Searching for a signature scent can surprisingly be as difficult as finding a foundation that works for you (My search took years!). Which is why I decided to give you ladies all the 411 on perfume including: concentrations of perfume, fragrance families, tips to select the best perfume, how to apply, and some fragrance suggestions based on your scent preferences.
There are 3 main types of perfume concentrations (not counting spray mists) that you should know about before you begin your perfume search.
- True Perfume (Parfum): Contains the highest concentration of scent ranging from 15%-40% (also referred to as “extract”). This type of perfume is not common, as it is highly expensive and extremely concentrated. If using this, a few drops would be equivalent to a few sprays of EDP and EDT types of perfume.
- Eau de Parfum (EDP): This is the most common type of perfume as it is slightly stronger than an EDT with about a 7%-15% concentration. This will require less sprays than an EDT and also lasts longer on the skin. This type is recommended for people with dryer skin because it doesn’t need to be sprayed on as often as an EDT.
- Eau de Toilette (EDT): This is a lighter type of scent that has a concentration of about 1%-6%. It does not last as long as EDP so it can be used after a shower or to spritz pillows or towels with. It also needs to be sprayed more often since it is not as strong.
Floral scents are the most popular of the fragrance families. Common floral ingredients include jasmine, iris, gardenia, and roses. Depending on which floral notes are used and combined, these fragrances could smell either very innocent and youthful or mature and conservative. But overall, they are very feminine, girly, sweet, and romantic.
Where to wear: Church, Family Events, Weddings
Floral Fragrances: Daisy by Marc Jacobs, Prada “Infusion d’Iris”, Yves Saint Laurent “Parisienne”
Citrus scents are developed from tangy or citrus fruits such as lemon, limes, and mandarins. They are very energetic and refreshing, so they’re great for daytime wear and spritzing on in the early mornings. These fragrances are typically not too strong in flavor so they can be worn for a great variety of occasions.
Where to wear: Sunday brunch, Meeting up with your friends, Running Errands
Citrus Fragrances: Clinique “Happy”, Cartier “Eau de Cartier”, Burberry “Weekend for Women”
Fruity scents are a blend of spicy and sweet notes that make for a perfect date night fragrance! Fruits such as apple, mango, peach, and berry are often used in fruity perfumes. Fruity scents are not too overwhelming but still have a distinct scent.
Where to wear: A romantic outing, First Date, Dinner and a Movie
Fruity Fragrances: Apple Splash by Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren “Ralph Wild”, Juicy Couture “Viva La Juicy”
Green scents are somewhat mild because of their fresh leaves/outdoor aroma. They are more natural and have been used for unisex perfumes because they don’t have a distinct female or male geared smell. Green scents are great for casual events in the daytime or for sporty/outdoor events.
Where to wear: Outdoor events, Sporting events, To play golf/other outdoor sports
Green Fragrances: Chanel No. 19, Escada “Magnetism, Balmain “Vent Vert”
Oceanic or Aquatic scents are fairly new to the categories of perfume. This type of scent was popularized by Christian Dior’s “Dune” and remains quite popular today. They are light and refreshing, containing notes of ocean spray, clean linen, or a sandy beach. Oceanic fragrances are clean and professional, so they are great for wearing to job interviews or work.
Where to wear: Job Interviews, Very hot days, Conservative Offices
Oceanic Fragrances: “Dune” by Dior, Georgio Beverly Hills “Ocean Dream”, Davidoff Cool Water Woman
Oriental scents are spicy and strong and are mainly worn only on special occasions or at night . They contain notes of vanilla, cinnamon, amber, and resins. They tend to be musky and exotic, so they are best kept for night time and romantic dates! They are known to attract attention or seduce. Oriental scents are my personal favorite. I love musky perfumes and especially when they have hints of vanilla or jasmine.
Where to wear: Night Clubs, A special date, Romantic nights in
Oriental Fragrances: Yves Saint Laurent “Opium”, Givenchy “Organza”, Versace “Crystal Noir”
Woody scents are considered oriental scents but slightly differ in that they gear more towards forrest type smells such as cedar, pine, and sandalwood. Like oriental scents, they also tend to be more musky . Woody fragrances are great because they are on the natural side, so they can be worn at the office as well as other places. Like Green fragrances, Woody scents are often used in unisex perfumes because they don’t have a distinct feminine or masculine smell.
Where to wear: Corporate Offices, Volunteering, Casual activities
Woody Fragrances: Black by Bvlgari, Gucci “Envy Me”, “Knowing” by Estee Lauder
Spicy scents are also considered oriental scents because of the obvious “spicy” factor. They can contain notes of ginger, cilantro, nutmeg, clove, and pink pepper. They have been said to be “luxurious in an old fashioned sense.”
Where to wear: Lunch Dates, Casual Meetings
Spicy Fragrances: Chanel COCO Chanel, Estee Lauder “Cinnabar”, Jo Malone Vetyver
Perfumes normally have three notes (Top, Middle, and Base).
- Top Notes: The first thing you smell when you spray a perfume. Typically, the top notes last for about 5-15 minutes, so this is why you shouldn’t judge a perfume right away!
- Middle Notes: Follow the top notes and last for about 30-45 minutes. They have been known to mask the base notes.
- Base Notes: The Depth of the perfume. Base notes last the longest and linger on your skin for however long the perfume lasts, depending on the concentration.
How to select the perfume for you:
1. Make a list of your favorite smells. This will help you when deciding on a perfume so you know what to look for.
2. Consider your personality and lifestyle. If you’re lower maintenance and don’t wear much makeup, look into some fresh citrus or oceanic fragrances. If you spend more time on your makeup and beauty regime, look for scents that are stronger or muskier because they will grab attention!
3. Try to visit a perfumery or shop that specializes in perfume rather than a department store where they main motive is to SELL SELL SELL! The people who work in the specialized shops and perfumeries normally know a lot more about perfume than those that work in department stores, so they can give you more insight and information about which perfumes will work for you.
4. Test all your perfumes before making a purchase. It’s important to use the perfume scent strips so the scent from the previous perfume is not still lingering on your skin. If you’re in a mall, you can even spray a perfume you’re considering on your skin and see how you like it while you’re shopping. Also keep perfume notes in mind so you don’t judge a perfume after just a quick spray.
5. Choose what Fragrance Family you like and use that as a base for choosing a perfume. This will also help when you go to a perfumery or shop to purchase a perfume because you will know where to start looking.
How to Apply Perfume:
When testing perfume, spray it on your pulse points (wrist, throat, behind ears, inside of elbows). Don’t spray too much, many perfumes take time to settle on your skin and develop the final smell (remember the notes!). Always wait about an hour after testing the perfume before buying it so you can smell the true smell of the fragrance on your skin. Base notes take about an hour to kick in so that’s why it’s a good idea to wait before making your final decision.
What types of perfumes do you ladies like? I’m always open to recommendations! My favorites are musky oriental scents and of course Chanel No. 5! xoxo