What Kind of Perfume Is Best for Me?

Perfume is highly personal.

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Choosing a perfume is a highly individual process. A good perfume can make you feel happy and hopeful, fresh and clean, serious and focused or warm and cozy, but which perfume will have which effect depends on you and your associations with different smells. A perfume with a hint of tobacco might make one woman feel loved and happy, because it subconsciously reminds her of her grandfather, while another woman prefers spicy scents because they make her feel sexy. The way to choose the best perfume for you is to do your research, try different products and take your time making a decision.

Know Your Preferences

If you already have a perfume that you like, you can use it as a basis for figuring out others you'll enjoy. That's because perfumes usually fit into categories or families: woody, floral, spicy, fresh, etc. If you like Dior's Poison, which is fruity, you are likely to enjoy other fruity scents such as Elizabeth Arden's Sunflowers or Gucci's Rush. But if you are fond of spicy perfumes such as Guerlain's Shalimar, try Opium by Yves Saint Laurent or Carolina Herrera's 212 Sexy. Remember that most perfumes have more than one scent profile -- Burberry by Burberry could be classified as woody or fruity -- so experiment with perfumes in different families.

Consider the Occasion

No one perfume will work for every occasion on which you want to wear it. Many women have different perfumes for different seasons of the year and different times of day, with lighter scents for the summer and daytime, and more heavy or intense perfumes for winter and evenings. Consider, as well, your mood. Some perfumes will act as a pick-me-up if you want to feel more youthful and carefree, while others might make you feel more confident and sophisticated if you are heading out for an important business meeting.

Set Your Budget

The price of perfume can vary wildly, and the ones that are more expensive may or may not be the ones you like better. Knowing that you adore the luxurious scent of Donna Karan's Cashmere Mist is small comfort if you can't afford it right now -- though you might decide it's worth saving up for. On the other hand, Chloe has been a favorite for decades, and is quite affordable.

Try Before You Buy

Perfume won't smell the same on your body as it does in the bottle, or even on someone else's body. That's because the scent of perfume is affected by your body chemistry. Your body temperature, hormonal fluctuations, stress levels, blood sugar levels and the weather can all change how your perfume interacts with your skin. Take your time shopping for perfume. Spritz two or three samples onto your wrists and then walk around a little, or go home and see how the perfume smells in two hours. Don't spray too much perfume in one day, since you'll just blend the scents from all the products. Also, your nose gets desensitized from all those heady odors. By making a decision slowly, you are more likely to choose a perfume that makes you feel terrific in the long term.

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