Finding Your Signature Scent

Finding perfect perfume

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 perfect perfume:

1. First, know the difference between fragrance strengths:
                Parfum: 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
                Body Spray: 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 families:
                Floral: Romantic, flowers, roses (Ralph Lauren Romance)
                Oriental: Vanilla, warm, amber, musk, spices (cinnamon, clove, etc.), mysterious (Prada Amber Eau de Parfum)
Fruity: Apples, oranges, grapefruits, peach, pears (Escada Born in Paradise)
                Chypre: Earthy, mossy, musky, bergamot (Dior Miss Dior)
Green: Fresh, grass, cool (DKNY Delicious)
Citrus: Lemon, orange, fresh (Chloe L’Eau de Chloe Eau de Toilette)
Fougere: Herbaceous, oak, moss, mainly mens fragrances (Tom Ford Violet Blonde)
Oceanic: Salty, clean, fresh, slightly citrus-y (Davidoff Cool Water For Women)
Woody: Pine, Sandalwood, cedar—very earthy and musky (Jo Malone Wild Fig & Casis)
Gourmand: Dessert, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, honey, sweet smelling (Thierry Mugler Angel)
Vetiver: 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:
Fragrance 101
Juicy Couture | Chloe Love Story | Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb | LAVANILA Vanilla Grapefruit | Dior Miss Dior | Tory Burch

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?

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