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Just like a signature cocktail, having a personalized fragrance has somewhat become the new routine in the beauty industry. Selecting the right scent is an important task.
Kalliope Amorphous, Perfume Artist at Black Baccara Artisan Perfumes, who has been a perfumer for fifteen years, says some of the major issues people face when choosing the right perfume are lack of knowledge about perfume notes, not understanding how they work together and change while they are worn, or trying too many perfumes at once and experiencing sensory fatigue, or starting with heavier perfumes before lighter ones.
Perfume notes are the ingredients that make up a fragrance, and they work similarly to notes in music. When multiple notes are combined, they form accords, which give perfumes their unique structure and presence, says Amorphous. "Base notes are the notes that anchor the fragrance and are the most long-lasting, while top notes are what you will often smell first but they tend to disappear the fastest, and middle notes usually tie the base and top notes together."
With so many perfumes on the market, we made it easier to find the right scent by narrowing down some of the most popular options. You'll also find expert tips and answers to common fragrance questions.
Here are 18 of the best perfumes in 2022:
YSL Black Opium
Fragrance is personal, so it's all about what your nose fancies, says Stacey Bresnahan, Founder of Laubahn Perfumes. If your nose follows slightly sweet and musky scents, this product is for you as the black opium awakens the senses. The coffee accord and orange blossom are mild, but intense at the same time, and perfect for evenings.
Bresnahan's suggestion for choosing the right fragrance is to start by sampling fragrances with a familiar scent and seeing how it smells on you. If you love the scent of flowers, this one is perfect for all occasions as it smells like a floral bouquet of jasmine, freesia, and rose petals enriched by an addictive scent of patchouli and vanilla.
Make a change and select perfumes that make you feel a certain way, says Emma Vincent, perfumer at Lush. "Could it smell comforting, or uplifting or make you feel confident - is that what you need right now?" If it's beauty and that joy you want to feel, this optimistic fragrance that smells of thousands of flowers is the right pick.
When you want to change things up, Vincent suggests experimenting with layering perfumes. "Maybe one day I want to wear a confident perfume such as the one I created for Lush called Nero, and I will layer this with my wedding fragrance I made at Lush called Confetti. The perfumes aren't too clashing, and I can have both confidence and comfort at the same time." Lush Karma perfume features patchouli, Brazilian orange, and Siberian fir and is a spicy yet relaxing mix.
The Body Shop White Musk Lover
When selecting a perfume, you'll likely find the categorizations of floral, gourmand, or woody helpful, says Vincent, "They can help as a generalized starting point for perfumes you enjoy. I actually tend to find I like Balsamic, Gourmand perfumes, when actually what I tend to purchase and formulate are Floral fragrances." The Body Shop's White Musk Lover has floral and sensual notes that make you feel empowered and uplifted.
Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream
When you first begin the process of finding the right perfume for you, you'll want to consider the occasion in which you will be wearing the fragrance, says Daniela Dressel, General Manager of Boticario U.S. Charlotte Tilbury's one-of-a-kind 'floral chypre' perfume harmony is like an expensive champagne bottle you'd like to splash on for the extra special occasions.
Byredo Gypsy Water
If you're shopping for a special occasion fragrance, you might want to consider perfumes with richer notes that sustain throughout the evening, says Dressel. Byredo's Gypsy Water has a woody aroma. This unisex perfume has an addictive sandalwood, vanilla, and amber blend.
Clarins Eau Dynamisante Treatment Fragrance
Dressel points out that studies have shown that stimulating our sense of smell has an immediate impact on our mood, which is something to keep in mind as you are searching for your ideal fragrance. Clarins' Eau Dynamisante Treatment Fragrance is the brand's first fragrance and body treatment in one spa-fresh formula that sets out to calm one's nerves.
Fenty Eau de Parfum
Scents can smell different on two different people for many reasons, says Amorphous, but the main one is body chemistry. Rihanna created this fragrance specifically for her own body and decided to share it with the world. A unique blend of magnolia and musk with tangerine, the Fenty Eau de Parfum expresses itself uniquely on each wearer for a one-of-a-kind scent.
