Finding a new perfume you enjoy is easy enough. But finding one that has the potential to become your signature scent? Not so much. With so many options spread across brands and the ever-changing perfume trends to consider, narrowing down the choices to one perfect scent can be quite a task. Finding your signature scent is an important endeavor. After all, it will contribute an elusive charm to our personality and serve as a vehicle that will help you tell your story through scent. If you’re finding it difficult to find and choose a signature scent, consider applying these signature scent tips in your research to speed up the process.
The global perfume market was valued at $46.5 billion in 2021. With so many brands and scents out there, looking for a signature perfume in the range of options available can be a chore. Ask yourself: “what kind of smells do I like?” Is it:
- Musk: Earthy, clean laundry
- Citrusy: Zesty and fresh
- Woody: Aromatic, spicy, dank, masculine
- Green: Fresh, light, cool, or sharp
- Floral: Fresh-cut flowers
- Oriental: Exotic and unusual notes full of warmth
If you’re not sure about your favored smell, you can always try different scents to find what category resonates the most with your preferences. Once you figure out the specific category you need to explore, it will significantly narrow down your list of choices.
Perfumes also have different concentrations. It’s how they are categorized as “light” or “heavy.” The three main concentration types are the Eau de Cologne (2% to 4%), Eau de Toilette (5% to 15%), and Eau de Parfum (10% to 20%). If you don’t know which fragrance intensity to pick, consider sampling them one by one. This will give you an idea of how strong or light you like your perfume. The concentration also determines how long a scent will last. For example, Eau de Parfum, owing to its high concentration, is bound to linger throughout the day. In contrast, Eau de Cologne might last you a couple of hours at best. This is why experts recommend matching your perfume intensity with the occasion and climate. If you’re heading to a nightclub, you may want to spritz on Eau de Parfum to make your perfume last longer. However, if you’re heading to a business meeting, stick to the good old Eau de Cologne to keep it light and casual. Friendly tip: When in doubt, start with lighter scents like aqueous and musky which are gentle on your nose.
Purchasing a scent you saw advertised on Instagram? Or one recommended to you by a friend? Try it on yourself before you hit the checkout counter. For all you know, owing to your differences in body chemistry, the perfume likely won’t smell the same on you. So, don’t be too quick to jump the gun just yet. Spritz a little perfume on yourself and see how you like it by the end of the day. To understand the fragrance better, spritz it on a blotter. As the “top note” or opening burst lasts about 20 minutes, it significantly differs from the “dry down.” As the top, heart, and base notes take time to reveal, you’ll have more luck determining whether or not the scent will be a good fit by observing how the scent evolves after four hours. First impressions, after all, can be very misleading.
Narrowing down the categories and intensities won’t give you a signature scent you will love right off the bat. For all you know, you could be purchasing just another bottle that will collect dust on your perfume stand. To avoid making an unnecessary purchase, test the fragrance beforehand. Spritzing can only help so far, so try getting your hands on a sample instead. Most brands offer a small sample-sized bottle for free or at a minimal cost. Take that bottle for a test drive for a few days or weeks and see if you like the scent you’re wearing.
Consider No More Than Three Scents at a Time
Eager to explore the world of perfumes? It can be tempting to spritz every scent you’re interested in to find “the one.” Needless to say, this is not the best strategy. In fact, too many scents will only overwhelm your nose. Our olfactory senses are very sensitive, and thus, can get confused when trying to process multiple scents at a time. It’s best to try out no more than three scents on each perfume expedition to give your olfactory bulb plenty of time to process each fragrance. This way, you can give each option the shot it deserves to snag a spot on your favorite perfume list.
Go to a perfume shop, and you may notice a canister of coffee beans nearby. Ask a clerk why and they’ll say it helps “reset” your scent indicators by giving it something different to smell. Unfortunately, this is a prevalent myth. If you really intend to have a quick reset that will help you process more fragrances, bury your nose in your unperfumed elbow. Your skin’s natural scent and pH can effectively recalibrate your nose. Alternatively, you can smell something made of wool to clear your nasal palette or walk out of the store to breathe in a more neutral environment before making a purchasing decision.
Perfumes can be very expensive. When you find a scent that costs $30, the low price may look very appealing and budget-friendly. However, it would do well to remember that affordable perfumes will have low staying power. The top note might initially come off as very strong, but it will fade away in an hour or two. In contrast, expensive fragrances tend to be much more long-lasting because they’re made with higher quality ingredients such as jasmine and Bulgarian rose. These perfumes will keep you smelling good throughout the day. It’s all about finding the right balance between cost and quality.
These signature scent tips can help you find your holy grail. Be open to suggestions, but don’t hit purchase without trying out how it smells on your skin. Always purchase a small bottle first to see if you’ll grow tired of the scent or love it enough to opt for a larger size for day-to-day use. Remember, the world of fragrance is vast, and your quest to find a signature scent is bound to open up doors you may not expect. Have fun!
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When Keren is not actually tapping away at her keyboard, you’ll find her staring into space or drinking copious amounts of coffee. But make no mistake, she's hard at work even then. Come close enough and you’ll hear the whooshing noise of countless words as they go whizzing by - in her head of course.