How to choose the right perfume: 5 essential tips

Struggling to find the fragrance that is just right? Follow our helpful tips…

How to choose the right perfume: 5 essential tips
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Choosing the right perfume is a very personal journey for everyone. It’s not as easy as reading reviews online, ordering a bottle and hoping for the best, you have to understand the fragrance notes and families, i.e., asking yourself important questions such as if you like floral notes, citrus notes or stronger scents like oud. It all depends on what appeases your senses and ultimately, what suits your personality. 

Trying too many scents at the same time can be extremely overwhelming, and that’s why it’s key to take a break and come back later to make a purchase, or alternatively take some samples home to try over a period of time. 

Due to the journey the perfume goes through once it makes contact with your skin, it’s integral for you to test your perfume of choice prior to making the purchase. Fragrances are made up of a triangle that consists of: base notes, heart notes and top notes. 

As soon as you spray the perfume on your skin the first thing you will smell is the top notes, and after a while, the body of the perfume - the heart notes - will come through your skin, and after an hour or so the base notes will come through, which is the scent that people will smell and the one that will last the longest on your skin. It’s not as simple as love at first sight, you have to give it some time. 

When you've finished reading this guide, head to T3's feature on the best women’s perfumes for more tips and recommendations.

Here are some common rules to follow when choosing your perfume:

  • Don’t get carried away trying too many fragrances in one go: Test the fragrance on your skin, see how it makes you feel and how it develops over time as it may smell different once it has settled on your skin. For example, the smell of rose is a popular scent but that does not mean it will work for your skin. The key message is to take your time in choosing.
  • Notes are everything: Pay attention to the notes you like as this will narrow down your search and will make it easier to find the right perfume, both in-store and online. Ask yourself, what scents do you already love in other products? Do you like the way your cherry candle smells, and want something similar? Sometimes the answer is right in front of you.
  • Layer perfumes to build your perfect scent: You can actually layer perfumes, from lightest scent to strongest scent to make your own ‘signature’ perfume, should you be unable to find the one you desire in one bottle. You can mix your own perfumes that belong to different fragrances note and families together to create that beautiful, signature scent of your own.
  • Don't follow trends: Don’t make perfume purchases based on popularity or what is trending. What is one person’s holy grail might not be yours. Take your time, learn about yourself, your style and taste before committing to a perfume.
  • Think about the event you're buying for: Is it for your self-care routine, for your date, for bedtime, an occasion such as your birthday or a wedding? Scents are connected to emotion and memory, and often when you smell that scent again it transports you back to the time you wore that. Perfumes are connected to our emotions and memory, so ask yourself, what do I need this perfume for?

If you're shopping for the man in your life, then check out T3's guide to the best men’s fragrances and colognes.

Farhiya Ali

Farhiya Ali is a freelance journalist, writer and researcher. She covers beauty, fragrance and grooming products for T3.