The first person I knew with a signature scent was my mother. She reserved her favorite perfume, Wind Song by Prince Matchabelli, for special events like Friday night get-togethers with her girlfriends or dinner dates with my dad. She would remove the tiny glass vial from her dresser and spritz two tiny drops close to her neck, one on each side of her pendant necklace. The air was tinged with fruity florals, musk, and amber as she bustled through the house, leaving a glamorous-smelling wake behind her (the French refer to this as a perfume trail or sillage).

My mom only wore perfume when she dressed up, so I’ve always connected the scent to sophistication and glitz. Her signature scent seemed ostentatiously adult to an eight-year-old me. Now, all it takes to bring back memories of my mother is a whiff of Wind Song. This is so because the limbic system of the brain, which is intimately related to memory, includes the olfactory bulb.

The descriptions of perfumes don’t help you decide if a smell is right for you. The description of an imaginative fragrance says, “Our inspiration was a boudoir where unicorns copulate and their sweat creates a chypre musk.” You’re probably wondering, in the meantime, what chypre is and why this unicorn smells like a Smokey fruit punch.

You’re not alone if you have no idea what a chypre is or can’t tell the difference between Chanel No. 5 and Curious. However, these are seven easy steps that will teach you to commit to a signature scent, follow your nose, and trust your intuition.

First Step: Identify Your Favorite Fragrances

Make a list of the scents that you adore and those that make you sick. Visit a department store where a fragrance consultant will use this to gauge your preference for spicy oriental notes or fruity-floral notes. 

Once you have identified your favorite fragrances and made a list of scents you love and dislike, visiting a department store will allow a fragrance consultant to assess your preference for specific notes. They can guide you towards either spicy oriental notes or fruity floral notes based on your preferences. Additionally, they may suggest trying out different samples to help you further narrow down your signature scent.

Second Step: Pay Attention to Where You Buy the Scents

Visit specialty perfume stores for a more unusual selection of perfumes if you’re looking for a scent off the usual path. For instance, LuckyScent in Los Angeles sells difficult-to-find niche brands. Another piece of advice is to “avoid duty-free carts at all costs!Balahoutis is a company that sells mass-produced, name-brand fragrances.

Third Step: Recognize the Families of Fragrances

The best method to discover the ideal fragrance is to take into account the olfactive families, even though it’s crucial to make sure your nose is in peak condition before trying out a new perfume.

Every scent family has a distinct note that lets you decide what you like and don’t like. Among the well-known olfactory families are:

Floral: Gardenias, jasmine, roses, and violets are all featured in these fragrances.

Fresh: Citrus notes like grapefruit, orange blossom, and mandarin are prominent in these.

Oriental: Notes like vanilla, musk, and incense sticks are soft, sweet, and warm in these perfumes.

Woody: This category includes scents with notes of sandalwood, patchouli, and cedarwood.

Fourth Step: Leave Out the Coffee Beans

There are usually coffee beans nearby in every perfume store. Any clerk you speak with will tell you that sniffing them “resets” your scent indicators. Yet Shumate and Luby opine that this is a tale passed down from old perfumers. “It’s just another potent aroma,” they clarify. Instead, they smell like themselves. “Crush your nose against your own odorless elbow. It functions pretty well. Your nose gets recalibrated by something about the pH and scent of yourself.

Fifth Step: Watch a Scent Change Over Four Hours

Similar to wine legs, perfume top note” and “dry down” terminology are frequently used in scent nomenclature. Fragrances are living organisms that change over time, as explained by Luby and Shumate. Your initial impression of the fragrance is a top note that lingers for roughly twenty minutes. The heart beats for approximately four hours, or the better part of the day.

1. Explore the concept of scent calibration and how it affects our perception of smells.

2. Discuss the science behind perfume “top note” and “dry down” terminology, highlighting their significance in fragrance development.

3. Explain how fragrances are similar to living organisms, evolving and changing over time.

4. Delve into the factors that contribute to the longevity of a fragrance’s heart notes, including ingredients and chemical reactions on our skin.

5. Share personal experiences or anecdotes about experiencing a scent change

Sixth Step: Keep an Eye Out for Toxisome Ingredients

You don’t have to be concerned about hazardous ingredients in your perfumes because of the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This unique regulatory organization purposefully keeps an eye on the perfume manufacturing process.

Because of this agency, consumers find it challenging to incorporate non-natural ingredients like oakmoss and cedarwood as alternatives.

Still, it’s wise to exercise caution. Make sure to read the ingredients of any new perfume you wear before wearing it, as some synthetic fragrances contain phthalates, which can be harmful to your health.¬†

Seventh Step: Do Not Punish Yourself If You Dislike Oud or Any Other Foreign Odor

Like Kale, everyone is talking about how much they love Oud, so don’t worry if you don’t like it. Preference for fragrances is frequently based on familiarity. It’s not that you don’t like Oud; instead, it’s just that your nose is getting used to it if you smell one and have never worn one before, according to Luby. “Do you get a headache when you wear the scent?” Shumate continues. Are you experiencing the emotions you wish to experience? As you try on different fragrances, you should ask yourself these questions.

In Summary: Fragrance Is a Subjective Quality!

You need to think about the message you want the fragrance to convey.

Does it give you the advantage you sorely need? Does it make you feel better?

You should be able to confidently identify your new signature scent if you ask yourself these questions. 

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