Let’s talk about “the one.” No, not your soul mate but your
signature scent! With so many fine fragrance options available, it can be quite
overwhelming and even hard to pin down that fragrance that is just right. While interning in New York several years ago, we took a "field trip" to Firmenich to learn how fragrances are developed and while attending FIDM, I took a fragrance class and learned about the make up of
fragrances and even got to design my own! Here’s a few tips for finding the
1. First, know the difference between fragrance strengths:
: The strongest of all fragrances made up of 15 to 40 percent fragrance oil
Eau de Parfum
: Made up of 10 to 15 percent fragrance oils, heaviest of Eaus. What most people consider "perfume"
Eau de Toilette:
Lighter than an Eau de Parfum, but heavier than Eau de Cologne; about 3 to 15 perfect fragrance oil
Eau de Cologne
: Made up of 2 to 5 percent fragrance oil, this is the least concentrated of the Eaus
: Most diluted scent, with just 1 to 2 percent fragrance oil; very light scents
2. When shopping for fragrance, go bare! You want to smell the
scents without the interference from other perfumes, scented lotions or sprays. Before
spraying on yourself though, first sniff the bottle and then use those handy
fragrance blotters to test the ones you really like. Keep the blotter with you
and walk around the store for some time before smelling it again because…
3. You’ll need to keep in mind that fragrances develop over
time—what it smelled like when you first put it on is not what it’s going to
smell like an hour later, even half-an-hour later.
Fragrances have three levels: top notes which you smell when
you first spritz a fragrance- these usually last 10-15 minutes; the heart
(middle) notes make up the majority of the fragrance and last about 30 minutes;
and base notes last the longest creating fragrance depth and are not detected
for about 30 minutes after you first apply. Let it linger.
4. Know what types of scents you like and choose based on fragrance
Romantic, flowers, roses (Ralph Lauren Romance
Vanilla, warm, amber, musk, spices (cinnamon, clove, etc.), mysterious (Prada Amber Eau de Parfum
grapefruits, peach, pears (Escada Born in Paradise)
Earthy, mossy, musky, bergamot (Dior Miss Dior
Fresh, grass, cool (DKNY
Lemon, orange, fresh (Chloe L’Eau de Chloe Eau de Toilette)
Herbaceous, oak, moss, mainly mens
fragrances (Tom Ford Violet Blonde
Salty, clean, fresh,
slightly citrus-y (Davidoff Cool Water For Women
Pine, Sandalwood, cedar—very
earthy and musky (Jo Malone Wild Fig & Casis
Dessert, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, honey, sweet smelling (Thierry Mugler Angel
Peppery, dusty, earthy and lemony (Guerlain Vetiver
5. Samples are your BFF! Most department stores and even
Sephora gives out fragrance samples. This way, you can wear the scent for a few
days to see if you REALLY love it and how it reacts with your own body
chemistry. If your co-worker exclaims “You smell SO good!” then it’s safe to
say you’ve found a winner.
Fragrance is a personal thing and depends on your taste,
your style and what you like. You might even want to change up your fragrance
depending on the season, opting for warmer, muskier scents in the winter and
cool, fresh scents in the summer. Don’t worry if it takes you a long time to
find “the one,” it’s out there!
As for myself, I go for soft, feminine florals, oriental
scents (I guess you could say florientals!), and chypres.
Here are some of my personal top picks:
One final tip—with fragrance there certainly can be too much
of a good thing. Go easy on the spritzing! Even if you can’t necessarily smell
it on yourself trust me, the rest of us can. No need to bathe in it ;)
Tell me, what are your favorite fragrances?