You’ve heard us go on and on about the importance of lipstick, foundation, dry shampoo, moisturizer and so on. And, while we’d never underestimate the power of said beauty items, there’s one category that we have admittedly neglected: fragrance. Although rarely discussed, perfume is about as important to your beauty routine as, well, mascara. In fact, scientific studies have shown that one’s level of attractiveness is greatly improved by scent. Not sure what you should be smelling like? Find out what fragrance expert and renowned master perfumer Carlos Benaim has to say about finding your signature scent.
Makeup.com: What should one take into consideration when picking out his/her signature scent?
Carlos Benaim: You need to think about the image you want to convey and try to find a scent that aligns with it and reflects your personality. It can be hard to cut through the maze of fragrances out there, but knowing who you are and what you want to project is key. Also, your tastes can lead you. For example, if you you’re drawn to natural scents and notes like jasmine, then you can look for fragrances containing those ingredients. That being said, there is virtue in allowing your intuition and pure response to take over. How do you feel when you immediately smell and wear a fragrance? The ‘right’ fragrance will make you feel wonderful, satisfy your senses, bring out a particular facet of your personality, evoke curiosity, prompt a moment of discovery, etc.
Makeup.com: What’s the best way to test a scent?
CB: Sampling on a blotter or spraying the fragrance in the air might be good for an initial impression, but there is no substitute for wearing it on the skin. There are two key moments to consider when testing a fragrance: on impact and in wear. And, there is really no shortcut. So, first spray it on your wrist to test your instant reaction. Then, while you wear it, notice how it diffuses around you. Do you enjoy the ‘arc’ of the fragrance as it moves with you and possibly changes over time? Do others comment that you smell great and ask what you’re wearing? We all wear a fragrance to please ourselves, but we also want to be appealing to others.
Makeup.com: What are some common mistakes made in scent selection?
CB: Sometimes we’re guided by the top note alone — that initial first reaction — and don’t consider the experience in wearing the scent. Or, often we base our selection on an image, brand or name and not our own instinct. In turn, we fail to experiment because we think we know exactly what we like and close ourselves off to something new or unfamiliar.
Makeup.com: Why is having a signature scent so important?
CB: I think it’s the final touch in our overall demeanor. We put effort into our bodies, clothes, hair and makeup, and our signature scent can top it all off, wrapping the whole package together. It’s the commitment to knowing who you are, the desire to feel great and presenting your individuality to the world. This self-awareness and affirmation of looking and smelling good in order to feel good is a reward in itself.
Makeup.com: Are there any scents that people should avoid?
CB: The scent of your enemy (laughs).
Makeup.com: What are some more popular notes/scents?
CB: Vanilla and musks are universally liked. A tasty vanilla effect is a major trend right now — I incorporated it into the fragrance Flowerbomb. Certain florals like muguet, jasmine and orange flower are also widely appealing, as are fruity notes like orange, lemon, red fruit, apple and pear.