woman choosing from 2 perfumes

Did you know that smells are highly linked with memory and emotion?

If you’ve ever been struck by a distant memory brought on by a certain smell or been attracted to a plate of food or even a person by their smell, you know it’s true.

Are you interested in trying a new perfume, but you’re wondering What perfume is right for me?

There are so many different types of fragrances, it can be hard to choose. Let’s check out everything you need to know about how to choose a perfume.

Decide on a Price Point

One of the first steps of how to pick a perfume is to decide how much you want to spend.

Since perfume is a luxury item, as it has been for thousands of years, there is a very wide range of costs. You can certainly find perfumes for less than 20 dollars, but the fanciest brands can cost as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Pick a Scent Concentration

The name of the perfume will give you a clue as to how strong their scent concentration is. The scent concentration reflects how long the scent will last.
Check out the front of a perfume bottle and look underneath the perfume name. You’ll typically find the terms eau de cologneeau de toiletteeau de parfum, or simply parfum.

  • Eau de cologne lasts for about two hours and has the lowest fragrance concentration
  • Eau de toilette will last for three to four hours
  • Eau de parfum lasts for about six hours
  • Perfume or parfum will last all day long

The scent concentration is going to be reflected in the price. The longest-lasting perfumes will often be the most expensive.

Choose a Scent Family

There are generally four different scent categories, though it isn’t uncommon for perfumes to contain a subtle mix of different scents.

A good example of a perfume with a complex combination of scents is Marc Jacobs Daisy.


These perfumes have the scent of freshly cut flowers. You’ll often find scents like lavender, rose, carnation, and orange blossom in floral perfumes.

The sweet, feminine smell of these perfumes makes them the most popular perfumes for women.


Smelling like fruits and particularly citrus fruits, these are bright and refreshing scents.

Common scents in these perfumes are grapefruit, lime, orange, peach, apricot, or apple.


These are musky and complex perfumes. It’s common for them to have tones of spices like vanilla, star anise, and cinnamon.


These perfumes are earthy and woody smelling. They often contain scents like oakmoss, patchouli, and bergamot.

Ask For Advice

If you’ve noticed co-workers or friends with scents you enjoy, ask them what they wear. If you don’t like the perfume of someone around you, try to pinpoint what it is you don’t like so you can avoid it.

Consider bringing a friend along when you shop for perfume. Having someone else’s input can help you make a more confident decision.

Take Your Time

When shopping for perfume, it’s easy for your sense of smell to get overloaded. Don’t test more than six fragrances within any one trip.

Taking time in between trips will also help you narrow down which scents you’re interested in each time. When you return to the store, you’ll have honed in on your options.

Go Scentless When Shopping

When you know you’ll be shopping for perfume, don’t wear anything scented. This includes body sprays, body lotion, or even strongly-scented deodorant. Wearing other scents can distract from the scent of the perfume and interfere with it.

How to Test While Shopping

At the store, sniff a perfume from the bottle first.

If you like the perfume, then you can spray it on a blotter sheet. Give it ten seconds to settle on the sheet before smelling it. You can then label the sheet and save it to help you make your decision.

If you really like the perfume, spray a small amount on your wrist. Wait ten seconds before giving it a sniff. Only do this if you think it could be the one because you shouldn’t spray more than one scent on each wrist.

Ask for Samples

If you tell the salesperson you’re thinking of buying a certain perfume, they’ll likely happily give you samples to take home. Taking samples home means you can take your time deciding which scent you like best, and even ask for advice from family or friends.

Consider Buying a Sampler Set

Buying a sampler set is a good way to try out different scents if you just can’t decide on one.

They contain travel-sized bottles of several different perfumes. Then you can try them out over the course of a few weeks to decide which kind you’d like to have in a full-sized bottle.

What Perfume Is Right for Me?

The answer to What perfume is right for me? is highly personal. The way you smell can impact the way other people perceive you. You’ll want to take into consideration how you feel about yourself, and how you hope others will feel about you.

Do you want to come off as more feminine or more serious? Would you prefer your scent to be bright and refreshing or more seductive? These are the types of questions you’ll want to consider when choosing a perfume.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to follow your nose. Take note of what kind of smells you’re naturally drawn to and which ones you don’t find appealing.

Did you find this article about how to choose a perfume helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of my blog for more interesting content!


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