Like fingerprints, we all have a unique natural scent. This is why no perfume smells the same on two different people. When you wear that one fragrance that suits you perfectly, it can truly become a part of you. But how do you find your ideal perfume? It all comes down to chemistry.
Finding your perfect fragrance match can be difficult. But when you do, the rewards are well worth the trying, testing and figuring out what works best for you. The power of scent is undeniable—nothing can evoke memories, uplift your mood, or capture your personality so vividly. When you find the fragrance that’s right for you, it will infuse every single moment with meaning and joy.
Fragrances adapt themselves to the person wearing it. Essentially, finding your ideal perfume is all about the chemistry between your skin and the notes of your fragrance. If you take in account things like your skin’s acidity and its natural scent, you’re left with a one-of-a-kind fragrance experience that’s completely personal to you.
The first step to finding your signature fragrance is to educate yourself about scent notes. Scent notes are the different layers that collectively make up a scent. Each perfume is a blend of top, middle and base notes.
Top notes are the first notes you smell when you apply a perfume, giving you a first impression of the fragrance. These notes are generally fresh, light and volatile. Middle notes are the heart of the fragrance. They only become noticeable when the intensity of the top notes starts to fade. About 10 to 15 minutes after you’ve applied your perfume, the heart notes—often florals—will start to bloom. After the heart notes fade away, the base notes will linger on your skin. These longest-lasting notes are often very rich, such as woodsy notes, vanilla or musk.
Once you understand the basics of fragrance notes, it’s time to narrow down your search for the perfect perfume by identifying your fragrance family. There are thousands of scents out there, so it helps to know what your type is before your start trying on perfumes.
There are 6 main fragrance families, each sharing similar notes: fresh, floral, woody, oriental, aromatic, and fruity.
- The floral family is a family of flower fragrances, with dewy, sensual, powdery, petally and delicate notes. This fragrance family is one of the most widely used in women’s perfumes.
- The woody family is composed of rich, earthy, warm and long-lasting wood notes. These typically masculine notes are increasingly popular in women’s fragrances.
- The oriental family is a blend of warmth and sensuality. With the voluptuous notes of vanilla and balms, this family is characterised by a sensual combination of strength and softness.
- The aromatic family is a family of herbs and spices. Its main constituents are sage, rosemary, thyme, mint and lavender, giving off strongly aromatic and energising notes.
- The fruity family is fresh and playful, with a rich palette of fruit ingredients—from red fruits such as raspberry and strawberry to tropical fruits such as mango and guava.
- The fresh family is predominantly citrus-based, featuring essences such as bergamot, mandarin, orange, lemon and lime. Its notes are delightfully airy and light.
Tips for sniffing out your signature scent
If you’ve figured which family your ideal fragrance belongs to, then comes the fun part—trying on perfumes. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you go fragrance sniffing.
1. Test perfume on your own skin
Because fragrance is something deeply personal, it’s best tested on yourself—preferably when you aren’t wearing any other perfume. Always test a fragrance on an area of your skin that is naturally warm, such as your wrist, so that the essence of the scent really reveals itself.
2. Wait ten minutes
It takes about ten minutes before you can experience a perfume’s true essence, otherwise known as the heart note. This is the scent that will linger with you for the rest of the day. Before you decide to buy a particular perfume, make sure to spray it on yourself in the shop. Go grocery shopping, and then decide whether you like how the perfume smells or not.
3. Go shopping at night
Your sense of smell improves throughout the day, so it’s best to test perfumes just before closing time.
4. Try not to test more than three perfumes at the same time
At some point, our noses find it difficult to distinguish between fragrances, so limit your testing to 3 types of perfume at a time. If you really want to test more, make sure to neutralise your sense of smell with the scent of a coffee bean or go outside to get some fresh air.
You’ve found the perfect fragrance: how do you make it last?
Once you’ve found your signature fragrance, you want to make sure it lasts all day. Here are 3 spraying tips to prolong the scent of your perfume.
1. Spray it on a pulse point
It’s best to spray fragrances on the areas where you can see or feel your heartbeat. These pulse points are areas that warm up quickly because the arteries there are close to the skin, allowing the perfume to diffuse more easily. Think of your wrists, the inside of your elbows, the backs of your knees, your neck and your chest.
2. Spray after a shower or bath
Fragrance experience is further enhanced after a shower or bath because your pores are open, which disperses the perfume more effectively.
3. Spray from the perfect distance
Another good tip: hold the perfume bottle about 15 to 20 centimetres away from your skin when spraying, so that you cover a larger surface area. Finally, allow the fragrance to absorb into your skin before putting on your clothes.
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