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Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Informing the  Berea and Baldwin Wallace University Communities Since 1913

The Exponent

Fragrance guide: Find the signature scent that suits you best

The most important part of finding your signature scent is just going out and finding it! Whether it be through smelling it on someone else, hearing rave reviews online or something else entirely, get out there and smell it! And remember, don’t overspray — it’s best not to give your classmates a headache because of how strong, albeit good, you smell.
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A bottle of perfume displayed next to a bunch of lavender

Scents make a big impression. They can bring back memories, conjure up emotions and even change our mood. From sweet gourmands to fresh herbs, there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to one’s signature scent. 

First, a quick explanation of the formulation of fragrances. 

There are base notes, middle notes and top notes. Simply put, the top notes are the first impression — the thing one smells upon first spritz. The middle notes, also known as heart notes, reveal themselves slightly later but make up for most of the scent. The base notes are the final impression, adding to the complexity of the top and heart notes.

 For the terms, some can be quite confusing at first glance. So, what exactly is a “gourmand” or “lactonic” fragrance? These are the accords, or the general descriptors formed from the mixing of notes to create an overall impression. To find your fragrance vibe, let’s look into some accords. 

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First, and the most recognizable, is floral. There are variations, like white, pink or yellow floral, but this accord is exactly what it sounds like. A flowery scent, derived from plants — rose, iris, violet or hundreds of others. To complement this, the accord is known as “powdery,” a soft scent that pairs well with florals. 

Fruity fragrances have berries, stone fruits or similar ingredients, but they are not quite gourmand— for that, think cupcakes, vanilla and cookies. Gourmand is edible. Fruity fragrances can be light and summery, with peach, apple or berry — or dark, with pomegranate, blackcurrant or fig. 

Spices can be cinnamon, patchouli, pepper and a thousand others. Spicy fragrances are warm and alluring, often great for fall and winter. 

A fragrance described as fresh may contain citrus, woody or green accords. The careful combination of accords is what creates the “mood” of a fragrance. Is it a daytime or nighttime scent? For summer or winter? For the beach or going out? And accords get more complicated: balsamic, amber, animalic, etc.

 It quickly becomes confusing. Instead of analyzing accords, let’s return to the vibe idea. How do you want your fragrance to make you — and others in the room — feel? Do you want something sweet, sultry or fresh? Something that leaves an impression or can only be smelled on the skin? 

For the bolder of us that want our fragrance to enter the room before us, look for one with strong projection and sillage. Projection is how far out the scent reaches, such as an arm’s length away. Sillage is the trail that the fragrance leaves behind. For perfumes with high projection and strong sillage — introverts use with caution — strangers will approach you to ask what you are wearing. 

Fragrances that are notoriously strong include Tom Ford’s Ombre Leather, Le Labo’s Santal 33 and Chanel No. 5. The concentration of perfume oil in a fragrance also determines the strength, with eau de parfums, which have around 20% pure concentrate, being stronger than eau de toilettes and eau de colognes, which have around 5-15% pure concentrate. 

For a more “intimate sillage” and a you-but-better scent, there’s also plenty of simple, universally flattering options. Glossier’s You and Phlur’s Missing Person are currently viral for their natural, cozy vibe — a fragrance that sits close to the skin. 

Now that I’ve laid out some accords, here are some recommendations for popular fragrances that match one or more of your preferred accords. 

Because floral is such a huge umbrella, there’s a lot I could say, but I’ll introduce some of the legends. Dior’s Miss Dior is a classic, feminine scent and the bottle has a cute bow! Sol de Janeiro’s Cheirosa 68 is a woody floral and dupe for the iconic and expensive Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. 

Gucci Flora, Valentino Donna Born in Roma and Viktor & Rolf ’s Flowerbomb are all iconic floral scents. Some are stronger than others, but each have a different floral accord that makes them magic, and for many, timeless.

 For fans of fresh, green fragrances, an affordable option is Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea, a classic, clean scent. For those looking to splurge, Diptyque’s Philosykos is the dream Mediterranean summer fragrance, with accords of fig and coconut complimenting its green backbone. 

For fans of spice, YSL’s Black Opium, Kayali’s Vanilla 28 and Maison Margelia’s REPLICA By the Fireplace are all good choices. Spice can be a compliment, like in Vanilla 28, or the star of the show, like in By the Fireplace.

And remember, fragrances don’t really have a gender. There are “feminine” and “masculine” fragrances, but each works their own magic with your skin chemistry. No two fragrances, even the same bottle, smell exactly alike on everyone. Make sure to test them on skin, because paper testers can be misleading. 

The most important part of finding your signature scent is just going out and finding it! Whether it be through smelling it on someone else, hearing rave reviews online or something else entirely, get out there and smell it! And remember, don’t overspray — it’s best not to give your classmates a headache because of how strong, albeit good, you smell.

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  • E

    Elizabeth WarfelMar 13, 2024 at 6:48 pm

    I loveeeee this

    Reply
  • K

    Kriz AlnadiMar 13, 2024 at 6:35 pm

    Love Tom Ford Ombré leather, it makes me feel sexy and powerful and flowerbomb by viktor&rolf makes me feel feminine and cute.

    Reply