Fragrance Files: How to Pick a Perfume That Suits You


Fragrance Files: How to Pick a Perfume That Suits You

With so many perfumes to choose from, finding a fragrance you truly love and that suits you can be overwhelming. This is everything you need to know.


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Published: October 2022

Origin: Australia

Picking the right fragrance is important for two reasons.

It helps form your identity, and it helps deepen your memories. 

Fragrance can be a form of self expression that shapes how people see you and how you see yourself. It can help refine your style to match your personality – much like the clothes you wear. 

But it also has the power to trigger memories. One waft of a fragrance can transport us back in time, and relive vivid memories.

This makes perfume especially powerful when commemorating special occasions like weddings, birthdays, and graduations. 

Are you searching for your new signature perfume? Maybe you’re looking for a new everyday staple, or perhaps there’s a milestone you’d like to celebrate with the help of a new fragrance.

Whatever your reason for wanting a new perfume, it's important to know how to pick a perfume that suits your personality and style.

In this article, we’ll discuss what to consider when choosing a perfume and how to apply it for a long, fragrant wear.

How to pick a fragrance that suits you

When you’re learning how to pick a perfume that suits you, there are five core elements to consider. Let’s dive into them.

Step one in how to pick a perfume: familiarise yourself with scent profiles.

In-store, you'll have the opportunity to try out a range of perfumes and get to know different scents. 

If you prefer shopping online, then understanding different scent categories can help to take the guesswork out of purchasing the right fragrance.

There are four main scent profiles when it comes to perfumes. These are:

  1. Oriental notes: patchouli, sweet spices and incense amber.

  2. Woody notes: leather and mosswood.

  3. Fresh notes: lavender, aquatic notes and fresh berries.

  4. Floral notes: freshly cut flowers and orange blossom. 

Once you know which family of scents you like the most, you can begin narrowing down which perfume to test out.

Step two in how to pick a perfume: be clear on your intentions.

If you’re in the process of choosing a perfume for everyday wear, be mindful that it will become an extension of your style after frequent use. So it’s important you find the scent profile that complements your personality.

Alternatively, if you are choosing a perfume for a special occasion, find a fragrance that complements the theme or sentiment of the occasion. Consider the season, temperature and time of day, and any fragrances or scents that may also be present.

For example, if you are attending a celebration in a coastal location, you may want to consider a scent profile that complements the fresh, salty sea breeze.

It’s helpful to answer the following questions:

+ How would you best describe your aesthetic?

+ Where do you envision wearing your perfume?

+ Is there a mood you’d like to tap into?

+ How often will you wear it?

+ Which predominant season will you wear your perfume in?

Step three in how to pick a perfume: sample the right way.

Picking a perfume usually involves spritzing a few different perfumes on test strips, comparing their fragrance for a few moments and choosing the winner.

But that’s not necessarily how to pick a perfume that suits you. When it comes to selecting a perfume that actually complements your natural aroma, it will take a little more time.

You’ll get the best sense of how a perfume develops by dabbing or spraying it on a pulse point and letting it sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

In this time, the perfume will transform as it blends and oxidises with your natural oils.

In the first few moments, what you’ll smell are the top notes. These tend to be floral and citrusy. But they fade soon after application.

After 15 minutes, you’ll begin to notice the heart (middle) notes and the base (bottom) notes of the perfume. These notes form the foundation of the fragrance and are the ones you should pay closest attention to.

Step four in how to pick a perfume: choose a smaller bottle.

It might seem like a budget-savvy decision to purchase a larger bottle (they're often cheaper per millilitre), however, it is actually more beneficial to purchase smaller bottles more frequently.

As you use your bottle of perfume, oxygen can begin to modify the chemical composition of your fragrance which may change the fragrance profile.

Therefore, when it comes to picking a perfume, find a fragrance that comes in a compact size. This ensures your perfume doesn’t spoil before you’re finished with it. 

Our bestselling brand N.C.P offers Discovery Sets that give you the opportunity to explore N.C.P’s most iconic fragrances without worrying about wastage or fragrance spoiling.

How to pick a perfume that will last?

Some fragrances have shorter shelf lives, while others can last many years.

Perfume begins to expire after you open it, and the speed with which it expires depends on its chemical composition, quality and the type of fragrance it emits. 

Perfumes with heavier notes like balsamic or wood will last the longest, and perfumes that are citrusy, alcohol-free or contain floral notes like patchouli have a shorter shelf life.

