Fragrance Notes: How to Select Your Signature Scent and The Best Smelling Perfume for You
Article Published: 10 June 2022
Learn how to select the best smelling perfume and fragrance notes to find your signature scent. Find the best perfume and fragrance for you at Lancôme.
It's not just the sheer number of fragrances out there that can make perfume shopping feel daunting. You may find yourself confused between choosing an eau de parfum or an eau de toilette. Or perhaps you wish to know which fragrance notes are best for which season? The world of perfume is full of subtleties that make finding just one "signature scent" difficult. To make the process easier here are five fragrance tips from the Lancôme perfume and fragrance team to help you find your signature scent.
How to Choose a Scent
Perfumes can be divided into ‘scent families' that contain a number of fragrance notes. Lancôme fragrances come in a variety of different scent families including floral scents and fresh scents through to warm and sophisticated scents. When testing fragrances start paying attention to which of these scent profiles appeal to you most at first try. Over time a pattern will emerge that can help you better select the best smelling perfume based on your preferences. Here are some of the fragrance families Lancôme perfume belong to. These scent families also usually fall into the “layers” of a perfume – the top notes, heart notes, and base notes.
What Are Fragrance Notes? How to Find Fragrance by Notes.
Top Note: A top note is the scent you smell the moment that a fragrance is applied to your skin and fades away quicker.
Heart or Middle Notes: The heart notes of a fragrance are the main centre of the perfume, they’re typically the main scent you will notice in a perfume and help to create harmony in a perfume.
Base Notes: The base notes typically have the longest wear time and tend to develop with the warmth of the skin throughout the day as they are worn. Even once the top and heart notes have started to dissipate these notes remain strong.
Fragrance Notes: What are The Scent Families
Romantic flower inspired perfumes often containing fragrance notes such as rose, magnolia, jasmine, gardenia, and freesia. These perfumes hold a feminine allure and are great for spring. These notes are often found as the “heart notes” of a fragrance.
Warm and Gourmand Scents
Warm fragrance notes typically include vanilla musk and sandalwood and they’re often more intense in scent than lighter fresh fragrances. Warm fragrances often contain notes spicy notes like cedarwood, sandalwood or star anise – or warming and hearty notes like vanilla or musk (often known as gourmand notes). . These heady notes diffuse a warmth and sensuality provided from woody and spicy sources and when combined with floral they create an alluring and romantic scent. These notes are often found as the “base notes” of a fragrance.
Fresh Scents and Fruity Scents
Fresh and clean perfumes are usually light, subtle and perfect for the seasons like summer or spring. Fresh perfumes can contain a variety of different notes like moss or grass – but they’re also likely to include fruity notes. Perfume with fruity citrus-based notes typically sourced from orange blossom, lemon, peach, mandarin, or berries. These notes are often found as the “top notes” of a fragrance.
WARM FRAGRANCE: Trésor eau de parfum - a warm fragrance with a spicy twist – carefully balanced with a collection of fresh fragrance notes. Fragrance notes of peach, rose, apricot blossom, sandalwood, vanilla, musk
WARM & FLORAL FRAGRANCE: Idôle L'Intense eau de parfum – a warm and intoxicating variation of our classic Idôle with floral notes of jasmine and rose teamed with notes of white musk, warm vanilla, and sandalwood. It’s also a beautiful perfume for fall or winter its warmth and muskiness.
SWEET GOURMAND WARM & FRESH FLORAL FRAGRANCE: La Vie est Belle eau de parfum: a sweet-floral fragrance with notes of fresh iris, vanilla, patchouli and gourmand spun sugar and praline.
FRESH & CLEAN FRAGRANCE: Idôle eau de parfum - fragrance notes of jasmine and a unique selection of four different rose variations teamed with notes of citrus, juicy pear, and vanilla
FLORAL & FRUITY FRAGRANCE: La Vie est Belle En Rose eau de parfum - a fruity-floral scent with notes of red raspberries, musk, iris and peony.
FRESH & FLORAL FRAGRANCE: La vie est Belle Soleil Cristal eau de parfum – a fresh floral scent with top notes of sparkling mandarin, heart notes of iris and ylang ylang, and base notes of sweet vanilla and coconut (it’s a perfect summer fragrance)
How to Select a Fragrance Intensity
As a general rule it's the concentration of essential oils in a perfume that determines how intense the fragrance notes are and long the perfume will last.
Extrait de parfum and Absolu de parfum are two concentrations which contain a higher amount of essential oils and are typically considered to be the ultimate “be all” for long-lasting and intense perfumes.
These concentrations of oils are followed by eau de parfum – the classic style scent which you are most likely to find in perfumes – think of it as the middle ground. Not too overpowering, not too subtle, and it still maintains a powerful scent.
