Finding my signature scent has long been an unsettled item on my life bucket list, as silly as that may sound. I’ve always had this romantic idea of someday discovering a fragrance to call my signature—an unmistakable, highly personal scent that I wear for not just years but decades, and that my husband and friends come to recognize as my own. After a great deal of exploration, I just recently landed on the one: Tom Ford’s Santal Blush. Have you found yours? I’d love to hear it! If not, I’m certainly no fragrance expert, but I thought I’d share a few of my suggestions for finding your own signature scent. Keep reading for a bit about my search and my tips…
My perfume journey has taken me years and many fragrances to find—from Clinque’s Happy in high school to Chanel Chance to Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde (and many more in between). Nothing was ever quite right. Fresh’s Cannabis Santal, which I did not realize was technically a men’s fragrance when I bought it, has been my closest match and go-to scent for the past few years. It was probably a pretty telling selection—I have a tendency to like men’s fragrances (even using my husband’s on occasion). It turns out I like spicy, wood orientals – notes like patchouli, sandalwood, bergamot. Nothing too sweetly floral, too fruity or too green.
After running out of Cannabis Santal in May, I decided to intensify my search for a potential long-term solution. I narrowed in on my fragrance family, tried on too many options to remember, and then there it was. Tom Ford’s Santal Blush is sophisticated and earthy at the same time, woodsy yet has a note of femininity too. It has an incredible lasting power—the card I first sprayed it on back in May still carries the scent. And I cannot get enough of it—I literally kept going back to that card to inhale the smell deeply while I pondered the investment…and now I’ll still sneak a smell of my inner wrist during the day. So my tips?
- Get a sense of your fragrance family. The four standards are Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh. Then sub-groupings branch out from there. I found the Fragrance Wheel to be a good initial resource to help me narrow down the notes I already knew I was gravitating toward into a type of perfume. This helped a lot once I popped into stores, allowing me to explain what I was looking for.
- But be open. If the salesperson suggests something based on your preferences, give it a smell. Don’t let fragrance notes that you have preconceived ideas about—violet is for grandmas, cedarwood is for men—deter you from giving it consideration. You may be pleasantly surprised and find something you wouldn’t have otherwise!
- Break up your search. If you smell too many fragrances in one setting, your nose (and your brain!) are going to get confused. Try a handful, leave with a few sprayed on cards, then go back another day.
- Find your comfort zone. Maybe it’s Sephora, where you can test at your leisure. Maybe it’s a nice department store like Saks, which has a great selection and knowledgeable associates. Or maybe your area is lucky enough to have a boutique perfumery that specializes in fragrances. It’s important to do your scent searching wherever you’re most comfortable and can get the level of assistance you need.
- Let it be. Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, leave a single fragrance on your wrist for the day. Walk around, shop, run errands. See how the notes develop and meld with your skin’s chemistry. You may like it more or less, after wearing it for the day.
- Consider it an investment. A signature scent is something you wear everyday. If it’s something you absolutely love spritzing on day in and day out, it will be well worth the investment in time to find it and the cost.