How to Find Your Signature Scent

One of the only beauty products I indulge in, or wear at all, is perfume. (Four years at an all-girls’ boarding school helped me to develop a quick morning routine that did not involve makeup, and I’ve stuck to it in my post-boarding school life.) After wearing Lilly Pulitzer’s “Squeeze” for years, I decided it was time for a more grown-up scent. After carefully researching and testing different scents for about a year, I found mine–Chanel Nineteen. I love the “greenness” of the scent, and how it works well for both casual and formal events. It’s versatile enough to be used for everyday wear, elevating even jeans and a polo shirt! Below is my guide for finding your own signature scent.

Don’t try too many scents at once
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when trying different perfumes. I recommend trying no more than three at a time, and taking a small break in between different scents.

Spray the perfume on your skin
Perfume smells very different when it’s on your skin to when it’s on a piece of paper. Make sure what smells good on a sample strip smells good on you!

Live with the perfume
Wear a single fragrance for a day. Take note of its scent throughout the day: when you put it on, after a few hours, and at the end of the day. A good, complex perfume will evolve throughout the day, from its top note (the initial scent you smell upon application) to the “heart” of the perfume. This is where price comes to play. Expensive perfumes are complex and will last most of the day. Cheaper perfumes can be strong at first but devolve into a metallic-y scent as the day wears on.

Determine what scents you are drawn to
What do you like most in nature? Do you like aquatic scents or musky ones? Fresh scents or floral? Woody or citrusy? Also take note of what candle scents you are drawn to. Write down what you like best and go to a department store’s perfume counter. I bought my perfume at Bergdorf’s, and they were incredibly helpful.

Decide when you want to use your perfume
Are you searching for a scent for everyday use–a true signature scent–or just one for going out? Different perfumes have different uses. Make sure your signature scent is something you want to wear every day!

When in doubt, ask a friend
I asked my sister to come with me on my signature scent search. She was incredibly helpful when I was stuck between two scents–she told me which was more “me.” I’m so glad she knows me so well!

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