How many times have you fallen in love with a perfume, only to hate it by the time you get home? The most likely time you’ll regret impulse shopping. Perfume is one cosmetic that can be extremely difficult to shop for. Fragrance can smell differently in the bottle than it does on you and even your friend. To avoid buying a fragrance that you regret, here are a few key steps to finding a signature fragrance that fits you.

Find the Notes.

Each fragrance will have top/head, middle/heart, and base notes. These “notes” are the scents that will come through most strongly in the perfume. The top notes are the initial scents that evaporate quickly; they are often sharp and clean. The middle notes shine through after the initial top notes have faded, and are often described as “round.” The base notes are the foundation; as the strongest fragrances they are rich and deep and will remain on your skin most strongly as it is worn throughout the day. Understanding the different notes is the first key step in finding that signature scent you love. Ask someone at a fragrance counter to help educate you on the different notes; determining whether you like musky, floral, fresh, or woodsy scents will narrow down your selection to make your shopping experience much easier.

Clear Your Palette.

After smelling two or three perfumes on blotter cards, it can become extremely difficult to determine the different notes between scents and they can all begin to smell extremely similar. To clear your palette, many perfume counters have small containers of coffee beans to refresh your nasal cavity. Although this may seem like an ingenious idea, the smell of the coffee beans can alter your ability to distinguish different notes. A better way to clear your palette is by placing your nose in the sleeve of your elbow as if you were to cover a sneeze, and breathe in the fibers of the clothing. The clothing fibers will allow your nasal cavity to be more neutralized than the coffee beans will.

Wear it Home.

While it may be tempting to buy a fragrance the day you fall in love with it, it’s a good idea to take home a sample to see how the fragrance wears throughout the day. The important thing to remember is to wear the fragrance when you haven’t applied any other scented products to prevent altering the perfume with lingering scents on your skin. This also allows you to see how the different head and middle notes wear throughout the day, ensuring you love the base notes that will be on after a full day of work. By taking your time to ensure you’re investing in a fragrance you absolutely love, you’ll have no trouble finding that signature fragrance that is absolutely you.

Featured image hair by Tamara Laureus

Fashion and coffee enthusiast. When Kassidy isn’t out exploring new coffee shops and museums in NYC, she can be found writing about everything fashion related.