How to choose a fragrance

By: Natalie Bahadur

Author: Canadian Living


How to choose a fragrance

By: Natalie Bahadur
The scent we give off can make a powerful impression on others and can imprint a memory of us in other people's minds. According to Karen Kwinter, Canadian Living magazine's former style editor-at-large, the most important thing when choosing a fragrance is that it feels right on you.

"Just like when you're choosing your clothes, it has to feel right on your skin, be comfortable and be a perfect expression of who you are," Kwinter says. Trends, she goes on to say, should only be a guideline, a starting point, with the end result completely influenced by who you really are.

"Finding something that really suits you in the end all comes down to smell," she says. "It should smell like something you love, comfortable but beautiful at the same time."

We checked in with Benedicte Bron, associate vice president of fragrance development at Bath & Body Works and found out what she had to say about choosing the fragrance that best suits you. Here's what she shared.

How do you choose a fragrance?
Every woman should have a fragrance wardrobe; different scents for different moods and times of the day. When choosing a fragrance, start by thinking of your favourite foods. If you love fruit like oranges, you're probably a citrus person; if you love Indian food, you may love spicier notes like cardamom.

What things do you need to take into consideration when purchasing a fragrance?
Buying a fragrance is a personal decision, so let your emotions drive your choice. A lot of decisions are dictated by reason, but fragrance is a true emotional purchase, which makes it a great thing to buy. "I can't explain why I like it but I like it..." is a good enough reason to buy.

If the fragrance is for you, it is going to be a part of you. It is important to endorse it and feel good about it. Also, let a fragrance follow your mood and express a facet of you. Because you have choices and a wardrobe of scents, you don't need to wear the same one every day.

A fragrance reflects your lifestyle and a new fragrance will be representative of new experiences and feelings. Your life evolves and changes constantly and the new fragrance you buy should express that change.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn the dos and don'ts of wearing fragrances on page 2
How do you identify top notes, middle notes and base notes?
The top note is the freshest part of the fragrance and the first whiff you smell. It is the hook, often bright, crisp and lively. The middle note is the body of the fragrance, like spices, flowers and fruits. It often gives the scent its main characteristic. The "dry down" is what lasts after a few hours. It is often soft, warm, deep and sultry. It may be helpful to read the description that is provided on the fragrance because it highlights the accords that compose the scent and make it easier to identify them in the fragrance.

How would you recommend choosing a fragrance as a gift for someone?
The same way you would choose a piece of clothing for someone. Does the fragrance relate to her personality? Do you picture her wearing it? Do you like it yourself?

What's the best way to smell a fragrance? On your skin? On paper? In the bottle?
A non-scented piece of paper, also known as a blotter, will help you identify the style, but you should always test a fragrance on your skin first and give it at least five minutes to "dry down" before making your final decision.

Do fragrances really smell differently from person to person? Why?

Quite often, yes. It has to do with skin chemistry. Fragrances are made to react with the oils in our skin and that’s when a fragrance really becomes your own.

What fragrances are popular this season?

Feminine, elegant and sexy fragrances with warm wood background, like Black Amethyst and Japanese Cherry Blossom by Bath & Body Works.

5 dos and don'ts of wearing fragrances

Benedicte Bron offers up five helpful hints for wearing fragrances.

DO hunt for new fragrances to try.
DO wear fragrances every day.
DON'T always wear the same one. Give your nose a rest so you don't feel like you can't smell your favourite fragrance anymore!
DO layer and use fragranced body care products.
DON'T be afraid to mix and match to create your own blend.

Read more:
Which Chanel perfume would suit you?
The secret to making your fragrance last all day
Find the right fragrance for Dad

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How to choose a fragrance