The Perfect Whiff


A highly sought after shopping category, fragrances are more a need than luxury today. Surprisingly then, many still struggle to find their perfect scent. We give some guidelines

By: Ratnamani MVK, Business Head of Fragrance Division, L’Oreal India

Posted on: April 29, 2013

A highly sought after shopping category, fragrances are more a need than luxury today. Surprisingly then, many still struggle to find their perfect scent. We give some guidelines…

Fragrance is personal. While a perfume may smell divine, it may not just be for you or your personality type! As a horde of brands bring their fragrances to India, most buy fragrances based on just the brand name and outward smell. Very few try to analyse and truly think which fragrance ‘defines’ them in the true sense.

Multiple researches have proved that fragrances can influence mood, memory, emotions, anxiety, stress, arousal, concentration, mate choice and the ability to communicate by smell without knowing it. Quite a humungous amount of work by something as subtle as a ‘smell’, right? Thus, it only makes sense to be careful about what you choose to represent yourself.

Though there is no formula to buying the apt fragrance, there are some basic checkpoints to keep in mind while selecting it. First is, understand what kind of scents you like. There are several fragrance families and all fragrances fall in one of these families, so it helps to know broadly which family of fragrances you want to go for. For example, if floral perfumes appeal to you in general, then have a look at brands which usually launch floral fragrances. You can then probably try Romance by Ralph Lauren.

Once you have selected a broad category, compare it against fragrances that you already like. In case you are already using some fragrances or know and like some fragrances that someone you know uses then you can try something similar. The best resource for this is to ask Fragrance Advisors in stores and get their recommendations on similar fragrances. Conversely, if you want something completely different, then you already know what kind of fragrances not to look for.

The purpose of using a fragrance is as important as the ingredients inside it. Select a perfume depending on the purpose of the fragrance, the day or time you want to use it and the frequency of use. In case you are looking for a light women’s fragrance for daily use during the day at work then something like a Giorgio Armani Acqua Di Gioia will probably suit you, while men looking for a fragrance to wear out in the evening might want to try Armani Code.

Body chemistry is something which either most people don’t consider or don’t know that they should consider when buying a fragrance. Every fragrance reacts differently to different people’s skin. So even if you liked a fragrance on someone else or on some fragrance blotters, be sure to try it on your own skin first. There might be a slight, discernible change in the way the fragrance reacts with your skin, resulting in the wafting of a different aroma from you.

Especially true for a country with extreme conditions like India, the weather and time of the year should also be kept in mind while buying a fragrance. Pick a light, sublime, aquatic fragrance like Acqua Di Gio for the summer months and a heavy woody fragrance for the winters or cold weather places. Subtle floral fragrances work well for spring or pleasant season.

Almost every fragrance has a story behind it and appeals to a certain personality type. Identify yours, or consider what you want to portray yourself as, and then select your fragrance. If you want to express an edgy yet quirky kind of sensuality through your fragrance, then you might find that Diesel Loverdose really suits your intention.

Again, like I mentioned, there is no formula. Ultimately it’s down to you. Take time out, try a few different fragrances. As every fragrance reacts differently to everyone, it is best to properly understand and identify which one to make your own signature scent!

Ratnamani MVK is the Business Head for fragrances at L’Oréal India’s luxury division and has been a part of the conglomerate for the past 14 years. Handling all YSL products, and fragrances from Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Diesel, she understands fragrances and their ‘mechanics’.

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