6 Tips for Choosing Your Signature Scent

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Posted November 30, 2013 by Katherine Toll in Building Your Brand
Fragrance Bottles

Last week we discussed your signature scent and five tips to wearing it. When chosen properly, a signature scent helps define your personal brand and makes you memorable – just make sure you know how to choose and wear your fragrance.

Keep these 6 tips in mind to find your match:

  1. Head to a store: Never, ever buy a new fragrance on the internet, even if you smelled it on a friend and LOVED IT! Why? See tip #2!
  2. Get it on your skin: An internet product description lacks a critical element in the testing process. The test!  Additionally, scent strips, Kleenex, etc. don’t count. They might indicate whether you like the scent, but not if it works on you. Your body’s composition and the fragrance’s need to coexist peacefully so get it on the top of your hand, wrist, or arm, whatever!
  3. Beware of the alcohol flash: You know that sharp, harsh first whiff when you recoil with a  ‘too strong!’ reaction. It’s called an alcohol flash – spray on a fragrance and wait 30 seconds before going in for a sniff. Perfumers use this technique to lift and diffuse the fragrance off your skin. Without it, the oils would just sit there on your skin.
  4. Refresh your palette: Three to four scents are the max to try at one time. We experience something called nose fatigue, which means our olfactory senses wear out. Some suggest smelling coffee beans to clear your palette, but the pros take a sniff of themselves! True story! They sniff the their shirt sleeve.
  5. Take a break before making a final decision: After you test a few scents get the hell out for the fragrance department. The air hangs with the fragrances sprayed there all day, every day. Plus, let a fragrance calm down on your skin – most evolve through a dry down process, so make sure you love it in 20 minutes before plucking down any money.
  6. If you can afford it buy the perfume. But, that’s too strong to wear every day!  Patently wrong. Perfume (or parfum) is the most concentrated form of the fragrance, and the way most perfumers intended you to wear it. It’s the richest, fullest version of the fragrance – think of a perfume as a beautifully aged scotch. Smooth, elegant, and unforgettable. (As an aside – parfum is the French pronunciation for perfume.)
  7. What about the other forms? Same song, less complex versions. Perfume is the most concentrated, then an Eau de Parfum, then Eau de Toilette. Here’s a good rule of thumb:
    • Perfume: most concentrated, reapply every six to eight hour
    • Eau de Parfum: a step down from perfume, reapply every four to six hours
    • Eau de Toilette: a step down from an Eau de Parfum, reapply every two to four hours.
    • Eau de Splash or Cologne: a freshener, nothing more, last an hourish if that.

Love the beauty beat? Then visit Expert on Time for more beauty and fashion insights.


About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.

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