Solid Perfume Sampling: Made By Me

For the discerning customer who seeks a more luxurious solid fragrance experience…

Made By Me is a new French perfume brand that released its first fragrances on March 8–International Women’s Day!–this year. Founded by cosmetics industry veteran Nathalie Duran, and featuring perfumes created by Caroline Dumur, Fanny Bal and Domitille Bertier (their collective résumé reads like a Who’s Who of 21st century perfumery and I’ve linked to their Fragrantica pages), Made By Me distills multiple fragrance and cosmetics industry trends into an innovative take on a classic fragrance medium: the solid perfume.

Today’s fragrance and cosmetics consumers are very interested in Green Beauty and are concerned about the environmental impact of the products they use. Hand-in-hand with that goes a desire for Clean Beauty–they want the products they put on their skin to be free of toxins and unnecessary chemicals. Oh-so-Instagrammable palettes have been trending in the cosmetics industry for several years, with both a palette’s packaging design and the rainbow of cosmetic colors factoring into its desirability. Increasingly, fragrance lovers also want a “custom” experience with scents and have taken to blending two or more of the fragrances in their collection to get something new and different.

The red Made By Me Sample Kit envelope, with a gold star and gold text

Made By Me fragrances are from paraben, phathalates, lilial, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclotetrasiloxane, alcohol and sun-sensitive raw perfume materials, and the brand certifies their formulas have not been tested on animals. The Palette and Duo packaging is plastic-free and all components are either 100% recyclable or 100% reusable, plus the brand is continuing its research to improve the environmental impact of their products. With a fragrance product that is green, clean, packaged beautifully for sharing on social media and full of endless customizable scent combinations, Made By Me clearly knows its customers well and has put a lot of thought into addressing their biggest concerns.

As a blogger devoted to solid fragrances, I think Made By Me also fills a particular vacancy I’ve observed in the solid fragrance market. There are very few solid fragrances being produced at the higher end of the market right now. Diptyque is one of a precious few that come to mind. Other top brands have offered solids as limited editions but haven’t fully committed to producing a line in this format. At $119 for the Made By Me Nude Perfume Palette or $59 for a Duo, with their French provenance, sophisticated scents and beautiful packaging, the Made By Me perfumes are an exciting new player in this space and will appeal to the discerning customer who seeks a more luxurious solid fragrance experience.

The back of the Made By Me sample kit, featuring a red envelope sealed with a red sticker, embossed with a whimsical gold star that says, "ME"

I found a “Try Me” button on their website that took me to the Perfume Palette Nude Sample kit. Better still, the kit was a very affordable $8 (sold at cost and with that amount to be credited towards a full size Duo or Palette purchase), plus a reasonable $6 for shipping from France to the United States. (The brand also ships to Canada, UK, Switzerland, South Korea and throughout the EU, with more countries to be added soon). Shipping from Europe took less time than some domestic packages I have ordered this year, and when my package arrived, I was surprised to receive two complete sample kits. Each kit includes a generous amount of all five Nude fragrances (enough to try at least ten times, according to the brand), sealed in individual blister packs, all wrapped in a cheerful red envelope.

There are several things I noticed right away about the fragrances in the Nude Sample kit: they look like color cosmetics in vivid sparkling hues (but only in the palette–they color disappears within seconds of application, leaving a very subtle shimmer); the texture of the scents is unique–like a creamy lipstick or cream blush, softer than the typical beeswax-based solid perfumes I wear; and best of all, each scent in the palette is a fully-composed multi-note fragrance that can stand on its own or blend beautifully with any (or all!) of the other fragrances in the kit.

The Nude Sample Kit includes:

The Made By Me sample kit, opened to show the five sample perfumes inside
All Over U Musk: “Nude shimmer, a sheer caress of glimmering light and sensuality… the velvety peachy musk reveals the beauty of one’s own skin scent, awakening it like a first ray of sun. All Over U musk, it is like the primer of your makeup palette. It reveals the beauty of your own skin scent. Alone, it is a pure declaration of innocent sensuality. Blended, it will soften any other Nude Fragrance, bringing depth and gentle sensuality. Hero Ingredients: White peach note, Musk notes, Freesia accord, Cedarwood Chips”
Orange Fever: “Irresistibly smiling, a true spring of joy. The bright orange color echoes the fizzy, juicy, mouthwatering pulpiness of the orange scent bringing childlike airiness, sensual happiness, joy. Alone, Orange Fever is an extract of innate happiness. Blended it will bring a spritz of juicy vibrant energy to any other Nude Fragrance. Hero Ingredients: Bitter orange oil, Juniper berry oil”
Blitz Fig: “Blitz Fig is your crispy, cutting edge, smart skin, mood. Your inner energy with a gourmand touch. A shot of pure vegetal energy balancing the gourmand reddish fig pulp with raw crushed fig leaves. Connect with the power of nature! Hero Ingredients: Fig leaves accord, Tonka bean absolute”
Candid Blossom: “A pure moment of peace, a moment of grace, innocent, soft and luminous almost blushing with life, cocoon of orange blossom petals, enveloping hug tenderly protective. Alone, Candid Blossom is an angel’s caress. Blended it will blossom any other Nude fragrance, bringing a touch of tenderness and light. Hero Ingredients: Orange blossom absolu & oil, Bergamote oil”
Musk Blush: “Sexy, addictive, hypnotizing like cats’ green eyes, embodying the divine sensuality of honey balanced by darker and floral tones. Intense yet subtle… an intimate link to sensuality. Alone Musk Crush is a daring scent, intimate, sexy and addictive. Blended it will add deep sensuality to any other Nude fragrance, bringing a touch sexiness. Hero Ingredients: Liquid amber note, Honey note, Cedarwood oil”
Notes and descriptions from the official Made By Me website

