When it comes to finding a signature scent it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. The vernacular surrounding fragrance can be confusing and there is an abundance of choice, so how do you know where to start? Join us as we delve into the psyche behind discovering a new favourite, understanding the power of scent memories and the importance of identifying the ingredients you love…
Tips On Finding Your Signature Scent
Two key aspects to consider when it comes to choosing your signature scent are your scent memories and associations and notes AKA ingredients preferences. As fragrance is such a personal experience, Jo Malone CBE advises always keeping in mind the notes you love or the genre of fragrance that is most closely aligned to your character. Different fragrance families have completely unique characteristics and can be used to uplift your mood, boost energy levels or make you feel flirty, sultry or feminine. “Your signature scent should remind you of memories and will always tell a personal story,” says Jo. Perhaps a citrussy scent reminds you of a childhood holiday to Italy or a heady rose whisks you back to cherished time with your grandparents. Take your time to consider the scent memories you treasure, and the ingredients associated with those, before deciding which notes you might like to incorporate into your new signature scent.
Mood and situation should also be considered. Do you want to feel fresh, invigorated, romantic or seductive? “For me seductive is woody and rich,” says Jo. “Look out notes of vetiver, cedar or incense. For romance consider petals and blossom but keep it light and airy rather than sweet. Clean citrussy notes like grapefruit, lime and lemongrass are great in fresh scents or if you want something more energising opt for herbaceous notes of lavender, mint and rosemary.”
Experimenting With Scents
By combining your personal memories, favourite notes and the olfactory mood you’d like to convey with your scent, you’ll be in a good place to begin the fun part of the process – experimentation. Testing fragrance by family is a good starting point. Aleksandra Dorofejeva, Diptyque’s Community Manager explains the ingredients to look out for in each family, “For a woody scent, look out for notes of vetiver, agarwood, birch, cedar.” We love Byredo’s Super Cedar EDP that combines bold cedarwood with silk musk and Haitian vetiver.
If you prefer something with a natural scent, fragrances belonging to the fougere family smell clean with a herbaceous, woody and fresh aroma. Diptyque’s Eau Minthe is part of the fourgere family and we love its modern take on mint with an earthy, forest-like twist. Fresh citrusy fragrances are primarily based around notes of bergamot, mandarin, orange, lemon and grapefruit. Try Jo Loves’ hero Pomelo, which combines zesty grapefruit with vetiver and fresh grass. Another citrus favourite of ours is Acqua di Parma’s Colonia, which has a unique blend of Sicilian fruits including orange and lemon mingled with aromatic rosemary and lavender. “Common notes in the floral category include jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, magnolia, gardenia and rose,” says Aleksandra. For a twist on a classic floral we love Diptyque’s Do Son EDP, which combines beautiful tuberose with pink peppercorn and orange leaves.
How Should You Test A New Fragrance?
When trying a new fragrance always apply directly to the skin, as your body’s pH, sweat and oil can impact its performance and the way it smells. Jo recommends only trying three to six fragrances at one time as any more can overwhelm your senses. “Sniffing coffee beans between scents can clear your nose and allow you to smell cleanly again,” she advises. Consider what you’ve eaten the night before any testing too, as “strong flavours including garlic, chilli and alcohol can come out of your pores impacting the way fragrance develops on your skin.”
How To Make Your Fragrance Last Longer?
“Never rub your wrists together after applying fragrance,” warns Jo. “Let it dry freely on the skin as friction can sometimes break down the fragrance molecules and dull the scent.” Clever product layering is an effective way of maximising the longevity of your scent. “Try a scented body cream first, which you can top off with the perfume of your choice for lasting impact.”
To create a completely bespoke scent, fragrance layering is the answer. The process works by combining multiple scents over one another for a truly tailored perfume. To prevent any clashes, stick to layering perfumes from the same family together so you can be sure the notes will complement each other and steer clear of incorporating any very strong or distinctive scents as this is likely to be overpowering. As you become more confident with the technique you can explore more unusual combinations, why not browse our ultimate guide to fragrance layering for inspiration.