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How to Choose Your Signature Scent

How to Choose Your Signature Scent

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Viktor & Rolf flowerbomb (purse spray) – this is basically my scent for 2014.  Nick bought me the purse spray for Christmas last year and I’ve been wearing it off and on ever since.  It’s nice and spicy (like I like my scents) and lasts well.  I’m just about out and will probably repurchase.

Notes: Sambac Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Cattleya Orchid, Ballerina Freesia, Patchouli.

Chloe’ eau du parfum (rollerball) – I’m new to this scent and it’s not my normal style.  It’s “more grown up” in Nick’s words, but that’s not such a bad thing.  I like to wear this fragrance when we’re going somewhere nicer.  If you plan to purchase, it’s probably worth it to get the roller ball set, which is just a few dollars more right now for 3 fragrances instead of just 1.

Notes: Pink Peony, Freesia, Lychee, Magnolia Flower, Lilly of the Valley, Rose, Cedarwood, Amber, Honey.

Stella McCartney STELLA (purse spray) – This is my favorite scent this fall.  It makes me feel strong and feminine. Plus, I’m always a fan of anything with amber. Mmm.

Notes: Rose, Peony Flower, Mandarin, Rose Absolute, Amber.

Escada Joyful (purse spray) – This is maybe my second favorite. Note that if you order this from Sephora, it is a purse spray, not a rollerball.  I prefer the purse sprays, but just in case it makes a difference to you.

Notes: Blackcurrant Sorbet, Melon, Mandarin, Violet leaves, Pink Peony, Dewy Magnolia, Nectarine, Honeycomb, Florymoss, Sandalwood.

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black (roller ball) – Another obvious fave of mine.  It has a spicy smell, too.

Notes: Violet, Sandalwood, Vanilla.


I have a secret.  I don’t actually have a signature scent.  There you have it.  It’s out.  I am far too obsessed with fragrances to settle on just one.  I think I am eternally on the hunt for my signature scent, though I’m not sure I ever want to settle.  Here’s why.

1. Scents can be tied to memories

They say that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory.  No, that isn’t just an Old Spice commercial, it’s actually grounded in fact.  I have always been fascinated by this and have different fragrances that represent different phases of my teen and adult life.  For instance, I used a certain scent when I volunteered in Costa Rica in 2010.  Whenever I wear it, I’m instantly taken back.  I wore a different fragrance on my wedding day and during my honeymoon.  It’s fun to wear the scents every now and then and revisit old memories.  I enjoy having a signature scent for certain periods of time or milestones in my life.

2. Preferences change

Some women have had the same scent for decades and have no plans to change.  For me, my preferences change too much for that.  While I like to smell them from time to time, the fragrances I wore in college are a little more juvenile than what I like to wear now.



Just because I don’t plan to wear just one scent for the rest of my life doesn’t mean that I don’t think signature scents are important.  I honestly thought that Flowerbomb was going to be it for me, until discovered Stella and Joyful…and…whatever comes next.  While I definitely won’t be wearing exclusively Flowerbomb for the rest of my life, I will be wearing similar notes.  The notes tell a larger story of my overall preferences, but the scents themselves tell stories of different times in my life.

I’ve read countless articles on how to find your signature scent and usually they include descriptions of all the different notes and the differences between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette. This is certainly helpful, but I think the single greatest advice you can get when trying to find your signature scent is to sample, sample, sample.

It can be incredibly tempting to just run out and buy the latest and greatest fragrance trend, but liking the peel and sniff in People Style Watch is not a guarantee that the scent is a winner.  Different scents wear differently on different people because of their natural scents and the fragrances in other products they use.  Before I buy any fragrance, I sample it by wearing it out at least 3 times.  I make sure I wear it with different products I use to make sure it mixes well.  It makes a big difference.  Sometimes I smell the testers in the store and fall in love, then find that the fragrance just doesn’t suit me.  Or vice versa.  For example, the Chloe’ roller ball turned me off at first.  But once I got it on my skin, I started to like it.

This leads to another important fact: it does matter if it’s a roller ball or a spray.  Sprays aren’t always sprayed directly onto your skin.  In fact, most people will spray perfumes on over their clothing.  Roller balls, on the other hand, are typically applied directly to the skin.  You might find that the same scent applied in different ways can smell a little different.

Finally, a little tip to build your collection is to purchase rollerballs and purse sprays.  Because I mix it up so much, I don’t always finish large bottles before they go bad.  Plus, roller balls and purse sprays can go anywhere.  I also choose fragrance samples when I pick my samples at Ulta and Sephora.  This helps me discover new fragrances and samples travel well if I want to try a totally new fragrance when I’m traveling.

Do you have a signature scent or any tips for finding a signature scent? Tell me about it in the comments section below.

See more great beauty tips from Mae at her blog, Mae Amor!

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