How To Choose The Perfect Fragrance For You

fragrance bottle
Photo Credit: FabrikaPhoto

Does heading toward the fragrance counter give you anxiety? You might be thinking of getting your first, or a fresh new, fragrance, but have no clue where to start. What you do know is that you don’t want to be inundated with umpteen million scents from an eager salesperson.

[SEE ALSO: How To Find The Perfect Purple Blush For Your Skin Tone]

Trust, we get it! But, finding the perfect scent doesn’t have to be hard. There’s an easier way to narrow down your choices — and it’s all about finding something that’s in your comfort zone. 

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“You should wear a fragrance because you love it and you connect to it,” explains Ross Barry, international fragrance ambassador for Maison Margiela, at a recent Sephora at Kohl’s opening.

This is important, he says, because smells play a huge part in our everyday lives. “Fragrance is the strongest thing connecting us to memory, to emotion, and to attraction,” says Barry. “It is the first of your senses to be fully formed when you come out as a child. Actually, there are studies showing people believe when they arre in their mother’s womb they can smell things. And it’s one of the last senses that we lose.”

Stephenetta Harmon & Ross Barry
Stephenetta (isis) Harmon & Ross Barry // Photo Credit: Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images for Sephora at Kohl’s

That means you should look for smells that make you feel “at home” and match them up with perfumes with similar notes. So, if you’re into sweet-smelling fruits and flowers in your hair products or candles, you may want to look for floral and citrus notes. If you are big on the smell of fabrics and city life, you may find notes like linen or musk to your liking. Or, if you’re spice-oriented, look for fragrances with notes like cinnamon and nutmeg.

You may also think of buying certain fragrances for certain environments, like work versus a night out on the town. Approach it the same way. Identify the scents you gravitate towards in those places and select fragrances that match up. The end goal is just to make sure that it resonates with you as an individual.

But, whatever you do choose, Barry says to live and breathe it before making a final purchase. 

“The proper way to try on fragrance is to spray it on a pulse point and then let yourself marinate. You have four points of real estate,” he says, pointing to his wrists and inside elbows. 

Once you spray, let it sit for an hour so you can smell how the scent will evolve from the most impactful top notes to the lingering middle and base notes. Maybe walk around the store, or go home and come back.

“See how it reacts on your skin,” adds Barry. “And, if you like it, then who cares what other people think?”

Ready to get started? You can check out Maison Margiela’s scent finder for some quick recommendations from their REPLICA collection or visit fragrantica.com for a deeper dive.

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