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How to Choose Your Perfume

Sniff out the perfect scent

For some, scent defines who they are.

When it becomes a part of your everyday routine, a signature fragrance can provide a sense of familiarity and even a comfort to loved ones. But how do you choose a scent that matches your personality and, more importantly, your body’s chemistry?

Sniffing out your perfect fragrance comes down to two things: your preference and your body’s chemistry. Once you find a scent you like, trying it out is vital—what smells good in the bottle might not be the same once it’s on your skin, since everyone’s hormones and pheromones are different, which ultimately affects the final smell. It might take a bit of trial and error to connect with your ideal scent, but we’ve got a few tips that’ll make it a little easier.

Find your next signature scent from our wide selection.

A person spritzes Pansy Perfume onto their shoulder.

Know what you like (and what you don’t)

Did you know that our sense of smell is closely linked to memories? Think back to a scent that’s familiar and you might also conjure up a few memories that go along with it. The scent of flowers on a warm, sunny spring day; the scent of a fresh rainfall as walked to school; or maybe the musky scent of your dad’s cologne that would linger long after he’d left a room. Take a moment to think about some of your favorite (or even some of your least favorite!) scents, and the emotions they evoke. Then, make a list of those scents. It’s a great place to start your smelly journey!

Shop by scent and feeling

Though each one of our perfumes is unique, we can put them into a few descriptive categories to help narrow down your search for the perfect fragrance.

Floral

These perfumes are romantic and complex. They inspire confidence, sensuality and love with prominent notes of rose, jasmine and lavender.

If you love heady, sensual jasmine, you're in luck. It's one of our favorite ingredients at Lush, so smell around and give Cocktail, Lust, Goddess, Death & Decay, Two More Hearts, Sikkim Girls and Love a try to find your favorite jasmine scent of the lot.

Prefer something softer and sweeter? Road From Damascus, Rose Jam and Kerbside Violet might be more your speed. Or perhaps something with a gothic edge? Go for the dark, deep violets of V or the rugged sexiness of Salarium's rose-oudh blend.

Herbal

Woodsy notes from ingredients like patchouli and sandalwood give these perfumes a grounding, calm personality. They exude an air of mystery and leave you feeling inspired.

If you like a little sweet with your spice, go for some of our most unusual scents like the creamy patchouli-pepper-vanilla combo of Lord Of Misrule or the intriguing boozy charm of Devil's Nightcap. The Bug is a strong, musky blend of galbanum, elemi and labdanum that creates a cold, peppery fragrance that smells different on everyone; while Lord Of Goathorn is a sharp, strong blend of basil, terragon and seaweed for those who long for the seaside. Prefer something with some old school vibe? Karma has been a bestselling scent for ages with its groovy blend of orange and patchouli, and Breath of God is its airier, fresher cousin with cleansing scents like cedarwood, lemon and vetivert.

But if you really want to get fresh, go for the peppermint-chamomile of The Smell of Weather Turning, the rosewood and lemongrass of Smugglers Soul, the sharp neroli-sandalwood sweetness of Grass, the heady spikenard spice of Himalaya or the crisp spearmint and sandalwood of Dirty. And, finally, if you want something cozy, soft and yet still confident Dear John sends just the right message.

Citrusy

Energizing, refreshing scents like lemon, orange, ginger and bergamot can give you an instant boost and bring to mind sunny days even when you're in the depths of winter. Spritz a dab for an uplifting experience that'll set the intention for your day.

If you like to bask in the sunshine, then Sun is surely your perfect fit, with Brazilian orange oil, mimosa absolute and a touch of grounding sandalwood. A softer, almost floral citrus comes in the shape of Orange Blossom with gentle notes of orange flower and a touch of sharp neroli. B Scent is a similar flower-and-citrus hybrid with notes of grapefruit, fennel and rose to conjure images of Paris in the summer. And Hairdresser's Husband has a nostalgic air of a classic beauty shop with rose water, orange, grapefruit and tonka. Finally, you can add a touch of sweetness with Junk and its lemon-and-berry scented blend that includes touches of refreshing rosemary and sage.

Give a little more razzle dazzle with Ginger, a bold ginger-bergamot perfume for those who love to stand out, or the even more daring Icon with touches of bergamot and myrrh. Smell Of Freedom pumps you up with a truly stimulating blend of fire tree, oudh and lemongrass. Or you could mellow things out a bit with What would Love do?, and its more relaxed profile of lavender and tangerine.

Sweet

Nostalgic scents like vanilla, coffee and tonka create perfumes that feel both comfortable and indulgent. These fragrances are reminiscent of warm hospitality and inspire feelings of contentment.

Sometimes you want to smell just like your favorite dessert. For that, we recommend the anything-but-basic Vanillary, the creamy coconut of Furze, the strawberry-and-cream milkshake delight of American Cream, the tart candy apple goodness of Superworld Unknown and the bubblegummy bliss of Tank Battle. A little soft, a little spicy, but definitely sweet: Cardamom Coffee is the perfect choice for anyone who likes their candy with a bit of a kick. Rentless is for those who can't quite make up their minds - blending herbal patchouli, citrusy grapefruit and heady labdanum... yet its tonka base keeps it all feeling comfortingly soft. Then there's Fantabulosa, with an intriguing oakmoss opener that eventually mellows into a sweet banana scent. And finally, 1000 Kisses Deep is for the true romantics who love herbal scents like myrrh and osmanthus, wrapped up in a syrupy sweetness of its own.

You’ll find that many perfume retailers list the different notes of each of their perfumes. Once you know which of the fragrance families you prefer, it’ll be easy to identify which scents belong within them.

Test time!

Once you’ve decided on a particular fragrance family, get out there and start smelling. Different blends will appeal to different people. If you can get a small tester of a scent you think you love, grab it and wear it when you’re stressed, outdoors, at work or anywhere else you can think of—and if at any time you’re unsure about the scent, move on. You want to be sure that you love your new scent in every situation. There’s nothing worse than the smell of something you’re just not happy with.

Don’t be afraid to shop online, either! A detailed description on a product’s page will give you a clear idea of every note within the scent you’re interested in. Once you think you’d like to test one out, purchase the smallest bottle and test it out. If you don’t love it, most places have a great return policy so you don’t have to stick with it.