How to Find Your Signature Scent: 4 Tips from My Perfume Journey and Luxury Fragrances I’m Craving

I’ve been on a refinement journey since about mid-2020. By “refinement”, I am referring to elevating minor aspects of my life. You know, the small things that make a world of difference – the types of hair products I use, getting more massages, upgrading my loungewear and underwear… those type things…

Enter in my beloved beauty supply body oils. I adored them. They were my primary source of smell good for years, but when I hit my 30s, I wanted more than just $5 knock-offs. Yes, my body oils were convenient and fit particularly well for that designated time of my life; however, my spirit was like, “Sis, get you some real perfume. Embrace the luxury.” If you haven’t checked out my last article about indulging in luxury, read it here.

Since starting this fragrance journey, I’ve learned a great deal. Not only about my personal worth, but I’ve mastered the art of nabbing little doses of luxury on a budget. Keep reading to get into my 4 tips about finding your signature scent!

1) Do your research

When I first started out on my fragrance journey, I had no idea where to start. First off, the fragrance market can be overwhelming! There are so many different types of affordable and luxury brands that churn out the most enticing scents, but it is up to you to discover what truly fits you. This is where research comes into play.

With this, you want to ensure that you are reading blog articles, watching YouTube video reviews and even reading official fragrance descriptions via the brand’s website. I started to make a list on a note app in my phone to help me keep track of perfumes that I wanted to sample. Create a system that will allow you the ability to organize what you are willing to try while also compiling an inventory of potential purchases.

From left to right: 1) Yves Saint Laurent ‘s “Libre Intense” Eau de Parfum $140 and 2) Prada’s “Candy” Eau de Parfum $96

2) Pinpoint fragrance notes that represent you

Once you have a list of perfumes that excite you, try to focus in on why you actually gravitated towards that particular fragrance. Were you drawn to the notes of vanilla? Or, perhaps the lavender? Or, maybe the bergamot? Are you more fruity or floral? Tough questions, no? Just know that you will have to fine tune your olfactory palate to recognize what types of perfumes fit both you, your personality and your lifestyle. I find myself absolutely infatuates with warmer, unisex scents that exude lux vibes. Every now and then, I may cave to the occasional “sweet” splurge, but my overall goal is to smell like money. Plain and simple.

From left to right: 1) Chanel’s “Coco Mademoiselle” Eau de Parfum $135 and 2) Maison Margiela’s “Replica Coffee Break” Eau de Toilette $130

3) Take advantage of samples!

Sis, sample up! Don’t be shy. Samples are your friend. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased a sample, prior to actually taking the plunge to purchase a luxury perfume. Typically, samples are found at a fraction of the cost of a full bottle: while you may end up paying $130 for a 3 ounce bottle, you may only dish out $30-$50 for the sample. Make certain that you are getting more bang for your buck. Quick note: utilize your list of potentials while shopping around for samples!

Not only are samples more affordable, but you actually learn more about the performance of the fragrance (i.e.: the longevity of the perfume, the levels of fragrance notes and the biology behind how the scent actually reacts with your own body chemistry). And, samples can be found everywhere – in beauty and makeup stores, in print magazines and some brands even provide you with free samples, after you make a purchase. See a few of my own below:

From top right to bottom left: 1) Mugler’s “Alien” Eau de Parfum Sample ($170 for 3 ounce), 2) Maison Margiela’s “Replica: Beach Walk” Eau de Toilette ($130 for 3.5 ounce) and 3) Hermes’ “Eau de Merveilles Elixir des Merveilles” Eau de Toilette ($128 for 1 ounce)

4) Invest wisely

My last tip is probably one of the most beneficial – choose your perfumes with great care and precision. Figure out how the scent(s) will blend effortlessly into your everyday routine. Although you may find a large variety of perfumes that you enjoy, you can’t purchase them all. Perfumes can get costly, set aside a $20 here and there until you build up enough to just get one.

My advice is to chisel your options down to about three or four key fragrances. (Of course, you can also use your birthday, Christmas and Valentine’s Day to also be gifted additional options as well.) Start out small, and then proceed to grow your collection with time. You can even delegate fragrances – have a sultry option for a date night/night out with the girls, have an everyday option for your 9 to 5, and throw in an unexpected option that makes you feel absolutely invincible. Drop the coins on what works for you.

Below, you can find a few of the perfumes that are on my current radar. I’m actually in the process of saving for the Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s “Baccarat Rouge 540”. If you haven’t already checked it out, listen, it’s heaven on Earth.

From top left to bottom right: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris’ “Baccarat Rouge 540” Eau de Parfum $300, Byredo’s “Slow Dance” Eau de Parfum $180, Kilian’s “Love, Don’t Be Shy” Eau de Parfum $240, Tom Ford’s “Bitter Peach” Eau de Parfum $350

“Perfume follows you; it chases you and lingers behind you. It’s a reference mark. Perfume makes silence talk.”

-Sonia Rykiel

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Writer. Fashion Enthusiast. Dopeness Curator.

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