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How to find your new fave fragrance

Get ready to hear "You smell amazing" a lot. 

There comes a time in your life when you're ready to stop smelling like a pack of Starburst (sorry, Bath & Body Works) and find a fragrance that just feels like you.

Picking your first real perfume is truly a coming-of-age occasion. Why? The right scent makes a statement: It complements your personality, adds dimension to your aesthetic and makes sure you're remembered wherever you go. You experiment and express yourself with clothes, jewelry and makeup, so why not play around with perfume, too?

If you're ready to uncover your signature scent, you've come to the right place.

Make sense of scents

Experts categorize fragrances into four main profiles: woody, floral, fresh and spiced. Within each, you'll find different notes (or layers) that make each perfume unique, explains Lake & Skye founder and CEO Courtney Somer.

"First, you'll smell the top notes, which draw you in," she shares. "After some wear, the middle notes become more noticeable—they're really the heart of the scent. Then after the fragrance dries down, you'll smell the base notes." (It takes about 30 minutes to an hour for the different layers to develop.)

Find your fave

Since fragrance notes evolve as you wear them, choosing one requires a bit more than just spritzing and sniffing, Most stores have samples to take home and try. No trial sizes to snag? Spritz a little from the tester on your forearm at the beginning of your day and sniff as you shop.

Buying online? If this is your only option, study up on the top, middle and base notes of each perfume and consider opting for a set of samples before you purchase (pricey) full-size fragrances.

Match your mood

It's perfectly fine to stick to one tried-and-true—but some girls like to switch up their scent depending on the sitch.

Advises Somer, "Ask yourself if there is an emotion or vibe you'd like to enhance." Like something lush for a fun night out? Try florals blended with amber or musk. Searching for something subtle and clean for school? Seek out scents with citrus and earthy green notes.

As you build your collection, consider the energy you're trying to cultivate for each moment on your calendar.

Spray the right way

As tempting as it is to walk through a perfume cloud on your way out the door, you won't be doing your fragrance any favors (no matter what a million teen movies tell you).

"Apply perfume to the warmer areas of your body, like pulse points, to activate and amplify fragrance," says Danielle Raynor, founder of Lavanila fragrance. These include your temples, wrists, behind your ears and on the nape of your neck. The heat from your skin helps the perfume develop. And remember, less is more. One or two spritzes directly on these areas will do the trick. 

Stay sweet

Yes, we know perfume bottles look so pretty in your bedroom window, but sunlight can break down the fragrance, explains Raynor. 'It's best to store scents in a cool, dry place." The good news? Perfumes rarely expire. As time passes, you may notice the notes ebb and flow, leaving you with a unique scent every time, Raynor says. Now your perfume is as complex and intriguing as you are.

We found a perfume for every personality

And the signature scent to perfectly match your energy is...

🌿 Woody

Your vibe: You're an amazing friend and always give the best advice. Cozy, earthy fragrances draw people in—just like you do.
Scent search: Amber, cedarwood, jasmine, vetiver, leather.
Try: Lake and Skye Echo Lake Fragrance Oil, $48

🌸 Floral

Your vibe: Introspective and sensitive, flower fans love fragrances that are as delicate and dreamy as they are.
Scent search: Rosehips, fruit leaves, berries, orange blossom.
Try: Gucci Flora Gorgeous Gardenia Eau de Parfum, $92

🍋 Fresh

Your vibe: You're bold, outgoing, and feel most at home in nature. Invigorating citrus and calming grassy notes are eau so refreshing. 
Scent search: Citrus, sea salt, sugar, bergamot, lavender
Try: Lavanila Vanilla Grapefruit, $48

🍂 Spiced

Your vibe: Adventurous, determined and surprising, smooth sandalwoods and ylang-ylang match your bright, playful nature.
Scent search: Sage, cardamom, musk, patchouli
Try: PHLUR Missing Person Eau de parfum, $96

Hey, girl! Just wanted to let you know that this story originally ran in our December/January 2023 issue. Want more? Read the print mag for free *today* when you click HERE.

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by Erin Sargent | 12/1/2022
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