On the Scent: How to Find Your Perfect Fragrance



Looking for a new fragrance? Use this guide to help you find your perfect scent. This guide will help you identify the fragrance categories, understand how notes influence fragrance and fragrance shopping tips. Fragrance is an essential component of getting dressed as it completes your overall presentation. Think of fragrance as the finishing touch to your look. Take this guide with you the next time you shop for a fragrance.

1. Categories and intensity

• Perfume: 15-40% pure perfume extract, most expensive

• Eau de Parfum: 10-20% pure perfume extract

• Eau de Toilette: 4-15% pure perfume extract

• Cologne: 2-5% pure perfume extract, least expensive

2. Notes

Notes are descriptions of scents that you smell once the fragrance is applied to your skin or clothes. There are three levels of notes: top, middle and base. The combination of all three levels make a fragrance appealing and create a great scent.


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Top/head notes - Represent the first impression. The top notes draw you in and transition into the heart of the fragrance.

Common fragrance top notes include citrus (lemon, orange zest, bergamot), light fruits (grapefruit, berries) and herbs (sage, lavender).

Middle/heart notes - Make an appearance once the top notes evaporate. The middle notes are considered the heart of the fragrance. They last longer than the top notes and have a strong influence on the base notes to come.

Common fragrance middle notes include geranium, rose, lemongrass, ylang ylang, lavender, coriander, nutmeg, neroli and jasmine.

Base notes - The final fragrance notes that appear once the top notes are completely evaporated. The base notes mingle with the heart notes to create the full body of the fragrance, but are typically associated with the dry-down period. The job of the base notes is to provide the lasting impression.

Common fragrance base notes include cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, patchouli, oakmoss and musk.

Now time to get out there a find a fragrance.

3. Shopping Tips

1. Apply the fragrance to the skin then observe the scent, wait at least 5 minutes for the top notes to settle then observe the scent again.

2. Resist the temptation to buy the fragrance right away, instead;

3. Get some samples or spray cards and spend a few days observing the fragrance.

a. How does it smell after an hour or two?

b. Is this a fragrance that is subtle or bold?

c. Where do I see myself wearing this fragrance?

d. Does this fragrance complement my natural body scent?

4. Once you have identified your fragrance, start wearing it!

5. Place the fragrance on your pulse points. Pulse points are the places on your body where your blood is the warmest such as your wrists, neck or chest. A few dabs or pumps should do the trick but if in doubt, remember less is more.

What are some of your favorite fragrances? Let me know. Thank you for reading.

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