Looking for a new scent and not sure where to start? You’re not alone — for many men, the world of fragrance is somewhat of a mystery and searching for the perfect cologne feels like an impossible task. Finding a signature scent does require a bit of effort, but it’s more than worth it when you finally discover the perfume that has everything you were looking for.
If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, don’t worry — we’re here to help. Finding a signature men’s fragrance doesn’t have to be difficult, as long as you keep these key steps in mind.
1 – Figure Out Your Favourite Notes
You don’t need to be an expert in decoding fragrance notes straight away, but knowing the basics will certainly help when searching for a signature scent. Fragrance notes may sound confusing to a perfume beginner, but they’re essentially just the ingredients that make up a scent. These ingredients are categorised into three groups: top, heart and base notes.
Top notes evaporate most quickly, giving you a fleeting first impression of a fragrance before being replaced by the more dominant heart notes. Base notes are those that remain a few hours after spraying, providing the underlying aroma of a scent. Top notes are often citrus, fresh or herb notes, heart notes are typically floral and full-bodied, and base notes offer warmth and depth with scents such as vanilla, woods and musk.
2 – Start with Lighter Perfumes
Start by easing yourself in with a lighter men’s fragrance to find a signature scent. Aqueous or musky scents are a good choice when dipping a toe into the fragrance waters, offering a clean or fresh scent that won’t be overpowering. From there, you can move on to citrus perfumes and woody scents with greater depth.
3 – Try a Timeless Scent
There’s a reason why certain perfumes are considered classics. Some fragrances, like Bleu De Chanel, Armani Eau Pour Homme or Dior Sauvage, are reliable old favourites you can always turn to. If you’re starting on your fragrance journey and feel a bit stuck, a timeless men’s fragrance is a great choice. By experimenting with these classic colognes, you’ll better understand what you like in a scent.
4 – Ask For Recommendations
When searching for a new fragrance, what better reference point could there be than great-smelling people? Next time you catch a pleasant scent on a friend, colleague or family member, ask them what it is and take note of it for later. Everyone’s skin chemistry is slightly different, so a perfume you like on someone else may not smell as great on you, but you’ll have an idea of which fragrances to try and start to understand what the scents you like have in common.
5 – Try before You Buy
If you’re not sure what scents you like to begin with, try out a few different ones and see how you feel about them. When testing fragrances, you shouldn’t try more than four perfumes at once — that’s a scent on each wrist and one on the inside of each elbow.
6 – See How a Scent Evolves throughout the Day
Because top, middle and base notes evaporate at different rates, a men’s fragrance can evolve more dramatically in the space of a day than you might realise. You may think you’ve found your new signature scent upon the first spray, but you should always give it time before committing to it. If you still love it four to six hours later, it’s a keeper.