How to Work Out Which Perfume is Right for You

There are many different fragrances out there. Head into any perfume shop, and you’ll notice shelf upon shelf of scents; from designer offerings to celebrity-endorsed options. Not only is it virtually impossible to know which to select, but it’s also tricky to understand the terminology. With that in mind, here are some useful tips.

Understanding perfume, and choosing the perfect one for you

  • Firstly, you’ll probably have noticed that there are all sorts of different words for perfume.
  • Perfume. If a fragrance is called a perfume, that means it’s got a high concentration of ingredients. It lasts longer than other scents, and as such, is the most expensive to buy.
  • Eau de parfum. Eau de parfum is still a high-quality product, but contains a slightly lower concentration of ingredients, so it’s a little bit cheaper.
  • Eau de toilette. This is the next level down, which means it’s more reasonably priced, but won’t last quite as long.
  • Eau de cologne. Eau de cologne is weaker still, and tends to be only splashed on to add some temporary scent.

What ingredients? 

  • Fruity aromas. If you’re in love with more natural beauty, look for perfumes with fruity notes. Plenty of fragrances are citrus-based, for example (like Neroli Portofino), and some feature apple, such as Creed Aventus. These scents are often fresh, invigorating and ideal for day-time wear.
  • Floral scents. Floral-dominant perfumes tend to be reserved for feminine fragrances (though some masculine scents use them too). Common floral ingredients tend to be lavender, rose (Velvet Rose and Oud is a great example), jasmine or violet. Coco Mademoiselle is a good example of a fragrance that uses floral notes in an updated, interesting way.
  • Exotic aromas. Exotic scents immediately take you to the Far East or Middle-East, with scents such as oud oil, sandalwood, patchouli or amber. They tend to be rich and intense, and ideal for evening wear – sites like Copycat Fragrances are good for searching for inspiration.
  • Unexpected notes. Some perfumes (especially contemporary ones) have unexpected ingredients, such as pink pepper, coconut, pineapple or vetiver (which smells quite grassy). If you’re looking for a signature scent, this could be a good option for you.

How to sample the right one

Work out if you’d rather have a fr
esh, fruity perfume, or something a bit more sultry and mysterious. Then, head to your nearest department store and tell them the sort of ingredients you’re looking for. A good salesperson should know their products, and thus be able to assist you. 

As it’s a treat, you should embrace the experience wholeheartedly. Take your time. Don’t, for example, try to sniff too many in quick succession, as your sense of smell will be confused! If you don’t love the idea of testing them in a shop, try ordering some sample-sized bottles from an online retailer. These often have a few applications each, providing you with the ideal chance to test them out in a range of different circumstances.

Let me know, do you have a perfume you love?

*Collaborative post


  1. Thank you, this is really helpful. I don't think there is any pattern to the ones I like, but I certainly know it when I smell it and I try to go for a mid price range. My current favourite is Eternity Summer. Mich x

  2. The best advice is never to try a perfume in store and buy it because you like it, instead try and sample it away from the counter and in an environment you know well, like the home or office. Once a fragrance settles it can smell so different to that it did at the counter. That was advice given to me by a top perfumer x