How to find your perfect perfume: The only guide you'll ever need
Choosing a new perfume can be tricky. Do you go with floral or fruity... EDP or EDT... and how do you actually test a fragrance?
To help you discover your perfect match, here are some of our top tips and tricks of the trade. With this guide, you'll find your signature scent in no time!
1. Go with your nose!
Think about the smells you already love, then look for fragrances that contain those perfume notes. If they’re all quite similar (like flowers or spices), then you’re definitely drawn to a certain group of scents, which is known in the perfume world as a ‘fragrance family’.
There are six main women’s fragrance families to choose from. Don’t know your florals from your fruits? Here’s a little summary to help you out:
FloralDelicate, fragrant and flirty. Perfect for day or night!
CitrusZesty and uplifting. The ultimate summer fragrance.
WoodyAromatic and rich. Our favourite for autumn/winter.
AmberWarm, spicy and exotic. A romantic scent for dates.
FruityJuicy and sweet. Smells like summer holidays in a bottle!
ChypreEarthy and unique. A head-turning choice for any occasion.
Need some inspiration? Look out for:
- Floral: Marc Jacobs’ Daisy Eau de Toilette
- Citrus: Calvin Klein’s CK One Summer Daze Eau de Toilette
- Woody: Gucci’s Bamboo Eau de Parfum
- Amber: Thierry Mugler’s Alien Eau de Parfum
- Fruity: Dolce & Gabbana’s L'Imperatrice Eau de Toilette
- Chypre: Clarins’ Eau Dynamisante Eau de Toilette
Knowing the fragrance families you love most makes shopping for a new perfume easy. Find your favourites by heading to our fragrance family guide now!
2. Decide on a budget
Perfumes can cost anything from £15 to a whopping £500, so it’s a good idea to set a spending limit. Psst, you can use our handy price filters to keep you on budget, or shop by brand to find great deals on your favourites!
Here are some brands we love:
3. Choose the best scent for the event
Are you looking for an everyday perfume? Or something a little special for the evening? Whatever you're up to, finding the right fragrance for the occasion is essential!
First, you need to choose the right type of perfume:
- Eau de Parfum (EDP): Lasts all day and night, irresistibly intense.
Best for: Nightwear, special occasions
- Eau de Toilette (EDT): Lasts all day, lighter than EDP.
Best for: Daywear, office, casual events
- Eau de Cologne (EDC): Lasts for 4-6 hours, refreshing.
Best for: Catch-ups, coffee mornings, lunches
- Eau Fraîche (EF): Lasts for 2-4 hours, delicate in scent.
Best for: On-the-go top-ups
Want to know more about the different types of perfumes? Check out our complete perfume guide now!
- To stand out: Look for unusual ingredients with a bit of ‘bite’, like green tea, pink pepper and musk.
- To blend in: Try subtler notes like powdery florals, woods and aquatics.
Don’t forget to pick up the right sized bottle! 50ml flacons are ideal for holidays and handbags, while 100-200ml bottles are great for everyday perfumes you leave at home.
4. Try before you buy (but do it properly!)
We all know the drill... To test a perfume, you spray it all over, have a bit of a shimmy to ‘let the air get to it’ (whatever that means...), and decide there and then whether you love it or hate it, right?...
Actually, no… According to the experts, there’s a proper way to test perfume, and here’s how you do it:
- Find a ‘pulse point’ (your wrist, behind your ear, or on your neck)
- Hold the bottle about 10-15cm away and spray - one spritz will do the trick
- Leave it for 20-30 minutes before making a decision on whether or not you like it. Oil and heat from your skin can change how perfumes react, so this is the best way to accurately test how it’ll smell on you
If you love it, you’ve found your match! But if it smells sour, acidic or bitter, chances are it doesn’t complement your body chemistry.
Don’t worry though, there are loads of other fragrance notes to try - and you can find out all about them in our perfume guide!
Hints, tips and tricks
- Try layering a few different scents to create your own unique blend. Then, when people stop you in the street to ask what you’re wearing, you can tell them it’s all you!
- Keep an eye on expiry dates. If your perfume was light in colour when you first bought it, but is now a darker shade, it's out of date (it’ll probably smell a bit funky too!)
- Try too many fragrances in one go. Ever been to the perfume section in Duty Free? It’s a lot for one nose to take in!
- Rub the scent in. As tempting as it is to keep rubbing your wrists together, the heat will do more harm than good! Let the scent sit to enjoy its true reveal.
- Follow the trends. Love what you love and stick to it!