When I was entering my adolescent years, I attended many a birthday party where the attendees gave the birthday girl a $15 bath set from Bath and Body Works, which usually just ended up somewhere in the back of a bathroom cupboard with the old hair rollers and pretend makeup. I, myself, received many such bath sets, and never actually used them; I ended up either throwing them away after five years, giving them as a birthday present for someone else, or selling them in a yard sale. While these types of gifts can be very thoughtful, if chosen wrongly they are useless.
Perfume is in the same vein as bath sets. It can be a very thoughtful gift if chosen wisely, but if chosen haphazardly without much thought your perfume gift could very well just end up unused in the back of a drawer or cupboard. If you want to give perfume as a gift, you want to follow some wise guidelines, so your gift is seen as thoughtful and personal, rather than easy and thoughtless.
The biggest rule of thumb to follow when giving perfume as a gift is to find out what scent the recipient already uses. Some perfumes are expensive and many people can't really afford to buy their scent all the time; if you know what someone's perfume preference is and you buy that perfume, then that is a very thoughtful and kind gift. You take little to no risks when purchasing a perfume that you already know the recipient likes: first and foremost, the recipient already likes the scent, and definitely won't complain or be upset to have more. You also make your shopping easier; without having to pick a scent and test them, you just have to decide which perfume package or which products to buy—the hard work is already done for you.
It may be that the recipient of your gift doesn't even like or often wear perfume. If this is the case, then just don't buy them any perfume at all. When you give gifts, you want to give gifts that mean something; you want the recipient to actually like and use what you give. If you give a woman perfume when she doesn't even wear perfume or care for it, then that says that you didn't really think about the gift or the recipient.
If you don't know what scent the recipient prefers, or think that she may like to find a scent, don't pick one out for her. If you do pick out a perfume for your friend, then give it with the gift receipt in case she wants to exchange it for something else. Another good idea to keep in mind is to give a gift card to a perfume or makeup counter at your favorite department store, and then go with your friend to pick out a perfume. This way the recipient can get exactly what scent she wants, and your gift-card gift is more meaningful when paired with an afternoon of your charming company!
So, giving perfume as a gift can go either really well or really not-so-well. If you adhere to the above guidelines for gifting perfume, then you'll seldom go wrong, and you'll be able to give remarkable gifts that your friends will appreciate and remember!