A signature scent is like a carefully selected accessory. It reflects our style and completes the outfit we’ve chosen to wear. It can make us recognizable and memorable. Plus, it can give us the little extra push we sometimes need to feel uplifted, powerful, and seductive.
Choosing the right fragrance isn’t that easy. But I’m sure the tips below can help. And when you’ve found the perfect match, enjoy how your signature scent works in your favor and makes you feel the most beautiful version of yourself.
What Is a Signature Scent
It’s a scent that is closely associated with you and your personality. Imagine you walk past someone, and they recognize you just by the fragrance you wear.
Why Do You Need a Signature Scent
Your signature scent is like a perfect accessory that expresses your personality and individual style. The right fragrance can complement your wardrobe and even upgrade an outfit. It makes the impression you make in the world complete. Like a signature style, a signature scent can help you become recognizable and memorable.
How to Choose Your Signature Scent
Picking the right perfume is like nailing down your unique style. It takes time. Also, what you like on others may not work for you. Fragrances smell differently on different skins.
There will be some trial and error, for sure. But here are some tips I found helpful when picking my signature scent:
- Narrow it down: Start by testing different fragrances, not more than three at a time. Spray them on those sample cards provided and not directly onto your skin. Test various brands, as well.
- Do some research: Once you have your shortlist, do some research to see what these fragrances have in common. Find out in which categories they fall (e.g., floral, woody, earthy, oriental, green/fresh). And if certain ingredients (e.g., rose, vanilla, neroli) repeat in those scents.
- Know your reason: Look at your shortlist and ask yourself if you really love a specific fragrance or just the brand image that it represents. Only because you always wanted to wear Chanel No. 5 doesn’t mean it’s the perfect scent for you.
- Test your favorites: Now, it’s time to test the fragrances on your shortlist on your skin. Don’t wear anything on that day that could interfere, for instance, a scented body lotion. Spray a small amount onto your skin and wear it for the day. Check how the scent develops over time. Notice if you like it throughout the day and how long it lasts. Repeat this ‘test day’ a couple of times. Either head back to the shop or get a small sample.
Do You Love All Accords?
The top/head, middle/heart, and the base notes are what you can smell when a scent develops on your skin. And although they should be like a well-composed bouquet, not all of them may work for you. Sometimes we like, for instance, the fresh head note of a scent, but not the heavier base note after a couple of hours. That’s why it’s so important to test a fragrance for some hours or better for an entire day.
- Buy the smallest bottle: Once you’ve picked your favorite, buy the smallest amount of your new scent you can get. Use it and see if you still love it after a month of wear or longer.
- Don’t rush into a decision: Quality perfume is expensive. Don’t think you have to buy something only because you repeatedly visit the department store’s fragrance section. Take the time you need. Don’t get intimidated by the staff, and don’t allow them to talk you into a scent that’s not yours.
Decide for the Right Intensity
Today there are mainly these five categories, based on the concentration of the perfume essence. From high to low:
- Perfume (Parfum): It’s the most concentrated version. Usually, it’s slightly oiler in texture and holds 20 to 40 percent of the pure essence. It can last up to 24 hours.
- Eau de Perfume (Eau de Parfum): Derived from pure perfume, Eau de Parfum is less concentrated and contains about 15 to 20 percent pure essence. It lasts for four to five hours.
- Eau de Toilette: As a much lighter composition, it holds four to 15 percent pure perfume essence. It usually lasts for three to four hours. Eau de Toilettes are often more delicate, daytime fragrances.
- Eau de Cologne: With two to five percent, it only contains a hint of perfume essence and lasts for about two hours.
- Eau Fraiche: It falls into the most diluted category of fragrance and contains only one to three percent of perfume essence. Eau Fraiche contains high amounts of alcohol and is more a refreshing splash of fragrance. Usually, the scent is very subtle and lasts for less than an hour.
In past times, perfume was used to cover up body odor. Meaning there was a high demand for intense formulations. Today we’re in the lucky situation that we can take a shower every day. So we can choose the intensity based on our preferences. As a rule of thumb, you should always be able to appreciate the delicious smell of your food and not have your fragrance interfere with it.
How to Apply Your Signature Scent
There are a few points on your body where the skin is thinner and thus warmer. These are the ideal spots to apply fragrance because the warmth helps release the smell into the air.
- Under the jawline
- At your wrists (not too close to your hands as you wash them frequently)
- On your shoulders
- On your chest
We can also adopt another little trick from french women, which is to apply it behind your knees. So in summer, when you walk past people who are seated, e.g., in a street cafe, they can smell your fragrance too.
Alternatively, spray some fragrance up in the air and walk through this little cloud of scent. By this, the molecules are distributed evenly on your upper body, mainly on your hair. So when your hair is moving, it softly releases the smell. From my experience, you need more product as this method is less accurate. Plus, the scent disappears a little faster.
Last but important tip: Don’t rub your perfume onto your skin as this can destroy the molecules and alter the scent (usually not to the better).
Only One Signature Scent or Different Ones to Choose From?
It makes perfect sense to have one signature scent as an essential part of your individual style. But of course, you can still choose to switch between scents, for different occasions or depending on your mood.
Personally, I have an Eau de Parfum that I repeatedly wear. Plus, a very light Eau Fraiche that I occasionally use during the daytime in summer. The smell of the Eau Fraiche is very similar to the head note of my signature scent.
What About Other Beauty Products?
Basically, there are three options if you don’t want the different scents to interfere with each other:
- Use products from the same brand, e.g., the corresponding body lotion and deodorant. The advantage is that you can layer them so that the fragrance will last quite long.
- Use neutral, unscented products. The advantage is that these products often are hypoallergenic.
- Use products that pick up on some notes of your signature scent. To find the right match, look for similar ingredients. I’ve had the best experience resembling the fresh top note of my signature scent with the scent of my shower gel and deodorant. And the warmer heart note with my body lotion. But even though I found a pretty good match, these products only have a very subtle scent, so the whole bouquet isn’t too overpowering.
Give Your Nose a Break
Unfortunately, after a while, our nose doesn’t recognize the smell anymore. We get too used to it. Applying more isn’t the right thing to do, because you won’t notice when it’s too much, but others will. Better is to take a break from your signature scent from time to time.
Choosing your signature scent is like nailing down your individual style – mainly fun and a bit of a challenge. But once you’ve found the perfect fragrance, enjoy the magic it can do for you!
More Tips and Inspirations
I would always recommend you go for a quality scent. It makes a huge difference and is worth the investment. But I’m generally a fan of choosing quality over quantity – and here is why:
Similar to a signature scent, the right version of wardrobe staples can help to express your style. And when you want to dive deeper, check out these rules for a well-curated wardrobe:
If you like the ‘less, but luxe’ idea, follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips and inspirations. And don’t forget to join my email list to receive weekly updates plus content that’s exclusively available to my readers.
Let me know what your signature scent is? How long did it take you to find it? Are you committed to wearing just one, or do you have a set of different fragrances to choose from? I’d love to hear more!