Whether it’s for you or for someone else, choosing a fragrance can be complicated. Wondering where to start? Here’s a short guide to help you find the right fragrance for your personality!
It’s all about harmony
Perfume is like music: in both cases, the goal is to produce a harmonious chord composed of multiple elements that together create a unique signature (and experience).
In perfumes, this chord usually consists of three notes:
- The top note is the first one you smell when you open the bottle. It’s often the freshest and most volatile—that is, the one that evaporates the fastest.
- The middle note emerges a little while after application. As its name indicates, the middle (or "heart") note constitutes the main theme of the perfume, according to which the other aromas are chosen and mixed. This note is generally used to identify the fragrance’s olfactory family.
- The base note appears after the others and can persist for several hours. It is, in a way, the perfume’s "grand finale".
When you try a fragrance, be patient before making a decision: you want to see—or rather, smell!—how it unfolds, and how it sits on your skin.
Five fragrance shopping tips
1. Try it in the morning: your sense of smell will be more neutral and able to detect subtle notes more easily.
2. Avoid wearing other scented products (hand cream, body moisturizer, etc.), which may alter the aromas.
3. Reset your nose between tries by sniffing coffee beans or going outside for some fresh air.
4. If you like how a fragrance smells on a paper slip, be sure to spray it on your skin as well to see how it behaves. The results are not the same from one person to another.
5. When applying perfume to your wrists, do not rub them together: friction causes evaporation and can affect the result.
The seven olfactory families
Each olfactory family has its characteristic aromas. Which one is right for you? It all depends on your nose—and your personality!
Floral scents: Delicate and comforting
Floral fragrances for women often contain notes of white lily, hyacinth, jasmine, rose, or lilac. Those for men tend to include a middle note of lavender, violet, or geranium, enhanced with wood or spices.
Floral scents are good choices for gentle personality types who seek comforting aromas with a touch of romance.
- L'Interdit by Givenchy (for women): orange blossom, jasmine and patchouli
- Neiges by Lise Watier (for women): rose, jasmine and magnolia
- L'Édition by Elle (for women): jasmine, peony, peach and mandarin
Hesperidin scents: Dynamic and energetic
These often contain citrus notes, such as lemon, bergamot, or grapefruit.
Bright and fresh, hesperidin scents are a good match for dynamic, bubbly individuals.
- Happy by Clinique (for women): red grapefruit, bergamot, Hawaiian wedding flowers and mimosa
- Acqua di Gio by Giorgio Armani (for men): bergamot, green mandarin, rosemary, khaki and patchouli
- Chrome by Azzaro (for men): citrus and musk
Oriental (or amber) scents: Sensual
Oriental scents tend to contain notes of vanilla, cinnamon, or coriander.
They’re good choices for adventurous souls who love exoticism.
- Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent (for women): dark coffee, white flowers and vanilla
- Eros by Versace (for men): mint leaves, orange blossom and Madagascar vanilla
Chypre scents: An aura of mystery
Inspired by Chypre, a perfume created by François Coty in 1917, these fragrances often contain notes of bergamot, jasmine, rose, patchouli, or oakmoss. They evoke bouquets of lichen and greenery.
Chypre scents are good choices for one-of-a kind personalities, who can easily adopt their complex profile and make it their own.
- Watier by Lise Watier (for women): bergamot, pink pepper, night-blooming jasmine, Turkish rose and sandalwood
Wood scents: Sober refinement
These often contain notes of cedar, sandalwood, or vetiver, reminiscent of the spirit of the forest.
Wood scents are good choices for elegant and discreet personality types.
- Voyage by Nautica (for men): green apple, lotus, cedar, musc and moss
- 1 Million by Paco Rabanne (for men): red pepper and amber
- L.12.12 White by Lacoste (for men): wood and herbs with grapefruit, rosemary and ylang-ylang
Leather scents: Confidence and serenity
Featuring tanned leather accents, these fragrances often contain notes of honey, tobacco, or birch.
With their bold aromas, leather scents are good choices for calm, confident individuals who exude quiet strength.
- Polo by Ralph Lauren (for men): leather, wood and tobacco
Fern scents: Freshness and discretion
These tend to contain notes of sage, basil, or mint.
Fern scents are good choices for athletic types: their subtle essences make you feel like you’ve just stepped out of the shower!
- Legend by Montblanc (for men): floral tones, sandalwood and tonka beans
- Coach Blue by Coach (for men): lime, absinth, black pepper
Discover even more fragrance ideas
Our Holiday Guide is filled with perfume suggestions for both men and women. Follow your nose!
Psst! Now is the perfect time to purchase a fragrance: through December 8, receive a free bamboo organizer with any $60 cosmetic purchase.
Pro tips to put you on the scent!
Want to give a fragrance to someone you love? Buying a perfume for the first time or looking to try something new? Be sure to speak with our cosmetic specialists: they can help you make the right choice!