How to Find the Perfect Perfume for You

February 01, 2021
By: Jessica Hagy | by L'Oréal

A fragrance is something people remember you by and sets the tone for the day or night ahead. This is why selecting a signature scent is kind of a big decision. To help you pick the perfect perfume, we’re sharing our top three fragrance shopping tips, including how to decipher between the different types of perfume formulas, below. 

Brush Up on Your Perfume Language

Eau de Cologne

Eau de cologne is three to five percent perfume oil in a mixture of alcohol and water. It tends to be light and refreshing.

Eau de Toilette

Eau de toilette contains a slightly higher percentage of perfume oil than cologne, and is mixed with alcohol instead of water, making it more fragrant.

Eau de Parfum

With a higher percentage of perfume oil (roughly 15 to 18 percent), mixed with alcohol, parfum is heavier than eau de cologne and eau de toilette, but lighter than perfume. 


With 15 to 30 percent perfume oil mixed with alcohol, perfume contains the highest percentage of oil, making it the most concentrated and potent. Perfume often comes in the smallest bottles, with the largest price tag.

Consider the Season

Scents tend to last longer in the warmer months because skin is usually more hydrated and moisture will hold the fragrance. This is just one reason we suggest opting for light, fresh scents in the spring and summer and rich, warm scents during the fall and winter. 

Know Your Notes

Like a glass of wine, scents boast a variety of layered notes. For instance, one perfume may give you an initial whiff of citrus, followed by a spicy undertone. To find your perfect perfume, identify the type of scent you connect with the most. Is it a rose bouquet? A fruity whiff of pomegranate? The sweet undertone of vanilla? Identifying a category will help you narrow down your choices and consider options that suit you. To guide you, here are some of our favorite scents, broken down into the four major categories of scents.

Floral Notes

Per the name, floral scents evoke freshly cut flowers. Common notes are rose, jasmine, orange blossom and violet. Our favorite perfume picks in this category include Giorgio Armani My Way Eau de Parfum and Lancôme Idôle L'Intense Eau de Parfum.

Musky Notes

Musky scents are reminiscent of spices like warm vanilla, incense resins and amber. Think warm, mysterious and sexy. For this scent group, we love YSL Libre Eau de Parfum

Fresh Notes

Clean and crisp orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, apricot, apple, peach and fresh grass are just some of the scents associated with this category. A couple of our favorite fragrance picks include Atelier Cologne Lemon Island and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb In The Sky Eau de Parfum

Woody Notes

Scents like bergamot, oakmoss, labdanum and patchouli are associated with the woody category. These perfumes are earthy and often mixed with spice or citrus. For this group, we love Maison Margiela Replica Whispers in the Library

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn