7 Tips for Finding Your Signature Scent and Some of Our Team Favorites

As we’ve learned from Erin, how you dress can reveal a lot about you. While a gorgeous blazer and red lip can be spotted across the room, fragrance is a more subtle and intimate way of revealing who you are. Signature scents are just that. They have a way of becoming strong personal identifiers. Who doesn’t remember fondly how mom or grandma smells(ed)? To those around you, a signature scent can be a subconscious way they’ll remember you.

That being said, how many of us are still using the same perfume we started using in college? Considering there are literally thousands of fragrance options on the market, choosing your signature scent can be a bit overwhelming. And while having a signature scent is a great way to streamline your routine, who’s to say you couldn’t have more than one fragrance in your collection? So, if you’re new to perfumes and have not yet defined which fragrances you like, or if you’re looking for a fresh new addition to your fragrance wardrobe, I’m here to help! Here are 7 tips for finding your signature scent and some of our team favorites.

Check out more Team Busbee beauty favorites, here.

Signature Scent, finding your fragrance featuring Cartier Carat Eau de Parfum carried by Erin Busbee in the mountains in the fall season

#1) Know What You Like

Some perfumes overlap more than one fragrance family but knowing what you like quickly narrows down your search for a signature perfume. For example, I know that if a perfume has strong vanilla notes, I’m more than likely going to love it. You may be more drawn to more feminine scents like florals. Or spicy fragrances, which tend to be warmer and more sultry. There is a scent from Bond No. 9 called Brooklyn that I stole from my husband for its woody, earthy and masculine scent. There is a large range of olfactory cocktails to choose from and therefore something for everyone.

#2) Understand What You’re Smelling

Here’s a little crash-course of the different scent categories to help you understand basic terms and help express what you like. A word to the wise while browsing and sniffing—if you have to ask yourself if you like something, you probably don’t.

Floral: Floral encompasses everything from white florals like gardenia, lilies and ylang, to deeper florals like roses, violets, and peonies.
Citrus: This tends to be a lighter scent, reminiscent of spring or summertime. Think lime, lemon and oranges.
Musk: This may sound very masculine and animalistic, but musk is actually a clean-laundry scent.
Smoky: As the name implies, it smells like a burning campfire, fragrant cedar chips, or a blown-out match.
Woody: These scents can range from a creamy nutty flavor, to sandalwood, to spicy and dank like patchouli, to cedarwood.
Aquatic: These scents are meant to remind you of a fresh, clean feeling after a bubble bath or a day at the Mediterranean Sea.
Oriental: Think incense sticks from your teen years. It can be slightly powdery with a hint of spice or sweetness.
Green: If you’re into the chalky aftertaste of a wheatgrass shot as well as dewy moss on a spring morning, this is your scent.

find your signature scent, women lounging in white dress with perfume bottle

#3) Consider How It Makes You Feel

When wearing your signature scent, do you want to feel sexy? Do you want to feel playful? Take this into consideration while you sniff fragrances before settling on the one. When you spray on the scent, you should know almost immediately if the smell puts a little wicked smile on your face or makes you feel special.

#4) Spend Time with It

Perfumes smell differently on everyone, thanks to our unique body chemistry. How a fragrance smells on a paper sampler or sprayed into the air won’t give you an accurate depiction of how it settles onto your skin. Before purchasing a full-sized perfume, I’ve been known to spray it on my wrists and walk around the mall for a few hours before deciding. If you’re ordering online, get a sampler or travel-sized bottle to experience several scents for a few days before deciding to commit.

#5) Contemplate Cost

Yes, sometimes you’re buying the fashion house’s name, but it’s actually more complex than that. Cheaper fragrances tend to have top notes that are initially very strong but then fade quickly over the course of the day. More expensive fragrances have the complexity of top notes and heart notes. A top note lasts about 20 minutes and is your first impression of the fragrance. The heart lasts for the better part of the day. This is why some scents actually evolve and give off a different scent throughout the day. They also tend to have longer-lasting power.

#6) Avoid Fragrance Fatigue

Once you’ve found your signature scent, it’s important to break up your nose’s perception. You do this by alternating with a different fragrance or skipping perfume altogether once or twice a week. This will help keep the scent smelling fresh to you and keep you from burning out on your new fave.

#7) Have Fun with It

Perfume is very much like fashion. You might love something for one occasion that wouldn’t work in another. There may be certain fragrances that you wear only on special occasions. And sometimes, the right scent, like the right clothes, is just the thing to boost your mood and confidence. Perfumes, like your wardrobe, are an extension and expression of yourself.

What’s your signature scent? Please share in the comments below! And find all of Team Busbee’s signature scents below…

Sign up for the newsletter to take advantage of some incredible resources here. Thanks for reading!


Erin Busbee

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle—Top notes: Orange. Heart notes: Grasse jasmine, May rose. Base notes: Patchouli, Turkish rose, Vetiver.

Amit, Lifestyle Writer

The Harmonist Hypnotizing Fire—Top notes: Pepper tree, Pimento berries, Cloves. Heart notes: Bulgarian rose, Patchouli, Praline. Base notes: Vanilla, Benzoin, Opoponax.

Kaitlyn, Creative Director

Alien by Thierry Mugler—Top notes: Jasmine sambac from India. Heart notes: Cashmeran wood. Base notes: White amber.

Denise, Community Manager

BDK Pas Ce Soir—Top notes: Black pepper, Ginger, Mandarin. Heart notes: Moroccan jasmine, Quince chutney, Orange blossom. Base notes: Cashmeran, Patchouli of Singapour, Amber wood.

