Signature Scent: A Complete Guide on How to Choose Perfume or Cologne

Over the years, you’ve tried them all—floral, sweet, woody, spicy. You went through periods when you were almost certain that you’d found the best one for you, yet something wasn’t quite right, so you changed. And you are still not sure if you’ll ever find your perfect match.

What are we talking about? How to choose perfumes, of course. If you feel like it’s high time that you picked your signature scent once and for all, then you’re in luck. We’re about to let you in on our five best tips on how to choose a perfume that will become your trademark for life.

Signature Scent: A Complete Guide on How to Choose Perfume or Cologne 1

The Power of Scent

Did you know that certain smells can capture our attention so much that they are forever stored in our brain and can trigger intense memories?

And how about the legendary status that some celebrities enjoy thanks to their signature fragrance? It’s said, for example, that Rihanna is the best-smelling celeb in the world. When she walks into a room full of people, it’s not just her stunning beauty that stands out: it’s the unique fragrance that she wears, and that has become her trademark.

How would you like to have that sort of power over the people around you? Choosing and wearing the perfect scent can help you to achieve just that.

As if this wasn’t great enough, it’s also very well known that wearing a fragrance that matches your personality and enhances you as a person can boost feelings of self-esteem and confidence.

Step 1 – Back to the Future

No, we’re not talking about the famous 1980s movie trilogy: our first tip to help you along your perfume journey is to revisit any old scent that you were once very fond of.

Why? Because perhaps you had already come across your signature fragrance, but the timing wasn’t quite right. Maybe your lifestyle was different back then, or perhaps you hadn’t yet discovered certain parts of your personality.

Try to go back to a specific perfume that you tried and which you really loved. Was it that floral, fresh scent you wore a few summers ago? Or maybe that bolder and more intense one that you seemed to love when you were at uni but then abandoned as soon as you got a high-profile job?

If a particular fragrance seems to evoke wonderful memories, or if you immediately feel happier and more confident when thinking about wearing that scent that once felt truly “yours,” then you should definitely give it another chance.

What if, though, you can’t find that exact perfume because it’s been so long since it was available on the shelves? Don’t worry. Even if you can’t get your hands on your first love, the chances are that the brand that manufactures that perfume has created an upgraded, improved version of your old favorite. Do a bit of research, and you’ll almost certainly be able to find the

Step 2 – Know What You’re Smelling

At the beginning of this post, we mentioned a few perfume categories: Do you really know what they mean? Do you know what to look for in, for example, a woody scent? And what makes a fragrance “floral” as opposed to “spicy”?

A crucial bit in your quest for your signature scent is precisely knowing what you’re smelling. To make it easier for you, we have rounded up the main scents and their definitions.

Fresh: this includes citrus, water, and green notes and is (you guessed it) refreshing, uplifting, and zesty.

Floral: These fragrances are sweet and based on flowers such as jasmine, lily, and rose. They can be both subtle and bold, as this is one of the largest scent categories and encompasses a great variety of nuances.

Woody: perfumes belonging to this category are evocative of exotic, mysterious places. Slightly seductive and adventurous, woody scents include cedarwood, vetiver, and amber. Perfect for evening wear, especially on holiday.

Spicy or oriental: another very captivating and sexy type of scent, the oriental category comprises fragrances such as jasmine, cinnamon, and orchid.

If you want even more inspiration and insight into the different scents you can try when looking for your signature perfume, visit

Step 3 – Try, Try, Try – But Don’t Rush It.

If your old favorite still doesn’t convince you, then it’s time to try as many new scents as you like. However, take it easy and don’t rush the process.

Perfume experts recommend only trying on two or three new fragrances at any one time when you visit a perfume shop. This is to allow your brain to process each scent and help you to differentiate among them.

You also want to start by spraying a lighter, fresher perfume and then building onto more complex and sophisticated ones slowly and gradually.

The idea is similar to that of wine tasting. You start with a lighter white, move on to a fuller rose, and end your tasting with a more complex red. If you had started tasting a strong red wine right away, its flavor would have likely overpowered the other wines and prevent you from enjoying each grape.

So, be patient, explore different scents, give them (and yourself) plenty of time to sink in, and see how you feel in a few hours. This brings us straight to our next step: the sniff test.

Step 4 – The Four-Hour Sniff Test

Also known as: can I still smell my perfume four hours after I’ve applied it?

A significant factor to keep in mind when choosing your signature scent, in fact, is whether your skin can retain that specific fragrance for long periods of time.

Few things are more annoying in your journey to the best perfume than finding a scent that you adore, only to realize that you can’t smell any of it after a couple of hours.

So, try the four-hour sniff test. At the perfume shop, spray yourself with a fragrance that you love. Do not overdo it, and do not try any other perfumes on this occasion. Then, go about your day just as you normally would. It would be best if you kept doing whatever your daily life entails because your perfume will need to adapt to your lifestyle.

Come back to it after about four hours. Can you still smell it on your wrists and in your hair? Has it stuck to your clothes and accessories? Or has it vanished almost completely, and neither you nor your partner can tell if it was ever there in the first place?

Consider all of this before making that all-important purchase.

Step 5 – Consider Your Personality, Skin Type, and Lifestyle

We already have briefly mentioned factors such as skin type and lifestyle, and we are now going to tell you in a bit more detail why these are crucial.

When you look for what will become your trademark fragrance, you want to think about these three aspects: who you are as a person, what type of skin you have, and what kind of lifestyle you lead.

All of these will influence your final choice. Your personality will determine whether you’d better narrow down your search to a sweeter, floral scent instead of a darker, sexier one.

As we already discussed in the previous section, your skin type will be fundamental to help you identify which type of perfume stays with you for longer, rather than disappearing as soon as you hop off your packed train during your morning commute.

And of course, your lifestyle is another essential element to consider. You’ll need to think about whether you’re a generally active person, with lots of daily commitments and running around a lot, or if you’re more of a quiet, sedentary type who prefers leisure walks to sweaty sessions at the gym.

How to Choose Perfume That Truly Screams “You”

With our tips and tricks above, you are now in the best possible place to finally start your perfume adventure.

Now that you know how to choose a perfume that genuinely suits you, your skin, and your lifestyle, you can browse perfume shops (both in-person and online) and feel more confident that you’ll soon find “the one.”

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