It’s no secret that there are many benefits of perfume.
But one thing that consistently puts people off bothering with them is the hunt for a perfect juice.
It takes time, commitment, and money.
This is because, unfortunately, with something so subjective such as fragrance, it is very difficult to find one that works for you.
This is especially true as you can’t fully trust other people’s reviews, as fragrances smell different, and perform differently, on different people’s skin.
In this article, I will outline a step-by-step process to help you find the perfect fragrance for you.
Step 1 – Define and determine what you’re looking for.
The world of fragrances is a vast one, with many different houses bringing out many different products, with sometimes many different variations.
This system is all about narrowing down this pool to a few potentially perfect candidates.
The first step is to ‘define what you’re looking for’ – in other words, set some requirements.
I’ll use my own preferences as an example:
‘What occasion do I want this fragrance for?’ – Every occasion. It has to be versatile.
‘What type of fragrance do I want?’ – Fresh/acquatic.
‘What distance do I want it to project to?’ – Within arm reach.
‘How long do I want the fragrance to last?’ – 12 hours +
Okay, I admit, the above requirements are a tad optimistic.
But you get the idea.
Set yourself some requirements, and define the attributes you would like the fragrance to have.
These requirements will ensure that we will be able to find your perfect perfume.
Step 2 – Create a list of potential fragrances (Use your preferences to narrow your search).
So, you have ideal attributes in mind.
Now it’s time to hunt down fragrances that match your description.
Method One – Use a ‘Fragrance Dictionary’
One tool that you can use to your advantage is Fragrantica’s search feature.
This tool allows you to search through scents by attributes such as gender orientation, notes, and groups.
Once you have selected your preferences in the left hand column, all available fragrances will appear in a grid:
You should create a list of potential fragrances for yourself by clicking onto each one, and taking note of its name, performance and projection, the latter two of which can be found by scrolling down the page:
On top of this, if you continue to scroll, you can usually find multiple reviews, which allow you to gauge other people’s experiences with the fragrance.
This method takes time, but gives you a good idea of the options available, and gives you plenty of choice.
Method Two – Fragrance Finder
So, you don’t have enough spare time for option one.
I get it.
To save time, there are some services, known as ‘Fragrance Finders’ that ask you a series of questions, and then suggest a fragrance that you might enjoy, such as this one from The Perfume Shop:
There are limitations though, such as the fact that it only suggests one.
This means that you’re probably not going to find a ‘perfect’ fragrance – you’re very unlikely to nail it on your first attempt.
On top of this, these services generally only have a small list of fragrances to recommend, which are all likely going to be mainstream. So, if you’re looking for something niche, then I wouldn’t recommend this method.
Also, they usually require a ‘favourite fragrance’, to get an idea of what scents you like. You, perhaps being new to the fragrance game, may not know of a fragrance similar to the one you’re looking for.
But, of course, it’s quick, easy, and might work out.
Method Three – Top Lists
‘Top lists’ meet the the first two methods in the middle, and provide a half way alternative.
You can use top lists, often compiled by experts within the fragrance community, to help narrow down the best options under your area of concerns.
All you need to do to access these lists is to go to Google and search: [‘Your requirement’ + fragrances list]. You should be shown a healthy selection of videos and blog posts to look at.
For example, if you’re looking for long lasting fragrances, you would search up something like:
‘long lasting fragrances list’
Sometimes, slightly different wordings of this request will bring up different material, so perhaps try a few different variations such as:
‘top 10 long lasting perfumes’
In this case, both queries produce the same results, but in many cases, you will be shown different resources.
With these suggestions, you would again note down the names, projection and performance of each fragrance.
A disadvantage of these lists is that they tend to lean towards ‘mainstream fragrances’, that is, those that are trending and are currently popular in the casual scene.
If you’re looking for a real unique scent, then I would stick to method one, as you are given a selection unfiltered by popular opinion.
You aren’t spending all of the time that you are with the first method narrowing your search, and then individually selecting and recording fragrances.
But also, you aren’t just being subject to one suggestion, like with method two.
It’s the best of both worlds.
Step 2 – Conclusion
So, now you either have a list of potential fragrances, or, if you used method 2, one fragrance to try.
If you used methods 1 or 3, then you should move onto step 3.
If you used method 2, then you should skip to step 4.
Step 3 – Narrow your selection down even further by using reviews – How to Find your Perfect Perfume
I know I’ve already berated the use of fragrance reviews, but they’re not entirely pointless.
