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Tips on How to Choose a New Perfume
& Find Your Fragrance Personality

What Scent Represents Your Personality

When you choose a perfume, you are expressing something about the way you want to see yourself or your "fragrance personality". Do you want to feel fresh and clean? Exotic and energetic? Youthful or woman-of-the-world? You’d think it would be an easy thing to find a new perfume—just pick the scents you like, right? Sure, that’s where you should start, and you should also make an effort to consider scents you dislike. Fragrance researchers have found that many people find the scent of lavender calming, because it reminds them of earlier times and their grandmother’s linen closet. But we are all individuals, and someone who was made to stand in the linen closet until she ate all her broccoli may not find the scent of lavender pleasant at all. On the other hand, the scent of tobacco is attractive to many people, and has found its way into dozens of men’s colognes and a significant of women’s perfumes, often characterized as having a leathery-woody-spicy-tabac scent.
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Take your time perfume shopping before you buy a perfume fragrance.

Perfume shopping isn’t something you can do in a single day, because after a few sprays at the samples counter, the sensors in your nose shut off and either you can’t smell the perfumes you’re trying on, or they blend and create a perfume that doesn’t really exist. At that point, you may find yourself coming home with something that turns out to smelling completely different from the way it did in the store. The fragrance didn’t change during the car ride home: after a half-hour or so of not being exposed to fragrances, your nose just started working again!

Take lots of breaks when shopping for perfume. Whenever possible, start with lighter scents, so your nose won’t be overpowered early on. If you’re looking for something rich and heady, test one or two fragrances, wander off to shop for something else or grab a cup of coffee, and return in 20 minutes or more to try a couple more.

Read the perfume information before you buy.

You can sometimes find lighter scents by reading the descriptions on the packaging: packaging is often colored to reflect the overall tone of the scent, so that you will often find fruity scents in bright packages, rich, complex ones in deep reds or browns, and light florals in pastel colors. It’s not always a sure thing, though: some perfumes made for the ‘teens and ‘tweens are heavy with sweet, aqueous scents and florals, often boosted with high-potency citrus. You’ll find them in blues and greens, metallic-finished bottles and high-tech looking packages.

Clear your sense of smell.

Like all our senses, after being exposed to stimuli for awhile, our olfactory senses “habituate”, shutting down to pervasive or continuing aromas or odors. Sensors can be recalled to duty by “palate cleansing”, or by taking a break. Fragrance boutiques that specialize in scented oils often leave saucers of coffee beans around so you can get a little more mileage out of your scent sensors. In the way that a wine taster takes a bite or two of bread between tastings, sniffing the coffee beans refreshes your sense of smell and lets you sniff a few more scents before your nose gives out. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, you might save some time by talking to the salesperson about scents you like and asking for help finding a perfume that combines them.

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