I opened the All Over U Musk first. It is the largest sample in the kit and appears to have been designed for use as a connector or base for the other scents. All Over U Musk is a floral woody musk with just a hint of sweetness, though neither peach nor freesia is noticeable as an individual note. The blend is seamless, linear and one of the prettiest musks I’ve encountered. It works well with the other scents in the palette, and will also work with just about any scent you may have in your collection. (The possibilities for layering the scents in the palette with each other and also with my other liquid and solid perfumes is mind-blowing…)

All Over U Musk sample, in a red blister packet with white lettering, held in a woman's hand

Orange Fever was the second scent I tried. This one was an instant love–a gently sweet orange dessert aroma with a hint of spice. Layered atop All Over U Musk, it brought to mind Eau des Merveilles and juicy orange creamsicles in summer. Layered with the musk and Candid Blossom, I was teleported to the south of France in high summer.

Blitz Fig was my next sample and oh, what a glorious fig aroma! It’s the scent of an entire fig tree, with green leaves, woody twigs and stems and that delicious lactonic touch offered by the best fig fragrances. I applied this one solo to one arm, inhaled deeply, then tried blending it with the the musk (heavenly!), finally sweetening things up with the Orange Fever. Its distinctive green fruity note weaves softly through any blend that includes it.

Candid Blossom‘s orange blossom aroma surprised me with its depth and intensity. This is a note I’ve experienced in other solid fragrances, often with less success. Orange blossom is a diva that can easily turn sharp and bitter in the wrong hands, but it’s blended so skillfully in Candid Blossom. The delicate beauty of the flower is fully expressed here. This one is a perfect complement to the sweet citrus of Orange Fever, and makes a delightful, crisp and clean aroma when layered with All Over U Musk.

Blitz Fig from the Nude Sample Kit

Musk Blush was the most unexpected of the set. After the subtle beauty of All Over U Musk, I was not prepared for Musk Blush‘s potent animalic punch. This is an overtly sexy fragrance of the type we rarely find nowadays, when it seems most people want to smell like fruit, flowers or cake (not that I’m judging–I like and wear those scents, too). I was attracted and also slightly repelled at first sniff, but I pushed through it and kept inhaling, making a couple swipes on skin and sniffing again after a few seconds. It settles nicely into a soft musky suede. I get a pronounced dry vetiver after a few seconds which lends a powdery cast to the fragrance. It’s the most serious and sophisticated fragrance in the kit and a swipe or two will take any combo of the other fragrances into sexy evening territory. The blend of the two musks together is especially wonderful. This was my husband’s favorite scent in the kit, and in the end, I grew to love it, too.

The fragrances are an 11% concentration (EDP strength), though as is typical with solids, the effect overall is a bit softer than with a liquid. With all of the fragrances, I enjoyed moderate sillage that faded to intimate after an hour or two. Longevity was five to seven hours, with some blends lasting a little longer. Blitz Fig is the “loudest” of the collection on my skin, and All Over U Musk is the softest but also the most persistent. A chief benefit of the solid format is that you can touch up the fragrances as often as you like–they’re not going to overpower a room the way a spritz of liquid perfume could. It was easy to refresh, or to add a new nuance with a quick swipe of a new fragrance atop my existing blend.

Blitz Fig and Musk Crush, just after swiping and before blending
Blitz Fig and Musk Crush, blended and invisible except for a hint of shimmer

I spent a lot of time on simple blends of two scents, playing with the proportions, before moving onto bolder experiments. I wouldn’t say I achieved a “bad” blend with any of my attempts, and my favorite blend so far features all five, applied in the following order, one on top of the other:

one swipe of All Over U Musk + one Musk Blush + one Blitz Fig + one Candid Blossom + two swipes of Orange Fever

Proportions are as important as individual notes. That double dose of the sweet Orange Fever at the end makes a big difference. The result is a chic, complex, multi-layered fragrance on par with a high-end department store perfume, except it’s 100% unique to me. The Made By Me website includes suggested fragrance blends (both scents and proportions), and that’s a good place to begin, but I encourage you to just swipe, sniff and experiment. Above all, Made By Me intends that the final scent will ultimately by made by YOU!

The Orange Fever, Candid Blossom, Blitz Fig and Musk Crush samples held in a woman's hand to show size and scale

A couple weeks back, I shared the sample kit I had purchased on Instagram, and the brand reached out to see if I would be interested in trying one of the Duos. Of course I said yes! Selecting a Duo was a difficult choice, given how lovely all of the scents are, but I narrowed down my top picks and spent a day sniffing the two finalists–one on each arm–before making my selection. My Duo is on its way from France as of this publication date. I look forward to sharing a detailed review of the full size product in the near future. In the meantime, I encourage you to visit the official Made By Me website to learn more and order samples or full-size Duos and Palettes. Happy blending!

All images by me.

By Jodi at Solidly Scented

A lover of all things fragrant

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