When we started Skylar, we set out to innovate and push the fragrance industry forward. And in doing so, ironically, in many ways we’re turning back the clock. That’s because in addition to going back to nature to source our ingredients and break free of the allergen-filled world of the modern fragrance lab, we’ve also chosen to craft our perfumes using age-old traditional techniques. So whereas some large fragrance labs might spend their time creating synthetic versions of natural ingredients like, say, dried whale vomit to ultimately save costs for future production, we still do things the old fashioned way. It’s more labor-intensive and time consuming, but we’ve realized that, for us, compromising our methods would compromise our product. And so, here we are.
Of course, there would be no “here” if it weren’t for the help of master perfumer Sarah Horowitz. Not only has her expertise guided the development of our debut fragrance lineup, we’ve also learned a ton about perfumery in general from studying her process. As proponents of “slow beauty,” we were thrilled to find our match in Sarah, so read on for more on her background, getting personal with perfume, and her favorite Skylar scent.
What do you call yourself?
Well, it depends on the day. ;-) Mom, mostly; business owner…but in the context of my work, I call myself a Perfumer. I am the Chief Perfumer at Sarah Horowitz Parfums, as I have a few Senior Perfumers that work for me that I have trained to create formulas as well.
What qualities should people look for in a perfume (in terms of scent balance)? In other words, what makes a scent well-rounded, and how do you know when it's "complete"?
This is a very subjective question, as every perfume wears differently on different people. However, when looking to see if a perfume is right for you, sampling is imperative. Once on the skin, give it at least 3-5 minutes to really start working with your body chemistry – and you will also see that the fragrance will evolve throughout the course of the day. When you smell it, does it smell to sharp, to sweet? Does it ‘feel’ right to you? I recommend closing your eyes when sniffing in order to cut out other distractions, and heighten your sense of smell. Fragrance is very intuitive as well – you will know when a fragrance feels right to you.
For people new to wearing fragrances, what is your Skylar recommendation for them to start with?
The sample palette for sure. Then I recommend wearing two a day to start, one on the left arm, one on the right, to see if you have a preference. Next day, do this with the other two. After this you may have two clear favorites—then try on the third day wearing each favorite on opposing arms. You will find the fragrance you are most drawn to this way—or you may find that you love one more for day time and one for night.
What is your favorite Skylar combination of fragrances to layer, and why?
Anything that has surprised you about fragrances during your career?
This could be a whole article! I have had MANY surprises over the last 25 years of Perfuming –I have created fragrances in places you wouldn’t believe, for people I never dared hoped to meet, and have been told personal stories I never thought a stranger would share with me. But the most surprising thing to me has to be that I have had a sustained career in Perfumery for over two decades. That a girl who went to school and majored in performing arts and philosophy could be a business owner in a creative field that inspires me more today than when I first started in the late 1980’s. What has surprised me most about fragrances itself is that Niche fragrance is finally finding its place in the fragrance world as a whole, which is thrilling.