From Alien Perfume to J’adore: How to Find Your Signature Scent
Ever feel envious of that friend, one-time acquaintance, or even passerby on the street who has a defining, intoxicating scent? When you don’t like it you might prefer to steer clear, but when you do it’s really something. It enlivens their presence and imprints their memory in a new sense section of your brain.
It’s not easy to find a scent that works like that for you. One that not only smells wonderful but fits right. One that doesn’t distract from your personality but enhances it.
Perhaps you have one or two go-to bottles that you pick up every now and again when you need them. Perhaps you also have a few others that collect dust and leave you wondering if perfume expires.
If you've never found that perfume you just love and want to wear all the time, or if you have but are looking for one that fits another mood or season, this article runs through your signature scent-finding process.
What is a Signature Scent and Why Have One?
A signature scent is a scent that communicates something about you. Just as your clothes might communicate some aspect of your personality, so can a scent. In fact, we’re so caught up in the visual it can be easy to forget our other primary senses.
Smell is our most sentimental, evocative sense, able to transport us intimately to another time and place. From your Grandma’s bread maker to the smell of fireworks in the crisp November air, scents stay with us for longer than clear-cut memories of certain events do. And yet, this emotive faculty is often overlooked.
A scent you choose to use can express your characteristics, and bring out your presence in a new dimension. It will tell people that you’ve arrived, or remind them you were there. It will draw people in, and speak to them of you.
One thing that can make finding a signature scent tricky, is knowing what you’re getting. If you order online the descriptive terminology might not mean a lot to you. If you’re trying to imagine or describe what smell you’d go for, again you might be at a loss. Without some understanding of the olfactory words, it can be hard even to begin your search.
Here are a few definitions and descriptions of smells, in order to bridge that gap a little and get your brain to comprehend what you like:
Citrusy: A fairly obvious one. The zestiness of limes, lemons, and oranges. A bright, lively scent that might feel like the embrace of a well-lit lounge at a wellness centre, or exciting and jovial like a fruit-laden headdress.
Woody: These scents can be evocative of things like rich leather, walnuts and praline or, of course, various kinds of wood. A fine cigar box, the warm fibres of a pencil, sandalwood.
Smoky: Could smell like an extinguished candle or a merry campfire burning.
Musk: Not to be confused with ‘must’, musk is quite the opposite - a rejuvenating, fresh laundry-like scent.
Aquatic: The squeaky clean scent of a bubble bath, or the cool blast of an ocean breeze.
Oriental: Incense sticks and powdery piles of sweet spices.
Floral: Another fairly obvious one, floral pertains to fragrant, flowery scents. From roses through
to peonies, violets and lilies.
Green: Smells such as wheatgrass, verdant mosses, and the young smell of spring.
Here are some examples of top-line fragrances and their descriptions:
The men’s fragrance in a 100ml blue bottle is fresh and woody in scent, with citrusy notes, inspired by wide open spaces.
A 50 ml golden rock resembling a large, precious stone, Lady Million by Paco Rabanne claims a fresh, woody, floral scent with notes of bitter orange, raspberry, patchouli, and Honey.
Alien Eau De Parfum
This luxurious 60 ml purple bottle contains a woody ‘solar’ perfume, with notes of jasmine Sambac, Cashmeran wood, and white amber.
The long-necked 60 ml bottle of gold houses a scent of liberated flowers (Centifolia Rose, Jasmine Sambac and Ylang-Ylang) sculpted by the woody accents of creamy Sandalwood, with notes of bergamot and blood orange.
Consider the Things You Like
With some smelly terminology in mind, consider some that call out to you. Perhaps a past perfume has elements you like that fit into some of these descriptions. How do you describe these elements? What do they evoke? List your favourite smells and descriptions, and refine them down to their must-have components.
You could be inspired by the scents of your favourite foods, holiday destinations, nature, textiles, raw materials, fashion, or even music. What do you just love the smell of, the sound of, the look of? What does that translate to in words that you can use to find your scent?
What Scent Describes You?
A signature scent is not just about the aromas you love, it’s about what suits you. You may enjoy a light, zesty smell very much but consider yourself a more subtle, intimate sort. A signature scent should be something you’re comfortable wearing time and time again, its association to you makes “scent sense”. An extrovert who enjoys turning heads and excitement might marry better with a lively citrusy fusion, while an introvert preferring a slow-burning allure could attach to a subtler woody scent.
With all that sensory contemplation out of the way, you’re about ready to try some fragrances out, and it’s definitely a good idea to do so before you purchase a bottle - they’re usually not cheap!
Getting your hands on some tester samples is a good first step. Be sure not to test more than three at a time, as this might be the limit before confusing your senses. It’s also advised not to wear a pre-existing perfume when testing others, for the same reason.
Forget Coffee Beans
Many perfume shops and counters will have stores of coffee beans to use as a nasal palette cleanser. But many experts denounce this function, claiming it is simply another scent that can confuse and overwhelm the decision-making process further! They advise placing your nose over an odourless part of yourself instead, like your elbow crook. Your natural scent is a far more familiar, innocuous smell for resetting your nose.
Let Them Sink In
Once you’ve selected the ones you like, it’s time to give them a good run. Do a skin test by spritzing your wrists, elbows, or neck. Scents can activate from your body temperature or change when mingled with your natural scent.
Most of all though, perfume fragrances can completely change over the hours as they settle. Like a fine wine, it’s good to let them breathe. Carry on with your day and revisit them on your skin every twenty minutes or hour to see how they change. It’s worth even trialling a few perfumes or colognes that you were less sure about - they could evolve into something you really like!
Get a Second Opinion
Or third or fourth for that matter. If you’re unsure about a trial scent, or perhaps even if you are sure, ask a friend or family member what they think. They might agree the smell suits you or ask you if you’ve quite lost your mind due to the fumes. As with anything, an outside opinion can be the sobering voice of reason, or simply a comforting confirmation. Neither is a bad thing to have before forking out £80.
Refer to the Reviews
Ensure you get authentic, high-quality perfumes by reading reviews and public ratings, as well as purchasing from known retailers. Low-quality perfumes and knockoffs can have top notes that are overly strong, especially initially. Knockoffs could potentially even be damaging to your skin and health.
Anyone can use enticing, descriptive words for their product, but to be sure you’re getting the real deal, ensure the claims are backed up by the public.
For a wide range of top-tier men’s and women’s perfumes with some amazing discounts, head to Perfume Oasis. Everything from Armani Emporio to YSL perfumes, Calvin Klein to Clinique, all at hard-to-beat prices. Start the journey to find your signature scent, search for it on Perfume Oasis today.