important.

French women take perfume VERY seriously.

I find that it is so easy to dismiss perfume as frivolous and inconsequential.  I don’t believe this and I’m happy to hear that French women don’t either.  What you wear is not just A scent, it is YOUR scent… so, of course, it IS important.  Certainly as important as what you choose to wear.  And the French women I know take their brands seriously… Chanel, Guerlain, Hermès, Lancôme, etc.  When I speak to them about Estée Lauder and Tom Ford, they smile politely but they seem to prefer French brands.

There are 2 ways to apply perfume and every aspect is completely thought through.

In my talks, I am almost always asked this question. How do I apply perfume and where? Well, Ms. Leconte explains it perfectly… either on the pressure points or by creating a fragrance cloud and walking through it.  I used to wear perfume on my chest and around my neck but I don’t do that anymore.  I found it sometimes overwhelming with the scent constantly moving up to my nostrils.  After awhile, the brain filters it out and you have to apply more to enjoy your own fragrance. Recently, I’ve been spraying the back of my neck and head.  For me, it works perfectly because my senses are not constantly being bombarded and I only get a whiff now and then when I turn my head.  For me, it’s much more enjoyable.

Your choice of perfume evolves over time.

Again, the application of perfume is not my expertise but what Ms. Leconte says here comes down to personal preference and that preference will evolve over time.  Although I tell people to wear what they want, I must admit a 16-year old girl wearing Shalimar parfum by Guerlain to go to school or boy wearing Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford for a first date is, maybe, a little odd.  I’ve said this in an earlier post, don’t wear perfume that has seen more of the world than you have.  And, if I didn’t say it, I should have!

Perfume is a weapon.

Certainly, perfume can be used for a variety of reasons including seduction.  In my life, I have seduced and I have been seduced.  It’s one of the great pleasures of life.  But, perfume can also boost confidence.  Ms. Leconte is convinced that she is taken more seriously when she wears Chanel No. 5.  This makes complete sense to me.  I wrote a post about perfume choice and courage awhile back and I’ll link to it here.

Your perfume is you… and that’s why it takes a long time to find THE one.

I think this is the most important lesson that Ms. Leconte recounts and it is worth repeating.  Choosing the right perfume TAKES TIME!  Don’t expect to find your fragrance in an afternoon at the perfume counter.  You have to try A LOT of perfume before you find one that you like.  And don’t stop at just one… try to find 3 or 4 for different occasions.  That Thursday morning confidence booster may not be what you would wear to the grocery store.  A small collection of 3 or 4 perfect scents is better than 100 mediocre ones.  But… take the time.  Test A LOT.  Ask for samples.  It takes awhile but it’s not rocket science.  Back in my photography days, experienced photographers used to say, “Shoot lots, show little.”  Same thing for perfume.

Here is Ms. Leconte’s excellent video.

Leave a comment


  1. Tara C

     /  December 28, 2018

    I mostly disagree with her – I love many non-French brands, I wear perfume on my arms, and I don’t have a signature scent. But yes my taste in perfume has evolved over time. Any perfume that I feel great in lifts my mood and boosts my confidence. And I hate Chanel No. 5 (on me). My perfume is not serious and it’s most certainly not a weapon – it is a joy and a way of expressing myself, part of my wardrobe as much as my clothes and shoes. Perfume should be fun!

    • Thanks for the comments Tara. It’s true that if SHE feels more confident in Chanel No 5, then others will react appropriately. Thanks for writing!

  2. Brigitte

     /  January 3, 2019

    I am too old to seduce anyone 😉
    For me perfume is my own little cloud of aromatherapy, so like Tara C, I wear what makes me happy and soothes my soul.
    I do agree that a smaller collection of absolute loves is a good goal (at least for me!).
    And I was one of those teenagers who wore perfume that had seen more than I did! At fifteen I was berated in a ballet class for wearing Chanel no 5 by an older ballerina. I did not care.

    Happy New Year, Normand!

    • Happy New Year Brigitte!

      Thanks for the comment. I love your story about an older ballerina berating you for wearing Chanel No. 5 at the age of 15… almost cinematic, particularly because you didn’t care!

      Take care in 2019!


      • Brigitte

         /  January 3, 2019

        and you know, reflecting upon it now, I think when I was much younger (early teens into early 30s) I wore perfume as a way of making a statement because I was extraordinarily shy and physically tiny/petite and I see now that my perfume choices (often inappropriate for my age) as my way of “being loud” and being heard and seen…if that makes any sense…..

        this is a very interesting topic! Thanks for this post 🙂

      • That makes PERFECT sense to me. There are so many reasons to wear perfume. They are all valid!

        Thanks again for writing!


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