Through there are differences in reaction to your skin, the juice should still be the same – it’s the same product.
So, reviews aren’t useless, but should be approached with caution.
As your list should be down to perhaps a handful of potential fragrances, it’s not a monstrous task of reading reviews of all of them.
You can find reviews on the previously mentioned Fragrantica, by selecting a fragrance and scrolling down, or by simply Googling [fragrance name + ‘review].
From this exercise, you should discard those that have unanimous criticism.
This will further reduce your list of potential candidates.
Step 4 – Trial by department store – How to Find your Perfect Perfume
At this point, you’ve done all you can passively.
The next step is to actively try the remaining fragrances on your list in real life.
One of the best (and free) ways to do this is through your local department store.
Unfortunately, if you have a lot of niche picks, then they might not be there.
But typically, you will have a large selection of tester bottles to try out, from many brands.
You can take advantage of this, and try the fragrances out on your skin, so you can get an accurate perception of how they will perform and smell on you.
So, you would turn up to the sore, and sequentially make your way through each fragrance on your list.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when you are doing this though:
- You only have limited skin to work with. (Try wearing short sleeves to give you more room. Don’t mix two fragrances together on your skin.)
- Fragrances smell different on paper than they do on your skin. (Always judge a fragrance based on its smell on your skin, and not paper.)
- Fragrances develop over time. (Don’t judge a fragrance by its opening (the smell immediately after the sprays), as it will typically smell very different in the ‘developmental’ and ‘dry down’ period, which is what you will be experiencing most of the time while wearing it.
- You will realistically only be wearing one spray of the fragrance per location. (You don’t want to overload your skin by spraying 10 in the same spot. This will make the scent unrealistically potent.)
By trying out the fragrances on your skin, you are actually seeing how they develop, smell and perform on you.
From this, some of the fragrances you were initially excited about may fall out of favour, and conversely, ones that you weren’t wild about on paper may turn out to be a cut above the rest.
You don’t know until you try.
From this exercise, you can even further tune your selection down, perhaps to two or three scents.
Step 5 – Trial by sample – How to Find your Perfect Perfume
At this point, you know that you like the remaining fragrances on your list.
But you’ve been very much in the ‘testing’ state of mind.
There may be many scents that you like, but only a few that represent you, and robustly work for your skin type.
The only way you can really test this is by trying them out in a live setting.
You can do this by acquiring fragrance samples, and bringing them into your daily rotation, making sure to spray them as you usually would.
You can gather samples in a few ways:
- In department stores, ask the salespeople for samples of the fragrances that you enjoy. (Usually free – But very safe)
- Online from specialist retailers, such as FragranceSamplesUK.com (Can sometimes be expensive – But very safe)
- Online from auction websites, such as e-Bay (Can be cheap or expensive – Is sometimes quite risky due to abundance of fakes)
I would also recommend to buy larger samples, such as 10ml. This is a big enough sample to really judge how it works for you.
If you buy smaller quantities, it may make you use it differently, such as making you spray less, which would not give an accurate depiction of realistic use.
Step 1 – Define the attributes that you’re looking for. What type of scent do you want? How long do you want it to last?
Step 2 – Use online tools to produce a list of ‘potential perfect’ fragrances, that have most, if not all, attributes that you’re looking for.
Remove all the fragrances that are not in the categories that you’re looking for.
Step 3 – Read reviews on each fragrance to get a better understanding of them.
Remove the fragrances that have unanimously bad reviews.
Step 4 – Travel to your local department store and try, on your skin, as many fragrances as you can that are on your list, to get a feel of how they smell and perform on your skin.
Remove the fragrances you don’t like the smell of, or those that you don’t like the performance or projection of.
Step 5 – Buy samples of your final fragrance selections, and trial them out as you would wear them in day-to-day life.
Select the best one for you, which will be your perfect fragrance in the category you selected.
Conclusion – How to Find your Perfect Perfume
So, now you know how to find your perfect perfume.
This step-by-step system is, in my opinion, the most robust way to choose a fragrance that you will enjoy.
You can wing it, but usually results in a purchase that you’re dissatisfied with.
By following this system, you are consecutively narrowing down the pool of thousands of fragrances to a select few, to make testing them on your skin, and purchasing samples, as easy and cheap as possible.
It’s really that simple.
But it’s not easy, and certainly takes time – however, these are unfortunately the requirements of finding the perfect fragrance for you.