sillage: (noun) the degree to which a perfume’s fragrance lingers in the air when worn
Sillage is one of my favorite words. It’s French for wake or trail, and it’s used colloquially as the trail of aroma a woman leaves behind her when she walks by. Maybe you’ve walked past someone who smells wonderful, or you’ve stepped into an elevator that someone’s just left. It’s that aroma in the air that lingers, even after the wearer has gone.
Such a simple concept for such a bold idea. Your fragrance can remain long after you’ve left, further leaving your impression on the room and its inhabitants. Maybe you were just giving a presentation in a business meeting or maybe you were on a date. When you walk by, there is a distinct and powerful smell of you. Your fragrance says you are bold, confident, and unique. Your perfume can show off who you are and what you want to say. It helps you define your personal message and appearance to the world.
So choosing your fragrance is vitally important. With hundreds of thousands to choose from, how do you know which type of fragrance will define you?
- Think of your personality.
If your scent is a representation of you, then you want to make sure it fits your individuality! Think of your “perfume personality”—are you on the sweeter, airier side or are you on the dark and mysterious side? Are you looking for something that will make you bold and daring or something more aloof and friendly? This can help you decide if you want something floral, sweet, clean, deep, spicy, earthy, citrusy, oceanic, et cetera.
- Think of the kinds of smells you enjoy.
Even if you think a sweeter fragrance matches your personality, it isn’t the right scent if you don’t enjoy the smell of sweet aromas yourself. What smells do you find yourself drawn to naturally? What smells do you think of when you think of “home” or “beauty”? Do you love the smell of cinnamon, freshly cut grass, sea spray, oranges? Come up with a list of scents you find pleasurable to help you find the one that you’ll smell every day as your signature scent!
- Don’t limit your “signature scent” to one scent.
If you can’t make up your mind, you can have a few signature scents! Everyone has a few personalities and moods, so why not have a fragrance to go with each side of you? You can have a sexy one for date nights, a confidence-booster for the workplace, and a light spritz for the daytime. Create a perfume palette!
However, you want to ensure that your scents are complementary—too many smells and you’ll lose the “signature” aspect that makes it your scent. Instead, go for different variations or shades of a similar fragrance. For example, a lighter rose perfume for day and a richer gardenia for nighttime—both in keeping with the floral bouquet.
- Don’t go into the store with a preconceived notion.
Don’t wake up one morning with the mindset, “I’m going to buy a perfume today.” Rather, you want to shop around and do your due diligence. Like the perfect partner, the perfect perfume finds you when you’re least expecting it.
Instead, go makeup shopping and sniff five or six perfumes that match your desired scent palette (according to your personality and enjoyed smells). Going into a store simply to smell perfumes will overpower the nose and you’ll start to lose the ability to smell correctly! Take your time and don’t rush the process of finding the “epitome of you” in a bottle.
- Do the trio of smells.
When you’re in the store smelling perfumes, there are three steps to ensure it’s the right smell for you: bottle, strip, skin. First, lift the cap and smell it from the bottle. This tends to be the most potent, so you will know right away if you enjoy the scent not. Then, spritz the perfume on a test strip. Let the perfume settle before you take a sniff. This will help you determine what a light dusting of the perfume smells like.
Finally, if the perfume has made it this far and you’ve enjoyed the smell from the test strip, it’s time to spritz it directly on your wrists. The same fragrance can smell differently on every person because of the way it interacts with one’s natural body oils. Thus, it’s important to spray the perfume on your wrists (which is not only a convenient location but also where it will quickly interact with your oils). Then, let it settle, walk around in it, and browse the rest of the store. After some time, smell it! If you love the way it smells after sitting on your wrist, you’ve found your scent!
Take time to find your signature scent. Your fragrance will hit you like love at first spritz, and you’ll instantly feel rejuvenated and revitalized through the scent. The right fragrance can become your essence, your personality, and your calling card with just a single spray.
What is your signature scent? Let us know in the comments below!