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A Hot Girl’s Guide to Perfume and Smelling Good All Day

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

Nobody wants to smell bad. This is something that everyone can agree with, and what’s even better than not smelling bad? Smelling good. Around a year ago I started my fragrance journey, and I’m here to help you smell so good that you can’t get enough of yourself.

Step 1: Finding your signature scent

If you’ve ever delved into Perfume TikTok, you might have seen creators with massive perfume collections. However, you don’t need a million options to choose from to smell good. The first part of this process, and admittedly the hardest, is to find your perfect everyday scent.

There are so many fragrances to choose from, but the best way to do this is to either go in store to Sephora or any other perfume retailer and sniff the products yourself. Through testing and smelling a wide variety of scents, you can decide which scent family you like the most. Do you like florals, gourmands(usually referring to sweet edibles like vanilla, caramel, etc.), or fruity scents… or maybe you want something more musky and clean? If you’re interested in a scent you can’t find in a store like Sephora, your best course of action is to go to Fragrantica, an online database that has nearly every perfume in existence, with reviews and details on its notes, longevity, and projection. Then, you can go to a site like ScentSplit or Luckyscent which sell decanted samples of perfume so you can test it out. Once a specific scent catches your nose, make sure you test it out on your skin throughout the day before you decide to buy it. Everyone has different skin chemistry, so the same fragrance on me could smell totally different on your skin. Throughout the day, keep smelling your wrist and notice how the perfume develops throughout the day. When we talk about perfume notes, we always refer to top, middle, and bottom notes. Top notes are what you smell on the initial drydown, middle notes are what you’ll smell halfway through the weartime, and the bottom notes are what you’ll smell towards the end. 

Another thing you’ll want to consider is sillage. Sillage refers to how much the scent projects, so if you want people to smell you from far away, you’ll want to look for a perfume with a higher sillage, and if you want a scent that sits closer to the skin, you’ll want to look for something with a lower sillage. This is where I find Fragrantica to really come in handy because this is not something that perfumers usually tell you when they’re advertising their scent. 

It’s also important to keep in mind the season you’re buying your fragrance in. During the warmer months, heavier gourmands won’t mix well with the warmer weather. You might want to opt for something lighter and more fresh, or you might find a fragrance that doesn’t lean heavily towards either end of the spectrum. 

Another important thing to mention is price. Perfume can get pretty pricey, but I’m a firm believer that investing in a good perfume is worth it. Cheaper perfumes tend to be more synthetic smelling, not as well blended, and have poorer longevity.

Step 2: Building a base for your fragrance

Now, we have to build a good foundation for your perfume to last as long as it can. Now that you have a signature scent, you’ll want to find body care products that are within the same scent family. Personally, I start with shower products, and this can be as many shower products as you want or just body wash. Once you’re out of the shower, you’ll want to make sure your skin is moisturized. Perfume lasts the longest on moisturized skin, and especially with the Colorado weather, your skin can get very dry. I always put on moisturizer and body oil to make sure my skin doesn’t get dry or itchy throughout the day. You don’t need to put it on your whole body, but I usually do at least my legs, arms, and neck/decolletage area. Your moisturizer and body oil don’t need to be scented, but it does help. For extra longevity, you can apply a fragrance oil underneath your perfume as well. 

Step 3: Putting on your perfume

Next, knowing how and where to apply your perfume matters. You’ll want to apply it to your pulse points, so your wrist and neck, but I would also recommend spraying it on your clothes and in your hair. Depending on the perfume, it can last longer on your clothes, and spraying on your hair will give you lovely little whiffs of your perfume throughout the day. Many people rub their wrists together after applying perfume, but I would generally advise against this. Rubbing your wrists together will dull the top notes and accelerate evaporation, making your perfume less effective.

My Personal Favorite Perfumes and Recommendations

  1. Clean and Musky: Lake and Skye, 11 11

This unisex scent is one of my favorites, and was described as “baby angels playing in a pile of clean laundry” which fits perfectly. It’s a great neutral everyday scent, and it also comes in multiple forms like a candle, body oil, and a scent diffuser — so if you really like the scent, you can buy more of it. 

  1. Something Sweet: Giardini di Tosacana, Bianco Latte

This bottle is quite the investment, but it was totally worth it for me. This scent is the perfect mix of vanilla and caramel, with amazing longevity and projection. Once, I walked in a room wearing this perfume and someone ran downstairs because they thought someone was baking cookies. Whenever I’m wearing this, I can’t stop smelling myself all day.

  1. Dark and fruity: Nest, Indigo

Indigo is a scent I would imagine one of my coolest friends would wear. It’s very unique and not like other perfumes, with notes of fig and tea. It’s not going to be an immediate crowd pleaser, so I would really recommend testing it out first to see if you like it. 

  1. Floral and Fruity: Kayali, Sparkling Lychee

If you liked Bath and Body Works body sprays when you were younger, you’ll definitely like this. Sparkling Lychee is like a grown up Bath and Body works spray, with a more sophisticated dry down. It’s very juicy and sweet, reminding me of a fruity shampoo.

Perfume can be super fun and is something that I’m passionate about. In the same way that we use makeup to boost confidence or take on a different personality, fragrance can do the same for you as well. It’s all about playing and experimenting with different things, but most importantly you should always be doing it for yourself!

Sofia Anerousis

CU Boulder '25

Sofia is currently a 3rd year student at CU Boulder studying Strategic Communications and minoring in Creative Technology and Design. Sofia loves to write in any capacity, whether it be for school, her journal, or creatively. Some topics she's passionate about include gaming, esports, gender studies, literature, music, beauty, and mental health. She has previously worked as a media coordinator for Environment Colorado's Save the Bees campaign, leading to a statewide bill being passed banning the use of bee killing pesticides. In her free time, you can find her playing video games (90 percent of the time), reading, listening to music, or watching an obscure video essay on YouTube.