Like many things in fashion and beauty, selecting a fragrance is an arduous and complex task. We are continually bombarded with advertisements for the latest colognes and perfumes, which come in various bottle sizes, have different strengths, smell different on different people and have their own unique aromatic properties.
However confusing the selection of the right perfume may seem, the scent you wear does impact your personal style and influence how people perceive you. Thus, it’s a critical choice that should not be made based on the latest trend or fad. Here’s a basic guide to selecting a scent that’s perfect for you and only you.
Keep it simple in-store.
First, don’t wear any other scent when shopping for a fragrance, and only sample a maximum of three scents in one day to ensure that you get a true sense of the perfume. Following both rules will allow you the ability to make a clear decision. Also, don’t feel the need to purchase a fragrance right away. Instead, spray a small amount on your skin, preferably one scent on each wrist and the third in the crook of your elbow. Walk around for 30 minutes, then smell each spot again since perfumes and colognes change smells both over time and when they have been in contact with your own skin and body chemistry. If all else fails, or if you’re short of time, ask the sales associate for samples of the fragrances that you’re interested in.
Consider your categories.
There may be at the least three and at most six categories of fragrances, depending on who you ask, with each category containing multiple subcategories. Below are examples of four major categories.
Floral fragrances are ideal for those who are feminine and romantic. They tend to be more delicate and are derived from various flowers, including jasmine, rose and lavender. Both younger and older women can wear these. Escape by Calvin Klein is an example of a floral fragrance.
Fruity or citrus fragrances tend to smell crisp and fresh, and they can come from fruits such as peaches, tangerines or apples. These lighter perfumes are better for warmer weather. Some examples of fruit-based fragrances include the popular DKNY Be Delicious and Cheap and Chic by Moschino.
Woody fragrances, also known as Chypre fragrances, remind many of earth tones and have a mossy or woody base. These are great for those individuals who want to seem sophisticated. Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker and Chanel No. 19 are scents that fall into this category.
Oriental/amber fragrances tend to be the strongest smelling. These rich scents come from musk, vanilla, oriental resins, spices and animal scents. Some examples include Chance by Chanel and Intuition by Estée Lauder. Also, since these perfumes are richer and more complex than those found in the other classes, ambers are best for colder-weather wear.
Don’t forget your notes.
Did you know that fragrances have three layers? The layers, or notes, include top, middle and base. The top note is what you smell immediately after spraying on the cologne or perfume. It’s your first impression, and it fades very quickly. The middle note is the scent that remains for the next thirty minutes. Lastly, the base note is the true essence of the fragrance.
Hit your pressure points—sparingly.
Congratulations! You’ve selected a fragrance and now have somewhere important to go. Though the temptation is strong, don’t douse yourself in your new perfume or cologne. This can result in horrid headaches for you and those you encounter. Instead, spray a small amount on your pressure points, including the inner wrists, lower neck and possibly behind the ears, and you’re good to go.
After spraying, don’t rub it in. Rubbing ruins the composition and crushes the molecules, which in turn alters the scent. Finally, ladies, remember that perfume contains alcohol, thus spraying too close can actually strip the coating off pearls and costume jewelry.
—Stay Stylish! (and smelling great)