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How (and Why) to Choose a Signature Scent

A woman wearing a sun hat, holding a bottle of perfume up to spritz it on her neck.
Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Have you ever smelled a fragrance that immediately reminded you of a specific person? No matter when or where it happens, the effect is undeniably strong. You can have this same memorable effect on others with a signature scent!

Of course, there’s no reason not to rotate through a selection of fragrances if that’s more your style. If you want people to remember you a bit more intensely, though, a signature scent is an excellent way to do it. Your signature fragrance can actually become part of your personal brand—an unspoken statement of who you are.

Unsure how (or why) to choose a fragrance that makes you unforgettable? We’ve got some ideas!

Why Wear a Signature Scent?

With today’s mass-produced, affordable perfumes and colognes, the idea of a signature scent is a little old-fashioned. However, it’s also a classy approach to the concept of fragrance. Plus, choosing a personal scent can be a lot of fun.

A signature scent says something about you without saying a word. It’s an extension of your personal style—what you wear and do that causes people to remember you. When you always wear the same fragrance, people will think of you when they smell those same notes anywhere else.

Perfume is also one of the most personal accessories you can wear, which is why a “signature” scent works so well. Not only is everyone’s taste in fragrance different, but scents also smell slightly different on each individual’s skin. Whenever you wear a scent, your unique skin chemistry truly makes it your own.

Because scent is so personal, of course, the idea of having one as a “signature” might just not be your thing. Some people aren’t into perfume, and others like to amass a collection of samples and switch it up every day.

However, if you like fragrances, choosing one to wear regularly (or even every day) is a pretty cool way to express yourself.

How to Choose a Signature Scent

So, how does one go about choosing a signature scent, anyway? Well, again, it’s such a personal thing, it’s really just a matter of figuring out which fragrances you like.

The tips below will help you figure out which scent is good enough to be your go-to!

Learn Your Favorite Notes

A woman smelling flowers.
David Prado Perucha/Shutterstock

Fragrances are comprised of notes layered together to create a certain effect. The top notes come on strong, but fade the fastest, leaving the middle notes to shine. The base notes, though, linger for hours after you apply a scent.

So, first, you have to learn which notes you like best. This will make it much easier to choose a fragrance that feels like you. The best way to discover your favorite notes is to just sample lots of different scents and see which of them resonate with you.

Familiarizing yourself with the fragrance wheel can also help you understand more about which notes you like, and which of them pair well together.

Convey Moods and Interests

Many people associate scents with moods. Although our experience of fragrance is somewhat subjective, some scents make a more universal statement. For example, you might associate vanilla with feeling warm and cozy, or cedarwood with hiking and feeling adventurous.

Your passions and hobbies can help drive your decision, too. For example, an avid baker might love those vanilla scents, while a kayaking enthusiast might gravitate toward the cedarwood.

When you can find a note that reflects your personality, you’re well on your way to a signature scent.

Test with Care

Before you buy a fragrance, always spray some on your skin. If you’ve been sampling several scents, make sure you spray it in a spot where you haven’t spritzed anything else. Then, wear it all day and make sure it still feels all right after several hours.

You might even want to ask for a sample size so you can wear it for a few days before you commit. Many companies offer fragrance samples, even if you’re shopping online.

Test it at different times of day, as well. A scent that speaks to you in the morning might feel all wrong by tomorrow evening. Give yourself plenty of time to consider a fragrance before you spring for the full size.

You can even ask your family and friends what they think of it. While not everyone enjoys the same scents, it would be nice if the fragrance you wear the most also resonates with the people you’re around the most.

Avoid Feeling Pressured

Many people who sell fragrances work on commission, so their job is to make sales. However, sometimes their sales tactics can make you feel pressured to purchase something you don’t really want.

If you’re in a store, don’t feel pressured to make a choice too quickly. It’s usually best to walk away and think about it for a day or two. However, you can write down the name of the employee. If he or she was truly helpful, mention their name when you make your purchase so they’ll get credit for the sale.

Build a Signature Scent Wardrobe

As you grow a collection of fragrance samples and experiment with different scents, it will become clear which are poised to become signature fragrances. Also, you don’t necessarily have to choose just one.

If you smell the same thing every day, your nose adjusts to the scent, and you’ll stop noticing it. This can leave you feeling unimpressed with your signature scent or, even worse, cause you to apply way too much of it.

However, if you keep a small collection of fragrances to choose from, you won’t have this problem. You can have separate signature scents for daytime and evening, or even for each season.

You might also want to build a collection of scents designed for layering. These allow you to create custom blends that will definitely make a signature statement.


While a signature scent certainly isn’t a necessity, it’s a fun way to help people remember you—and boost your self-confidence wherever you go.

Elyse Hauser Elyse Hauser
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. She specializes in lifestyle writing and creative nonfiction. Read Full Bio »

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