When choosing your signature scent, do you go with Coco Chanel or Christian Dior … or even a pick in between? While the fragrance department might seem like a circus of options that range from floral to wood, and all start to smell a little similar after a few tests, picking a signature fragrance to match your personal style doesn’t have to be as intimidating as a cold trip to the fragrance counter sounds. Choosing your signature scent is a unique reflection of you, your style and finding those few scents that make you inhale deeply and sigh “Ahhh …” To pick a fragrance that reflects you well, here are 5 tips to find a fragrance that suits you best.
How to Pick a Fragrance
Finding a perfume that feels familiar and inviting, but can be worn throughout the many scenarios you face everyday is what it takes to pick a stellar fragrance. There are a few steps that will make your search successful. They begin with gaining a better understanding of perfume, choosing a price range, getting a feel for how it wears and trusting your gut. If you invest the little bit of time it takes to find a fragrance you love, it will be absolutely worth it.
Understand What You’re Buying
Before you go to the perfume counter, make a point to understand what you’re really buying. Perfumes come in many varied packages and scents, but what really matters when you pick one to buy? Perfumes are divided into a few different types: Eau de Cologne, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette and Parfum.
When you rank these types from strongest to the lightest, the list goes as:
- Eau de Parfum
- Eau de Toilette
- Eau de Cologne
Parfum will rank as the most rich option with a concentration of oils and ingredients, hence, also more expensive. It goes down from there.
A few terms you might hear while shopping are “top note,” which is the strongest scent when you first spray a perfume. Once the top note fades after a few minutes, the scent gives way to the “middle note.” The middle note, sometimes called “heart note,” is the prominent scent you’ll smell for the next few hours of wearing. After the middle note evaporates, the scent you’re left with is the “bottom note,” or the final scent that lingers throughout the rest of the day. There’s no need to be intimidated when you’re testing out perfume samples, if you know what to discuss at the counter.
Understand the Price
Some perfumes retail for as low as $50 and others are upwards of $500. Keep in mind that less expensive fragrances have bold top notes that tend to wear out quickly. These perfumes will loose their scent quicker than more expensive versions. They pack an initial punch. The more expensive a fragrance is, you’ll find more complexity in their gradual smell throughout the day. These are also generally longer lasting.
Understand the Options
Fragrances come in a few different categories. To select your best scent, you’ll want to take your favorite samples home with you. When you’re at the counter, remember the most common categories:
Floral: Think something that smells like a sweeter, lighter version of fresh flowers. Floral scents are delicate and feminine and on the lighter side. Think blooms instead of deeper, richer scents.
Citrus: Citrus scents are more crisp in their affect. While some are truly “citrus” with lime, lemon and orange scents, still, citrus scents tend to be lighter and clean. Here you might also find some herbal scents mixed into the citrus concoctions.
Oriental: If you like vibrant, exotic scents like incense, jasmine or chai tea, oriental scents are the choice for you. Some versions of vanilla bean are also found here. These scents are particularly sexy and a wonderful choice for a date night on the town.
Wood: These fragrances are richer and almost unisex. Specifically, “wood” scents are deeper reflections of earthy tones. Think of the smell of cedar, tobacco, vanilla and leather.
Take Your Top 3 Samples Home
Fragrances smell one way when you test them out at the counter, and another way when wearing all day. Plus, when sampling at the fragrance counter, it can be difficult for your nose to distinguish the difference in each scent after smelling a few different fragrances. When selecting your signature fragrance, plan to pick your 3 favorite testers and take them home to try out for a full day. Wear each one for a full day and get a feel for the top note, middle note and bottom note. As you wear this fragrance throughout the day, you’ll realize if you really love all the phases.
Go With Your Gut
Finally, go with your gut. Pick a fragrance you love. Sure you can ask your friends or partner what they think. But at the end of the day, you’ll be the one wearing this everywhere. You’ll be the one expressing yourself and experiencing it throughout the whole day with this fragrance. Pick something that you love and that fully reflects you. No matter what everyone else thinks, is your best choice.