Just like the process of discovering the perfect dress, finding and sticking to a signature scent can be downright intimidating. So how do you figure out what it is that works for you personally?
Luckily, it doesn’t have to involve trying every bottle on display. Forget having to congest your nose with a blur of scent and sniffing coffee beans in-between – that will just end in a headache. Read on to arm yourself with tips and tricks that’ll save you the painstaking process of an impulse perfume decision in store.
Think about your favourite food and season
Think of the last time you had a cold – remember how food tasted bland? That’s because eighty percent of your sense of taste is driven by your sense of smell. Your fragrance preferences are also strongly tied to the memories you attach to certain scents. Seasons evoke strong memories of smell. If you find you’re a lover of the summer season, you may be attracted to scents such as the smell of the ocean, or a certain sunscreen at the beach. Spring is tied to fresh forest scents, florals and earthy greens. If you know your favourite season and have a particular smell that you love, it will be easy to see the connection here.
Do some scents smell a lot stronger and some you can hardly smell? That’s because there are different fragrance strengths that it pays to be familiar with. Read over that little “eau de” mention on your perfume bottles—how strong your fragrance smells differs in the fine print. This little mention will also affect how long your perfume lasts and how frequently you will need to respray. That might be why you aren’t holding onto the eau de toilette scent as long throughout the day, which is a lighter and fresher fragrance than parfum.
Making your perfume last
The first thing to know is that dry skin doesn’t hold perfume well. Make sure your skin is hydrated if you want to smell lovely throughout the day. This is why, as a group, people with oily skin don’t need to reapply as often. If you’re prone to dry skin, you’ll be pleased to know that hair actually carries perfume better than our skin. It also creates a beautiful sillage, which is the scented trail left by the perfume wearer. If wearing your scent in your hair is not something that appeals, spray your outfit, and as you move throughout the day, your dress will leave behind a trail of fragrance.
Get to know common scents
If you have an idea of commonly used scents in perfumes, you’ll be able to get a good idea from perfume descriptions
Musk: Might smell similar to fresh laundry, vanilla notes.
Smoky: It can smell like a campfire burning, fragrant cedar chips, or a blown-out match.
Citrus: Lime, lemon, oranges.
Woody: These scents can range from a creamy nutty flavor (like pralines- and ice cream), to sandalwood, to spicy (patchouli).
Green: Think dewy moss on a spring morning, or the smell of freshly cut grass.
Floral: Floral encompasses everything from white florals (gardenia, lilies, ylang, etc.), to roses, to violets, to peonies.
Aquatic: What does your bath smell like? What does the beach smell like? Perhaps think of a freshwater river.
Oriental: Slightly powdery with a hint of spice or sweetness.
The time of year and the weather outside will also have an impact on what kind of clothing you wear, so it should also influence your fragrance choice. In the summer, you will likely be wearing lightweight clothing in bright and vibrant colours, such as pastel dresses and shorts and t-shirts in colourful tones. A light and subtle perfume with a fruity, floral fragrance will go well with a light, fresh outfit – perhaps something with citrus notes. Throwing on a heavy perfume when you’re in casual summer clothes will probably feel a little out of place.
If you’re going for a rock and roll look with a concert t-shirt, skinny jeans, a leather jacket and voluminous hair – a soft and feminine floral scent will probably also seem out of place. During winter and autumn, you will probably start to wrap up warmer wearing wooly dresses, cardigans, leggings, boots and other cosy clothing. Think rich bold colours with a heavier muskier perfume, perhaps with undertones of berries, earth and wood.
When you do find a scent that you absolutely love, you might find over time that it works better in certain months or that it’s not appropriate for every occasion. Continue to experiment with different smells and scents, and take note of your surrounds as your favourite memories develop, this could be a lead to finding your new signature scent.