How to Find Your Perfect Signature Scent

Chances are you have a full bathroom shelf devoted to different scents for every possible occasion. But why do we choose the perfumes that we have? More importantly, why do we have so many? Finding a signature scent can be vital to what makes you, you, and it’s not something to take lightly.

If you’re looking for a new fragrance to add to your collection, or trying to whittle down the collection you already have, it’s important to consider every aspect of your perfume-buying process.

Whether you’re looking to wear something popular or something that matches your personality, here are some top tips on finding the perfect signature fragrance.

1. Investigate

Before you go out and buy something that you may or may not like, figure out what scents appeal to you. It’s never good to buy something with the hopes of wearing it, just to have it sit on your shelf for months. "OsMoz and Basenotes are great sources for this information," says Nick Gilbert, perfume writer and expert. "With these tools, you can find other fragrances in similar families or with similar notes. But do keep in mind that a list of notes is like a list of colors used in a painting—they won’t tell you everything, and the combination of effects is what is truly important.”

2. Spend time with it

Even if you like the way something initially smells, you don’t know if the smell will get old.

“Try fragrances on strips to get an idea about whether you’d like to wear it. Then, wear it!" says Gilbert. "Put the fragrance on, and walk away from the counter or sales person. Spend some time, see what it does on your skin. Your nose may get tired of the fragrance. Step outside, or drink some water to help reset your nose."

A lot of big-name stores that sell perfume, like Sephora, will give you tester tubes of scents (just ask the salesperson!). It’s a good idea to utilize these tester vials because they usually contain enough perfume to last a few days. Taking a vial home with you lets you try the scent on and wear it around to your classes, study sessions and work.

Related: What Your Signature Fragrance Says About You

3. Weigh your options

While living on a college budget, it can be tempting to settle for cheap perfume. After all, cheaper perfume is better than no perfume, right? Wrong. While buying from cheaper places like Bath & Body Works may seem like a good idea at the time, there is something to be said about price versus quality. To truly impress, it may be a better idea to splurge on something that’s higher quality. “A bargain fragrance will be a bargain experience, for the most part," says Gilbert. "That being said, there’s a point where the cost no longer has any reference to the quality and is simply about the luxury status of the fragrance."

Even if you have to buy a smaller bottle because of this price, it’s always good to treat yourself. If something that’s cheaper won’t hold up or last a long time, go the extra mile and spend on what you know will last.

4. Switch it up

One of the reasons that people have the aforementioned stash of perfume is because they like to switch it up depending on their mood or the season. Even if you do have a signature scent that you like, it’s a good idea to switch up what you wear. This lets you give your nose a break while still making sure you smell delightful. Your perfume should be able to match your mood, whether it's the calming scent of lavender or more summer-specific citrus.

Gilbert agrees. “Think of your fragrances as a wardrobe," he says. "You should have something casual to wear for relaxation, something a little more formal for the office, something sexy for date nights and then seasonally freshness for summer and coziness for winter. Those ‘categories’ aren’t set in stone, and vary according to personal preference. Spending the time to figure out what you like in fragrance will give you the confidence to create that wardrobe and LIVE it. You’ll soon be picking fragrances to wear with different moods like second nature.”

Confidence is everything. If you’re someone who tends to like change, then you should probably consider investing in more than one signature smell. If you want a different scent for every season, or even for every mood, do what works best for you.

Once you’ve found the perfect fragrance for you, sit back and enjoy. Just remember to apply it correctly, and you'll be rocking your signature scent all day long!

Zoe is a senior at Western Oregon University. She's currently pursuing a degree in English Literature, with minors in Gender Studies and Writing. She's the head of a freelance editing company, and the Editor-in-Chief at her University's newspaper. She's passionate about equality, intersectionality and personality tests. When not over-committing herself, Zoe enjoys baking, sewing, drinking far too much caffeine and watching insane amounts of Netflix.

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