Making scents: How to find your signature fragrance

There’s a bit of an art to finding the perfect perfume for yourself or someone special.

How many times have you bought a perfume because it smelled fabulous on someone else – only to be disappointed when you wear it yourself?

Emma Leah, master perfumier at Melbourne’s Fleurage scent design studio, shares her tips for selecting the perfect scent.

Try before you buy

“A quality perfume should work with your own body. Try it on and leave it for a couple of hours. It settles in to the skin then and you’ll have an idea whether it works for you or not,” says Emma.

Wear it where there is body heat, such as the hairline or small of your back.

Hit the right notes

Top notes of a perfume present first and then disappear. Heart notes then come through and are longer lasting. Base notes are the last to appear.

Perfume should unfold gradually, rather than be a jumble of smells.

Wait for lingering scents

“The scents that suit us are the ones we can wear well and that match things we like in terms of foods and colours. If you’ve had a bad experience connected to a certain scent, you’ll never like it,” says Emma.

“So if you’re choosing a perfume for someone else, look at the kinds of scents they have already and you’ll find common themes.”

Note those down and then when buying perfume, let the perfumier know the kinds of scents you want.

perfect perfumes

Match your personality

If you like warmth and spicy food, you’ll probably prefer a spicy fragrance.

If you like a brighter, fresher scent, choose perfumes with a citrus or fresh water-type fragrance.

Choose vanilla for a subdued, sophisticated scent.

Fashion scents – what’s trending?

Fresh green fruit florals are popular – think lychee, melon and pear.

Light florals, like cherry blossom and peony, and fig are also in demand.

Look out for chypre scents too.

“They’re a deeper woody green with a soft, powdery heart and a fresh citrus or herbal open,” says Emma.

Climate control

Store your perfume correctly. Avoid hot and humid conditions and bright light. So during summer, keep it in the fridge.

Watch Fernando Barraza share his tips for finding the perfect fragrance on House of Wellness TV.

Written by Sarah Marinos