Susan, Writer and Editor

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb—Top notes: Tea, Bergamot. Heart notes: Sambac jasmine, Orchid, Freesia, Rose. Base notes: Patchouli.

Joy, Virtual Assistant

Burberry Classic for Women—Top notes: Black currant, Fresh green apple. Heart notes: Cedarwood, Jasmine, Moss, Sandalwood. Base notes: Musk, Vanilla.

Francine, Beauty Writer

Christian Dior Addict—Top notes: Mandarin leaf, Tunisian orange blossom. Heart notes: Jasmine sambac. Base notes: Bourbon vanilla.

Julianna, Wellness Writer

Estée Lauder Beautiful—Top notes: Rose, Mandarin, Lily, Tuberose, Marigold. Heart notes: Orange flower, Muguet, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang. Base notes: Sandalwood, Vetiver, Amber.
Join the Conversation

11 thoughts on “7 Tips for Finding Your Signature Scent and Some of Our Team Favorites

    1. Hi Ginny! I’m not familiar with Floreale, but now that I just looked it up—what a gorgeous bottle! And I read that it has notes of vanilla (my fave), so I have to go check this one out. Thanks so much!

  1. I wore Philosophy Pure Grace for YEARS but when the company was sold, the fragrance changed and I feel like they cheapened it. Now I go between a few favorites depending on my mood and the season. I love Tom Ford Black Orchid, Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey, and Coco Mademoiselle. This was a fun article. I love to see what fragrances others are loving!

    1. Hi Lori! I’m so happy to hear you mention Black Orchid, because I’ve been so curious about this scent. The next time I’m at the mall, I’m going to check it out. And yes, it stinks (excuse the pun) when brands change their formulas. I wore Miss Dior for YEARS until they changed it in the early 2000s, and was so disappointed when it smelled completely different. Thanks for your feedback!

  2. Some of my favorite scents are: Chanel #19 & body lotion. Chanel Crystal is another. Hermes, Terre de Hermes. It’s sold as a men’s cologne or a unisex cologne. The accompanying lotion (aftershave!) smells delicious. I love the spray and occasionally use the aftershave around the wrist areas or just above the wrist area-especially when at the beach. I don’t use as a lotion; just as a second layer of scent. Used together, products can be a little strong so it depends on outdoor temps. If is warm or hot outside, I’ll just use the spray. Most scents from Chanel, I’m bored with except for the two earlier mentioned. Most Hermes scents are very nice. Aqua di Parma is another favorite, especially in spring/summer. 💗

    1. Hi Paula, I had to look up the notes for Terre de Hermes before I responded to you, but it sounds like we have the citrus/woodsy appreciation in common. As mentioned in my story, I stole my husband’s Bond No9 Brooklyn for very similar reasons. As yes, Aqua di Parma is another great scent! Thank you for sharing.

  3. I have several fave fragrances, I could not narrow it down to just one. The first is Angel by Thierry Mugler, also Calvin Klein’s Obsession, and Amarige and Ange ou Demon by Givenchy. With all these fragrances, I could tell right away that they were for me. And you know you are doing something right when strangers, both men and women, come up and tell you that you smell wonderful.

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Mara. Your favorites are truly classics! And you’re absolutely right… you know you’ve found your signature scent when you get unsolicited compliments!

  4. Hi Beautiful Girl…First of all you lool so young and pretty in that dress. I love the fall look, and finally feeling some fall in our part of WV.
    My mom wore Nina Ricci’s Laairde temps. I think my sister does not even have to put it on anymore…she always smells so good with that scent. I too, love it , but I like to mix it up a bit, but always have it as my stand by. I did order a sampler from France that one of tne utubers talked aboutby Sylvaine Delacourt Paris France. They are perfumes. I ended up liking Helicriss the same one as the utuber. Thers were ten scents. I did not care much about the vanilla ones. Vanilla gives me headaches. I am not sure I will buy the Helicriss..kind of expensive. My husband said it smells like a man’s cologne. It is a unisex petfume. One of my customers said is my hair color smells so good. I said “No, it is me.” Lol. I will have to see if I can smell Carat..Macy’s??? I totally agree though, perfume on you may smell great on you , and terrible on me. Thanks, erin. Hope your fall is the best ever????????????????❤

  5. You may want to ExpLore the Jo malone fragrance lIne. I have worn the same Scent for a long time too, but these mix and match scents are the most beAutiful ever!

    I wear the wood sage and sea salt and sometimes mIx and layer with a more citruS scent ( lime basil and mAnderine)! It’s do fun and the Freshness is unBeAtable!

    Cartier’s new sceNt soUnds beAutiful!

  6. HI erin I looooove trying a different perfume and aFter much loyalty to the classically beautiful no.5 growing Up, i broke out with the first gender neutral ck one … it was 1991, anD who Didnt want to be kate moss to johnny depp.. if only through smelling like them… we can only wish.. anyhow… im looking forward to trying this aSap. But i would like to know what scent you were so loyal to???

Explore More

explore more
View All Posts

I Live in Frigid Temperatures & These 5 Winter Coats & Jackets Save Me Every Year

Sharing some of my favorite, must-have winter coats and jackets for when it's really cold…
Read Post

An Iconic Luxury Ski Look to Standout On the Slopes This Winter

NEXT LEVEL luxury ski clothing to really standout on the slopes. You will love this…
Read Post

3 Leather Finds Worth the Investment (AND Their Look-For-Less Counterparts!)

Sharing three gorgeous leather pieces that are worth the splurge AND their look-for-less counterparts!
Read Post