How to Find Your Signature Scent

Marilyn Monroe wore nothing but Chanel No. 5 to bed, which eventually became known as her signature scent. In pursuit of creating our signature scents, Alivia and I created a DIY perfume with essential oils. Here’s how you can do the same in three easy steps.

1. Learn about the scents

Did you know there are multiple dimensions of smelling perfume? Just like tasting coffee, think different scent groups in terms of warmth, weight and so on: flavor, sweetness, warmth, body, acidity and finish. For instance, vanilla, honey, cinnamon and melon are warm whereas water, pear and mint are cool scents. Then there are notes: fruity, floral, fresh (aquatic, green or citrus) and woody (dry or mossy). Below are some of the scent notes grouped together as a starter.

Fresh: citrus, green notes like lemon, orange, bergamot, lime and clementine.

Floral/herbal: peony, rose, jasmine, violet, lily, camomile, magnolia, lavender, rosemary, basil, lemon grass, sage, oregano, thyme and tobacco

Woody: bold, smoky, musky or leathery scents like agarwood, rosewood, amber, sandalwood and pachouli.

2. Smell it on yourself

Scents smell different on paper and skin. When you find the one you really like, test it on your inner wrist and see how it evolves. Scents evolve over time as top notes evaporate and bottom notes deepen.

Similarly, when your nose gets tired of testing the scents, smell your elbow to recalibrate it, Pinrose founders Erika Shumate and Christine Luby told The Cut. Your pH level, body temperature and personal scent will readjust your nose from the strain. As for the old coffee bean trick? It’s just another strong scent, in their opinion.

3. You do you

You choose your scent, not the other way around. Work slowly from light to heavy scents, and take time to find the right one. When you’re in Seoul, check out GN Perfume Studio for their affordable DIY perfume class.

GN Perfume Studio: 19 Bangbae-ro 42-gil, Bangbae-dong. Other locations in Myungdong and Itaewon; 070-4521-7737. $35 for 30ml, $50 for 50ml bottle.


Which scents would you include in your custom-made perfume? Comment below!

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