Then there are the lighter variations of scent: eau de toilette and finally eau fraiche (which translates to “fresh water”) and gives the most lightest and subtle scent of all.
Lancôme fragrances typically fall under the eau de parfum category or eau de toilette. To make things easier our fragrances have been easily divided into three categories so you can select a perfume depending on your preferred intensity without doing too much guess work or spending ages trying to analyse what the concentration of a certain perfume is. Our fragrances are categorized into is three different intensities: light, medium, and intense.
Our La vie est belle Intensément perfume is a more concentrated version of our iconic La vie est belle perfume with addictive fusion of red iris and vanilla, bringing a floral and warm intensity to the iconic perfume.
How to Test Perfume
Once you've narrowed your selection down to one or two fragrances test them on your skin — this will allow you to recognize how the fragrance notes interact with your skin so you can choose the best perfume and signature scent for your body chemistry. Tip: Don’t make the call immediately! After testing a perfume on yourself give it about a half hour to see how its profile develops on your skin.
Fragrance Tip: Do not test too many perfumes at the same time
If you're unsure of what you like it's best to try no more than three perfumes at a time. Beyond that your senses will be overwhelmed and you may have difficulty trying to distinguish between scents. (Some tricks used by perfumers to help ‘reset’ your nose between tests include sniffing the crook of your elbow, a clean tissue or coffee beans!) It’s always a good idea to ask for advice from a fragrance expert or counter staff. It's their job to be intimately familiar with a wide range of scents — so chances are good they'll be able to help you narrow down your search and find the best smelling perfume for you. Visit your local Lancôme counter to find a Lancôme perfume you love with help from an expert.
How to Pick a Fragrance for Your Mood
Beyond which fragrance family you would like to wear such as fresh or floral – another consideration is how you actually feel (or rather how you would like your perfume to make you feel).
Are you in the mood to feel empowered, confident, and sophisticated? Go for our classic Idôle a warm and empowering scent to help you step into your power and confidence in everything you do. For an added intensity (and perfect for evening time) try the Idôle L'Intense variation.
Looking to feel positive, uplifted and ready to experience all the joy and beauty of the world? La Vie est Belle Perfume translates to "life is beautiful” and the story of the perfume is about choosing your own path to happiness and inspiring others. Feminine and energizing the classic La Vie est Belle Perfume is sure to evoke a feeling of radiance and happiness.
Perhaps you want a fragrance that makes you feel radiant, bubbly, energetic, and revived – a perfume that makes you feel like sunshine. Our La vie est belle Soleil Cristal will have you feeling just that way as the classic perfume in this exciting variation sparkles like a ray of sunshine. It’s warm yet fresh and captures the essence of a sunny day or vacation.
Maybe you’re looking for a scent that combines joyful zest with a hint of sensuality, in which case Miracle is spicy floral fragrance with a zesty burst of florals and peppery ginger balanced with warm Amber notes for a sparkling exciting scent with that feels like the beginning of a new day. Fresh and dewy notes of Lychee and Freesia plus notes of Magnolia, Jasmine, Ginger and Pepper as its warm base notes envelop you in the sensual splendour of Amber and Musk.
In another mood you may be looking to feel warm and romantic. For a warm, romantic and sensual scent Trésor emits the emotion of everlasting love as the fragrance for treasured moments. With notes of elegant rose, mugent and lilac combined with a fresh and enticing sparkle of peach and apricot blossom Trésor is a delicate and light fragrance with a romantic and smooth touch.
Select a Perfume for the Season
There’s no rule that you need to stick to one fragrance year-round for your signature scent. Go ahead and choose two scents — one perfume for spring, one perfume summer and one for fall and winter. In warmer temperatures you may like to choose lighter floral, fruit or citrus fragrances since their scent diffuses more easily through the air. In cold weather when scent loses some of its strength: spicy musky and amber fragrances with higher concentrations tend to work best and are great scents to wear in autumn or fall (think of Miracle Perfume) will help you to pick the best smelling perfume depending on your mood and environment rather than just sticking to one fragrance.
How to Pick a Perfume for a Special Occasion
Choosing your daily signature scent or scent for the season is one thing – but what about selecting a special perfume for a life moment or occasion. When searching for a perfume for date night or valentine’s day look for a scent that is floral and romantic. For your daily signature scent at work or the office—look for a modern and sophisticated scent that combines elements of classic feminine florals with fresh and modern notes for an empowering scent like our classic Idôle which is for those who dare to dream big and for strong women who are empowered and outspoken.
Ready to begin the search for your signature scent? Use our Fragrance Finder Quiz to quickly find the best perfume for you.