How long does perfume last on skin?

Generally, fragrances last between four and eight hours. However, as mentioned, this will vary depending on the scent profile, quality of your perfume, and the moisture of your skin and the environment around you.

The drier your skin and the air around you, the quicker your perfume will evaporate.

If you live in a warm climate, you may want to pick a perfume with deeper scent notes, like vanilla, sandalwood or leather, as these notes tend to last longer than a fruity or floral alternative.

How long does perfume last in an open bottle?

A bottle of perfume can last anywhere from three months to 10 years. On average, a bottle of perfume lasts 30 months.

If you live in a warm climate, or store your perfume in a hot area (which is not recommended), you can expect your bottle of perfume to last between three and six months.

How to tell if the perfume you picked has expired?

You can tell if the perfume you’ve chosen has expired by how it looks and smells. 

An expired perfume may smell less potent, vinegary, or just plain different. It can also look discoloured, or may have evaporated a considerable amount, making it look like you’ve used more than you really have. 

If your perfume started out clear or even translucent, but you’ve noticed it cloud or brown in colour, it has likely expired. 

Storing your perfume

Learning how to pick a perfume is important, but learning how to store the bottle is crucial. Where you store your perfume can increase its longevity. 

It’s best to store your perfume somewhere cool and dry, away from humidity or steam. 

If you’ve recently purchased a perfume that you know you won’t wear for a considerable amount of time, it may be a good idea to store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

But don’t keep your everyday perfume in the fridge as the temperature fluctuation between hot and cold may impact the quality and shelf life of your perfume. 

How to apply perfume

Now that you have learned how to pick a perfume, how long a perfume lasts and how to store it, let’s discuss how to apply your perfume (the best part, of course!). 

There are a few techniques you can use when it comes to spritzing your perfume, and a few things to steer clear of.

Apply the perfume directly onto your skin

Your skin is the best anchor for perfume. 

When perfume comes into contact with skin, it activates and releases its fragrance.

For an even scent, apply lotion or oil onto your body first to ensure your skin is fully hydrated. This helps to even out the distribution of your perfume and help it last longer too.

Dab onto your pulse points

The best method for applying perfume is dabbing it onto your pulse points.

Pulse points are the warmest parts of your body; their heat helps the fragrance develop on your skin. 

For the best results, apply your perfume onto your belly button, behind your ears, the back of your knees, along your wrists and your chest.

Don’t rub perfume into your skin

For the best release of fragrance, your perfume of choice should sit on your skin and blend with your natural oils. 

Avoid rubbing the perfume in once it’s applied. 

If you rub your fragrance in, the top notes tend to evaporate, or worse, you could dry out the fragrance entirely.

Walk through a perfume mist

If perfume irritates your skin when applied directly, consider spritzing your perfume to create a fragrance cloud and slowly walk through it as the particles settle.

This can feel like a calming ritual, and is a beautiful way to round out your ‘getting ready’ time.

If this is your chosen application method, you’ll be more likely to inhale the perfume, so make sure your perfume is non-toxic.

Spray onto clothing

Spraying your perfume onto your clothing is also an effective way of applying perfume. But make sure to only apply it on clothing that is perfume-friendly and easily washed.

For example, we advise against spraying your perfume directly onto silk as the oils can be difficult to remove. 

Don’t apply on your hair

While it’s okay to get a little bit of perfume on your hair, especially if you choose to apply your perfume via a perfume cloud, avoid spritzing your perfume directly on your hair.

The alcohol base of perfume may dry out your hair and damage your hair follicles. 

However, if your perfume is water based and doesn’t contain any alcohol, it will be less harmful to your hair.

Create your own concoction

Oftentimes, we tend to only wear one perfume at a time. This is a trusty approach, but it can also be fun to layer your scents.

Not only can you create new scent combinations, but you can completely reinvent your signature scent as frequently as you’d like.

If you decide to experiment with layering scents, make sure each scent complements each other. 

The takeaway on how to pick a perfume

When it comes to how to pick a perfume, there are a few factors to consider, like what the occasion is, what climate you live in, and what scent profiles stick out to you.

Make sure you store the perfume you’ve picked in a cool, dry space away from sun and humidity, and purchase smaller bottles more frequently to prevent accelerated expiration.

Apply your fragrance directly onto your pulse points or through a perfume cloud and refrain from rubbing it in. And of course, don’t forget to be creative and layer complementary scents. 



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