How To Pick The Perfect Fragrance

Tory Burch Fragrance Collection

Take one look at the slew of Hollywood starlets gracing the red carpets and it will seem like every woman worth her while has a signature fragrance that she created and practically bathes in every evening. From Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds to Taylor Swift’s Wonderstruck, celebrities are constantly outdoing each other with fragrances. The sad truth is that you may not ever find the perfect scent to pledge your allegiance to, but the good news is that you can have an amazing time trying! Here are a few tips to help you pick the perfect signature fragrance.

How to Choose a Fragrance That’s Perfect for You

Picking a signature fragrance, whether it is for you or for someone else, can be truly tricky. You will want the fragrance you choose to perfectly capture the essence of the person who will wear it. Therefore, taking the person’s personality as well as their likes and dislikes (their taste in food, their favorite smells, etc.) into consideration is a huge requirement.

Plus, you will want the fragrance to smell absolutely incredible to both the person you are buying it for as well as everyone they come into contact with. Considering all of these things while being overwhelmed by multiple fragrances at a department store counter or at stores like Sephora and Ulta can be nearly impossible.

Types of Fragrances

There are thousands of different perfumes and fragrances on the market today and the list is growing rapidly. It can be extremely overwhelming for a fragrance novice to process all of this information. There are about 10 main categories of fragrances, including the basics such as floral, oriental, wood and citrus scents.

Getting familiar with these categories will give you a good foundation before you start dealing with adding more complicated ingredients such as fruit, powder and grass to your perfumes.


As the most popular fragrance family, floral is a blend of mixed bouquets of jasmine, rose, white peony, gardenia and tuberose. These fragrances are either pure and flowery, or subtly warmed with a touch of spice or fruit for a soft, powdery finish.

When it comes to the floral family, think of roses, lilies, fresh cut flowers, and cute little shops that sell potpourri and soft hand creams. Some great floral scents to try are Flower by Kenzo or Flowerbomb by Victor & Rolf.


Woodsy scents are nutty and spicy in nature with sensual notes of amber, sandalwood, cedar wood, and a touch of patchouli. Some wood blends have a hint of cinnamon, a sprinkle of earth, or a puff of tobacco. Soft sandalwood, warm rosewood, layered with deep, rich, potent patchouli, some soft blossoms and a hint of spice make this sensual scent category.

If you think you are a woman who would love a deep wood scent, you might want to consider trying some unisex or men’s fragrances like Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille.


Citrus fragrances are clean, youthful, and reminiscent of summer love! Think of big green salads with lime dressing, icy cocktails with lemon slices and freshly squeezed orange juice. Citrus scents are usually a favorite of fun-loving girls who are happiest on a beach with a cocktail in hand!

If you’re a zesty citrus girl, try Lime Basil & Mandarin by Jo Malone.


Rich and regal, Oriental fragrances are wrapped with warm, spicy notes such as vanilla, cinnamon and clove. Also present are opulent flowers such as roses or orchids blended with sweet smelling spices, as well as mouth-watering sugars stirred with amber and nutmeg. Oriental fragrances usually have incense, amber and vanilla as their main notes. Imagine chai tea, beautiful vases of jasmine flowers and vanilla bean custard tarts.

Oriental scents are deeply sexy and seductive, so if this sounds like you, try Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium, Ambre Orient by Armani, Givenchy Organza or Dior’s Poison.

How To Choose A Scent

1. Follow Your Instincts

Once you’ve picked your category (floral, oriental, wood or citrus) you can start exploring fragrances specific to that theme. You will quickly find that you are naturally drawn towards bottles of perfumes from your specific scent family. For example, oftentimes woodsy fragrances are in dark, alluring bottles that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to someone who likes fresh citrus fragrances.

Similarly, floral fragrances are often in very feminine, pink or red bottles that a minimalist oriental lover may not be drawn to. Trust your eye and see where it leads you.

2. Test It Out

Rule one: never commit to purchasing a perfume unless you’ve worn it for at least 8-10 hours. Also, only consider two fragrances at a time. Spray one scent on each wrist and smell them periodically through out the day to assess how they settle on your skin and mix with your natural pheromones. You should have a fairly good idea of what type of scent pleases you by the end of the day.

3. Be Adventurous

Do not be afraid to mix it up a little. Do not think that just because you usually love orientals means you can not enjoy a rose based scent that catches your eye! If you are used to wearing the same type of scent for long periods of time you might actually enjoy mixing up your routine. Most department stores or perfumeries will be happy to provide you with a slew of samples. Wearing samples is a great way to figure out if you are willing to invest in an entire bottle of the scent.

No pageant girl is complete without a signature fragrance. With loads and loads of options to choose from, it can be very overwhelming choosing the perfect scent on your own. Comment below and let me know what type of scent is your favorite! Are you more of a floral princess or a oriental queen?

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