Finding your signature fragrance is really not that tricky and here’s how to do it.


Scent is powerful. It’s able to evoke emotions triggered by past experiences both good and bad. This is why scents are highly personal and subjective.

With dozens of perfumes in the market, finding the right scent to suit your personality and taste is certainly tough. But with our experts’ help, you’ll be able to breeze through it in no time.

Before going into the good stuff, let’s tackle the perfume jargon.


Parfum (par-fœn)

Also known as the purest form of perfume, parfum contains 30% perfume oils. “They can last up to 6 to 8 hours, and are highly suitable for sensitive skin due to its low alcohol content,” said Ms Sandy Blandin, 40, founder of NoseWhoKnows, a fragrance studio.


Eau de Parfum (Oh-duh-par-fœn / EDP)

Eau de Parfum contains 20% perfume oils and lasts around 4 to 5 hours. Due to its higher alcohol content, it’s cheaper than parfum.


Eau de Toilette (Oh-duh-twah-let / EDT)

Made with about 10 to 15% of perfume oils, Eau de Toilette are most common in the market, and are highly suitable for daily use, said Ms Blandin. “It lasts for about 2 to 3 hours, and is worn best in the day.”


Eau de Cologne (Oh-duh-kuh-lohn / EDC)

Eau de Cologne lasts up to 2 hours and contains only 2 to 4% of perfume oils with a higher concentration of alcohol. “Though it’s cheaper, you have to re-apply it in larger amounts multiple times throughout the day,” said Ms Blandin.


Perfume glossary? Check. Next, what scent do you like? Mdm Prachi Saini Garg, 41, founder of Jetaime Perfumery, suggested observing your likes and dislikes in your everyday life closely. Things like your favorite ingredients, foods, movies and colors can help narrow down the type of scent you best connect with. Here’s a list of common fragrance families to get you started.



Floral perfume
Do you like feminine, traditional and classic scents? You might enjoy floral perfumes.

Much like its name suggests, scents in this category surround freshly cut flowers like roses, lilies, carnations and violets.



fresh note perfume
Relaxed, easy-going and sporty people are often drawn to green notes.

Think mints, warm and green notes of freshly cut grass, light and airy notes of the cool sea breeze. These scents are known to be aquatic, refreshing and youthful.



A citrus perfume is perfect for people who are energetic and young in spirit.

Zesty fruits like lemons and limes, or tropical fruits like pineapples fall under this category. With their tart sweetness, these scents are usually fresh, crisp and zingy.


Woody (Chypre)

woody note perfume
People who love the nature and outdoor activities such as hiking often choose woody fragrances as their signature scent.

Sandalwood, limes, balsams and bergamot make up this category. They are usually earthy and go well with spicy or citrus scents. “In other countries, this scent is usually an old man trait,” said Mdm Garg. “However, there tends to be many ‘woodies’ in Singapore.”

And that’s it. You’re ready to find your signature fragrance. Here are some last tips to make your shopping trip a success.


Go Odor Naturel

This one is obvious – prior to shopping, avoid wearing perfume or using anything scented, such as body lotions, as it will confuse your nose when you’re testing out fragrances.


Approach fragrance experts

Differentiating scents can be tricky especially when you’re new to the smells, so don’t be afraid to ask for help, said Ms Blandin. Once you’re aware of what scents you like, let the in-store fragrance experts know. They’ll be able to pick out suitable perfumes for you.


Test it on your skin

Due to the different odors and skin chemistry of each individual, testing fragrances on paper blotters doesn’t give an accurate representation of how the perfume will turn out on your skin. “As soon as the fragrance touches your skin, the body temperature and odor will all play a role on how the perfume diffuses,” explained Ms Blandin.


Let it linger

Let the perfume sit on your skin when trying it out. It usually cycles through three stages – the top, middle and base notes – before settling into the long-lasting fragrance.

Check out these perfume mistakes to avoid below.