Discovering your signature scent or favorite fragrances can be a long process. For me, this is an ever-evolving process and it’s not about the destination – it’s about the journey.
OMG, how cheesy was that?!
So, why can choosing a signature scent (or scents) be a process? Because it will require you to do some thinking. You can also just choose what you like, but that can be extremely overwhelming for your nose. To start, think back to some of your favorite memories. Was one of your favorite memories vacationing in St. Barths, smelling the sea breeze and hints of sunblock? Or visiting a lavender field? Spending time with your grandmother who always wore a floral scent?
Once you have an idea of the scents that bring back positive memories, start testing a few fragrances in those scent families.
Musk: Pretty gross, but the original musk scent came from the glands of animals, such as the musk deer. Today, most musk ingredients come from plant secretions. The scent itself is sexy and mysterious.
Citrus: Fresh and light. Citrus scents remind me of a relaxing spa.
Floral: From white florals like gardenias to red roses. Floral scents are ultra feminine and pretty.
Oriental: Intense in a good way. These scents can be powdery and spicy.
Aquatic: Think fresh and beachy.
As a teenager, I bought anything and everything sickeningly sweet. I built up a pretty substantial collection of fragrances, but have edited it down to what I really love over the years.
My biggest tip is to not automatically go for the super popular perfumes in department stores. Think: Dior, Marc Jacobs, and Lancome. If you really like a fragrance from a popular, mainstream brand, go for it! You just might be surprised at what you can find that not everyone else is wearing. Many times, the popular brands smell perfume-y in a bad way and just start blending together. You’re probably looking at part of my collection thinking, “girl, why are you saying this when some of your favorites are the most mainstream scents you can find?!”.
The original Juicy Couture scent is one that I have loved for over ten years. It is the ULTIMATE musky-clean scent and it smells divine after being worn for about 8 hours. Not perfume-y at all, just a lovely, warm scent. It will always be one of my favorite scents.
Same goes for Gucci Guilty, another popular one. Guilty is a spicy floral scent that is perfect for date night, and it doesn’t smell like most perfumes.
I know that the Victoria’s Secret PINK ‘Sunkissed’ spray stands out like an immature teenager among sophistication in these photos, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t share it because it is one of my favorite summer scents. It brings me back to exploring the beaches of Hawaii – an annual tradition with my family.
When you discover what you like, and how and when you choose to wear certain scents, mixing fragrances can be so fun, and it is a way to really personalize a scent. My favorites to mix are Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt and Peony and Blush Suede. It is a beautiful mix of musky, floral, and woody. Best of all, this mixture is a fragrance that can be worn year-round, for just about any occasion from date night to a meeting.
Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb is my favorite floral scent because it is romantic with a big bang of spice. It’s not your typical feminine, pretty floral scent because of the spice factor. It’s so sexy. I wore this perfume on my wedding day, and when I ran out of it I did not re-purchase for awhile because I was afraid that the memory would tarnish the idea of wearing it after being divorced. Luckily it didn’t, and I re-purchased the fragrance in a smaller size. I do think about my wedding each time I spray it on, but it’s not unpleasant in the slightest.
See how strong the connection a scent is to a memory?
My top 3 tips:
1. Choose 1-3 memories and connect them to a favorite scent(s)
2. Try up to 4 fragrances at one time. Any more, and you will probably be overwhelmed.
3. Before purchasing, wear your desired scent for a whole day to see how it wears with your body chemistry.
There are a few fragrances that are on my list to try. On my list are BYREDO Mojave Ghost and Mermaid No. 1.
What are your favorite scents?
Beautiful and well thought out post Lynn! It’s funny because I found myself nodding this entire time because like you, I loved sweet and fruity scents as a teen and even into my mid twenties! Now I crave really light floral scents. I own: flower bomb ( the original as well as the la vie en rose version), Bobbi brown beach which is almost gone, a philosophy perfume called summer grace, and now my jo Malone. I love anything rose scented as well. Since I have the wood sage and sea salt, I’m going to try the blush and peony.
Lauren Nakagawa says
Great post Lynn, I opt for really light subtle scents or even essential oils more than not. So nice to see that you’re in the Bay Area as well!