Ralph Lauren Romance
Amorphous points out that some people amplify certain notes more than others; often hormones play a part. "Even how dry one person's skin is compared to another can make a difference in how they experience the perfume." Ralph Lauren Romance is a very good choice for people with dry skin as the chamomile oil and Sungoddess rose blend into the skin to last longer.
Marc Jacobs Perfect
Vincent encourages being bold and daring when purchasing and wearing perfumes. "Wear them for yourself first and foremost," she says. Marc Jacobs' playful fragrance is a comforting floral scent of rhubarb and bright daffodil.
Henry Rose Meet your Match
Henry Rose crafts a fragrance after you answer a short quiz about your preferences. It asks your reason to wear a fragrance, whether you want to feel sensual or to make an impression. According to your flavor palette and understanding of what you want the perfume to evoke, it suggests the right fragrance from the entire collection.
Tom Ford Rose Prick
One of the most practical ways to customize a fragrance is to consider the time and place you'll choose to wear a particular scent, says Dressel. Tom Ford's Rose Prick is a sophisticated scent that is perfect for dinner and going out with friends. What stands out is a creamy spiced amber with lovely touches of vanilla and sandalwood.
If you're looking for a fragrance for the office, you can tailor your daytime fragrance towards a lighter variety, points out Dressel. Glossier You is an open ended perfume that grows on you with its slightly sweet heart of a scent that comes from ambrette seeds.
Evenings are a great time to go bold and don a perfume that is stronger and more sensual, if that is the feeling that you would like to evoke, explains Dressel. Created by the famous Spanish perfumer Alberto Morillas, Gucci Bloom is a complex tropical floral fragrance that is meant to be overpowering.
With its combination of lavender essence from France and Moroccan orange blossom, YSL Libre is meant to evoke a sense of freedom. The statement-making bottle features gold chains around the neck, similar to the iconic YSL bags.
Armani My Way
Soft and seductive, Armani's My Way is a bright floral bouquet of tuberose and jasmine from India. It opens with a citrus embrace of orange blossom and bergamot meant to remind you of a summer day in a field of strawberries.
Frequently asked questions
Zee Field, designer and founder of LOULOU DAMOUR fashions and Parfums, shared with Insider answers to common fragrance questions.
How do you choose the right fragrance if you are new to scents and have no idea about notes?
The easiest way is to research the olfactive pyramid of one to two fragrances you like and dislike. If you don't like the scent of your co-worker's perfume, this valuable information will help you to exclude those specific notes. Then create your olfactive profile.
How can one make sure their perfume lasts?
Choose an Eau de parfum or a perfume with a higher concentration of oils. A high fragrance concentration means there is less alcohol and more essential oils. Check the concentration of perfume oil on the fragrance bottle or packaging such as parfum – 20-40% or Eau de parfum – 15-20%. Make sure your fragrance is not expired.
How long can a perfume last and be stored?
A perfume lasts up to five years. It expires much faster if not stored in a cool place as it is very sensitive to sunlight or air if left open without the cap on.
Is there a best time to apply perfume?
The best time to apply perfume is right after the shower before getting dressed on the chest area, shoulders, and one wrist. This application should be done at about 10 inches away. The spray of the wrist is a good tip. Once dressed, keep the five spray routines; three on the skin, two on your clothes. One behind each ear, one on the back of the neck, one on your front left shoulder, and one on your back right shoulder. Only Eau fraiche or Eau de cologne should be applied to the pulse points of the body.
Is there a right way to try on perfume in order to make a decision?
It is best to test a fragrance on your skin. The only issue is that you can only test one scent at a time. I like to start with a blotter strip or card. Spray twice downwards, pass the blotter strip through the fragrance cloud, wave under your nose, and inhale. Then, I move on to the skin test. Wash your hands earlier, not just before testing fragrances, and do not apply any hand cream. Spray onto the back of your hand from a distance of four to six inches, and no more than 10 inches depending on the atomizer pump. Start with just two sprays, and leave until the oil dries.
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