How to get into perfume and cologne in five steps



From glass to plastic, round to box, translucent to opaque, perfume and cologne come in many different shapes and sizes. With so much to choose from, it’s difficult to pick one, but this article outlines five easy steps to nosedive into the world of scent.

It is universally agreed upon that you should not wear the same outfit everyday. Some would take it a step even further and consider: why wear the same scent everyday?

Challenging times from lack of contact have brought the sensorial impact of perfumes into attention more than ever before. Perfume enthusiasts make it clear that perfumes are for everyone, and it is never too late to begin hunting for the perfect scent. But where should someone start? 

  • Follow your nose

First off, trust your instinct because this is the best way to find what suits you. Many people search for recommendations when looking for the right perfume, but those who have expertise in the field suggest otherwise.

“Never buy anything without smelling it first,” Lydia Hall (12) said. “No matter how many times you see it online and it gets good reviews, if you haven’t smelled it, you shouldn’t buy it. It’s understandable to not want to drop $200 on a perfume when you’re just getting into it, and cheaper perfumes don’t necessarily mean worse quality.”

The same goes for cologne, which is marketed towards men. The real difference between perfume and cologne is the formula and concentration of essential oils. Therefore, don’t let the labels steer you away from a scent that seems more masculine or feminine by common understanding.

“Don’t let the price be the determinant of the scent; just let the actual scent be the determining factor,” Jason Tang (11) said.

  • Start out small

Buying the smallest bottle of perfume or cologne helps you figure out which scents appeal to you without having to spend a fortune on them. Some people like to wear different scents or get tired of them easily, so this is a smart and affordable option.

“Try out travel sizes before buying a bigger bottle,” Hall said.

  • Identify perfume families

As you find more scents that are appealing to you, identify the perfume families for them. 

“Typically, the universe of perfume is broadly divided into dominant families or categories, such as fresh, floral, oriental, wood, fougere, gourmand, chypre, citrus and aromatic,” Vogue India writer Aparrna Gupta said in her article. 

People are naturally drawn to certain notes because of cultural, personal or nostalgic significance. Some perfume users tend to wear varying categories at different times of the year, so identifying the groups helps cut down the search for a specific scent.

“I love looking at the notes and comparing them to different scents,” Hall said. “Sometimes you can find something that’s a little nostalgic for you, which reminds you of a memory, and it’s just sentimental.”

  • Match it to your mood and the setting

Switching from season to season requires a change in fragrance as well because perfume is not a one-size-fits-all. Whether you would like a thicker scent in colder climates or a sweeter smell when you are in a certain mood, ensure that your fragrance can meet your preferences.

“I wouldn’t use a very sweet or thick or heavy fragrance in the summer because it’s really clawing and headache-inducing for some people,” Edgar Alarcon (11) said. “When it’s really cold in the winter months, I’d need that kind of sweetness and thickness to cut through the air; that’s when I’d start to switch to those.”

  • Expand, expand, expand

Once you know what you’re comfortable with and what you like, broaden your options. Just like fashion, perfume is something you can experiment with. Don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone and explore a bit.

“Once you start, it becomes something you incorporate into your daily routine,” Tang said. “It becomes something like washing your face, brushing your teeth and general hygiene. The way you want to make yourself look presentable, you’d also want to smell presentable.”