Choosing a Signature Scent

Wearing a signature scent is a practice that goes back thousands of years.  It is one of the most primal forms of self-adornment and can have a huge impact on your own sense of identity, and on the way others think of you.  A particular perfume or cologne that was worn by someone special can bring them to mind even years after you’ve last seen them.

Most perfumes on the market are created through a complex process of blending and mixing a variety of natural and synthetic scents.  Each particular perfume has three notes:  a top note which will be the first to evaporate, a middle note that lingers slightly longer, and a base which is the actual scent and which is detectable long after it has been applied.

The intensity and overall experience of any particular scent depends not just on the composition of the perfume itself, but on the individual wearing it.  Depending on the average body temperature, the skin tone, and the other products being used (shampoo, lotion, etc.) any scent can vary drastically from person to person.

Choosing your own special scent is not something most people take lightly.  While it is fun to experiment with different brands, many people settle in with one that suits them perfectly.  Here are a few ways that can help you on your search for that one special scent that represents you:

1.  Know who you are.

Many clothing designers come out with new fragrances each season, and some shoppers buy them just because they are trendy.  Keep in mind that Chanel No. 5 has been around since 1924.  A good perfume is timeless, classic, and wearable for decades.  That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try any of the newer brands, but it does mean that you should buy a perfume based on the way it makes you feel, rather than on a slick marketing campaign.

As you shop for perfumes, keep in mind that just because something smells good in the bottle, doesn’t mean it is suited for your body type or your personal style.  A young, fresh scent like “Happy” from Clinique is probably more suited to a teen or young woman than to a mature lady, and an older woman may prefer something more classic and rich to go along with her style.

A word of caution:  don’t go shopping for a new perfume when you’re in the middle of a major transition in your life.  Pregnancy, menopause, or even starting college or a new job is a bad time to try to define yourself with a scent.  Once you’re settled in your new role, then make a decision. 

2.  Know Your Scents

Most perfumes are created by blending any number of individual scents.  The final product will fall in to an overall scent category which you can use to describe your fragrance preference to salespeople who will help you with your selection.


Greens are scents that call to mind pastures, cut grass, and springtime growth.  They are usually light and contemporary, suitable for most occasions.  These are a safe bet when buying a gift of perfume since they have a universal appeal.


Fruity fragrances are youthful and lively.  They can be spiced up or sweetened up depending on the season.  These are fun perfumes that bring to mind freshness, innocence, and fun.


Woody scents are heavy, spicy, rich and earthy.  They are often based on natural oils such as sandalwood and patchouli.  More often suitable for evenings or winter months, and favored by mature women who prefer a clean but sophisticated scent.


Floral perfumes are based, of course, on flowers.  The classic fragrances of rose, jasmine, lavender, lily of the valley, and honeysuckle are just a few.  They are extremely feminine and disarming, romantic and traditional.  Women of all ages enjoy these timeless scents.


Oriental perfumes are the most powerful, and the most sophisticated.  They are sensual, rich, and heavy combining such exotic fragrances as musk, vanilla, and exotic flowers.  These are scents favored by women of substance who command attention.

3.  Take your time.

Because perfumes have several layers of scent, it is almost impossible to go and buy one the first day out.  It is absolutely necessary to test the perfume over a few days and see how it reacts to your toiletries, your laundry detergent, and your skin type.  It is also important to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction like a headache from a particular scent. 

As you shop, sample only a couple perfumes at a time to avoid confusing your senses.  When you settle on one, apply only that scent, and ask for a tester so that you can take it home and use it for a couple days.  Notice whether or not anyone in your family remarks on it, and smell your shirt the day after you’ve worn it to see what the lingering scent on it is like.

A perfume is an essential element of your personal style, so doing the research and making sure it is perfect for you is worth the time and effort.

4.  Shop around.

The best way to test your perfume is to spray it on one wrist and then rub both wrists together.  This warms the skin and releases the fragrance in to the air.  As you walk around, smell your wrist every few minutes and take note of how it has changed.

When shopping for perfume, be mindful of the different concentrations that are sold within each fragrance.  The concentrations refer to the percentage of natural oils that are used in individual product:

·         After Shave 0.5% – 2.0%

·         Eau de Cologne 3.0% – 5.0%

·         Eau de Toilette 5.0% – 8.0%

·         Eau de Parfum 8.0% – 15.0%

·         Parfum 15.0% – 30.0%

Obviously the higher the concentration of oils in your product, the better the quality and the higher the price will be.  Try to purchase the best  quality product you can for your budget to ensure that you enjoy your scent for the entire life of the bottle.

Ask for a wrapped package when you make your purchase to ensure that it hasn’t been opened and exposed to the air before.

5.  Consider Buying Organic.

Like every aspect of the beauty industry, fragrances are undergoing a transition as people discover the value of organic ingredients.  Many women consider the purity of organics to be the ultimate luxury.  If you are interested in learning more about some of the newest organic scents being developed, take a look at some of these sites!

Aubrey Organics

Rich Hippie


Sevi Cosmetics


Joanne Bassett


Sharini Parfumes Naturels

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