How to Find Your Signature Scent: A Perfumer’s Top Tips

We've got the expert advice for your perfect fragrance.
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Have you ever spent hours walking through the fragrance section of your favourite department store only to leave with a collection of sample cards? Well, we here at WHO feel your pain. 

With seemingly endless perfume options ranging from fruity florals to sultry musks, the task of finding your number one signature scent can feel like an impossible feat. 

WATCH: How to make solid perfume at home. Article continues after video. 

Unsure where to start on your fragrance journey? WHO sat down with Fresh co-founder and passionate perfumer Lev Glazman to chat all things fragrance and uncover his expert tips and tricks on how to discover your signature scent. 

Lev sat down with WHO to chat all things fragrance. (Credit: Getty)

What do the top, middle, and base notes in perfume mean? Is one more important than the other?

The top notes are the first impression of the scent and the notes that most quickly evaporate. It is the initial spark of the scent.

Using Fresh’s Lily Jasmine fragrance as an example – the top notes are comprised of sparkling bergamot, dreamy lavender, and pink pepper. The middle notes of transparent clarysage, spring muguet, and jasmine sambac are known as the ‘heart’ of the scent and then, finally, the base supports the lighter notes of a fragrance and has the longest-lasting power. In Lily Jasmine, the base notes of earthy cedarwood, crystal moss, and warm amber ground the other notes.

Together, the top, middle, and base notes work together to comprise the fragrance and give a layered, complex scent journey.

What are the differences between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette?

Eau de Parfum contains a higher concentration of perfume oil than Eau de Toilette, therefore, the Eau de Toilette is lighter. One is not necessarily better than the other—it just depends on the type of fragrance and intensity you are looking for.

When first testing perfume, Lev says a sample card is the best place to start. (Credit: Getty)

What is the best starting point for discovering your signature scent?

I suggest thinking about what scents you gravitate towards. Whether that is fresh, sweet, woody, or floral, you can begin trying different scents within a fragrance family and comparing them.

How do I determine the best fragrance notes for my body chemistry?

Each person’s body chemistry is different and reacts to scents differently. The fragrance comes alive on the skin. That is why I always suggest you shop in person for fragrance or request a sample online to find the one that fits your skin and personality.

I also like to change my fragrance throughout the year. During the warm days of summer, we gravitate toward citrusy, fresh, or cleaner notes because we want the fragrance to feel lighter. In the cold winter months, you might want something cosier—something vanilla or woodsy. You can also layer your lighter summer scent with a second fragrance during winter to create something new.

Lev suggests spritzing your favourite scent onto moisturised skin for maximum longevity. (Credit: Getty)

What is the best way to sample perfume? 

First, spray it on a sample card to see if the fragrance notes resonate with you or trigger a memory. Fragrance has an emotional aspect to it. If you feel a connection with a scent, then, sample it on your skin to test it with your unique body chemistry.

If you are interested in trying layered fragrances, I suggest spraying one fragrance on the back of the neck, another on the collarbone, and then alternating the first and second fragrances on each side of the body.

A spray of one on the right arm or shoulder, a spray of the second fragrance on the left arm or shoulder. This way, the fragrances mingle to create an aura around you, and the scent evolves as you move throughout the day.

Why do some fragrances smell different on different people? How do you know what scent profile will work best for you?

Every fragrance will smell different depending on the person, which is why I highly encourage testing a scent on your own skin. This is one of the reasons I love fragrance—the wearer brings it to life, through their own body chemistry and personality.

To perserve your new favourite scent, store in a cool, dry place. (Credit: Getty)

What is the best way to increase a scent’s longevity on the skin?

The best way is to start with moisturised skin. Start with a body lotion and then spray your fragrance on top to increase its lasting power, however, an Eau de Parfum should last on the skin for 6-8 hours on its own.

If you want a fragrance with longevity, I recommend an Eau de Parfum.

What is the best way to store fragrances to maintain their scent?

Caring for fragrances is simple – store them in a cool, dry place and if the fragrance begins to change scent or colour, it is time for a new one.

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