A Complete Guide to Finding Your Signature Scent


How you dress, style your hair and apply your make-up all reveal a lot about your personality. And while they may be visible from across the room, your fragrance choice is a much more subtle and intimate way of expressing the type of person you are.

Whether you choose a big-name brand like Marc Jacobs perfumes or discover a hidden gem in a specialised perfumery, selecting the perfect signature scent is a wonderful way of creating a recognisable character trait that is unmistakably yours.

Start With Fragrance Families

Understanding the different fragrance families is like understanding the different genres of music. You will want to know the difference and similarities between the groups to see what you like, understand what you are smelling and recognise how they work together.

Some perfumes can expand over more than one family, but knowing what notes you gravitate towards will narrow your search and help you find your signature smell. Florals are mature and feminine, and spicy fragrances are warm and sultry.

Woody scents are earthy and carry masculine tones, while fresh perfumes are citrussy and lighter. Every fragrance uniquely blends these families to form a specialised bouquet, but each will have a dominating smell worth recognising.


If you don’t have a clear idea of what you like or what you are after, it is best to explore everything. But don’t try to do it during one visit. The contrasting scents will start to smell the same, and you will not be able to distinguish what you are smelling. Instead, stick to three or four scents per visit. It will allow each fragrance to have its moment and allow you to properly assess what you are smelling.

Start with lighter scents first, as they tend to be more popular with the broader public. Begin with musky notes, and then move onto citrus, fruity florals and end with heavier woods and orientals.

Consider Trends

As with fashion, trends come and go. And it is worthwhile exploring popular choices when searching for your signature smell. They are a helpful cue to what is trending in the fragrance world and play an educational role in our search.

You should ultimately trust your own instincts and personal taste and not allow the hype to cloud your judgements, but cult classics have stood the test of time for a reason, and you may just find your perfect option within them.


Spend Time With the Notes

The unique and sometimes frustrating quirk with perfumes is that they smell different on everyone, thanks to the chemistry of our skin. This ultimately means that how it smells on the small sliver of paper in the store will not reflect how it will behave once you have applied it.

Before purchasing a full-size perfume, use a smaller sampler or travel-sized bottle for a week or so to get a better understanding of how the notes develop on your skin and wear throughout the day. Fragrances are on the pricier side of the beauty world and can be viewed as an investment. Ensure you are happy with the overall effect before taking the plunge.

Educate Yourself

The best way to make a well-informed decision is by understanding what you are smelling and how the scents work together. If you know what is present, you can quickly eliminate the smells you don’t like and stick with what is working.

Musk tends to mimic a clean laundry scent. Smoky will remind you of a campfire burning, fragrant cedar chips or a match that has just been blown out. Anything that falls under the citrus label will match the smell of limes, lemons and oranges. It will feel like you have spent the day in the spa.

Woody scents can range from a creamy, nutty flavour to the more masculine smell of sandalwood, patchouli or cedarwood. Floral encompasses everything in the flower family, from intense white florals to delicate rose and peonies scents. Aquatic fragrances will resemble your favourite bubble bath, and oriental will be similar to incense sticks. Slightly powdery with hints of spice and sweetness.

Additionally, knowing why some perfumes are cheap while others are expensive will help you understand how they wear and how long they are expected to last. High-quality fragrances are significantly better than cheaper knock-offs.

Lasting Impact

If you have ever been in a department store, browsing the perfume section, and noticed some are called ‘eau de perfumes’ while others are ‘eau du toilettes’, it is vital to know the differences before heading to the register. These names reflect the concentration level of the fragrance, which dictates the longevity of the smell and the overall cost.

Eau fraiche tends to last less than an hour. Eau de cologne will carry their scent for up to two hours. Eau de toilette will last for roughly three hours, and Eau de perfumes will still have an impact for at least five to eight hours. Finally, pure perfume oil can last up to 24 hours.

https://unsplash.com/photos/QXMJX3EJSakNotes & Meanings

Like our fashion choices, your signature perfume should reflect your personality and how you want to feel while wearing it. You need to ask yourself if you want to feel sexy, playful, grab attention or bring luxurious summer scents to any room you enter.

If you are experimenting with smells that don’t make you feel how you want to feel, you won’t be satisfied with the final choice, regardless of how much you like the scent. It should be a fragrance that feels like who you are and who you want to be.





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