Scent Buying Guide

FINDING YOUR SIGNATURE SCENT It needn't be as confusing as you think

Have you ever decided to splurge on a new scent, but didn’t know where to begin? Are you overwhelmed by all the options at the perfume counter? Never fear! Here are my top foolproof tips on selecting the perfect scent.

Asking yourself a few questions before you shop will save you and your nose hours at the fragrance counter. If you're looking for a new scent.

There are four major factors to consider: fragrance type, skin type, occasion, and budget. Once you’ve got these three nailed, you narrow down your choice of perfume before making that all-important final decision. Let’s get started.

Fragrance Type

Much like music, scent has different types, aka genres. We are often drawn back to the same genre, but depending on our mood or the occasion we'll sometimes switch it up and listen to something else.

For instance, some days I love Mozart, especially whilst working, but if I’m getting ready for a night out I want something upbeat, or when I need to let off some steam, I'll tune into something angsty like Eminem or Alannis Morissette.

Fragrances have their own genres too, so consider the genre of fragrances that you are already drawn to. Do you want something similar or do you want to mix things up and choose something different?

Perfumes fall into 7 genres: oriental, chypre, fougère, gourmand, woody, floral, and citrus.

Not sure what they smell like? Here’s a cheat-sheet to get you started.

l Oriental scents are those such as the powerful Shalimar, Opium or Poison

l Chypre fragrances include Organza or Clinique Aromatics Elixir

l Fougères are typical masculine scents like and Dolce & Gabbana

l Gourmand scents smell edible, like YSL Black Opium and Prada Candy

l Citrus fragrances such as Jo Malone’s Lime Basil and Mandarin

l Woody fragrances like Samsara and Terre de Hermès

l Floral fragrances such as Estée Lauder’s Pleasures and Chanel No. 5

You can either stick within your preferred genre but find something different from your old standby, or explore an entirely new genre altogether.

Skin type

Believe it or not, your skin affects your scent. If you have dry skin you can handle strong scents, whereas something lighter may dissipate too quickly. To combat this you can moisturise your skin, this will help your scent last longer.

If you have oily skin lucky you! — Stronger fragrances like those with heady floral or Oriental notes—can become even more intense on you, so you may want to stick to something lighter, or wear less of it!

Read our blog post about making your scent last longer.


To change things up further, look beyond the type of fragrance that you like, and consider the occasion for which you plan to wear your new scent. Let yourself be inspired by the season and select something citrus to go with summer, or a spicy scent to go with autumn. Even the climate plays a role, as in the heat fragrances develop more quickly than in colder temperatures or on colder skin.

Or maybe you want a fragrance that is perfect for date night or prom, for a night out with the girls or for a holiday, or for when you want to feel extra polished and professional at work. For each occasion, there are a whole host of fabulous fragrances to explore.


Sadly we don’t always have a huge amount to spend when shopping for perfume, so it pays to keep a level head. Check out old and classical fragrances, not just the newest perfumes that happen to be in style right now. These classics have lasted the test of time for a reason, so they are worth the investment.

Perfume packaging can be very attractive and seductive, but it can also be misleading as many very poor quality perfumes are sold in stunning boxes and bottles. By contrast, some high-quality perfumes, such as Chanel No. 5, are presented in very simple packaging. If your budget is bottomless — lucky you! The sky is your limit. If this isn’t the case you should look to the sales assistant for advice so they can best assist you as to what to buy within your budget.

Ok, so you’ve decided on what you want and how much you are willing to spend. It’s time for the fun part — prepare to shop!

Top tips for shopping

Do not wear any fragrance, do not put any scented moisturizers on, and do not use scented hair products. Other odours will affect your impression of the scents that you are going to try. It is vital to keep your skin as neutral as possible. Remember, you will eventually be trying your chosen fragrance on yourself and will need to test the effect that it creates when combines with your unique body chemistry.

Some people recommend going to the shops in the morning so that your nose is fresh, avoiding olfactory fatigue. Go alone so that your opinion is truly your own, and is not swayed by your friends.

First impressions

When using fragrance strips, wait for the alcohol to evaporate, and experience the initial top notes of the perfume.

Continue to smell the strips over time until the top notes fade and the heart notes and base notes begin to emerge (at least an hour).

This wait time is important, since the base notes will be the scent that you will enjoy for the majority of time.

Write the name of the perfume on the strip and put each one in separate sandwich bags to smell again over the next few hours, since your initial impressions will change. Be careful to not combine the strips together, or you will be smelling a blend of different perfumes.

Do NOT purchase anything right then and there, as tough as it may be. It is important to allow the fragrances to develop, and for you to continue to judge how much you like each one as it develops.

Narrow it down

After a few hours, choose your two favourite scents and return to the shop.

Try each of them, one on each wrist. This is important so that you can see how they smell on your skin. The scent will be different than on the scent strip.

Now it’s time to be patient. Thank the assistant and walk away. Let your two perfumes settle on your skin and allow the base notes to emerge. I recommend waiting until the next day and don't wash off the perfume. You will soon find whether it's the love of your life or a one night stand!

It’s time to buy!

Once you have spent some time with your two top choices, you can return to the shop to make your purchase. Taking the time to perform these simple tests will ensure that you make the right decision and be totally satisfied with your perfect new perfume.

Take your fragrance shopping seriously and go armed with an open mind, good information, and patience. Only then can you get the best investment for your money.


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