How to Find Your Signature Scent (and Should You Even Try?)

It’s wonderful to think that your signature scent is out there – the fragrance that matches your personality and gives a delicate and attractive waft of loveliness to those who get close enough to detect it. It would be nice to have a perfume that reminds others of you.

how to find your signature scentIf you can achieve that, then it’s definitely something to aim for.

There are just a couple of flies in the ointment: not deal breakers but still there in the background…

1. They may discontinue your perfume

It can be difficult to track your signature perfume down and once you do, you can be sure (unless you choose one of the classics like Chanel No. 5) they will discontinue it eventually and you have to go on the hunt again.

But maybe that is not such a bad thing – you are forced try new fragrances, get out of your rut and everyone will soon get used to the “new you”.

I’ve been through several signature perfumes in my lifetime from Opium and Rive Gauche through Beautiful and Poeme but I’m on the hunt for a new one now.

Actually most of those perfumes were not discontinued. They fell out of favor for one reason or another. I did flirt briefly with Eternity for a while too until a girl at work with a bad case of body odor started wearing it. Somehow the fragrance was never the same after that. And the Rive Gauche bottle bit the dust when the boyfriend who gave it to me left the scene. I wasn’t that much in love with that perfume – and I think he liked it more than me. So all’s well that ends well, really.

2. You can’t switch your perfume to match a mood or occasion

The other reason that you may not want to rely on one signature is so that you can match fragrances to your mood and where you are going. After all the fragrance that suits a wedding on a beautiful fresh spring day may not be the one you want to wear for a hot date. It depends how much you like to ring the changes and how much your signature scent is suitable for different circumstances.

Buying Perfume

You would think that buying perfume would be a wonderful experience, immersing yourself in the world of luxury fragrance and packaging but it’s never that easy. You only have to try out a couple of perfumes and your nose gets confused and refuses to cooperate until you give it a break and some fresh air. Apparently one trick is to sniff coffee beans to reset your ability to detect fragrance so don’t be surprised if you are offered some.

Fragrances come in families and you will probably be naturally drawn to one or another although this may change over the years. Ask the sales assistant which family each scent you like belongs to : floral, oriental, citrus, chypre or green as it can help you narrow down your choices to perfumes you are more likely to love. I think of these groups as flowery, spicy, fruity, woody and herby but there is obviously more to it than that and most fragrances are blends of various types.

When you go fragrance shopping, don’t start straight away spraying the testers on your arm.

First try and establish perfumes that you like from spraying on a tester card or scent blotter. Just spray and waft it back and forward just under your nose to get the best effect.

Then when you have narrowed your choice down to a couple of perfumes you think could be just right, test them out by spraying one on each arm and then wait an hour or so, as it takes a while for the fragrance to develop.

Quality fragrances have a top note which is what you detect immediately then a middle note which becomes apparent after 15 minutes or so and then a base note which will only show up an hour or so later and that’s the scent that will be with you all day. So that’s the one you want to make sure is right.

Fragrances are different on everyone so it’s important to do this test on your skin and not choose a perfume just because you like one someone else is wearing.

If you can, get some samples to take away so that you can wear each of them for a few days and see if one of them is “the one”. See “How to Wear Perfume” for more tips on that.

If you can’t get samples, simply go back to the store on another day when you are not wearing fragrance and spray the tester for your perfume of choice more liberally. Wear it all day before deciding.

If you’re not sure, there’s no need to settle for anything. Carry on your detective work at a later date so you can select your ultimate signature scent (at least for now until they discontinue it!).

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