How To Find Your Signature Fragrance

This post is in partnership with Sephora. All words + experiences are completely my own.

With the holidays right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about the perfect gifts to give my gal pals. Fragrance is always at the top of my list—to give and receive—as it’s truly a luxurious experience to open and spritz that dreamy new scent.

If you’re on the hunt for that perfect fragrance gift or are looking to find your signature scent for the new year, Sephora is where it’s at. There is a 100% chance you can find me at the nearest Sephora this time of year, filling up a bag with (way too many) gifts. I just get excited, okay Karen?!!

Finding the *perfect* new fragrance to pick up can be overwhelming, so here are my hot tips on how to narrow it down to the scents that were practically made for you:

Tip #1: Think of the scents you’re already drawn to

Let’s start with the basics here: what scents are you drawn to in everyday life? What scents give you that OMG I LOOOOOVE THIS reaction? Maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies. Maybe it’s coffee (yup). Maybe it’s garlic sizzlin’ on the pan or fresh florals when you walk outside. Jot ’em down sista!

Now take another look at your list. Any similarities? You may see a pattern of sweet vs. spicy scents, nature & more! This is a fab start.

Tip #2: Peek at the fragrances you already own

Next, take a look at the fragrances you already wear and love. What notes are apparent in this fragrance? If you’re like *wtf* don’t sweat it—head to Sephora.com, type in your perfume/cologne + you’ll find the key notes listed conveniently in the description.

Tip #3: The order of the notes matters

Every fragrance is composed of base, middle and top notes. The base notes are the strongest, most longest lasting scents. You know how when you wear your perfume all day, you’ll smell different than when you first spritzed it? That’s because the top and middle notes have likely worn off, so it’s the base notes that are left. Base notes are often the spicier scents, such as vetiver or patchouli.

Here’s what’s really interesting: the middle notes are considered the star of a fragrance. There are 4 fragrance families: floral, fresh, warm & spicy, and earthy & woodsy. How you identify a fragrance from the above is due to the middle notes!

Top notes evaporate the fastest, so keep that in mind when picking your signature scent. If you’re only drawn to a top note, you might love it at first, but not so much as it wears throughout the day. You’ll find the fresh, fruity aromas here, such as bergamot, citrus or rosemary. Yum.

Tip #4: Head to Sephora with your list + notes!

Sephora has a lot of options here, and let’s be honest, no one wants to give themselves a massive headache by spraying themselves with every fragrance on the shelf.

Use your list and notes to guide you! If you found that you’re drawn to bergamot and patchouli, look at the shelf price magnets to navigate you. They list the notes of each fragrance for you! Even better: Sephora has the 4 Fragrance Families listed on these as well.

If you still aren’t sure, Sephora has Scent Jars that allow you to figure out which of those 4 fragrance families you like best! How easy is that? If you’re shopping online, take their Fragrance Finder quiz to guide you!

Tip #5: Give it time

If you’ve got the time (& patience, let’s be real) I highly suggest spritzing the final contender(s) on your wrists and neck, and going about your day / holiday shopping. The top notes will start to evaporate at around the 20 minute mark, so you’ll start to see how it evolves on your skin. After about 4 hours is when you’ll get the real feel for the scent and how it works with your body chemistry.

My current signature scent? Atelier Cologne Clementine California Perfume. It’s in the Fresh fragrance family, and has a base note of vetiver, middle note of clementine, and top note of star anise. I’ve been lucky enough to experience quite a few California summers so far, and there’s truly nothing like it. I can’t pinpoint what the air smells like, but it’s dreamy. When I first smelled this perfume, I was instantly hit with nostalgia, and my first summer in Los Angeles. Gah, the feels!

I’m definitely attracted to unisex fragrances, and this one is no exception! It makes me feel energized and awake in the morning! I also found out later that it’s made from 92% renewable, natural-origin ingredients which makes me even happier!

I hope this helps you find your new, signature scent! Head to Sephora to find yours + send me a DM when you do! I’d LOVE to see what you get! They have the best fragrance gifts for the holidays, you really can’t go wrong.

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